Friday 4 November 2016

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck When Converting to Yen

FYI, yen is best purchased IN Japan. If you didn't know this already, I just exploded your brain with this little info-bomb.

Now, before we go any further, know that I'm not a finance maven. I don't study economy or work in banking and most of this is simply just information I've gathered over the years to try to obtain a better rate for my own trips. If you have any tips or tricks to add, please don't hesitate to comment! The finance landscape is changing fast and some of the options I've mentioned didn't even exist 2 years ago and I've no doubt that new options will appear in the near future.

Thursday 8 May 2014

The Wordiest and Most Biased Guide to Tokyo Ever (Part 2 of 2)

See here for part 1 of this ridiculous guide or my general guide to useful things to know in Japan.

The west side is shopping heaven.  There are some great cultural and tourist-friendly sights as well, but the shopping, oh, the shopping.  Most of the districts that I'll cover are pretty much in a straight line running from Ikebukuro in the north, down through Shibuya in the south.  Both JR Yamanote line and the brown Metro Fukutoshin line run right through this sequence of metropolitan madness.  

The order goes:
Shinjuku (JR)/Shinjuku-Sanchome (Metro)
Harajuku (JR)/Meiji-Jingu Mae (Metro)

Lastly, Nakano Broadway, the hidden geek wonderland of resale stores, is located just west of the string between Ikebukuro and Shinjuku.

Topics Covered: Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya, Nakano

That was all in one morning (though admittedly, it was from New Years Day sales).  No regrets.

Thursday 1 May 2014

The Wordiest and Most Biased Guide to Tokyo Ever (Part 1 of 2)

If your interests are all about shopping, you can feel free to skip to part 2 which covers several shopping hubs; Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shibuya and Nakano.

Tokyo is the size of a small province in some western countries, except instead of one major "downtown" region, the whole city has many city centers, each one with a different focus from Ginza's high end designer shops to Roppongi's business district to the dense population of anime stores and maid cafes in Akihabara.  There are many districts that are widely covered in generic tour guides to make sure that every tourist knows about the red Tokyo Tower and the Imperial Palace in the center of Tokyo (where Japan's Emperor resides).  My guide will cover those that I am most familiar with which happens to be a convenient Venn diagram of shopping, food and fandom...

Topics Covered: Local transit in Tokyo, Group communications, Shipping shit home, Asakusa, Ueno, Akihabara and Odaiba area reviews.

Monday 24 March 2014

A tourist's guide to Tokyo: Written for tourists by a tourist

A tourist guide written by a tourist for my awesome, nerdy friends.  I'm not an expert of Japanese living, just a fan who can't seem to get enough of it.

Topics Covered: Language requirements, accommodations and Hostel/Hotel reviews, Tokyo transit,  shopping!, how to buy food/goods and some store types worth noting.

An intro to how I travel (and thus, what you can expect to see here).

I live for swag and food.  I love Japan for just this reason.  There is swag and food EVERYWHERE.  Although some people like to live the high life when they travel and visit stores of internationally renown brands, I prefer the busiest areas possible.  I love the hustle and bustle that only big city crowds can offer and in Tokyo, different parts of town offer up different crowd with different atmospheres.

Area guide and summary is also done to give you some insight into the parts of town that I spend my trips in.

Saturday 18 January 2014

A different kind of Lucky Pack post

Pre-New Years Lucky Pack/Fukubukuro Report

Lucky packs are a must for the thrifty/stingy/budget lolita shopper.  Since this post is a little different than my other posts and there are already so many good sources of descriptions for what LPs are, I'll keep the description to the bare basics.  If you are already familiar with what these are, please feel free to skip right to the bottom to see the report itself.

Fukubukuro (福袋) are often known as "lucky packs" in English.  These are essentially discounted grab bags.  In Japan, the new years traditions include clearing out old clutter for a fresh start.  Similar to spring cleaning in the west, this tradition is not only present in the home, but vastly shared in businesses as well.  Many retail shops will bundle up old merchandise and overstock in mystery grab bags and sell them at a significant discount.  Stores ranging from convenience stores to drug stores to high end fashion stores will partake in this practice, and over the years, these lucky packs have become so popular that many variations have come into existence including lucky packs that contain items which are produced solely for these packs (usually done by stores/brands that are confident that their packs will sell out) and lucky pack vouchers that can be exchanged for your choice of products (often used for food).

