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28 February 2016 @ 07:17 pm
Buying direct FromJapan!  
So... I might be late to the party but I only just recently discovered the joy of using a shopping proxy service to buy things from Japan. For those who, like me, were living under a rock, hopefully this little review thingy will be of some revelation and help.

Anyway, after quite a bit of research, comparing prices, and reading reviews online, I decided to go with a service called "FromJapan" (hereon, "FJ") when ordering V6's latest DVD. Why did I decide to use a proxy at all?

1) My purchase counts towards the Oricon Rankings! Although the usual sites where foreign fans purchase their CDs and DVDs are all Oricon participating stores, Oricon does not count purchases that are sent to non-Japanese addresses. Since I'm using a Japanese middleman with a Japanese address, my purchase is counted by Oricon. We all know it's not all that important, but neither can we deny that joy when our favourite artiste/group ranks #1 on the charts.

2) Many Japanese online stores that only ship to Japanese addresses have big discounts - up to 26%. This discount can potentially more than offset the extra charges you pay for the proxy service.

How Does It Work?

Put simply:
1. Create a FJ account. The FJ website is easy to use and is all in English.
2. Locate the item. Japanese CD stores that often offer discounts of up to 26% plus free shipping within Japan are Rakuten, Amazon, and Tower Records (note: DMM also offers large discounts, but is not an Oricon participating store). If you're pre-ordering something, it might be a good idea to wait till someone offers 26% off, unless, of course, you're buying something that is likely to run out, e.g. an LE of an Arashi CD. I made the mistake of rushing into my purchase because at the time, Rakuten was the only one offering a discount and I thought 23% couldn't be beaten. I have not seen anything higher than 26%, but I may be wrong.
2. Either use the "QuickFJ" feature or copy and paste the URL of the item into the "Bid/Order" field on the FJ website
3. Follow the very easy instructions, and make payment for the item (plus a portion of the proxy service charges)
4. FJ makes the order, and the item is shipped to the FJ warehouse
5. FJ will ask you to choose your shipping option and then pay for shipping (plus the last portion of the proxy service charges)
6. Your item is shipped to you!


How Much Does It Cost?

As alluded to above, you will be making two payments. Once for the item, and a second time for the shipping. There will be service charges along the way, of course.

Charge 1 (item):
1. Actual item cost
2. Commission: 200 yen per item
3. System usage fee: 5% of (1)+(2)

Charge 2 (shipping):
1. Domestic shipping cost (shipping to FJ warehouse)
2. International shipping cost (shipping from FJ to your residence)
3. Bank transfer charges: 172 yen (for purchases < JPY30,000)
4. System usage fee: 5% of (1)+(2)+(3)

All in all, here is the breakdown of what I paid for my 2 LE DVDs:
Item JPY USD
Item Price (23% off list price) 13,804 121
Domestic Shipping (free on Rakuten) 0 0
International Shipping (EMS, with tracking and insurance) 1,660 15
Commission + System Usage + Bank Charges 1,163 10
Grand Total16,627146


Just for comparison, here's how much I would have spent if I'd ordered from CDJapan or YesAsia:
Online Store (item cost + shipping) Cost (x) Amount Saved (USD x-146)
CDJapan JPY 17,770 (USD 156) USD 10
YesAsia USD 157.40 USD 11.50


I mean, it's not like you save a heck of a lot of money, but savings are savings, plus you get counted on Oricon! Sounds like a great deal to me ^^ Of course, you should always compare prices across the different methods before deciding if you will actually be saving anything through using FJ, OR if you're willing to pay that extra amount just to be counted on Oricon.

Whenever I bought Arashi CDs through Arashi fans living in Japan who conduct mass pre-orders for new releases, I usually paid about USD5 MORE than if I had purchased off CDJapan, just for the Oricon count. Over my years in the fandom I have tried various such services, all were great, and certainly much more personal than FJ, but I'm a cheapskate like Nino and I'd rather save the ~USD10+5 :p Plus, such pre-orders don't really exist for V6... So. Yeah.

Also, there are occasional FJ sales (seems to be monthly), so it might be a good idea to wait for those to get an extra 5% off ^^ You can also combine orders to potentially save on shipping, so if you've other things you want to purchase from Japanese online stores or even Yahoo! Auctions, you can do that.

Note that you may not be able to enjoy flying gets (where items are delivered to the retail stores the day before their actual release so that stores can start selling them first thing on release day, but stores start selling them as soon as they have them i.e. the day before release), so your item may reach the FJ warehouse only on release day itself. But I mean, if you consider international shipping time, what's an extra day? In my case, my items reached me 2 days after release day, in pretty good packaging (lots of bubble wrap), and most importantly safe and sound. I live in Asia, by the way, so it might not be that fast for those living further from Japan.

So yeah, I'll probably be using this method again when I next buy a CD/DVD ^^ I suppose I don't need to cross my fingers for a DVD of Arashi's arena tour, but I'll definitely be keeping them crossed for a V6 album this year.
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yuuki_73yuuki_73 on April 28th, 2016 11:24 pm (UTC)
sounds interesting. Thanks for the tip!!