Yo, everyone! Welcome to this guide, which (hopefully) will help you successfully use a Proxy Service to get Pokemon merchandise and other goods from Japan! In this case, we'll be using the Proxy Service known as FromJapan, which I have used five times as I am typing this. For this demonstration, I will be partially be using an order that I just placed!
The first thing you might be asking: What is a Proxy Service?
A Proxy Service is a business that helps you buy goods from Japan-only websites. How? You place money in a Deposit, you find an item you're looking for, you "buy" or "bid" on it, and then the item is paid and shipped to the Proxy's building, which is in Japan. Then, the Proxy ships the item overseas to your doorstep! YEAH!
A Proxy Service does NOT hold its own warehouse- It displays items that are being sold on Japan-only shops (Like Animate), or on Japan-only auction sites (Primarily Yahoo! Japan Auctions, otherwise known as YJA). In that case, items can be new or used, and you can find some of the rarest (or most common) goods from Pokemon!
Now, you're probably extremely confused from what I just said. Don't worry, I'll walk you through this. But now, you may be wondering why you should buy items from a Proxy. Can't you get the same things here? Aren't they the same price? Why would I work with a shop overseas rather than trying to find a place in my country that sells the same item? Let me give you a few of the advantages and disadvantages of using a Proxy Service.
Say you want an item from the Japanese Pokemon Centers, like a Pokedoll of some sort. You can easily find them in stores based in your country, but they're about $60 a pop. If you looked up the same Pokedoll on a Proxy Service, I bet the price would be cut in half, to about $30 (That's 3,000 Yen, roughly). Why is it so much cheaper? YJA and Rakuten, and other shops a Proxy is advertising, are geared toward people that live in Japan. Stuff such as Pokedolls and more are far more common on Japan, because that is the motherland of Pokemon (Not to mention, Pokemon Centers). Basically, you are buying/bidding on items that only people in Japan would be doing so otherwise. Proxy Services take advantage of those prices and offer them to people across the globe.
As to what I was saying up there, since Japan is the motherland of Pokemon, they ARE going to have MANY more items than we would. Plus, Pokemon is much more common there, so it isn't a surprise that Pokemon-esque things pop up all the time.
This is the one thing that can kill off potential Proxy users very fast- Shipping charges. Let's go back to our Pokedoll example up there: The store closer to home has the Pokedoll of $60, and shipping would be about $10 or so to your house, so you would be charged $70 overall (Or, 7,000 Yen). Now, the Proxy Service has that same Pokedoll for $30, but shipping would be about $30 too: You have to pay for the domestic shipping (The initial seller to the Proxy Service Building) and the shipping from the Proxy to your house. I had an order the other day: Seven items total, clocking out to 6,000 Yen for it all. The shipping charge turned out to be 7,000 Yen- Domestic shipping alone was 3,000 Yen. Shipping can destroy a budget, but if you want the item, I say, GET IT.
Proxy Services charge little bits and pieces here and there for your purchases. Two major ones are Commission Fees and System Usage. Commission Fees are common to all Proxies- They charge you a small amount of money for when you purchase anything. Think of it as an Art Commission- You ask for your favourite character to be drawn (You ask for something to be bought), they draw it for you (The Proxy buys it for you), and then you pay (Aaand you pay). System Usage fees are accounted for on how much you used their service, based on the amount of items you bought, or how much they are worth. System Usage fees are generally low, but can go up a bit if you buy something expensive, or you bought many different items.
Now, in my opinion, I think the advantages heavily outweight the disadvantages. But hey, it's your opinion. If you like this idea, continue reading! If not, I guess you can stop reading. Or not. Whatever you like, I guess.
So, if you like the idea of a Proxy service (Of course, because you're still reading this), let's get started! First, head on over to FromJapan.co.jp. It should look like this:
After doing so, make an account! It should be fairly straightfoward (I'm not going to include pictures on that, since I already have an account).
After doing that step, it's time to look for merchandise! Now, to utilize FromJapan's Search Bar, you MUST use Japanese, not English. It is searching for Japanese things y'know, so English text will not do. Of course, you want to look for Pokemon stuff. Pokemon's Japanese text is ポケットモンスター (If you cannot see that text, I suggest using a different browser, or maybe adjusting your browser settings!). If you want to look for a specific Pokemon (Such as Miltank), head on over to Bulbapedia and look up the Pokemon. Easy as that.
Once you have the text you want, just Copy-Pasta it into FromJapan's Search Bar, as shown here:
Then, HIT THE SEARCH BUTTON.
WHOA TONS OF STUFF. 61,500 Hits! But if you look on the first few pages, there isn't much of anything (unless you want some Common/Uncommon cards!). Let's take a looksee on this page.
Over to the left, you can moreso specify what sites you want to pick and choose from. The setting right there is the default setting, with the exception of the "Buy it Now" button.
Below that group, you have your Price Range! I'll hover back to that in a bit.
