Pim

Buying from Amazon Japan

22 posts in this topic

Amazon.co.jp sometimes have items that you cannot get anywhere else. Ordering them is expensive but also not very easy because of the language barrier and the high shipping costs. But most of all: most of the smaller sellers do not ship overseas. There are a few websites offering their services to make this easier. Of course they ask a fee for it and it is still expensive. I know three of them and I have used one of them. I always used Kupiku but their search function is defunct for almost 6 months now, which really sucks. And my last experience with them was not very positive. Searching the web I found two more: White Rabbit Express and Remambo. 

What are your experiences with these companies? Which one do you use and why? Or are there more and better options?

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Can't help you with those as I've never used them, but for the language barrier I can suggest something, at least.

Use Chrome as your web browser. It has Google Translate integrated, so any page can be translated at the click of a button. The translations are more than good enough for Amazon.co.jp (at least into English—try Dutch at your own peril). It won't help with the third-party seller problem, of course.

 

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I used buyee to get a cd from a yahoo auction. I found the fees to be a bit high and I wasn’t pleased when I had to pay twice, one for the auction and then shipping once they received it. And it hasn’t arrived which may be more pandemic than buyee though. It was Masabumi Kikuchi’s Love Song album for anyone curious. 

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I assume you are talking about used CDs from Amazon.co.jp sellers? Have you tried cdjapan's "Proxy shopping" function? They might be able to get the items from these same Amazon sellers. For examples of this, search for Don Rendell (https://www.cdjapan.co.jp/searches?term.media_format=&q=don+rendell) and you'll see most of them have a "Try proxy shopping" button.

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Language is not really the biggest problem. Most of those Amazon.co.jp sellers do not ship outside of Japan. Plus the shipping costs get very high with multiple items. For these things, proxy shipping is a pretty good solution, although still expensive. I have tried the proxy shipping option by CDJapan once but they were unable to deliver the item I wanted....

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Posted (edited)

Pim - Have you tried CDJapan?  http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/

I realize that their selection is probably nowhere near as large as amazon.co.jp -- and I'm not sure whether they carry any vinyl -- but I've never had any issues ordering through them.  They're my "go to" store for Japan-only CDs.

One down-side: No resellers. New stuff only.

 

Edited by HutchFan

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Yeah for the new stuff CDJapan is definitely my favorite, thanks Hutchfan. Using these proxy sites is really for very hard to get out of print items only. 

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I've found several Japanese sellers on discogs.com that overlap with amazon.com. I've not compared Japanese discogs.com sellers to amazon.co.jp sellers but I'm guessing you'll find some overlap there too.

I've actually bought quite a few CDs from discogs and so far, no problems.

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I’m really talking bout the stuff you can’t find nowhere else. Also not on Discogs.

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6 hours ago, Pim said:

I’m really talking bout the stuff you can’t find nowhere else. Also not on Discogs.

Are these bootlegs or unauthorized? I've found most every release I've looked for there. Lately, I've added a few that I didn't find. If you'd like some help, let us know a title (or two) and we'll see if we can help you find it.

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I have more than once encountered authorized (Japanese or otherwise) releases that are not on Discogs, so that is not in itself a surprise. 

(A non-Japanese example is the Kenny Dorham Swedish sessions album, discussed in another thread) 

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4 hours ago, bresna said:

Are these bootlegs or unauthorized? I've found most every release I've looked for there. Lately, I've added a few that I didn't find. If you'd like some help, let us know a title (or two) and we'll see if we can help you find it.

Nah I don't do that stuff. I can name plenty of examples. Just to name a few: the Maturity series by Mal Waldron. And more recently I found a copy of Thierry Bruneau's Live at the Kave. Also, sometimes they are to be found on Discogs but for ridiculous prices. 60 euros, 70 euros or even 100 +. These proxy sites count multiple shipping costs and of course a fee but then still the items are way cheaper. Plus those sites also give access to for example Rakuten and Yahoo Japan.

Anyway, apparently I am the only one on the board who has used these kind of websites? Did not expect that!

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57 minutes ago, Pim said:

Nah I don't do that stuff. I can name plenty of examples. Just to name a few: the Maturity series by Mal Waldron. And more recently I found a copy of Thierry Bruneau's Live at the Kave. Also, sometimes they are to be found on Discogs but for ridiculous prices. 60 euros, 70 euros or even 100 +. These proxy sites count multiple shipping costs and of course a fee but then still the items are way cheaper. Plus those sites also give access to for example Rakuten and Yahoo Japan.

Anyway, apparently I am the only one on the board who has used these kind of websites? Did not expect that!

