The Japan Hobbyist presents: G(reat)P(arty) Nagoya

It’s official, we are now in countdown mode for GP Nagoya. In less than a month, hundreds (if not thousands) of players will be descending on Fukiage Hall. The last limited Grand Prix, GP Yokohama in February 2013, attracted more than 2000 Magic players. It still stands as one of the largest MTG events ever in Japan. GP Nagoya in December 2012, on the other hand, was at the time the largest standard constructed GP ever in Japan, at around 1600 people. Since these events, Magic the Gathering has grown exponentially all over the world. GP Melbourne broke records for an event in Australia, GP Vegas reached untold of heights for limited, and GP Richmond last weekend became the biggest ever modern constructed event. How will GP Nagoya fair? 

Well, it certainly has a lot going for it. The location of Grand Prix will attract a lot more people than GP Kitakyushu or GP Kyoto due to the accessibility of the event hall as well as the city. It’s smack dab in the middle of Japan, between Osaka and Tokyo. This means that two of the biggest centers of Magic the Gathering in Japan will be pouring into the city. The timing of the event is also better than previous dates. My biggest problem with GP Kyoto was the timing. It was scheduled during the PEAK of autumn when everybody in Japan travels to the old capital to visit the shrines and temples and take pictures of the changing foliage. GP Nagoya is on April 12, 2 weeks before Golden Week and 2 weeks after the start of the new work year for many freshman workers. You shouldn’t have any problems finding a hotel somewhere in the city in the next few weeks if you want to come. There is also an international airport nearby, so it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to travel to the city if are coming from somewhere in Asia like Korea or Thailand. 

Taking all of these things into consideration, I think that there will be more people at GP Nagoya 2014 than there were at the previous one. Theros block limited isn’t as popular as the Return to Ravnica block was, so I don’t think there will be as many as GP Yokohama, but there should still be quite a few people. The pros love limited as well, so Shuhei Nakamura, Saito Tomoharu, and Makito Mihara should all be in attendance. For more information about the event, please check out Wizard’s website

Become a Cardboard Samurai For a Day

cardboard-samurai-magic-logo-and-rw-mana-removed-tilter.pngI hope you’ll attend the Grand Prix next month, because both myself and the Cardboard Samurai Dan Boru are planning a big event for anybody interested. Starting at 10:55 am on Friday, April 11th, I will be hosting a city wide tour of all the Magic shops in Nagoya. I’ve written about them before in my Magic the Gathering Stores tab, but this will be your chance to hit them all at once while also taking in the sites of Nagoya. You’re welcome to join at any point of the tour and at any time during the day. An all day Subway pass can be bought for 740 yen, making it incredibly affordable for people looking to see the sights while also saving some cash. During the tour, you’ll be able to look for deals on cards around the city, play some pick up games of Standard, Modern, Legacy, or EDH (depending on who we run into on the tour!), and also get a chance to explore Nagoya. Time permitting, here is the plan for the day.

