Extreme Weather Causing Delays

February 18, 2014

Heavy snow in Japan

Heavy snow in Japan


Extreme weather conditions, whether it’s a polar vortex in North America, extensive bush fires in southern Australia, or widespread flooding across the UK, have been causing chaos and devastation in many parts of the globe. And now large areas of Japan – a country well used to being regularly hit by typhoons, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes – have been brought to a standstill by record levels of snowfall. Fatalities number in the dozens, and thousands more have been trapped for days in stranded cars and trains.

All this is by way off explaining why deliveries of goods within and from Japan have been directly hit by the weather conditions. Our suppliers and courier companies are doing their best to ensure that products reach us as quickly as possible and of course we are doing everything we can to dispatch orders in a timely fashion.

Japan Post Announcement

January 16, 2014

japan-post-announcement

Japan Post announced at the end of December 2013 that it is no longer possible to add Registered Mail to packages sent by Economy Airmail to the following countries:

  • Australia
  • Denmark
  • Germany
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Hungary
  • Poland
  • Greenland

We will of course continue to ship to these countries. But please be aware that if you choose Free or Economy shipping, you will not have a tracking code for the package. So we would advise customers in those countries to choose Airmail or Express.

Japan Post announcement (Japanese only)

Happy New Year of the Horse

January 15, 2014

A belated Happy New Year to all of our customers. 2013 was a good year for us and 2014, the Year of the Horse in the 12-year zodiac, is off to a galloping start. We’re seeing lots more orders than we did at this time last year, so that’s a good sign that things are starting to pick up in the global economy. And of course in our case the weakened Yen helps.

Gold plated horse

A gold-plated bronze horse, sold by Ginza Tanaka in Nagoya for ¥15 million.

People here in Aichi prefecture have a reputation for liking things gaudy and expensive. So it was no surprise to see one jewelry store in Nagoya promoting its New Year sale with this ¥15 million ($150,000) full-size, gold-plated bronze horse. Although it’s modeled on an actual racehorse, that’s a lot to spend on a horse that’s not going to earn its keep by winning a steeplechase or two. If that’s too rich for your blood, Ginza Tanaka is also selling gold statuettes and oban (traditional oval coins) with a horse motif for a more moest ¥1.4-1.7 million ($14-17,000).

But don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get your year off to a golden start. Our store lineup now includes a gorgeous little gold Maneki Neko, or lucky beckoning cat. These figures are traditional placed in the entranceway of a home or business, where they beckon to new customers, friends or even lovers! And the gold symbolizes the fortune that is headed your way. A bargain for just $25.95.

We screwed up and we’re sorry

October 13, 2013

We're very sorry.

We’re very sorry.

When shopping online, there is nothing worse than finding exactly what you want to buy and not being able to actually buy it. Well, unfortunately that was what happened to many of our customers yesterday. The reason was a technical glitch caused during an overhaul of the payment processing system that resulted in an error for customers in the U.S. We worked through the night to both get the problem fixed and to stay in contact with those customers who were kind enough to point out the problem and give us a chance to sort out their order “manually.” A very big thank you to them for their patience and confidence in our ability to live up to our own high customer service standards. The good news is that we got all those orders sorted and they are being processed right now.

Still, I’d like to apologize to them and to anyone else who found their visit to Japan Store yesterday to be frustrating and a waste of their time. We will endeavor to avoid a similar situation happening again in the future.

But moving on, there is other good news – the overhaul now means we can offer Express Checkout from PayPal. This makes the checkout process incredibly simple if you have a PayPal account, and much simpler even if you’d prefer to pay by credit card (in which case you don’t even need to have or to open an account with PayPal).

Hollywood Movie Tabi

August 3, 2013

47 Ronin, Wolverine movies featuring jikatabi

47 Ronin, Wolverine movies featuring jikatabi

Here at Japan Store we deal mainly with individual customers who just love to stand out from the crowd in their jikatabi. We often get larger orders from theater and opera companies putting on a Japanese-themed production or just after a different kind of look. But every now and again we get a slightly different kind of order.

A couple of years ago we got an order from a movie production company that was buying up all sorts of Japanese items for an upcoming Keanu Reeves vehicle, featuring a cast that includes some of the most talented actors in Japan. Unfortunately the production of “47 Ronin” has been beset by setbacks and has still not hit movie theaters. But we’re assured that it’s on the way and that you’ll be able to see a host of top stars wearing our jikatabi this Christmas.

