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Proxies, Forwarders and Shipping


Proxies

A proxy is a company located in Japan that will purchase the item you want on your behalf, and then have it mailed to you for a fee. They are effectively "Middle men"


Proxies differ from each other in fees and service. Some proxies are more lax than others on customs declaration or prohibited goods. Most proxies are usually very happy to help you if something goes wrong.


Forwarders

Forwarders are very similar to proxies, however, rather than purchasing the item for you, they only give you a Japanese address to use. This requires some form of identity verification. The advantage is that you can use this to order from shops that proxies can not buy from, or shops that restrict the number of goods per address, the most notable example being Gift's own online shop, limited to 3 fumos per household.

When you make an account for a Japanese shopping site, you put your forwarding address in. You make the purchase and payment yourself and then the item is sent to your forwarder, who may inspect the package or repackage it before it is mailed to you for a fee.


Shipping Internationally

The most popular shipping service is EMS due to its speed and reasonable price. EMS takes 2-5 days to arrive.


SAL, E Packet and Airmail are cheaper, but take around 1-2 weeks to arrive, this is usually the best most affordable choice, if EMS is not an option.

Surface mail is often the cheapest option. As the name implies, your package is sent via cargo vessel, this can take up to 3 months. This should usually be your "last resort" option, as packages are known to get lost or damaged when using this option.

FedEx and DHL are the fastest, but most expensive options. They also have the advantage of usually being unaffected by shutdowns that affect EMS.