Category Archives: Shopping

Australia Strike Action

This is a notice for all Japan Store customers in Australia.

We have been informed that the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), which oversees the Customs clearance for all inbound products into Australia, has announced they will be on strike on Friday 12th August 2016.

This will cause delays on all inbound mail, both 12th August and on the days following the strike, until the backlog is cleared.

So if you’re ordering from Australia, please allow for delays. And if you have a delivery deadline, we strongly suggest that you select Express shipping at checkout. In addition to being fast, this allows full online tracking of your package. For some reason, Australia Post does not track items sent by Registered Airmail.

Golden Week & Shipping Delays

Michael Jordan says Get Well Soon!

Due to a staff shortage coinciding with the annual Golden Week holidays, there will be extensive delays to order shipping from mid-April until early May. We apologize in advance to all customers affected by these delays for the inconvenience. If your order is urgent, please let us know and we’ll move it to the front of the line. Where possible, we will “upgrade” shipping free of charge to make up for lost time.

Golden Week is a group of national holidays at the end of April and beginning of May. Together with Obon and New Year, it is one of the times when Japanese businesses close down completely. So Japan Store and all our suppliers are closed during this period.

The reason for the staff shortage is that Japan Store manager Jun is in hospital for surgery on a basketball injury. I hope you’ll join me (and Michael Jordan) in wishing him a speedy recovery.

Japan Store

Still No Shipping to Belgium

Brussels Airport

Following last month’s terrorist attacks in Brussels, the airport has been closed for some time. As a result we have been unable to ship orders to our customers in Belgium. There have been reports of a “partial reopening” of Brussels Airport, so we checked today with Japan Post but unfortunately they are still not accepting packages for shipment to Belgium.

At the moment we have just a couple of customers waiting for packages to be shipped, and I would like to thank them for their patience and understanding.

The Story with Sukajan Jackets

Dragon-Tiger Sukajan Jacket

See our current collection of Sukajan Jackets.

As you may know, the word “sukajan” is an abbreviation of Yokusuka Jumper, the name given to a style of satin jackets that became popular with GI’s in Japan after World War II. They’re also known as souvenir jackets. They come in a variety of colors and usually have elaborate embroidered designs on the front and back, with ribbed collars and cuffs. The most popular designs are traditional and iconic images such as dragons, tigers, carp, geishas and maps of Japan. Although they are a stylish addition to any wardrobe, for years they have tended to be associated with gangs and rebels in general.

Sukajan Jacket Designs
Sukajan Jacket Designs (1-10)

We’ve sold sukajan for several years and they’ve always been a steady seller. But over the last year or so, reasonably priced sukajan jackets (as opposed to the really flashy ones that go for $300-$500 in Japan) have been increasingly hard to come by. Manufacturers tell us this is due to a big fall in demand for them in Japan, their main market. But this has come just as they are becoming more popular outside Japan and we were seeing more and more emails coming in from customers asking when more stock would be available.

Backed up by these indicators of overseas demand, we approached one major manufacturer and finally managed to get them to sell us a batch of about 300 jackets in a dozen or so different designs and a variety of colors. These are currently selling quickly on the store and the manufacturer is now ready to take us more seriously. We are in discussions with them about future orders and what new designs might be popular. They currently have about 30 different designs to choose from but want to focus on the designs that will be popular overseas.

Sukajan Jacket Designs
Sukajan Jacket Designs (11-30)

We will soon be reaching out to our 10,000 newsletter subscribers to get an idea of which of these designs numbered 1-30 people would be most interested in wearing. Any given design will probably be made in three colors, usually black and two others from red, green, silver, grey and blue. Feel free to comment below – your feedback will be most helpful in figuring out which designs we will be selling in the near future.

The Games of Summer

Kingyo Sukui literally means “goldfish scooping” and if you’ve ever been to Japanese summer matsuri (festival) you will no doubt have seen this game in action. You have a plastic scoop with a thin paper center with which you have to try to catch as many small, live goldfish swimming in a small pool as you can before the paper dissolves in the water. These days it’s more likely to be small plastic toys that you try to scoop up, which is more in keeping with current attitudes to the treatment of animals. And let’s face it, kids these days are probably more likely to look after a few little One Piece figures that care for real live fish. or it could be little rubber fish, Kitty Chans, Anpanman, or any number of popular characters.

Whatever the catch of the day, this simple game is a perennial favorite at all matsuri. Another is water yoyos, which are simply water filled balloons on a rubber string. Like kingyo sukui, the challenge is to catch them with a metal hook on a length of paper “string” before the paper dissolves. And like kingyo sukui, it’s not as easy as it looks. The challenge in kingyo sukui can be modified by using different grades of paper – the thicker the paper, the longer it lasts and the easier it is to catch something.

These games are increasingly becoming part of Japanese-themed culture festivals at schools and colleges across the world. And with their simple rules and setup, as well as the colorful prizes to be won, they make an easy but unique and appealing addition to any summer event.