Even further down, you have your "Categories" column, which you also have by the Search bar. Use it if you're not looking for anything specific.
Then, you have your page numbers...
And then your items! I'll show you a "good" example of one in a bit!
Now, back to the Price Range jazz. Say your budget is $25 on the item alone. Translate that to Yen- For the American Dollar, the exchange rate is usually $1 USD = 100 Yen, so if you have $25, you'd type in 2500 for the Highest Amount. For the lowest amount, I would recommend that you put an amount in there. No one likes seeing minuscule things that count for your search. For this search, I'm capping off the minimum at $10 (1000 Yen). Now, to type it in...
And then, SEARCH!
Whoa, major cutdown on our results! It's typical, since non-Pokemon stuff always gets thrown in. Now, we shall look for something we want, no? For this, I'd say to just continue looking through the pages until you see something you want. This could take seconds, minutes, or maybe a few hours (if you have the time!).
Usually, you get shop items first, or items that have Stock Photos. These items are usually on Rakuten, or some other shop. But if you keep going through pages, you get to the merchandise that's being sold by actual people. For me, I like that stuff more, since you find more of a variety!
Whoa there, Eevee alert! And it's adorable! Now, what does the box of text initially tell us?
-First, the item is from Yahoo! Japan Auctions
-The picture of the item
-The name of the item (In Japanese)
-The bidding price (Red text)
-The Buy-it-Now price (Blue text)
-How much time it has left
Now you seriously want it- HOLD UP. Let me guide you :D To find out more about the time, click on the name of the item (The Japanese text). You should get a new window on your screen, like this:
WHOA THERE WHAT IS THIS STUFF. Here's the breakdown of the left column, in order:
Auction ID- Self-explanitory.
Current Bid- Also self-explanitory. This Eevee set is currently going for 2280 Yen, or about $22.80.
Buy-it-Now Price: YEAH. You could just take the set and run for 2300 Yen, or $23.00
Bids: Number of bids on the item. Nothing on this Eevee set.
Time Left: How much time the auction has left.
Condition: Tells you how good in-shape the item is. This set is listed as "New".
Seller Type: If it's a business or not. This is from a person, so it's listed as "Individual".
Domestic Delivery: What kind of shipping they use in Japan to FromJapan's office. Here, they are going to use "Postage Extra".
Positive/Negative: How many positive/negative feedbacks this seller has. THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! I would recommend using someone with less than 10 "Negative" feedbacks. This person has NO Negative feedbacks, so they are good to go!
Item Name: Name of item, in Japanese. If you scroll down, you'll find something that looks like an eBay listing: More info on the set. But, it's in Japanese. On the right of the window, you can select what language you want. I'll be using "English", of course. So I put that in...
Woohoo, the item's actual name! Kind of! At least you have an idea now.
So you REALLY want this set. REALLY want it. On the right side of the window, you have a bar with more stuff! Here's the breakdown:
Bid- You bid on the item. From my knowledge, FromJapan will contact you if someone starts to outbid you. I have never chosen this option, for the sake that I might lose out. You can also do the Buy-it-Now option from here.
Sniper Bid- FromJapan's elusive button! You set an amount that you want to bid on the item, and when the item closes within five minutes, FromJapan will place a bid! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I have never used this option either.
Calculate Total Costs- Seeing how much the item in total will cost you, with all of the shipping and everything! I never use this either :'D
Go to shopping site- Going to the actual item page on YJA.
Add to Watch List- Where you "watch" this item, and you can bid on something right away if you decide you want it!
From my personal experience, I would choose Buy-It-Now out of all other options. A common thing on YJA and such is that the seller makes their Buy-It-Now price just a biiit higher than the actual Bid price, or even the same price. So, if it is a Buy-It-Now item, go for it! If it is not, Sniper Bid!
So now, YOU REALLY WANT THIS SET. LIKE, RIGHT FREAKIN' NOW. So you hover your mouse over to "Bid", and then you get sent to a page that looks like this:
So now you're on a page with some jazz like before: Information on the item, the seller, etc. But here, you want to look at the "Real-Time" column. Here, you tell FromJapan how much you want to bid, and how many of the items you want (The quantity is seen just to the right of it- There is one set). If you want to Buy-It-Now, YOU MUST PUT IN THE BUY-IT-NOW PRICE IN THE BID AMOUNT! OTHERWISE, YOU ARE NORMALLY BIDDING. From there, you would normally click "bid" and go on with paying, but WAIT! You don't have any money in your Deposit! Let's go do that!
So, back to your account: If you look in the column with all of your information, you'll find a "Deposit" line o' text under the "Funds" heading. Click on that. You'll then head to a page that has a button that says "Add Deposit Amount" or something along that line. Do so with your Credit Card or Paypal. I wish I could show this section, but I will not, to protect my privacy P:
Now, when you're adding money, think about all of the little charges that will get thrown at you: Along with the amount you're going to spend, FromJapan charges a 200 Yen Commission Fee. Along with that, there are other teeny charges. So, when I put money in my deposit, I usually put in about 700-1000 Yen more than what I actually need.