In the lolita world, lucky packs usually come in one of two forms, dead-stock lucky packs and specially made lucky packs.  Dead-stock lucky packs will contain items from the brand that were previous sold as regular stock whereas specially made lucky packs contain items which were produced for the sole purpose of being sold in lucky packs.  In both of these cases, the contents may be announced in advance or may be a complete mystery.  The value they contain will usually be 3-5 folds of the tag price of the lucky pack.  Some brands will promote their packs with phrases like "10 500yen lucky packs: contains over 35 000yen in items".  In the case of specially made for lucky pack contents, you have to take this with a grain of salt since the items were never sold at retail prices, so the tag price of each item do not have an original retail price to reflect.

Stemming from a New Year tradition, lucky packs usually go on sale at the beginning of January with the New Year; however, as my friends and I discovered, some stores may put a batch up for sale early without any prior notice.  Below you will find my casual report of our discovery of this anomaly as I finally achieved my ultimate lolita/shopaholic vacation this year, a lucky pack shopping trip!  I think it's now shifted from ultimate goal to annual addiction.

Sunday 15 September 2013

Reselling: In it for love or for the money?

Topics covered: Scalping, resale value and pricing trends, mark ups, accommodating loss and dead-stock, reselling as a full-time job

Reselling for profit has always been a somewhat controversial topic.  People want to get a good deal and can become upset if they find out that they're paying more for an item than the seller originally bought it for.  Regardless of the feelings involved, profit and loss are present in every market, and the lolita community is no exception.  If you are planning to resell for profit, expect dead stock (stock that cannot be sold, so you're stuck with it) and if you buy based on what you think might sell instead of items which you personally like, it can become a source of pure loss (you paid out to buy it, but can't sell off and it is worth nothing to you personally).  That said, if you're new at it, or don't plan to do much reselling, buy based on your own interests.  Ideally, these items would be ones you have a personal interest in and wouldn't mind keeping if you can't sell them.  This way, even in the worst case scenario, you would still get some personal enjoyment out of it.

Sunday 10 February 2013

Brand whoring on a budget: Ins and outs of auction sites

Step three: A guide to navigating Yahoo! Japan Auctions and MBok
Topic covered: How to search, how to browse (item name, sort by price, BIN/reserve met), online translators, keeping within your budget, bidding tactics.

The key to building a brand wardrobe on a budget is to bid low and bid frequently.  To do so effectively, you'll need to spend a fair bit of time browsing through listings to find the best items with low starting bids.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Canada Post overview and shipping guidelines

Topics covered: Venture One, domestic shipping methods, international shipping methods, shipping slips, proof of shipment.

Lastly, an overview of Canada Post's (CP) services.  This is primarily written for Canadian sellers; however, it might be of interest of anyone who may need to ship to a Canadian address and is looking for some insight into how our system works to deliver packages once within our borders.

CP's shipping prices are largely tier based.  Sometimes, there are fluctuation of prices within each tier, but it is a very slight fluctuation considering the large jump from one tier to the next.

Sunday 27 January 2013

Shipping guidelines for new sellers

Topics covered: Shipping methods, tracking and insurance, creating accurate shipping quotes, seller responsibilities according to EGL Sales Comm rules and Paypal ToS

This is written as a guideline for new sellers to work from.  Every seller has their own preferred method of doing business and the only way to find your own way, is to try it out.  Keep in mind though that with shipping, it's better to be safe than be sorry, so if you're unsure about a policy you want to include in your terms of service (ToS), go ahead and include it.  If you later feel that it's unnecessary and might be scaring away potential buyers, you can always remove it on future posts.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Brand whoring on a budget: Auction sites, resale shops and sales

Step two: Low price; high value
Topics covered: Resale stores, customer to customer buying/selling, store sales, lucky pack overview, Japanese auction sites.

There are three main options when shopping for lolita clothing (although this applies to many other Japanese collectibles or limited releases), Japanese auction sites, Japanese stores (physical and online) and resale sites (ie EGL Sales Comm, Closet Child, etc).