Having recently gone through this myself, I thought I would share the simple process with you all so you feel less worried by it or rather can just understand the simplicity of it all and realise there’s little to lose and much more to be gained.
If you’re like me, you would have spent ages scouring the YAJ (Yahoo! Auctions Japan) website, countless hours of countless days dreaming the dream of owning those parts that are seemingly unavailable anywhere else other than shops in Japan which you’re unable to visit or they’re un-willing to send, or the worst of the lot that they’re not unwilling to send but rather that there’s the language barrier. So, here’s the solution!
When you use their contact form, the person you’ll come into contact with is Ewan. He’s a friendly and exceedingly helpful chap and best of all, he comes from New Zealand and so speaks and understand English perfectly.
So, you’ve got a contact point. What now?
Well if you’re reading this website then chances are you want to go to the category listed when following this link;
What you’ll see on that page is determined by what you have on your computer, if you have no language packs installed then all you’ll have is a pile of boxes that are there in place of text. You can either install the Japanese Language pack for Windows and see the correct characters or alternatively you can use http://translate.google.com/ or a similar translation website to see what it’s saying. The key thing to remember however is that when you’re searching for components for your vehicle, you’re best to use the Japanese nickname or terminology for it.
Usually it pays to search as many options and variations of what they’re known by, as possible. To give you an example of this, for me I’m generally searching for Skyline components, the problem with that is they’ve been making Skyline’s since 1957 and there’s a lot of different generations. So there’s a lot of parameters to search by to try narrow the field.
Search Examples I use;
C110 (Chassis Code)
GC110 (Extended Chassis Code for LWB 6cylinder)
KGC110 (Extended Chassis Code for Hardtop LWB)
C111 (Facelift Chassis Code)
KPGC110 (GT-R Chassis code, helpful in finding replica parts)
Kenmeri (ケンメリ) (Japanese Nickname for the C110 Skyline)
Yonmeri (ヨンメリ) (Japanese Nickname for the C110 Skyline Sedan)
and of course the broad and long searching/wandering term;
Then of course when I’m searching for things even earlier still for my 1st Generation Skyline I have to use…
Though with the nickname and the actual names, in order to yield any decent set of results you’ll have to search for that in the correct language (shown in brackets) that the website caters for. Sometimes a direct translation of the name via Google Translate will work, sometimes not. If you find you’re returning very little results, you’ll have to either be familiar with someone who knows the correct wording or you’ll have to find it out through other means.
It might be infuriating or tiresome to search through a myriad of listing with Japanese language, but it’s where you’re most likely to happen upon your best results, dig through it there are some gems to be found.
You’ll note on Hayatonka.com there is also a “Tools” linking that gives you tips and direction to navigate your way around YAJ in the simplest manner. I’m told Firefox handles YAJ better than IE, which does it fine but slowly. The faster the better as far as I’m concerned!
The reasons behind my looking on YAJ was that getting a set of bolt-on flares for a C110 in New Zealand isn’t the easiest of tasks. The closest place that does have the moulds to make them is Challenge Fibreglass in Melbourne, Australia however their turn-around times resemble that of Mammoth’s returning to roaming the Ice Fields. (If you’re in disbelief of the time scale that this place operates on then I urge you to take a look at this thread on CZCC; ‘click me‘) I couldn’t be bothered waiting and took matters into my own hands, searched on YAJ using the preceeding terms and happened upon this entry (it will eventually expire so if the link doesn’t show for you, it’s been that long that it’s gone.)
Using that as an example, once you’ve found your item, if you’re unsure of the price then it’s best to use a currency converter, most bank websites have something but I’ve been using the Yahoo! Finance one for years now and it’s easy enough to use. You can find it here;
That particular link should already have JPY -> NZD as default. As you can see the starting bid on those flares was 12000JPY which at current exchange rates converts to $212NZD. With that known I then sent the link of that particular auction to Ewan @ hayatonka.com and asked for a estimate on getting them to New Zealand. Within the day, Ewan had replied with the following basic estimate;
Commission @ 20%: 2400JPY
Bank Transfer Fee: 300JPY
Internal Japan Freight: 1200JPY
International Freight: 4000JPY @ 2kg, 4-6day ETA
With that estimated total now known to you, if you’re happy with the amount then 50% of it has to be sent to Hayatonka in order for them to be able to commence the bidding procedure on the auction. What you then have to inform them is just how much you are willing to bid to on the auction itself.