The only Japanese site I’ve used is CD Japan. I’m not familiar with the other sites you mentioned.  I did use CD Japan’s proxy shipping once. They obtained the cd for me and then it showed up on eBay at a fraction of what I paid. My go to sites are eBay, CD Japan and Discogs are in that order. Because of Covid, I’m avoiding Japanese sellers on eBay due to delays in shipping. If I see something on eBay that I want, I first consult CD Japan and then Discogs before deciding. 

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I have used buyee twice (to buy things from yahoo.jp auctions, one of which was the 13cd Benny Goodman RCA boxed set) and zenmarket to order something from disk union. Both services worked really well although the cost certainly adds up - I think it would make sense to try and consolidate orders if possible 

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Well I’ve placed a pretty big order. If I would have ordered trough Amazon.de, eBay and Discogs I would have paid more than 200 dollars more plus not every item was availble there. But still: most of the time what seems to good te be trough...... I keep you guys informed if this is recommendable or not. So when the order has arrived ( which is probably going to take a very, very long time) I share my experience. I have used Buyee btw. Kupiku will never be my choice again as they are more expensive, offer less options, and still have a defect website. 

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, Pim said:

Well I’ve placed a pretty big order. If I would have ordered trough Amazon.de, eBay and Discogs I would have paid more than 200 dollars more plus not every item was availble there. But still: most of the time what seems to good te be trough...... I keep you guys informed if this is recommendable or not. So when the order has arrived ( which is probably going to take a very, very long time) I share my experience. I have used Buyee btw. Kupiku will never be my choice again as they are more expensive, offer less options, and still have a defect website. 

That sounds good, but how about VAT (21%) that is payable for orders over 22 euros and duty (payable if the total value exceeds 150 euros)? Smaller packages may slip through customs, but a large order like yours probably won't.

Edited by J.A.W.

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27 minutes ago, J.A.W. said:

That sounds good, but how about VAT (21%) that is payable for orders over 22 euros and duty (payable if the total value exceeds 150 euros)? Smaller packages may slip through customs, but a large order like yours probably won't.

Yes. From my experience here in Vienna, Japanese packages sent "SAL" (the cheapest and slowest shipping option from Japan), even larger ones, are very rarely taxed for whatever reason, they probably get at a different customs point. The ones sent by "Airmail" would be taxed 50% of the time. The ones sent by DHL or FedEx would be taxed all the time - in fact, DHL / FedEx wold not even deliver it to you unless you pay the VAT + "handling fee" in advance.   

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Posted (edited)

12 minutes ago, Д.Д. said:

in fact, DHL / FedEx wold not even deliver it to you unless you pay the VAT + "handling fee" in advance.   

That's not correct. I had CD Japan orders shipped by FedEx and received them within days without having to pay anything in advance. I got VAT invoices from FedEx after 2-4 weeks.

I wish Pim luck with his order, but I'd be surprised if he'd receive it tax-free.

Edited by J.A.W.

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Yeah there is of course the chance of getting taxed on top of it. I’ll make up the total costs ordering this way trough Buyee and ordering them seperately trough the regular shops. But for now I am going to have a lot of patience!

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I love amazon.co.jp because I can get cds with all duties/taxes prepaid shipped in 4 days to my door in Athens.

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Okay so my stuff arrived today. To be precisely this is what I have ordered:

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So that is quite a lot and yeah it’s all pretty rare too. That was the reason why I tried it this way. So what was the damage buying this stuff trough Buyee:

 

Total price for all the items: 219 euros

Of which were fees: 30 euros

+ domestic and international shipping: 65 euros in total (Express Shipping)

 

Total damage: 284 euros. So that is about 26 euros a disc including everything.

 

Now I also made a calculation when I would have ordered every item separately trough Discogs sellers. I take the cheapest available and if not available take the median price.

 

Then total amount for all the items would have been: 325 euros. But that is without shipping of course. Almost every single item should have been shipped from Japan. So let’s take modest 10 euros per item (it’s more expensive most of the time). Than that adds another 110 euros. So the total damage would have been 435 euros. Best case scenario.

 

So 151 euros is a big difference! So the final conclusion is:

 

Proxy buying sites like Buyee are definitely recommended: if you have seen that one rare item on a Japanese Yahoo, Rakuten or Amazon marketplace. That one item you never managed to get. Or those items that are ridiculously overpriced on Discogs and eBay but very cheap on those same Japanese websites.

 

Proxy buying is definitely not recommendable for all your day to day CD and Vinyl shopping. Use it rarely and wisely but if you do it, do it good, because combining all those items will save you quite a lot and is the only way to make it really count. And of course keep in mind that your package might be taxed upon arrival. I was a lucky bastard this time….

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Yeah buyee is okay. I bought a cd from a yahoo auction to test it out. Unless you are going to bundle stuff or reeeeeeeeally want the item it may not be worth it between the fees and paying shipping twice 

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