If you just can’t wait to see Hollywood-meets-Japanese-footwear, we also supplied jikatabi to the company that made the Hugh Jackman X-Men flick “The Wolverine“, which is currently showing here in Ireland. We also recently shipped some items to Disney in California, who will be using them in the movie “Tomorrowland“, planned for release next year.

And this week we’ve received some orders from a company based at Pinewood Studios in the UK. So far no official word on what the movie will be, but we here at Japan Store have our suspicions. And regardless of the movie, we’re always happy to see our jikatabi being worn on the big screen.

Summer matsuri rush

July 12, 2013

Matsuri kids

Kids wearing traditional matsuri clothing.


It’s another hot one! Thermometers across Japan are reaching new heights as the country is hit by yet another scorching summer heat wave. But that isn’t stopping anyone from enjoying one of the annual highlights of just about any community in Japan, the matsuri. These street festivals are full of sound and frenzied activity, with the sounds of drums, whistles and flutes. Street vendors do a roaring trade in festival foods like okonomiyaki, yakisoba, taiyaki and kakigori. And most of the festival participants, the guys and gals who carry the o-mikoshi (floats), will be wearing traditional clothing. And in most cases that includes jikatabi.

The distinctive split-toe boots, in their many varieties, are our No.1 seller on this store. But with the rush of orders that always come in from matsuri organizers, our suppliers sometimes get overwhelmed and stocks run low. Right now that means we have difficulty getting many sizes of the cushioned matsuri tabi models (particularly the Double Cushion, Cushion III and Air Tabi Fit models from Rikio). Other safety and general work models are not affected by this seasonal situation.

So if you’re looking for a cushioned model from Rikio, you may have to bear with us until we get back to normal stock levels. The good news is that we’ll still be able to fulfill most orders over the next month, and that everything should be back to normal by mid-August.

If you have any questions about stock levels or what model of jikatabi to choose, please feel free to drop me a line.

Mark McBennett
Japan Zone

Order #20000!

March 7, 2013

In time-honored Japanese tradition…banzai, banzai, BANZAI!!

Banzai Cat

Banzai Cat


Congratulations to Ms. N. W. of West Virginia who today placed order #20000 on Japan Store. We didn’t run any kind of promotion campaign around this milestone order number, but we will be sending this customer a few extra goodies and upgrading the shipping to Express Mail just to mark the occasion.

Of course we couldn’t have got to the magical number of 20,000 without all the thousands of customers along the way. So on behalf of the Banzai Cat and all of us here at Japan Zone, I’d like to take this opportunity to send a big Thank You to all Japan Store’s loyal customers!

Mark McBennett
President, Japan Zone

Feeding the Snake

January 9, 2013

2013 Year of the Snake

2013 Year of the Snake

Welcome to 2013, the Year of the Snake! Unfortunately the Japan Store snake has been busy feeding on bugs over the last couple of weeks. Software bugs that were causing some issues with our popular range of jikatabi products since mid-December. Thankfully it looks like the bugs are finally gone and you should now have no trouble ordering those cool Rikio Fighters or Marugo Sports Jogs. And I’d like to extend my apologies to all of you who tried in vain to order them over the holidays, along with a peace offering – a $5 voucher good on any order over $29 (which covers any jikatabi product you can think of). Just enter JS-SNAKE2013 when you checkout and you’re good to go. The voucher is good until the end of January.

Thanks as always for your patience.

Mark
President, Japan Zone

Go Japanese This Halloween

September 22, 2012

Hanya Demon MaskWith Halloween just over a month away, this seems like a good time to plug our selection of handmade Japanese masks. We have a selection of demons and goblins who feature in the many popular folktales familiar to everyone in Japan. The designs originate in the traditional theater forms of noh and kagura dance, but they’re just as well suited to scaring the daylights out of kids and adults alike.

There is something beautifully creepy about the hanya masks in particular. Based on the legend of a woman transformed into a demon by jealousy, the horns of her jealousy are still symbolically present on the heads of unmarried Japanese women. Hence the white headpiece that is worn by the bride to hide them in the traditional Japanese wedding.

Of course, Halloween doesn’t mean you have to dress up to be scary. So our variety of tabi, jikatabi and other ninja gear can be combined to dress up as a stealthy Japanese assassin.

Golden Week Holidays

April 26, 2012

Most businesses in Japan close down for the annual Golden Week holidays. This year, the holidays run from April 29 to May 6. Japan Store will remain open for business but during that time most of our suppliers will be closed so deliveries of orders will probably be delayed. We will do what we can to get orders shipped out as quickly as humanly possible but we ask for your patience over the next week or so.

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