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Old February 27th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #1
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Shops in Japan and their website in english

Going to Japan soon.
Does anybody know good shops for camcorders/camera in Japan and possibly some link to their website in english?


thanks
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Old February 27th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #2
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Japan shops

I am sure that someone living in the Tokyo area will provide some useful information soon.

In the meantime I can tell you that the big shops in the Akihabara district of Tokyo are not the cheapest nowadays.
The cheapest method of buying cameras etc. is via mail-order.
That method is probably out of reach for you, as it needs a certain fluency in Japanese.

Yodobashi Camera and Bic Camera are among the bigger stores - google them, and see if you can find an english page. Usually you will see the word "English" somewhere on the top menu.
However most companies only provide details of their company - addresses etc. on their English page. No products.

Buying a camera here can be marginally cheaper than in the USA. However I suspect that B&H etc. in the USA can match most of the Japanese camera stores.

Also there is a risk that any camera bought here will have the menu in Japanese only. (This is actually becoming less common and some of the bigger brands can have a menu that has a choice of languages)
But the user handbook will almost certainly be in Japanese. Guarantees are usually limited to Japan and not worldwide.

If I had time and enough cash to throw around I would go to Akihabara and look around for accessories instead. There are lots of unusual "goodies" to be found in the smaller shops in that area.

If nobody else replies (who lives in Tokyo) I will try and find some more information for you.
Regards,
Douglas

PS. I live in the far south about 1000km. from Tokyo.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 05:09 AM   #3
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Thanks Douglas,actually i'm comparing price for PAL european product ,so probably in Japan prices are cheaper.

But i realized that in Japan they don't use PAL..........so maybe they don't sell Camera with this system so end of the problem..

I'll try to find some website for the shops you told me.


thanks
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Old February 28th, 2007, 08:46 AM   #4
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No English websites, sorry...

I asked a newphew of mine - he lived for a year in Tokyo teaching English. Here's what he replied - exact same thing as above (he is a photographer):

"Yeah, the best 2 shops to check for video equipment are Yodobashi Camera
and Bic Camera. Both of these shops are probably the biggest electronic
ones in Tokyo and can be found in many places. Their websites are all in
Japanese and have no English translations, but when you go into the shop
there's be plenty to look at. The best place to check out their shops
are: for Yodobashi Camera it's in Shinjuku, they have a huge one there, so
big the shop is split up into separate buildings and they have a whole
building for camera and photo equipment alone... make sure you find that
one cos that's the best for that, and for Bic Camera there is a big one in
Shinjuku, Yurakucho (right next to the train station) or Akihabara. All
of these places are accessible on the JR Yamanote Line. Akihabara has a huge Yodobashi as well asShinjuku, they have a LOT of equipment as well, so that's worth checking out too."

Good luck,
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Old March 1st, 2007, 06:34 AM   #5
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Thanks Ervin
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 01:01 PM   #6
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I once lived in Tokyo for 6 years and still go there about 5 times a year on business.

I second the motion for Bic Camera and Yodobashi. The stores are big enough that they will certainly have someone who can speak English.

Compared to camera stores in US, the shopping experience may be a bit disorienting as there are a LOT of people milling about, and the lack of signs in Roman letters can be confusing. But they are fanatic about having absolutely everything that exists under one roof. Probably best to go before noon on a weekday as the stores will be less crowded.

I usually buy my notebook PC's in Japan as I need Japanese text processing for work and I normally buy at Bic in Yurakucho. They're very honest, as is Yodobashi. You may not get the best prices, but you won't get cheated. (Not necessarily true in other Asian countries, unfortunately)

Stores like this will have a duty free section where you can buy US and European spec stuff with English manuals and (I think) international warranties. A lot of other shops in Akihabara (means Autumn Leaf Meadow, although there are precious few automn leaves to see there nowadays) also have duty free.

Re prices - I've never found Japan to be an economical place to buy electronics. When I lived there I priced out Canon still cameras and found that Hong Kong had better prices, but the best prices were in LA or NY.

So if you're thinking of price, Tokyo isn't generally the place to go, but the shopping experience and sheer volume of stuff you'll never see anywhere else on earth is worth it.

If you go at exactly 10AM when the stores open, some of them have a welcoming ceremony for the customers. The bigger department stores really make a show of it and it's worth seeing.

Totally off the DV topic, but if you go to the Mitsukoshi main department store at the north end of the Ginza (Mitsukoshi-mae station on the subway) and go to the basement you'll be astounded at the foods and delicacies from all over the world. You won't know what 50% of it is, but it's worth a couple of hours to browse - and they give free samples of a lot of stuff.