  1. Meet at JR Kanayama Station (Tokaido Line) between 10:30 and 10:55 pm. 
  2. From JR Kanayama station, we’ll walk across to Prinny Club Kanayama for a few minutes to check out their selection of cards and the play space, then move on to the next shop around 11:20.
  3. After Prinny Club, we’ll walk down the street for about 5-7 minutes to Card Brunch Kanayama, the first Local Game store I ever visited in Nagoya. We’ll hang out in Card Brunch from 11:30-11:50 am or so, then we’ll head  to the next store.
  4. At 12:00 pm, we’ll take the subway from Higashi Betsuin station to the next stop on the Meijo line, Kamimaezu station. From there we will head to our first LARGE card shop in Nagoya, Amenity Dream. The shop is smack dab in the middle of the Osu Kannon shopping arcade, so we’ll be spending a lot of time here. From 12 pm – 1:15 pm, we’ll be hanging out  at Amenity Dream, playing in their spacious game area, searching through bins and bins of cards for things we need, and also grabbing lunch at various shops around the store (there are kebabs, subway sandwiches, ramen,tacos, curry, etc. You name it you can find it there.). After eating and playing, we’ll head on to the next store around 1:20 pm. 
  5. Just a 5 minute walk from Amenity Dream, at 1:25 pm we’ll be stopping at Advantage Osu to look at their selection of modern, legacy, and standard cards. The store is rather small, but has good deals from time to time. At 1:45 we’ll move on to our next store.
  6. Just across the street from Advantage is Yellow Submarine Osu, home to board games, game accessories, and anything else a gamer could want. Their selection isn’t as large as I’ve seen at other Yellow Subs, but we’ll still spend about 20 minutes there looking around. 
  7. Around 2:10 pm, we’ll head down Akamon Dori to Hobby Station Osu. Located just a few minutes from Yellow Submarine, Hobby Station Osu boasts a large game play area, and a decent selection of cards from various formats. 
  8. At around 2:30, we’ll finally be heading out of the Osu Kannon area and walking down the street towards Big Magic. From about 2:45 – 3:30, we’ll be resting, looking through binders, and playing some more pick up games of Magic to relax. 
  9. Once we get our energy back, we’ll be heading to Yaba-cho station, a few minutes walk from Big Magic and hopping back on the subway to head towards one of my favorite places in Nagoya, Mishimaya. We’ll be riding the subway for about 15 minutes to Ozone Station, and from 4pm, we’ll be spending about a half hour at the mom and pop Magic store I’ve grown to love. You can look through tons of old cards, find very reasonably priced MTG staples from various formats, and even relax and play some more pick up MTG while others shop around. You can also use this time to grab a bite to eat at McDonald’s across the street. At 4:30 pm, we’ll be heading back to Ozone for the last leg of our journey. 
  10. We’ll be taking the 4:39 subway from Ozone back towards Fukiage Hall at this point in order to make it in time for the Foiled Again Friday Night Magic event at 5:30 pm. You can join in one of the side events, register for the Grand Prix if you haven’t done so already, trade, or do anything else you want. (for a full list of side events, look here – it’s in Japanese though
  11. If you still have time and energy after the Foiled Again FNM, we will meet at Fukiage station around 9pm and all head out for dinner together. I’m going to recommend Sakae. There are many places to choose from, and if you still want to see more interesting places of Nagoya, I recommend Game Saloon where you can drink, play video games, and chat with new friends until you’re ready to head back to your hotel.  
Amenity Dream in the Osu 301 building in Osu Kannon

Amenity Dream in the Osu 301 building in Osu Kannon

There are still quite a few Magic shops not on this list, but in order to stay on schedule to maximize your exposure to Nagoya, I’ve decided to keep the tour tight and the locations close together to save travel time. Time permitting, we can have a second tour on Sunday in the afternoon before everybody heads back home. We can check out all of the stores on the Higashiyama Line such as Chikusa Phase, Hobby Station Mei Eki, C-Labo Mei-eki, and TCG Shop 193. This might work out for the best, because it will put everybody back at Nagoya station so you can easily take a train or bus back to where you are going. 

I want to note that all stops on this trip are completely optional for anybody involved. If you want to stay longer at a store to play or look around, or if you want to head to the event hall to take part in a Last Chance trial, then by all means do so. You can also join the tour at any point by following the schedule I laid out in this blog. It’s going to be a lot of fun and you’ll be able to meet a lot of new friends while not wasting your time wandering around the city. If you’re interested in the tour, you can just show up near the Mr. Doughnuts outside of Kanayama station between 10:30-10:50, or you can contact me by leaving a comment here or sending me a direct message on twitter @yoschwenky . 

Some of you might also be wondering “well, how will I find you and your tour?”. Well, I hope it will be pretty obvious. I plan on making some The Japan Hobbyist t-shirts and will be wearing them during the tour to promote my website as well. I’ve decided to make the shirts blue (white gets dirty too easily and black is kind of boring), with my character on the left side of the shirt (the Cardboard Samurai), and then the name of my blog next to him. If you’re interested in purchasing one for yourself, the cost will be 2500 yen (since I’m doing a limited print run of about 30 shirts, that’s the lowest price I can get on them). I’m posting a poll down below, so if you’re interested in buying one please select yes or no.

This will help me gauge interest and decide whether or not to make more. If you are SERIOUSLY interested, you can let me know the size you want on Twitter or on here and I will be sure to make some extra ones in your size. Keep in mind these will be Unisex shirts, and also in Japan sizes.

Come on Down

Well, that about does it for today’s post. It would be great to show some of you around the city and to meet some of my readers, so if you can make it please let me know. If you can’t do the tour but still plan to come to GP Nagoya, let me know so we can meet up at the event (this also goes for people who want a shirt and want to pick it up at the event). While I’m not super excited at doing Theros/Born of the Gods draft and sealed, I AM very excited about the festival like atmosphere that surrounds Grand Prix. There are lots of great players in Nagoya, and I hope you can join us next month! Thanks for reading an put any questions you have down below. More info to come in the next few weeks!