Everything that you need to set up your own kingyo sukui or water yoyo stall is available from our Japan Store.

Extreme Weather Causing Delays

Heavy snow in Japan
Heavy snow in Japan

Extreme weather conditions, whether it’s a polar vortex in North America, extensive bush fires in southern Australia, or widespread flooding across the UK, have been causing chaos and devastation in many parts of the globe. And now large areas of Japan – a country well used to being regularly hit by typhoons, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes – have been brought to a standstill by record levels of snowfall. Fatalities number in the dozens, and thousands more have been trapped for days in stranded cars and trains.

All this is by way off explaining why deliveries of goods within and from Japan have been directly hit by the weather conditions. Our suppliers and courier companies are doing their best to ensure that products reach us as quickly as possible and of course we are doing everything we can to dispatch orders in a timely fashion.

Japan Post Announcement


Japan Post announced at the end of December 2013 that it is no longer possible to add Registered Mail to packages sent by Economy Airmail to the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Greenland

We will of course continue to ship to these countries. But please be aware that if you choose Free or Economy shipping, you will not have a tracking code for the package. So we would advise customers in those countries to choose Airmail or Express.

Japan Post announcement (Japanese only)

Happy New Year of the Horse

A belated Happy New Year to all of our customers. 2013 was a good year for us and 2014, the Year of the Horse in the 12-year zodiac, is off to a galloping start. We’re seeing lots more orders than we did at this time last year, so that’s a good sign that things are starting to pick up in the global economy. And of course in our case the weakened Yen helps.

Gold plated horse
A gold-plated bronze horse, sold by Ginza Tanaka in Nagoya for ¥15 million.

People here in Aichi prefecture have a reputation for liking things gaudy and expensive. So it was no surprise to see one jewelry store in Nagoya promoting its New Year sale with this ¥15 million ($150,000) full-size, gold-plated bronze horse. Although it’s modeled on an actual racehorse, that’s a lot to spend on a horse that’s not going to earn its keep by winning a steeplechase or two. If that’s too rich for your blood, Ginza Tanaka is also selling gold statuettes and oban (traditional oval coins) with a horse motif for a more moest ¥1.4-1.7 million ($14-17,000).

But don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get your year off to a golden start. Our store lineup now includes a gorgeous little gold Maneki Neko, or lucky beckoning cat. These figures are traditional placed in the entranceway of a home or business, where they beckon to new customers, friends or even lovers! And the gold symbolizes the fortune that is headed your way. A bargain for just $25.95.

We screwed up and we’re sorry

We're very sorry.
We’re very sorry.

When shopping online, there is nothing worse than finding exactly what you want to buy and not being able to actually buy it. Well, unfortunately that was what happened to many of our customers yesterday. The reason was a technical glitch caused during an overhaul of the payment processing system that resulted in an error for customers in the U.S. We worked through the night to both get the problem fixed and to stay in contact with those customers who were kind enough to point out the problem and give us a chance to sort out their order “manually.” A very big thank you to them for their patience and confidence in our ability to live up to our own high customer service standards. The good news is that we got all those orders sorted and they are being processed right now.

Still, I’d like to apologize to them and to anyone else who found their visit to Japan Store yesterday to be frustrating and a waste of their time. We will endeavor to avoid a similar situation happening again in the future.

But moving on, there is other good news – the overhaul now means we can offer Express Checkout from PayPal. This makes the checkout process incredibly simple if you have a PayPal account, and much simpler even if you’d prefer to pay by credit card (in which case you don’t even need to have or to open an account with PayPal).

More Free Shipping. Yay!

Good news! We have just raised the minimum order size for free shipping from $60 to $80.

Free ShippingOkay, that’s not the good news, that’s the (kind of) bad news. The good news, which we hope will make up for it, is that we’ve greatly expanded the range of products that qualify for free shipping. It now includes ALL of our popular footwear products. So if you’re not sure what jikatabi boot size you need, order 2 sizes and get them shipped for free. Then send back the one that doesn’t fit for a refund. Or better still, give it to a friend. They’ll thank you for it, I promise!

On the info pages for products that qualify, you’ll see the above small image. You’ll also see a Shipping Information tab (actually that’s on all product pages). Click the tab and you’ll see your shipping options and prices, including how much more you need to spend in order to qualify for free shipping. Orders shipped free are sent by Economy Airmail, but we add Registered Mail so that you’ll have a way of tracking your package. Do just note that if your basket contains both items that qualify and those that don’t, you won’t see the free shipping option.

Marugo Air Jog III 12
Marugo Air Jog III 12
And speaking of jikatabi, we’ve just added a couple of new products to the Marugo range. The Air Jog III is an update on the classic Air Jog but with a more subtle design that makes the sole blend in with the upper.

It comes in two heights, short (6-tab) or tall (12-tab), and two colors, black or white.

As we say on the store, the responsive air cushioning and shock absorber ensure that these jikatabi are about as comfortable as you can get. The black models also have black soles, a more integrated look that a lot of our customers have asked for. Thank you, Marugo!