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If you had a shopping agent in Japan

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If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  P_Thorne on Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:35 pm

There's a good chance I'll be travelling to Japan (Yokohama/Tokyo) in mid-April (in part for HAL-CON 2012, third edition of an international SF convention organized by some of the "Nippon 2007" Worldcon team). Is there anything I can pick up for anyone? Some of you are Japanese-mecha fans, at the very least. I'm giving two month's notice because formulating a shopping list might take a while, i.e., how does a website purchase compare to a personal agent? Consider:

* Browsing a catalog, vs. adequately specifying what you want me to find.
* Uncommon or unpopular items that can't be found online.
* I'll keep an eye out, but I won't go out of my way.
* Price component: shipping, vs. extra-luggage fee.
* Price component: import duties, vs. customs duties.
* The exchange rate, lately 75-78 JPY/USD. (If possible, send your request to five years ago, when the rate was 120. And while you're at it, convince me to stay in one Yokohama hotel, instead of sampling five. The Sakuragi-cho Washington was a good choice.)

ObLEGO: There is (or was) a Click-Brick (the locally licensed LEGO Store-ish retailer) in one of the malls in Yokohama, but they didn't carry anything localized. I did find bilingual catalogs in the TRU in Kobe, though.


Last edited by P_Thorne on Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:37 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Fixed a grammar-gap)

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In Japan, April 11-22, so ...

Post  P_Thorne on Sat Mar 31, 2012 3:28 pm

Is this subject line better than the last one?

I'll be in Japan from 11-22 April 2012. Some of you are mecha and anime fans, so: are you looking for J-items you can't order online -- particular toys, manga, image goods? Or more generally, photos of sites, or answers from Japanese SF/F fandom? Proximate reason for the trip: The HAL-CON 2012 bilingual SF/F convention, April 14-15. Coincidental reasons: Theatrical premiere of "Space Battleship Yamato: 2199" remake (April 7) and opening of the new Gundam attraction in Odaiba (April 19). I'll be wandering the Tokyo-Yokohama region for seven days, possibly with side trips to the old capital of Kamakura (south) and the World Heritage sites in Nikko (north).

Items you might be interested in:
  • MediCom Kubrick figures (like minifigures, but less mini, and with no building system)
  • Non-LEGO modular building systems like Kawada Nanoblock, Ensky ToyPiece, or Yoshiritsu LaQ (pronounced "la-kyuu")
  • Promotional goods from the new Yamato

Sites for price comparison:
  • Big Bad Toy Store
  • Hobby Link Japan (currently offering "Macro-savings on Macross")
  • J-List, currently with an April Fool's Day front page (NSFW warning: hentai items tend to appear in the cross-reference lists even when you pick "avoid adult products" on the usual front page)

(This is neat: Kotobukiya modeling support goods for scratch-built mecha, including slide and telescopic joints, which are tough to implement with LEGO elements.)

I'll be chronicling my trip on lexomatic.livejournal.com, underbase.livejournal.com (the two blogs are contrasted between personal-ish and review-ish content), and my Flickr photostream.

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  Kreativ Snail on Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:02 pm

Phil

I would be very very interested in any items from the video game series Katamari Damacy. (Collectable figures, music CDs, anything. ) The nano blocks I would want are the Christmas tree made of transparent bricks. ANYTHING cute with a snail on it would also be welcome. I can paypal you some money: now, when you are there, or give you cash when you get back.

KC snail

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  P_Thorne on Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:02 am

KC: C.O.D. is fine. Do you have a price limit? I'll have six days to search, so I may be able locate items, photograph, and get your yes/no during my daily net-update(s). (E.g., if I email at 8:00 pm Monday Tokyo time, that's 9:00 am ET, and if you reply at 6:00 pm, that's 7:00 am Tuesday Tokyo.)

I'll also be looking for squid-themed candies for an 11-year-old student my sister is tutoring. Apparently he's obsessed with all things squidly.

And, since BrickJournal #18 is "Bricks of the Rising Sun," I'll be checking to see what I can follow-up on. For my own amusement, I'll see if I can find LEGO Times or ClickBrickBook at the local ClickBrick store(s), or the vintage imagination books discovered by Ashley Glennon.