The starting or current bid price on an auction is indicated by the figure beside this image;
Unless there’s a little shopping cart button which is the indicated “Buy Now” price
then you’re only able to bid and see what happens. If there is an indicated “Buy Now” and you are happy to pay it, then you can adjust your estimate to that figure and Ewan will send you a PayPal request of the required amount and the ownership process is now underway.
Once Ewan has received the money, he’ll go about his business of purchasing or bidding to purchase the items on your behalf. Ewan will keep contact with you over this time.
What you do have to keep in mind is that the first estimate, is exactly that, an estimate. The final figure can sometimes be different to what is initially quoted. For instance the weight of my flares came in at closer to 3kg than 2kg and so the figure for shipping both Internally and Internationally was increased slightly. That said, the final figure got them to my door, from Japan, in 3 days for roughly $140NZD.
If you’re bidding on an auction and you fail to win or to meet a reserve on it then Ewan will reverse the PayPal transfer and you come out of it no harm no foul, other than not getting your precious parts of course.
SO! Let’s say you have won the auction, you’ve made your initial 50% deposit and are awaiting the freight of the goods from where-ever they were in Japan, to Ewan’s place in Midori-ku, Nagoya. Ewan will let you know once they’re arrived at his, then will give you the final costings to send the goods to your abode, where-ever you are. Once you’ve made that final payment of the remaining amount owed then Ewan will send the goods and provide you with a tracking number. In my instance the flares arrived at my door three days later. (Unfortunately, once an EMS package arrives in NZ it is handled by CourierPost and as such, despite my number being on the shipping form, they didn’t contact me prior to delivery but rather just left a note to say it wasn’t delivered because no-one was home. I tracked it down and managed to go pick it up from the depot after work, though if you live in a bigger city I can imagine this might be an entirely annoying occurrence.)
For me, the entire process from start to finish took two weeks. That was from very first contact, taking the time waiting for the auction to complete at it’s designated ending date and then the flares being sent internally through Japan and then Internationally, to me in little old Invercargill, NZ and both payments inbetween.
I couldn’t be happier with the speed, efficiency, friendliness and helpfulness of Ewan. I would recommend anyone in either NZ or other English speaking countries to deal with him. Mention ‘retro-classics.co.nz‘ or ‘kyteler with the C110′, if you wish, not that you’ll get a discount or anything along those lines but it helps, I’m sure, for Ewan to know where his business is coming from.
So a quick summary of what to do.
Step 1; Find the item you want via http://auctions.yahoo.co.jp/
Step 3; Accept estimate and ask for PayPal request of required deposit.
Step 4; Wait for Auction to complete
Step 5; Ewan will contact you to let you know completed auction figures based on bid amounts you’ve specified.
Step 6; Wait for goods to be sent to Ewan, once they have arrived there you will be provided a final figure and a PayPal request sent for it.
Step 7; Pay the final amount.
Step 8; Wait for your goods like a child for Santa Claus.
Step 9; Receive your goods.
Step 10; Giggle like a school-girl.
Step 11; Make another purchase!
Those last few steps may have well been exclusive to me but they’re good ones, so I would suggest you try them…
I went from being annoyed at Challenge Fibreglass to being absolutely stoked with Hayatonka.com, all within the course of a few days.
In a way I guess I should thank the guys at CF, were it not for them being as fantastically pathetic in their manner then I’d have not takent he dive of getting some direct from Japan via Hayatonka.
…so from this;
…resulting in this…
…all within the space of 14days.
Thanks Ewan. I’m absolutely stoked and I look forward to receiving the next package within the week.
So if you want to live your Japanese component dreams, go here;
and go now!