Buying from Japan - where do I start?

So it looks like I’m at the point where I need to move on past US eBay and Amazon and start looking for pencils on some of the auction sites in Japan. At this point, I have all the contemporary pencils I want, but the selection and prices of “vintage” pencils available to me through my current channels (US eBay and Amazon) are overpriced (IMO) and just not what I am looking for.
Looks like there are several ways to go about this - is there a tutorial or post I may have missed that will help me get started?

Thanks in advance -

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I use ZenMarket. It gives you access to, Mercari, Amazon Japan and a bunch of others. They will also aggregate stuff for 30-45 days so you can send one expensive package instead of alot of expensive packages. I have had very few issues with them.


Thank you. I’ll check that out.

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I’ve mostly used Zen Market and Buyee with a preference for Buyee since Zen Market requires you to have credits already in place when you bid or buy.

I’ve also used several other proxies, some a bit sketchy, to acquire a few things here and there that weren’t available through Zen or Buyee.

We’re here to help as you need. Shipping can be a bit confusing at first but you’ll get the hang of it.

Once you make your first purchase and it arrives at the proxy’s warehouse you’ll usually have 30 or so days before you have to ship out. You can extend that period but there’s a fee.

I usually wait till close to the end of the allowed storage time and then I have the proxy consolidate all the items and then ship out.

Go for it. Ask for help at any time.


You’ll sometimes see us asking if anyone has an open position at a proxy at the moment. That would be when one of us doesn’t currently have a spot open at a proxy, and we see a single piece that we want to acquire and want to see if we can piggy back on someone else’s shipping.


I will say that if Zen detects that you are a big sucker er spender they will start to extend credit to you so you don’t always have to have money there before you can make bids or buy things.


Oh that’s good to know. Guess I never purchased enough with them.

My 2022 with Buyee was not a small bill.

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Thank you everyone
I really appreciate the help


Also, we sometimes coordinate our efforts in buying pieces.

We want to avoid bidding wars with our fellow peeps as much as possible.


The only real issue I have with Buyee is the way they package everything. A single pencil (or multiples from the same order) go into a B4 size envelope. So you purchase a dozen orders, it goes into a box big enough to hold the envelopes without folding them. Thus, you pay more for shipping due to dimensional weight.

ZenMarket takes everything and wraps it up fairly good in ziploc bags and gets that same dozen orders in a box that will fit into one of those B4 envelopes.

I had a larger Buyee order last time and expected to pay $50.00-75.00. My charge was $125.00 due to the dimensions of the box.


My God… $125? How many things did you have packaged up together? Did you buy more than just pens/pencils?


Yeah I’ve never had my shipping that night and I’ve had many stupidly larger orders get shipped over.

I once selected the cheapest shipping and it almost took a year to reach me.

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Well, I generally choose whatever is about 2 week delivery. Plus this time I did get an old box of 1970 Pentel SGs, which were a surprise for me. My total order was just north of ¥210000. The box was about 13x13x10.

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With Buyee, I typically ship between 30 and 60 packages at a time (in a single, consolidated box), and my average shipping cost is between $68 and $110.

On two occasions, I’ve had to pay additional ~$80 customs charges to get them to release the package to me.

Afaik in the us deliveries up to 800 usd are free? Here, deliveries up to 5.26eur are free, I.e., I always add 20-25% additional costs onto my Jp purchases (there is a trade union with Japan, but mech pencils are not part of it) …

I’ve not identified a pattern re: when I have to pay additional customs charges.

I have never had to pay Customs Charges, but the ¥210000 is the biggest order from Japan I have ever done, but I have done $1500+ from Brazil before and never been hit up for it.

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