09 June 2013

My #1 piece of advice for people moving to Japan

You'll thank me for this, or maybe you won't - because you usually don't thank people for removing a massive great irritation from your life if you have never experienced the irritation to begin with.  But, trust me, you should follow this or you will suffer for years after Japan is just a distant memory.

My advice is this - if ever you want to order something from a web service in Japan, especially Rakuten, set up a new email address especially for that purpose.  Do NOT use your regular email or an email you ever want to use for anything else.

See Western companies that have half a clue realise that spamming is not only illegal but it pisses the fuck out of their customers.  Maybe you'll get an email from them once a week or something that you can easily opt out of. 

Japanese companies, not so much.  They seem to take the 'more is more' approach.  When you order from Rakuten, you get signed up to not one but like 16 different newsletter services and, even if you go on their site and nagivate through all the Japanese and opt out of every single one of them, there are secret newsletters that you can never, ever leave.

You will be getting mails from them for the rest of your life.

If it takes you 1 second a day to delete those emails, that works out to heaps of time over your life (depending on your life span).  It's easier just to not start in the first place.


  1. Agreed!

    I'd go so far as to say never use Rakuten, and use as few Japanese services as possible, for the reasons you listed as well as general competence. Even if Japanese stores had anything in my size, or for less than double what I can get it for from somewhere in the US on sale (I am not even American), remember these are the people who did not change their codes for the whole 'Pacific War'. Customer service is excessive, but useless and inflexible. Stick with Gaijin:
    - amazon.co,jp
    - www.theflyingpig.com
    - www.themeatguy.jp/app/en/
    - etc.

    1. Yeah I think I only used them for buying boots from a store that does golita/punk stuff for the US market etc as well (so they came in my size). It was either Rakuten or wandering around Harajuku looking for the store. Oh and travel because you get much better bargains using the Japanese language Rakuten travel site than most others.

      I was going to buy an electronic translator from them - the kind you have the stylus to write kanji but never did - kinda wish I'd done that when I first got there too. I guess now you can get an app for the phone or tablet that does the same thing!

  2. I would vote for Amazon.jp over Rakuten since one helped me with a vendor (amazon) and the other told me to contact the vendor (Rakuten) These were recent events but I spend mad loot on the net getting shit and Rakuten....it's full of fake shit and there is little support if you get stuck with fake or damaged shit.

    1. And their fucking web-design! Hey Rakuten, you may make money off advertising, but posting it all above the product I came to see sends me back to Amazon. Then again, I'm not a local who thinks this is normal.

    2. Yeah TBH I never had any issues with Amazon JP. Since we don't have Amazon in Australia (have to order from the US and it's still cheaper than buying paper books in shops here), I absolutely loved it. Order a book and it arrives the next day.

      I freaken hate advertising on online sites.

  3. The hubs and I have set up email addresses for the purposes of online ordering. I learned this kind of early on when e-mail was still a baby. It was okay and then the floodgates opened.

    1. Most companies here don't spam that much and I like knowing about sales etc if it's once a week or less.


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