Importing things from japan - What to expect?
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27 / M / Florida, USA
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Posted 1/19/14 , edited 1/19/14
I recently went ahead and ordered a wall scroll from otaku mode, initially I didn't put much thought into the whole shipping and recieving process, but for the last few days i've been wondering if the whole process is any different then recieving an item in the states?

Will I have to personally go pick up the package somewhere? or is it delivered to my home, just like any other delivery company or the USPS would? I "thought", but am not sure, I read something regarding an extra fee...can't find anything else on it.

The courier is EMS if it's of any help.
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34 / M / VA
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Posted 1/19/14
i've never had any problems with importing. never had to go to the post office and pick up a package. never got hit with fees.
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28 / M / Mor Dhona
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Posted 1/19/14 , edited 1/19/14
I think it depends on how you have it shipped.

I ordered the Homura nendo for my brother for Christmas, but I had to get it shipped priority. I wasn't home when it came, so they took it back to the mailroom and I'd have to have gone out there to get it, but I was able to get it redelivered. Bought from Amazon from a private seller.

Conversely, I got myself the Saber Extra nendo as a "first paycheck celebration," and they just left a slip in our mailbox. I went down to the apartment clubhouse and grabbed my package. Ordered from HLJ.

So I think it depends on the courier, speed of the shipping, and the seller. I'd check their policies.
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Posted 1/19/14
It depends on what you are buying. I bought myself a Tokyo Marui Scar-H airsoft gun from a Japanese retailer called Echigoya. It had to go through a hold for about a month though to make sure it was not a real firearm. Other than that, it wasnt any different than from buying something from amazon or any other retailer based in the US.
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Posted 1/19/14 , edited 1/19/14
Check the seller. Make sure they're reliable. Or find a good site that specializes in stuff from Japan. Jbox is a good one. Just note that you should always go for the shipping that you can track and has insurance. The extra couple of bucks to get that shipping is worth it.

I get stuff shipped from Japan quite a bit, and so for I haven't really had much of a problem. The only bad thing is sometimes it takes awhile to process, especially if something is on back order.
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25 / F / in the land of th...
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Posted 1/19/14
My friend sent me Rurouni Kenshin Manga from Japan and Hello Kitty phone charm and undie set..

love them

no problems...
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25 / M / Inside Lorreen's...
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Posted 1/19/14 , edited 1/19/14
As the others have said it matters how it is shipped and what you are buying. I'll add in WHO you are buying it from, you definitely want to make sure it is a legitimate seller, JBox/JList is who I have used. I have gotten 3 items from Japan, two games and a artbook/calendar. All from the same provider. They all arrived in the time that was given which was 4-6 weeks. Some items probably take longer, but I wouldn't imagine much shorter with how customs and such works here.

As for coming to your house... I think most items are usually taken to your door, usually by USPS from my experience. But if you are not home they will leave a notice and you have to pick it up at the post office or reschedule a delivery.

Pretty much the experience is not much different than doing anything from any US based store, just takes a few weeks (to possibly even a month or more) longer to get to you.
Posted 1/19/14 , edited 1/19/14
Once the package reach U.S. soil, it is up to U.S. postal services to deliver the package to the zip code or address that was designated.
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47 / M / Пенсильвания, Рес...
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Posted 1/19/14
Technically everything you have sent to you from another country is eligible for import duties and fees ( Want to drive yourself nuts? Check out : http://www.usitc.gov/tata/hts/bychapter/0702gntoc.htm for a few hundred pages of the fees and costs ) but there is a certain amount which can be brought in by an individual at no fee I think.

It's worth it to pay the extra to go through FedEx or UPS as well, they're pretty good at bringing it in and notifying you if any extra costs need to be covered.
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27 / M / Florida, USA
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Posted 1/19/14
Thanks for the info everyone, guess all I can do is wait
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41 / M / End of Nowhere
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Posted 1/19/14

Sgt_Phantomizer wrote:

I recently went ahead and ordered a wall scroll from otaku mode, initially I didn't put much thought into the whole shipping and recieving process, but for the last few days i've been wondering if the whole process is any different then recieving an item in the states?

Will I have to personally go pick up the package somewhere? or is it delivered to my home, just like any other delivery company or the USPS would? I "thought", but am not sure, I read something regarding an extra fee...can't find anything else on it.

The courier is EMS if it's of any help.


EMS is just the US Post Office. Or rather it stands for Express Mail Service and is an International collective of various national Post Offices / Exchanges. So an EMS package would be handled by Japan Post either to the airport or the US and then handed off to the US Post Office for destination shipping within the US. So for delivery in the US the US Post Office would deliver it to the address listed. Or if it is bulky enough would leave a pick up notice on your door or in your mailbox for pickup at the local Post Office.

EMS is not a private shipping company like FedEx or UPS or DHL.

When shipping Internationally there is often a customs charge. This is actually pretty rare in the US because the US imports so much that in general it is difficult for customs inspectors to keep up even with digital document transmission of customs forms. But many things are subject to additional tariffs and custom charges or may be outright illegal and be confiscated. It is just rare in the US. Very very common in most other countries though. Indeed having USA as the shipping country almost guarantee's a closer look by customs at the destination country in many cases because the assumption that something valuable must be being shipped from the US.

But really shipping Internationally is little different from shipping domestically. Except that it may cost more depending on if it is EMS or a private courier company like FedEx or UPS or DHL and it may be subject to additional charges by customs which is out of the control of the shipper.

That said, always know the specific laws for the importation of goods to your country and recheck it just prior to ordering because the laws and items change from time to time. Sometimes on a monthly basis. And in general it is up to the recipient to know the laws. Most retailers have fine print that states they are not responsible for custom seizures and will not refund or reship an item it is confiscated by customs.
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46 / M / Bay Area, CA, USA
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Posted 1/19/14 , edited 1/19/14
While at least theoretically subject to import duties, in my experience, if one is just importing the usual anime/manga-related stuff (I've probably ordered thousands of dollars of books, figures, manga at this point), no duties or other taxes actually apply. I just pay the price of the merchandise plus the quoted shipping charges. The boxes arrive at my door, typically by USPS or sometimes FEDEX. In many ways, it's not all that different from buying from domestic retailers, and the usual caveats apply (e.g make sure seller is reliable, no bootlegs or fakes, and so on). One major difference, as some have mentioned, though is U.S. Customs. Stuff I've ordered typically clears Customs in a day or two, but they operate on their own schedule and can take as much time as they wise-- one shipment took about two weeks to clear, and all you can really do is just wait.

Edit: I'm speaking as an American in the U.S. As another has said, laws in other countries could be quite different.
Orbxck 
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26 / California
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Posted 1/19/14 , edited 1/19/14
Never had any prob. with imports. I've had them all delivered to my house and only 1-3 of them did I ever have to sign for it, but it all depends on who's delivering and all that jazz. bottom line never had trouble with imports and what not.
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Posted 12/27/15
Year-end cleaning. Closing threads with no new posts since 2014
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