The FAQ.

Do you ship to >insert country here<?

Yes, we probably do. We ship to every country in the world we're allowed to ship to.

(It's easier to list the countries we can't ship to; Yemen, Ukraine (only Crimea and Sevastopol are unavailable), Somalia and Libya. Anywhere else in the world, we should be able to ship to.

Can you get >insert tool here<?

Yes, we can. Maybe. If you know what the tool is, we can and will try as hard as we can to get it for you. We cannot guarantee that our price will be competitive, although we will try to make it so.

Please understand that we try to make sure we have as many choices that are allowed, and the products we offer are those which we can trust with regards to quality and performance. Within reason, we will try to get almost anything, but if it's not something we normally offer, then it is usually a case of it being something we're not aware of or in some cases, something we cannot trust for one reason or another. 

How much will the total cost of my order and shipping be?

I don't know. But the store software can calculate an accurate estimate for you.

All you need to do is place the items you wish to purchase into the shopping cart. At the bottom of the shopping cart page there is a shipping estimator that will offer you an accurate estimate of the shipping costs of your chosen items by various methods of shipping.

How do I pay for the items?

We exclusively use Paypal for all payments. This means you can use your Paypal balance to pay for orders or if you do not have a Paypal account, you can also use a credit card*. You will be given a choice when asked for payment.

(*Using a credit card through Paypal without a Paypal account is limited to 15 transactions and US$4000 per person. This is a US government mandated policy, and Paypal must adhere to it. If you are at that limit, then you must open a Paypal account to continue using their services. Sorry, nothing we can do about it.)

We get asked quite frequently about bank transfers and alternative payment methods, and the simple answer is "no".

The longer answer is "maybe", but before you read that as a "yes" understand that banks in Japan are several decades behind the rest of the world in many aspects, and their fees are quite high. Alternative payment options such as Western Union do exist, but we must attend their office to recieve the payment, and getting to that office is not as simple as 'down the street', it's a multi-hour and expensive trip so practically, not possible.

We have looked into direct credit card processing, and the offerings available to us are simply not reasonable. High fees per transaction, high monthly fees and payments held for 45 days plus any errors or problems, we must accept all risks. We can't afford to do this, so it's not practical or reasonable and we can't do it. If in the future the terms become reasonable, we will look into it again, but the best offer we have had was frightening. No wonder credit cards are not as widely accepted in Japan as you might think...


Why did the price change?

All items are priced in Japanese Yen, but you can select a different currency in the top right corner of every page or in the drop down menu in the left side tool bar.

If you choose a currency other than Japanese Yen, then the store will calculate the price in your currency for you. This calculation is based on the European Union Central Bank's official currency exchange rate, updated automatically every day. From one day to the next, the price may change slightly depending on the official exchange rate.

(Occasionally, we need to adjust the price of items but we try to keep this to a minimum.)

Why was the packaging opened?

We check every item before it ships out to ensure it is complete and undamaged. Sending an item half way around the world is no small undertaking, and sending an item that is damaged before it leaves doesn't make much sense. Some items are better shipped when broken down and usually this entails opening the packaging. We could leave these items intact, but the shipping cost would increase and the risk of shipping damage is also increased.

Can you send my order as a gift?

We can send an order as a gift to someone on your behalf, and can include a card if needed. However, sending an order as a gift from us to you is not possible and will not exempt it from any import duty or taxes that may be applicable.

(And it will almost certainly ensure that the parcel is stopped and inspected by customs in your country, and they will apply taxes and duties to your parcel without reservation.)

How accurate is the shipping estimator?

In our experience it is as accurate as can be expected. The value it applies for shipping is exactly correct 50% of the time. The remainder of estimates are either higher or lower than the actual cost of shipping. If you are overcharged for shipping, we will always refund the difference. If you are undercharged, we will cover the shortfall.

(I like to know how much shipping will cost before I place an order, so we make extra effort to make sure this part of the store works as well as it can.)

Why are there so many (or few) choices I have never seen before?

Because we are based in Japan, we have ready access to everything that is available here, not what a distributor wishes to let us sell.

In the case of few choices, it is a case of 'limited perceived interest'. That simply means we have focused on areas where interest is greater. Whenever possible, we will give more attention to a given area if someone asks so please do if you find our choices lacking in variety.


Can you change the paperwork/invoice/customs declaration to say …...... ?

No, we can't. Please do not ask, as the answer will always be a flat, simple and unchanging “no”. 

We get asked to do this occasionally, so the answer is included here to prevent any further misunderstanding.


Why does it take so long for my order to be processed and then shipped?

We are very small, in both manpower and warehousing space. It is only myself (Stu) that boxes up orders, answers emails and does most of the other small tasks needed here. And this is not my only job. My wife (Akiko) helps with accounting, ordering from our suppliers/makers and general paperwork. There is no-one else working here, only the two of us.

With regards to space for stock and processing, again it is severely limited. We try very, very hard to keep most popular items in stock at all times to speed up processing, and what we keep in stock is always increasing, but we cannot keep everything in stock at all times. We simply don't have the space.

We are working on addressing both of these problems, and things should improve significantly as this current year (2014) progresses.

If you do not think we should need so much time to get a simple order out the door, please note that it takes between 5-20 minutes to box up and process paperwork for even the simplest order. Longer if we need to order in something for that order. Longer still if the order is somewhat complicated.

So while it does take some time to process orders, it is something that in most cases we only need do one time. We have an extremely low rate of missing and damaged orders, primarily because we do take the extra time to make sure everything is packed well and labelled clearly.

What's your telephone number?

We do not list our contact number on this site because we really are in Japan, we really are in a time zone that's 99% certain to be different from yours and a 3AM phone call is not a mere inconvenience.

We can be called by phone, we do have a telephone but there are very good reasons why we avoid doing this and asking to 'make a call' will not make me very happy at all. Without fail, every phone call ends up being more troublesome and causing more problems than it solves.

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