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Minnesota Hanafuda!

Throughout my entire Hanafuda adventure it never occured to me that I might be able to find a real deck of cards around here. My fellow blogger and bike shop volunteer beat me to it. He's got the location of the market linked in his post, but doesn't mention that the cards are hidden behind a shelf of candy, so you'll probably have to ask for them. And it's a Korean mart, so they're not hanafuda; they're hwa-tu.

Anyway it's all the same thing. These decks are missing the extra 6 cards that are supposedly included in most hwa-tu decks, but they do have the usual 12 suits and a joker. What might surprise many people is how tiny the cards are. They're also plasticized, with a textured back side, so shuffling is a more tedious affair than with western-style cards. This is why many people will buy two hanafuda decks, with different colored backs, and shuffle one while the other is in play.

If you go here you will see an awesome video of a special-edition hanafuda deck that uses Nintendo characters on the brights and animal cards. Apparently they are a prize from Club Nintendo Japan. Photos are here!

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