Category Archives: Shopping

Boycotting Amazon Japan

Amazon Japan sells whale meat products
Amazon Japan sells whale meat products
Following an expose by the highly regarded Environmental Investigation Agency of whale and cetacean products sold through Amazon Japan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amazon Inc, we here at Japan Store have decided to no longer purchase anything from Amazon until the company imposes a ban on such products.

Not only do we object in principle to the sale of such products and the unnecessary hunting of dolphins, whales and other cetaceans, but scientific analysis of the meat being sold reveals that it consistently contains levels of toxins far exceeding the safe levels dictated by the Japanese government. And these products often contain meat from endangered and protected cetacean species, or meat that is not specifically identified and is likely to be dolphin or porpoise.

You can read EIA’s extensive report here:’s Unpalatable Profits

We encourage you to leave a message on Amazon’s Facebook wall here: on Facebook

I should mention that unfortunately Rakuten also has thousands of listings for whale and cetacean food products – almost 2,800 if you search for 鯨 (whale) and almost 1,200 if you search for 鯨肉 (whale meat). While Japan Store is not affiliated with Rakuten, we do source some of our products there and a boycott of the service would have a serious impact on the operation of this store.

And for the record, Yahoo! Japan also sells these products.

Mark McBennett
Owner, Japan Store

Update: It’s only been half a day since I posted this blog entry and the news just came in – Amazon Japan have removed all whale and whale-related food products from their online store. It remains to be seen if this will be a permanent move and whether Amazon Japan will issue a formal policy statement. But still, wow! Social media pressure rocks!

Japanese National Holiday (October 10)

Taiiku no hi, Health & Sports Day
Taiiku no hi, Health & Sports Day

As Monday, October 10 is Health & Sports Day in Japan, a national holiday, we will be getting out of the office and doing something…healthy and sporty. So there will be slight shipping delays on items ordered over the three-day weekend.

You can find a list of all the Japanese national holidays on our main site, Japan Zone.

Typhoon Roke

Here at Japan Store we escaped any direct damage from Typhoon Roke (or just Typhoon #15 as it’s known in Japan), but it has caused major disruptions in some areas of the country. Parcel delivery companies are experiencing major delays and as a result our shipping schedule is a day or more behind for most orders. However the post office is open and working as usual so if we happen to have your items here in the office we can ship to you right away.

We’re still waiting for some deliveries that should have come in this morning. Hopefully we’ll get the shipment in time for this afternoon’s post office pickup.

If not, we plan to pack and ship tomorrow (a national holiday) and over the weekend if necessary.

As always, we’ll update you once your order has been shipped.

We Now Offer SAL Shipping

As the continuing rise of the Japanese yen has put more and more pressure on prices, we have decided to add a new shipping option. SAL stands for Surface, Air, Land and means that packages are transported by air from Japan to your country, but by land within the country. In the U.S. for example, this would mostly affect those living further away from the west coast or areas that don’t have direct flights from Japan.

Like Airmail, SAL is only cheaper than EMS for packages that weigh 2kg or less, using what Japan Post call the “small packet rate.” So for orders that add up to a packed weight of more than 2kg, you will see only the EMS rate offered in the checkout. This will help avoid customers choosing to pay more for the slower shipping method (yes, it has happened!).

We hope this cheaper option will help offset the cost of shipping the items you need halfway across the world.

Exchange Rates & Prices

Falling Dollar
As you may know, the Japanese yen has been an increasingly strong currency for the last few years, especially as the U.S. dollar has weakened. So for a Japan-based export business like us, it is obviously important to keep a close eye on exchange rates. And every so often the yen hits a level against the dollar where we have no choice but to raise our prices or go out of business. This happened recently as the dollar fell below the 78-yen level. The debt ceiling crisis in the U.S. was one big factor and the dollar rebounded dramatically once that was resolved, but only temporarily it seems. As I write, it is below the 77-yen level and so we are forced to adjust prices accordingly.

Where possible, we look for another way to avoid passing the cost on to you, the customer. One way is to open a wholesale account with us, which allows you to enjoy significant discounts even on smaller orders, and bigger savings on bulk orders. In most cases, the only condition is that you have completed at least one regular order with us. Contact us if you’re interested in applying for a wholesale account and we’ll do whatever we can to help you battle that rampaging yen!

Canadian Postal Strike

We got a call from Japan Post today to say they won’t be accepting packages addressed to Canada while the postal worker’s strike is going on there. Japan Store will continue to accept orders from customers in Canada but please understand that we won’t be able to ship until the situation has been resolved.

I guess this just hasn’t been a good week for Canada…

Website of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers

Japan Store Ver. 2.0

We’re delighted to announce the opening of the brand spanking new version of Japan Store! We’re crazy about it and we’re sure you will be, too.

Not only will you see a totally new design and layout, but the store now offers a host of new features to make your shopping experience that much better. One of those features is this blog, which we’ll use to keep you up to date on developments with the store and occasional tidbits about life in Japan.

If you’re looking for jikatabi boots, for example, you can narrow down your search by color, size, fit, height and so on. You can see a shipping estimate right on the product pages. We also now have bulk order pricing for select products and have brought back the ability to view the store in multiple currencies. Later in the summer, we’ll be rolling out new products, upgrading our product photos and making use of a bunch of new features including discount coupons, free shipping on certain products, and a whole lot more.

In the meantime, we welcome your feedback on the new store and encourage you to share things you like on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else you inhabit on the web.

And we mustn’t forget to thank the wonderful staff at Richer Designs, who made the transition from the old clunky store to this sleek new version not only a smooth process but also went out of their way to meet every feature request we could come up with. And all in a very cost-efficient way. We recommend them highly for your e-commerce needs.