31 December 2016

A Fun Box of Stuff from Amazon Japan

I made my first order from Amazon Japan recently. The main thing I was after was a 2017 wrestling photo book, but I caved in and decided to order a P★League Bowling DVD, too. I figured I ought to watch some bowling if I am going to collect bowling cards.

Here's what greeted me when I opened the box. Pretty much exactly what I ordered. The surprising thing was the shipping speed. Shipping from Amazon Japan is pretty expensive, but it gets where it's going quickly. I think it was delivered within two or three days of me placing the order.

The DVD is formatted for non-U.S. markets, but I have a video player that gets around that. There are three discs in the set. Apparently the DVD sets contain tournaments that are especially made for the DVDs, rather than being reruns of televised tournaments. 

Inside the case I found the discs, a lanyard, and a booklet that was sealed with a sticker.

Mariko Nakano, Yuka Ohshima, Hiromi Matsunaga, Yoshimi Kabayashi, Natsumi Koizumi
The booklet contains pictures of each of the six teams that compete in the tournament. There are five bowlers per team. Those little graphs on the side show their relative strengths in categories like power and precision. The 30 bowlers almost match the 30 bowlers in the 2016 P★League trading card set. The captain of the Black team, Miki Nishimura, doesn't appear in the trading card set. Shoko Furuta does appear in the card set, but doesn't appear on the DVD. Other than that, the rosters for the DVD and the card sets match.

I'm not 100% sure what this page is all about. Selfies are involved, along with some stuff along the bottom that looks like bowler names in the format of the YouTube logo. It might have to do with one of the DVD segments, which I'll probably discuss later.

And here's the DVD directory. I can't read it, so I just had to click the buttons on the menus to see what started playing. The tournament starts out with something that looked like a draft, with team captains drawing slips of paper out of hats. I have to admit that I didn't watch a lot of the draft because I didn't understand what anyone was saying. As the bowlers were selected for teams, they walked across a catwalk stage and do a spin while a couple of announcers talked about them, like a fashion show of sorts. I couldn't tell what they were saying, but one of the commentators had a pervy tone to his voice that kind of creeped me out. I could have done without that portion of the DVD.

Then the tournament started. The first round was made up of matches between three teams. Each group of three played two games to see which team would advance. First place earned 3 points, second place earned 1 point, and third place got 0 points. At the end of two games, ties were broken with a sudden-death game of bowling for strikes. Once one team from each group advanced to the second round, the four remaining teams played a quick-elimination game to allow one other team to advance.

The second round was another 3-team game, with the two top scores advancing to the final. The final round was a series of games between the two teams, with each team selecting fewer and fewer players from their ranks to participate. It was all relatively entertaining. I found myself rooting for some teams and against other teams. I was surprised, as based on the trading cards I had some idea of who I might be a fan of, and watching the DVDs completely changed my mind.

One other feature the DVD set had, which might be related to the selfie page in the booklet, was a short feature on each bowler's personal life. They show their home bowling alley, and usually their pets. Most of them also wind up cooking and/or eating some food during their clip.

Was the DVD set worth the purchase price? I don't know. Once you watch the bowling tournament one time, there isn't a whole lot of drama to it. I will probably watch it a couple more times. I haven't watched all of the bowler profile videos yet. It was probably worth the pickup just to get some connection with the trading cards.

Next up was this 2017 wrestling photo book. There is another similar book that releases a little earlier in the year, but that one just features portraits. This one features 824 pictures of wrestlers. Most are from various Japanese promotions, but there are several pages of WWE wrestlers included, too. 

I am not that familiar with the male Japanese wrestlers, but there are plenty of entertaining photos from their ranks. I'm pretty sure I never want to visit 'The Gate of Destiny.'

The Joker made an appearance, as did Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman. That guy in the middle must be related to the guy on the right. The resemblance is striking, but they have different names. Google tells me that they are not actually the same guy. They are twins, though, who wrestle as The Brahman Brothers. One cool thing I learned about from Twitter was that you can use the Google Translate app to scan and translate text from photos.
So if you've got some text you need to translate and a smart phone, I would recommend this method. It worked out really well for me.

I had to take pictures of some blog favorites, like Command Bolshoi in the middle there. She and Cassandra Miyagi (far right) were featured heavily in a documentary I watched today about a wrestling tournament here in the United States, CHIKARA Pro's King of Trios event.

I may actually have to purchase the DVD of that event, if only because it features some of my favorite Japanese wrestlers in an English-language event.

Here are a few more favorites, in Ayako Hamada, Makoto, and Ray. I don't have a lot of news regarding Ray and the tumor they found in her head, but she is fairly active on Twitter and the Joshi promotions continue to promote Ray Aid events. I imagine she is going through treatment and hoping for a good prognosis.

Like I mentioned earlier, there were a few pages in the back devoted to WWE properties. I grabbed a few pictures of wrestlers I am paying attention to. I guess The Rock has moved on from wrestling, but he is one of the most famous names out there. You might as well get him in the magazine.

Also in the WWE section are a couple of Japanese transfers who are making big waves in the promotion lately, Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura, who currently hold the Women's and Men's championship belts in the WWE's developmental NXT promotion.

These wrestling catalogs are some of my favorite non-card releases each year, and the 2017 version didn't disappoint. Overall this package from Amazon Japan was a pretty good one. Shipping can get pretty expensive when bringing stuff across the ocean, but you can't get this stuff here. Actually, sometimes you can. This catalog and the headshot only version are currently on sale from The Puro Central Shop if you want one, but don't want to deal with a foreign website.


  1. Oh man... love the guy in the panda costume. Happy New Year!

    1. I'm not sure if that guy is the original Pandita, El Hijo del Pandita, Pandita Jr., or some other panda-costumed wrestler. Happy New Year to you, as well!

  2. That is awesome that you got the whole DVD! What did you think about the skills of the bowlers? It sounds like Japanese television shows and lots of drama to hype up the intensity.

    1. They seem pretty skilled, and I think they have to have professional bowling licenses to participate in P-League. Some of them have bowled perfect games before. I've only been bowling a handful of times in my life, so I'm not a great judge of skill. They bowl a lot of strikes and spares. They bowled in teams for this tournament, so each bowler would bowl two frames for their team in each game.