Last edited by P_Thorne on Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:16 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Two spelling errors; clarification)

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  Kreativ Snail on Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:09 am

$100 would be my approx total limit for anything. Anything more than that, and I would have to approve it. Katamari music CDs are $70 or more here, so if you can find them a bit more reasonable, like $30, I would so be interested. Thank you a million times for looking. snail

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  P_Thorne on Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:22 pm

First store I've been to is the Yodobashi Camera superstore near Yokohama Station, and I found their Nanoblock shelf. They didn't have the Christmas tree set, but there was a beer stein (no catalog entry) consisting mostly of trans-yellow bricks (770 yen). And an accessory set with five 8x8 plates, one of them trans-blue (~200 yen). Any interest?

(They seem to be licensed by Ohio Art in the U.S., and doesn't have the full selection.)

The toy section consisted largely of Gundam plamo (plastic models), and the modular section had LEGO (including the Cuusoo Hayabusa probe), Nanoblock, LaQ, and others. I didn't see any Macross or Uchuu Senkan Yamato, and very little Evangelion. Their gashopon section had CMF sachets in capsules, including all six series.

(Despite the name, Yodobashi sells not only cameras and camera accessories, but also computers, TVs, video game systems, home appliances, musical instruments and sheet music, and toys. Aha, I'd been wondering -- Japanese sheet music uses familiar staves and notation, but the lyrics are written in hiragana, syllable by syllable.)


Last edited by P_Thorne on Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:22 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Syntax error.)

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  ctbyrne on Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:56 pm

Hey Phil, what is the price of the Cuusoo Hayabusa? I might be interested in one as they are next to impossible to obtain over here.

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  Kreativ Snail on Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:25 am

Phil

I would love the beer stein nanoblock set. Thank you so very much for looking. snail

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  P_Thorne on Sat Apr 14, 2012 4:52 pm

Chris: I haven't been back to the store yet, but according to its website 21101 is between 4530 and 6615 yen. I.e., there's a discount, but I can't tell if it's web-only.

Hmm, to avoid further delays, I should operationalize that: At 80 JPY/USD, the price is between $56 and $83. What is your price limit?

KC: Beer stein noted for purchase.

Yodobashi Camera has a duty-free desk (refunds the 5% VAT), but the receipt must be at least 10,000 yen, so I'm trying to batch my purchases. And I haven't been back to that end of Yokohama since Friday night because (a) Saturday was HAL-CON from 10:00 to 18:00, (b) it was raining all day (Ame ame ame! Hidoi tenki deshita ne), and (c) I haven't yet worked out which tourist commuter discount pass to buy, or where. Japan's cities tend to have multiple transit operators, the passes are good only on a subset, and the English-language pamphlets never clearly explain all the options, e.g., "use this on the blue line [which is not shown in blue on the map]" and "this nearby line that's more specific to your goal? nope, inapplicable."


Last edited by P_Thorne on Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:02 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Operationalize the Hayabusa price range.)

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  ctbyrne on Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:41 pm

The cheaper the better of course, but the cheapest on BrickLink is $85 so I want it pretty much regardless.

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  Cale on Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:21 pm

The Hyabusa will be available in the United States latter this year. Now if we're are talking about the Shinkai Sub set

http://legocuusoo.posterous.com/there-are-three-world-firsts-in-the-lego-shin

that's a different story. And if the sub is still available I would be very interested in getting one.

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  ctbyrne on Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:56 pm

Yes, if you see any Shinkai Subs, I believe Cale and I would both like them and the price doesn't really matter for them. Let me know how cheap you can get a Hayabusa, maybe I want to lower my maximum price for $50 since that's what it will cost online later this year. If you already got me one, no worries.

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  P_Thorne on Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:31 am

Chris: You're lucky, I found and bought the Hayabusa set for 4500 yen.

I haven't seen the Shinkai anywhere; I'll probably have to visit Akihabara to even have a chance. The Jack Mall TRU was disappointing; it had Gundam and Fafner mecha, and some Transformers not seen in the U.S., but not nearly the range of non-U.S. toys as in the Kobe store five years ago. No Revoltech, no Pokémon Diablock sets.

