Saturday, January 17, 2015

Theme Week: Better Know a Blogger (Ryan from This Card is Cool)

Welcome back to another edition of my ongoing Better Know a Blogger series.  I still have a few more volunteers for which I need to write up posts (plus a couple of outstanding questionnaires that I'm still waiting to get back).  I've said it a bunch before, but I'm incredibly happy with the success of this series - so let's get right to another entry, shall we?

1. Your name (or alias):  Ryan G.
2. Your blog website:  This Card is Cool and Chaos and Kanji
3. What kind of collector do you consider yourself (team collector, player collector, set collector, etc.). Why do you collect that way?
First and foremost, I’m a type collector. I have always loved to sample things, and my type collection gives me a small taste of each set. I collect many sets - flagship issues, and other sets that really strike my interest. And I have limited player collections. Actually, living in Japan, I’ve really focused on a Japanese type collection, which has been very challenging and rewarding at the same time.
4. In your opinion, what could the major card companies (Topps, Panini, etc.) do to make your style of collecting better for you?
The less sets that come out each year, the better. There are just way too many parallels, especially limited print run parallels (1 of 1s, numbered to 5, etc.), and some of the high end issues have over 100 inserts and parallels! BBM keeps its releases pretty simple, with only a couple parallels in most issues, usually one insert set with a parallel or two, and a couple relic and autograph sets.
5. What is your favorite part of your collection?  This could be one specific item, or a binder of cards, etc.
I have a collection of autographs and relic cards, mostly from the entertainment industry - Donruss/Panini Americana as well as dozens of movie sets. There are some MLB autographs in there too of my favorite players. 
6. Most of us have a favorite song that we like for no good reason – heck, it might even be embarrassing.  Do you have a favorite baseball card that might fit that bill?  
 My 1986 Donruss Jose Canseco rookie card. It’s the iconic card of my first favorite player. And it serves as a great reminder of how the Hobby should be just a hobby - I picked my copy from a dime box a few years ago. I remember when it was worth $100!
7. If you were forced to part with your entire collection except for one card, which card would you keep?
Not the Canseco! My Nolan Ryan autograph is certainly pretty important to me. 
8. Many of the blogs (including my own at times) seem to decry Topps’ lack of vision and creativity.  Can you think of something creative that could be done for an upcoming card set? 
 Actually, I think companies try too hard to reinvent the wheel. The same-old-same-old gets boring, of course, but just put out a quality set and I’ll be happy. That said, there are several niches that could really use a card set - topical sets for all the no-hitters pitched, or cycles hit, or a card for all the different ballparks that have existed over time. And I’d love to see cards for celebrities who threw out the first pitch or sang the national anthem - those would probably be great as an insert in Opening Day or a later series of flagship.  
9. What is your profession?  How did you end up there?  If you are in school, what do you plan to major in and/or what job do you hope to get after graduating? 
I’m an English teacher in Japan. I was a high school chemistry and physics teacher, but a few life events eventually brought me to the other side of the world. The pay isn’t great but I enjoy this job much more than teaching at my old school. That doesn’t mean I won’t return to an American classroom. 
10. What is your favorite place that you’ve ever visited?  Why? 
Japan. Yes, I’m living in Japan, but I’ve discovered so many great places and things here - the food, the shopping, the culture, and the history.  I’ve visited Nagoya four times, and this month I’ll go for my fifth. It has four great baseball card stores and my favorite amusement park in Japan, Nagashima Spa Land.
11. Many of us have favorite foods or customs that are somewhat local to where we live.  Do you have any such things that you particularly love?  A website link to specific products would be spectacular.  
Japanese curry is delicious, and different from Indian and Thai curries. It’s generally milder, and served with rice. I highly recommend CoCoIchi restaurants, found all over Japan - you can really customize your curry with dozens of toppings, different spice levels, and different sizes. Plus, all the stores have an English menu - I don’t need it now, but it’s really helpful for first-timers. By the way, even if you like spicy food, I’d stay at level 2 or 3 at the highest for your first go. 
12. Do you have any other hobbies besides card collecting?  
You bet! I’m a photographer and traveler. My photos since coming to Japan are at my other blog. I’m an amusement park enthusiast, with over 500 coasters under my belt. 
13. Tell me something interesting about yourself (that we haven’t covered in the first twelve questions).
I used to work at Blockbuster Video, and I’ve seen over 3000 movies. Most of them are pretty bad. At one point I was watching at least 10 a week. My favorite is Almost Famous, though the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a close second.
As always, a big thank you to Ryan who serves as our latest volunteer in my ongoing Better Know a Blogger series.  Ryan actually sent his replies to me back on December 15 of last year which I only mention so that others who are waiting for their answers will sort of know where I am in the queue!  

As for Ryan, he and I have traded a number of times over the years (18 trade packages in all by my count have either gone to him or arrived from him).  In that time, I've enjoyed following Ryan's adventures in Japan.  Japan is definitely a country that I hope to visit someday.  In fact, my wife has a friend from graduate school who is now in the Navy and happens to be stationed in Japan.  If there were ever a time for me try to take a trip there, it would be now...

Turning our attention to some of Ryan's other answers, I think he hit the nail on the head with the "too many parallels" observation.  In fact, I have noticed a bunch of people have said something along those lines during various Better Know a Blogger interviews...but I don't think anyone has said "you know what this hobby needs?  More parallels."

Take notes Topps.  I'm doing all your research for you - feel free to send me free product (or a paycheck).

Thanks again to Ryan for taking the time to answer - and since I'm still working my way through the emails if anyone else would like to participate it's not too late.  Drop me an email and we will go from there!


Zippy Zappy said...

I knew that Ryan was going to mention CocoIchi in this post, I just knew it.
Never knew he used to teach physics and chemistry though, that info might've come in handy when I was still a college student in Japan and I met him like 5 times a month lol.

Ryan G said...

Thanks for letting me be a part of this! It was fun responding to all of the questions! Have we really exchanged that many packages? That's amazing! Come on out here; the exchange rate is great right now!

Kenny, I thought you knew!

Ana Lu said...

Wow You are living in the manga/anime paradise!

Ryan G said...

Ana - I sure am! And I end up in Akihabara way too often. If I can get anything here for you as a trade or sale, send me an email!

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