So after you got that all squared away, you go back to the auction's page, place your Buy-It-Now bid, aaaand that should be it for now! In a matter of minutes, you should receive an email like so:
Huzzah! You won the auction! GREAT NEWS CONGRATS. If you didn't though, sorry ;__; Things like that can happen, but don't get discouraged! There are plenty of other things to buy, I would think.
Now, from this email, if you scroll down a bit more, you'll see text that reads, " You can make the payment for these items at the following link:", and then it will give you a link to send out your first payment of the item! After you click the link, you shall be on a page with a plethora of paying options: Paypal, Credit Card, Deposit, etc. Since you already have a hefty Deposit amount (The one needed to actually bid on the item), I would advise paying with the Deposit. After you have decided your method of pay, you go right ahead and click the needed buttons. After you have made your first payment, you will get sent to a screen regarding shipping. If you don't pay within 24 hours though, FromJapan will happily take out the money needed from your Deposit, and set aside other fees for the second payment.
If you plan on buying more items, DO NOT FINALIZE YOUR SHIPPING INSTRUCTIONS. Otherwise, you'll have to pay the price: 2000 Yen for re-packing fees. Or, you could just send out the item by its own, but that can get pricey. Only finalize your shipping instructions ONCE YOU HAVE BOUGHT EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO BUY! If you don't want to finalize the shipping right now, don't sweat it. At any time, you can go onto your little userbar on the right and conducted those instructions!
If you are new to buying things from far away, and have no idea what shipping method you want to use, no fear! Here's the list of them.
EMS- The shipping I always use! It's in the middle of prices compared to other methods. EMS is EXTREMELY fast: I usually receive my packages in a week or less. EMS is also trackable, with a shipping number. It can also be insured. Can mail up to 30 KG.
Airmail- Like EMS, but for heavy and large items, but it isn't trackable. Can also mail up to 30 KG.
Surface Mail- It is cheaper than EMS, but instead of waiting a week, Surface Mail can take up to a month. Surface Mail also can't be tracked, but it can be insured. Also, the package size can only be up to 1x1 Meter, so no big packages here. Also, Surface Mail isn't as safe as EMS. But, Surface Mail is quite cheap compared to EMS.
SAL- Almost like Surface Mail, but not quite. It is not as safe as EMS, like Surface Mail. But, SAL differentiates with shipping time. I've heard stories where people have waited from a few days to eight months. Like Surface Mail, it has a limit on dimensions: 1x1 Meter. But, SAL is cheaper than EMS.
Small Packet Airmail/ Small Packet Surface Mail/ Small Packet SAL- This one is quite weird. The package can only be 2 KG or lower in weight, and the item(s) inside the parcel can't exceed 6,000 Yen in cost. It is cheap, but very slow, like SAL. FromJapan only offers Registered items for all three ways now, so the package can be both trackable and insured.
FedEx- Pretty much everyone has heard of FedEx. They will allow up to 68 KG for a package, and are extremely safe. The package usually arrives within a week, and a package can be both insured and trackable. BUT, FedEx is very expensive! Also, the package size minimum has to be bigger than a letter.
So, overall, I would recommend EMS, and would stay away from SAL.
So, after all of that, you wait for your item(s) to arrive at the FromJapan store thing in Japan. In a few days, you might get an email that looks like this:
Woohoo! Your item has arrived! Now, if this is the only thing you bought, you should probably add your shipping instruction now. In about a day or two, you should get an email like so:
From here, you just finalize your address, shipping method, and make your second payment! The second payment is mostly for shipping overseas. If you didn't pay for the first payment (As in, you got automatically charged, and you didn't pay the extra fees), you're going to do that now. For the second payment, I like to pay with a Credit Card, since I tend to have no money in my Deposit. But hey, it's your choice. After you got everything completed and everything, you shall wait another day or so, and then get this email:
AWWW YEAH IT GOT MAILED. Now, from this point, you can continually track your package (If you chose a shipping method to do so). Waiting game ensues, wheee.
Since I chose EMS for my method, in five days, I got my package with my goodies in them, safe and sound :D
Now, I know I didn't cover EVERYTHING, but I think I got the basics down. So now, hopefully, you can successfully use FromJapan as a proxy to get wonderful things from Japan! Ahaha, FromJapan, stuff from Japan, SO CLEVER.
One might be wondering: I didn't use my entire Deposit. Where does it go? FromJapan "locks" in the remaining Deposit after an amount of time (Which is slipping my mind), but after a month (If I can recall), they release the funds back into your Credit Card, or Paypal, or something.
I hope this guide is helpful to you! ;O;
If you have any questions on anything about FromJapan, feel free to post in this thread!
Last edited by Milkapoke; 9th June 2013 at 09:13 AM.