KC: Got the frosty beer Nanoblock set for you. No luck on Katamari Damacy CDs yet. The MM Tsutaya bookstore has reconfigured since I last visited, and now has rental DVDs, pre-owned CDs, and discounted back issues of magazines (two pounds of glossy color printing for 150 yen) -- but for KD I had to ask, since I don't know what they look like and I can't read the Japanese spines. I haven't seen any snails yet, in any store major or minor.

Oddly, the Snoopy-branded store in Queen's Square is twice the size of the adjacent Disney Store. And the only arcade video game I've managed to figure out and play competently was a taiko drum rhythm game (with Studio Ghibli songs on its roster).

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  Kreativ Snail on Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:07 am

I love those drum machines. They have one at Magfest that I play every year.

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  ctbyrne on Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:55 am

Assuming the Hayabusa you picked up is for me, thank you very much, Phil!

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  P_Thorne on Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:47 am

Those of you looking for a 21100 Shinkai are so lucky. On my last day I visited the Mitsubishi Minatomirai Industrial Museum and got a good feeling when I saw the centerpiece exhibit in their Undersea section, a subscale cutaway model of the submarine. The gift shop had one remaining copy of the set, at ~4500 yen. It also came with a DVD (not marked, but region-free I assume). (But to my personal annoyance, the gift shop had no postcards, magnets, lapel pins, or other logo-bearing merchandise.)

You can now debate amongst yourselves who gets it. I suggest combat with Ninjago spinners. Smile

KC: I finally found a snail (katatsumuri) for you, a Den Den Mushi Measure from One Piece, at 840 yen. It's an orange-flesh snail with a green shell like a rotary telephone dial, and it's a tape measure. One Piece is popular even in the U.S., so I hope this hasn't been (a) imported and (b) already acquired by you. (There were five different versions on the rack, with different deco; I picked the one I judged had the best colors.)

No joy on the Katamari Damacy gemu musuku, in any of the half-dozen places I asked.

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  Kreativ Snail on Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:10 am

The snail tape measure sounds awesome, can't wait to see it. Thank you Phil. snail

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  ctbyrne on Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:47 am

I'll step out of the running for the Shinkai, as I would be listing it in my store. Thanks for your hard work searching, Phil.

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  Cale on Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:11 pm

Wow Phil! That's awesome that you actually found a Shinkai set. I'm interested in giving it a good home though if some one else wants it I guess I'm going to need to start practicing my spinjitsu.

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  PennLUG on Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:13 pm

Oh man, I wish I had known you were in Japan Phil. I totally would have gotten you to pick me up something gundam, or mecha in general. Oh well hope you had a good trip.

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  Kreativ Snail on Thu May 10, 2012 12:49 pm

Phil

THANK YOU again for getting awesome Japanese stuff for us. I built the nanoblocks sets today, they are really cute, and the beer one even comes with a nano-fig, about the same size as a minifig. I looked up den den mushi and they are from an animated series. They are telepathic snails used by the people of "One Piece" as phones. I love everything I got. Very Happy snail

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Re: If you had a shopping agent in Japan

Post  P_Thorne on Thu May 10, 2012 1:32 pm

Evil Jack wrote:Oh man, I wish I had known you were in Japan Phil.

Rolling Eyes It's not for lack of trying: forum announcements (this thread) on 2/10 and 3/31, and I mentioned it at the meetings I attended.

I totally would have gotten you to pick me up something gundam, or mecha in general.

Gunpla would not have been a problem -- they were all over the place (Yodobashi Camera, Laox, depaato), not just at the special tent outside the relocated 1:1 Gundam statue at DiverCity Tokyo in Odaiba with the new Gundam Café and Gundam Front Attraction on opening day. Other plamo, and non-Gundam, non-Transformers (in TRU) robots, were less in evidence. No Revoltech anywhere! The official tourist map of Akihabara, marking vendors by speciality, is of limited use given that the district is three-dimensional. But next meeting, I'll have to show you the robot hobby mooks and Five Star Stories Designs book I found, discounted at Tsutaya.

As it happens, I maxed out the volume and weight limits on my luggage, just with the two Cuusoo sets, three Nanoblocks, LaQ and Asoblocks, and souvenir candy. Next time I'll have to pack with empty placeholder boxes to better understand the space.

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