Best of luck and enjoy the experience!
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Old March 8th, 2007, 03:03 PM   #7
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I bought an NTSC video camera while living in Osaka and it's an export model with an English menu and manuals (there are other European languages too). I saw PAL models as well. The warrantee is also international. Look for pamplets for the large electronics companies in stores. Some have one dedicated to export models while some have some English pages in their Japanese pamphlet. If you buy Japanese versions, be careful that the model numbers don't correspond to other countries, so it's important that you buy the correct model. Return/exchange polies are also really strict compared with North America. I was warned that most Japanese stores won't let you return things or exhchange them (maybe it the product is broken they'll let you..).
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Old March 8th, 2007, 03:51 PM   #8
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Yes, return policies are vastly different than in the US. (Not sure about Europe)

My wife is Japanese, and after we moved here she was amazed at how flexible US stores were with exchanges and refunds. 15 years later it she still remarks on it.

Basically, in Japan, once you buy it, you own it. Except in the case of a catastrophic failure, and even then I'm not sure but what you'd have to go back to the maker insead of the store. Forget returns and exchanges. It won't happen.

If you get something and don't like it, you're welcome to sell it and buy something else. Except that Japanese are, generally speaking, very hesitant about buying used goods. So you probably won't be able to sell it for any reasonable amount.

if you're buying it to take back to your home country, it's less of an issue as you can probably unload it if you don't like it.
The moral of the story is that you should be sure you like it before you buy it.
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Old March 8th, 2007, 04:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
Yes, return policies are vastly different than in the US. (Not sure about Europe)

Basically, in Japan, once you buy it, you own it. Except in the case of a catastrophic failure, and even then I'm not sure but what you'd have to go back to the maker insead of the store. Forget returns and exchanges. It won't happen.

If you get something and don't like it, you're welcome to sell it and buy something else. Except that Japanese are, generally speaking, very hesitant about buying used goods. So you probably won't be able to sell it for any reasonable amount.

if you're buying it to take back to your home country, it's less of an issue as you can probably unload it if you don't like it.
The moral of the story is that you should be sure you like it before you buy it.
Jim, I am not questioning your comments, but I feel I should stand up for the Japanese on one point.
Tokyo is not synonymous with Japan. Tokyo is not typical Japan.
Manuel is going to Tokyo, so your comments are to be heeded.
But the other side of the coin is that , in fact, stores are very happy to help you when you have made a mistake. Japanese customer service, in general, is regarded as the best in the world. But I don't live in Tokyo - I live in the far south in a "small" town of only 600,000 inhabitants.
I have never had a problem with returns. Also sites like "Yahoo Auction" in Japan are as popular as EBay. There are "recycle shops" dotted across the country where you can buy and sell used goods.(Recently there have been some restrictions on electrical goods - as a safety precaution.
Many recycle shops will take your goods and if they can sell them - they give you the agreed percentage - if they can't they will give you them back again.

Anyway, by now, I am sure Manuel has had enough good advice to guide him through the jungle.
But please remember that Tokyo is not synonymous with Japan.
Regards,
Douglas
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Old March 8th, 2007, 05:24 PM   #10
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Douglas,

You're absolutely right. My wife is from Nagoya, and I spend a lot of time for work in Yamagata. Tokyo (and Osaka) for that matter are not Japan. Any more than New York City is the US!

And I think the Japanese are great. But they do have a different attitude about things, and my wife is the one who keeps shaking her head in amazement at how easy it is to return things in the US, particularly once they've been used in any way.

On the subject of customer service, I was able to get Yokogawa HP in Japan to service stuff that had a US warranty when they probably shouldn't have - because they basically do want to help. On the other hand, it's a two way street and each party is supposed to heed their respective obligations and the consumer should not return things for "frivolous" reasons such as not liking it once they get it.

If there's a legitimate problem, or the unit isn't right for the application, I suspect you'd get reasonable treatment by any of the stores. I've never had any reason to take something back to the store for a warranty claim, but have returned things to the makers.

I've also noticed that I used to get away with a lot of things just because I was a foreigner - like overtime parking, or stopping in no parking zones. When we took our dog to the vet, my wife always left me in the car while she took the dog in because she knew that the meter maids would never give me a ticket for overtime parking if I just acted dumb (not too difficult) and pretended not to speak Japanese.

Truly great place - I hated to come back to the US. And we've given serious consideration to buying land and building a retirement home there some day - we've been looking at land in Nagano.

Where are you located - what took you to Japan - what keeps you there?
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