01/17/2020 at 9:21 am #73007
I am headed to Japan for a month starting next week (thanks to my eBay business that funds 100% of my travel money). My strategy is to look for old small things that are treated as garbage there and may be coveted here. I looked also at past sales on eBay, but of course most of the things that are valued in both places already have sellers in Japan shipping to the US (Studio Ghibli, knives and edge tools, Japanese candy etc.) I just want to check in with the greater scavenger mind and see if anyone has had successes. Thanks, Daniel.0
01/17/2020 at 9:35 am #73008
Japan is one of countries we’ve never been to but have dreamed about. Unfortunately I cant help you on what to scavenge there.
–Where are you staying for a whole month?
–Do you know anyone there or speak any Japanese?
–What are your plans?
–Are you going alone?1+
01/17/2020 at 10:17 am #73009
Jay, thanks for your input and of course for your incredible generosity in sharing your eBay experience through the Podcast and forum. (I learned of you through your 2015 interview with JL Collins & started following your guidance on setting up an eBay business in 2016. BTW, I saw Jim Collins in December and reminded him of my experience – he continues to positively remark on yours and Ryanne’s innovation and creativity).
I do not speak any Japanese except “thank you” “excuse me”, “bathroom” and “water”. I am traveling alone and staying in hostels. I love hostels because I get to meet other travelers. Meeting other travelers is my second favorite aspect of travel: you tend to get to know people on a pretty deep level (compared to co-workers, neighbors etc.) and you get to share travel experiences. Other’s travel experiences will allow me to choose my itinerary in response to reports from people that have just come back from somewhere. So far, I have booked a hostel in Tokyo for 5 days. (I use hostelworld.com and reviews by 41+ year olds to find best places good for me, white male 58 years old). I have also purchased a Japan Rail Pass that will allow me unlimited use of the JR rails (bullet trains and others) to travel for 3 weeks. I am traveling off-season which I hope means that hostels will not be full and I can book things on the fly. If you are interested in following you can find me here: http://www.instagram.com/somemodernconveniences/2+
01/17/2020 at 12:12 pm #73011
Cool. You must have went to one of Jim’s exotic meet ups.
I’ll definitely follow along on your journey. Love the idea of just staying in hostels with a train path. Make up the trip as you along 🙂1+
01/17/2020 at 2:58 pm #73013SharynParticipant
- Location: Central NJ
I’ve heard that kimonos sell well, but they don’t meet your criteria of small.1+
01/17/2020 at 4:18 pm #73014PDX_CyndyParticipant
Last time I was there was about 4 years ago. I love to go to the flea markets. I didn’t really buy anything to resell, just old kimonos for me and woodworking tools for my husband. Those are popular items, but like you say there are many direct from Japan sellers for them.1+
01/19/2020 at 11:06 pm #73054
01/22/2020 at 8:20 am #73159almastyParticipant
You can get certain Japanese Kit-Kat bars in Asian supermarkets around America. If you source those, you’ll want to make sure you get the ones that are never imported to America. You can split them up and create packs of them for $1 per individually wrapped piece on Ebay or Amazon.
The common ones I’ve found in America are green tea, some “dark (it’s not) chocolate that features a Japanese pop band on the cover, strawberry, and a few others. If there are any seasonal variations available when you visit, I would try to get some of those. I actually ordered a specific type of fall seasonal tea one off Amazon in December that I’m still waiting to get in the mail!
Some flavors are so-so, but I would recommend the green tea if you can find it. Very rich flavor compared to the American version of kit-kat. Still, those can be found in America, so it’s not worth wasting suitcase space on. They’re normally $6 a bag here, but I’ve found them on sale for $3 a bag sometimes and stocked up.
Same goes for Japanese books, cds and magazines. There are specific shops in a few major cities in America that you can pick them up for relatively cheap. You’ll want to make sure when you pick them up that you aren’t competing against resellers here that have already sourced them for cheap.0
01/20/2020 at 12:18 am #73059
01/21/2020 at 4:28 pm #73146AndrewParticipant
- Location: Pennsylvania
I’m sure you’ll have fun on your trip. My wife and I head back to Japan almost every year. She is Japanese, and I lived there for just over a decade working as a journalist and doing all sorts of other things.
We’ve found scavenging to be pretty thin in and around Tokyo for anything you can bring back with you. When I lived there I was able to get all kinds of stuff for my apartment from the trash and second hand, but those weren’t necessarily the kinds of things I would put on Ebay.
A big part of that is the expense of shipping from Japan. It can get real expensive real quick, even for sea mail. We’ve done best with books and comics sorts of things, as well as CDs and some clothes. There are a lot of japanese versions of certain albums that are still important to collectors, and we’ve also found some comics that were Japanese versions of comics in the 80s that sold well in the US and Europe.
One thing We did well with too was some of the ‘Chirashi’ that movie theaters give away. It really depends on the film, but we got a lot of star wars ones while we there, and they sold fairly well – though not for a ton. They were free though, so if there is something coming out while you’re there that has a solid fan base it can be worth it.
The best places we’ve found are 2nd hand markets that local city offices run every once in while. Machida and Musashino run them fairly regularly in Tokyo and we’ve definitely scored. That said, heading to such an event would be pretty far off the beaten path for someone visiting Japan for the first time without Japanese skills. It’s definitely a local event.
I also feel that Japan has a pretty established market for second hand stuff that can make vintage shops pretty pricey. Even more so with the rise of Mercari. One of the coin laundry spots we used last time we were there had a white screen with lights and a mannequin sponsored by Mercari for people to take photos of things to sell. It was pretty neat – I think they have some of that softbank money.
01/21/2020 at 4:58 pm #73148
What a great summary of Japan. We found the same to be true in Europe. We could find stuff at little flea markets off the beaten path, but otherwise it was difficult finding waste that wasn’t already snatched up by locals.
Definitely not the same as in the US where valuable waste is everywhere.0
01/22/2020 at 9:05 am #73162totommytoParticipant
- Location: Naples, Fl
If I were going back to Japan, being a toy guy sort of, I would be on the lookout for japan vinyl monster figures. It is a big thing there, yet there could be ones to be had on the cheap.
If you do a very general eBay completed listings search, you can get an idea. Key words/markings to look for are Popy, Bullmark, Bandai, Japan. All sizes, loose or not, robots or reptiles, whatever, vintage always best (thinking 1990’s turn up most), although new could be good as well.
Yes, we trade back and forth with Japan with these toys, yet I’m sure Japanese moms too have a shoe box full they just want out of the house.
I was there 1984 – 1985, and remember seeing those creatures in little bags with header cards, priced reasonably, thinking they were cool, yet I did not want to bring them back to a barracks full of macho Marines. So, I missed it! Like any other funky collectible, there are nuances and such that I don’t claim to understand. Probably worthwhile just to have that portion of the scavenger brain in surveillance mode. Enjoy the trip!0
01/22/2020 at 9:19 am #73164ZachParticipant
- Location: Kansas City
I would look for video games. Japan is home to Nintendo, Sony, Sega, and many other game companies. Lots of games released in that country never made it to the US. Should be cheaper to buy the games locally than it it to import them, leaving you some room for profit. Of course, you’ll need to research which games to buy.0
01/30/2020 at 10:14 pm #73512WabashValleyRelicsParticipant
- Location: Indiana
Antique paper advertising, postcards, records, small pins/unique items.
Strangely enough, also look at bootleg toys. We came across knock off transformers a few years ago, the “Titanic bot”. They sold for $70-100 a piece.0
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