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Moving (Stuff) to Japan

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Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby fielle » Fri 01.23.2009 1:00 pm

For the people currently in Japan, how did you get your stuff over there?

I'm anticipating moving there sometime in March for a job starting April 1, and I have some things I'd like to take with me that won't fit on an airplane (or that I wouldn't want to fit on an airplane). It's not much (no furniture, everything could probably fit into a 2-mat space no problem), but there are a couple unwieldy/fragile things (bicycle--I know I might be just as good off selling this, but I like my bike!, computer, framed art) that don't work well for squishing into boxes.

I've looked around on the internet, but I haven't found any good resources with information from people who have done the move.
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 01.23.2009 1:02 pm

Unfortunately I can't help; I just took what I could carry in my suitcases and I sent ahead one box of winter clothes by sea mail. Coming back was the horrible part; I had to get rid of so much stuff even after I sent something like 8 boxes of things by sea mail.
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby keatonatron » Fri 01.23.2009 3:32 pm

1. If it's too big to fit on the plane, you're better off just buying a new one when you get here.

2. They sell bikes here too, you know. In fact, there are more bicycles than cars in Tokyo, which means they are pretty cheap.

3. Take your art out of the frames and put it in tubes. Buy new frames when you get here (also cheap, if you look around for a good deal). If the art is too precious to roll up and put in a tube, don't bring it :wink:

If you can list any other specific items, I'll find reasons to not bring them too :lol:
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby fielle » Fri 01.23.2009 3:39 pm

I'm not going to be in Tokyo! I'm going to Kyushu. And cheap bikes are cheap quality.
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby keatonatron » Fri 01.23.2009 4:58 pm

If it's really worth the trouble, putting your bike in a box and shipping it is pretty much the only option. :?
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Fri 01.23.2009 5:19 pm

I was able to get a fine bicycle in Japan for a reasonable price; if you're willing to pay $100 or more you should be fine.
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby OitaFish » Sat 01.24.2009 5:06 am

I live in Kyushu. We have bicycles here too. :)

Where are you moving from? I moved from the US. A few years ago you could ship things by ship through the US postal service from the US very reasonably. However, since they stopped that service, I am not aware of any economical way of shipping things here from the US.

If you are moving permanently and you have things that are irreplaceable and have sentimental value, then you are going to have to pay quite a bit for shipping. I would think for the price of shipping a bicycle here, you will be able to find a pretty good one here to buy. We shipped some stuff and a lot of it didn't make it intact. Pictures, clothes, and books made it with no problem. The US postal service was the cheapest way we were able to find (summer 2007). We sold everything else and bought new stuff here -- including a computer (although I brought a laptop on the plane).
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 01.26.2009 9:53 am

fielle wrote:I'm not going to be in Tokyo! I'm going to Kyushu. And cheap bikes are cheap quality.


what keatonatron was trying to tell you is that the manufacturing of bikes in Japan is enough to offset the price, putting very good quality bikes to the public for a cheap price. but hey, if you want to spend that much money to send over your bike, knock yourself out, they are just trying to help.
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby fielle » Mon 01.26.2009 10:41 am

two_heads_talking wrote:if you want to spend that much money to send over your bike, knock yourself out, they are just trying to help.


I understand that they're trying to help, but my impression is the same as when you see people suggest "Get a mac" or "Use linux" whenever someone asks for help with a problem with windows. It seems very knee-jerk to immediately suggest that selling everything/buying new is the best option. I have things that are an irritating combination of expensive, heavy, sentimental, and useful. For example, a (very good) sewing machine that was given to me as a gift. Unlike a bicycle, these things also tend to have a pretty crappy resale value.

I was sort of disappointed (not in any particular person, just at the universe in general) that I couldn't find much in terms of resources regarding the actual costs of doing an international move of some small collection of Stuff. I am willing to spend a few hundred dollars to get some of my stuff over there. So I was looking to see if people had any recommendations on good methods or companies for actually sending it. Instead I get answers which just say to not send anything, which to a large extent isn't the question I wanted an answer to.
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby clay » Mon 01.26.2009 11:44 am

It sounds like you are doing so, but I would caution you to only take/send items you absolutely need (which of course may include your bike of sentimental value) or stuff you can't find in Japan.

I made the newbie mistake of taking way too much stuff when I first moved to Japan. I had books and clothes shipped by Sea Mail thinking I would have plenty of time to read and wouldn't be able to get English books or my size clothes easily. Most of the books sat on my shelf during my stay and just became an annoyance when we moved back to the US.

I wonder if Express Mailing your computer a day or two before you leave would be the best way to get your computer over. You can of course box it (with tons of bubble wrap or peanuts) and check it on the plane, but you never know what will happen at customs. When I go to Japan, I have my laptop as a carry on, but if you are talking about a desktop computer, you wouldn't be able to do that.
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 01.26.2009 2:56 pm

Is there a relative/friend that you trust that can store the items that aren't immediately needed? If so, I'd go that route, then after you arrive in Japan, you can determine how much the need for them is. If it's high, then send for them, if not, arrange for the friend/relative to store them for a long period of time.

I'm not trying to be a negative Nancy, but honestly, shipping heavy items to Japan can be an expensive proposition and it will take time if you send it by slow boat.
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby fielle » Mon 01.26.2009 5:03 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:shipping heavy items to Japan can be an expensive proposition and it will take time if you send it by slow boat.


I would be okay with the slow boat option, if it were one. The problem is that I can't even find a way to do that. Most of my items I don't need immediately, and having them take a month might actually be preferable, to give me time to settle in and get my stuff out ahead of time.

At this point, unless someone does have some suggestion for a good shipping company, I'll probably bite the bullet for the expensive shipping for my sewing machine, pack my computer in my luggage somehow, and get a friend to take another box (or two) when he comes to visit me. And sell my bike, since it seems the most likely that I'll be able to manage a reasonable resale price (It's not even a year old!).
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 01.26.2009 5:23 pm

fielle wrote:At this point, unless someone does have some suggestion for a good shipping company, I'll probably bite the bullet for the expensive shipping for my sewing machine, pack my computer in my luggage somehow, and get a friend to take another box (or two) when he comes to visit me. And sell my bike, since it seems the most likely that I'll be able to manage a reasonable resale price (It's not even a year old!).


I wish you the best. I hope you've done your homework on the cheapest rates..
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby fielle » Mon 01.26.2009 6:19 pm

two_heads_talking wrote:I wish you the best. I hope you've done your homework on the cheapest rates..


That's part of what this post was trying to accomplish. :|
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Re: Moving (Stuff) to Japan

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Mon 01.26.2009 6:20 pm

I think the problem is that shipping large things like bikes and sewing machines to Japan is rare enough that none of us have any idea what the best or cheapest way to do it is, so I think you're going to have to do research on your own -- call the post office or google or whatever.
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