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Does a significant used market exist?

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  • Does a significant used market exist?

    Hello everyone,

    I am coming to Japan in the spring and have been doing some research here on gaijinpot. The question I have right now is in regards to a used market in Japan. A few years ago I had a teacher who had taught in Japan, and one of the most intriguing things he told us was about the used market, or lack thereof, that existed there. Now I admit to be pretty damn ignorant on this situation, and I don't like neccesarily subscribing to generalizations. But if someone could tell me the validity behind what this former teacher had told me then I would greatly appreciate it.

    He had basically said, that because of space restriction issues, keeping up with the Jones' mentalities, and saving face etiquette, many Japanese would throw out perfectly good items simply because they had been replaced by a newer and better one. If they had just bought a new 40" plasma tv, then they would have no room for their old tv. It was considered rude to bring this tv to someone else and offer to sell it to them for a discounted price, or even give it to them for free. So everyone throws them out, and on garbage day foreigners (who don't feel as bad losing a little face for a deal) go rummaging through the garbage to pick up these items. this teacher then told us he got his tv, vcr, stereo and couch this way. All very good items that would never have been simply thrown away here in Canada. Now this was a few years ago, so the downturn in the economy may have created a need for a used market. Again, I don't want to assume anything, I would just like this clarified.

    I would like to purchase a used G4 laptop, but I am unsure as to whether to pick it up here before I leave, or wait until I get there. I am an electronic musician so I would love to find good old synthesizers for cheap. Is there any validity in any of this? Or should I buy the Mac laptop here and not bother going out on garbage night?

  • #2
    If you go to Tokyo or Osaka, you will find there is a good second hand market for synthesizers. A store called Sofmap was selling the Korg Karma used for 100,000 yen the other day. An old wavestation goes for about 15000 yen. Old analog stuff is harder to find, but you'll be able to get most of what you want. They also sell used mac laptops and desktops although the stores that sell each are usually separate and sometimes far from each other.


    • #3
      Thanks Bluedog,

      That's a pretty decent price on the Wavestation. This same teacher told me he once saw a DX7 being tossed. I would imagine that Yamaha's, Korg's and Roland's would be pretty cheap used there.

      Thanks again, I think I will wait until I get there before buying any gear. If I do find amazing deals I wonder how feasible it would be to ship them back to Canada once it's time to leave.


      • #4
        Originally posted by Emulator
        Thanks again, I think I will wait until I get there before buying any gear. If I do find amazing deals I wonder how feasible it would be to ship them back to Canada once it's time to leave.
        Shipping large things back to North America is fine. I can't quote you any prices, but it will all go on a boat, and take at least a month to reach your home in Canada. As long as you can live during that time without whatever you shipped that's fine.


        • #5
          Regarding people throwing good stuff away

          I suspect, although I don't have enough experience to say for sure, that it is harder to find good stuff out on the street than it used to be. During my 9 months here so far I've picked up a sweet (but ancient) fan and a small cabinet. I've also seen a few VCRs, boomboxes, rice cookers, and electric hot water thermoses. In addition I've spotted a couple of desks and bookcases that were unfortunately broken apart, seemingly for easier disposal.

          At least where I live, in Saitama, sometimes there are trucks driving around, incessantly blasting their "free pick-up service." These guys are evidently looking for computers, boomboxes, stereo amps, etc. I was told they go on to sell them in second-hand, or "recycle" shops. These shops seem to have gotten more popular since I last lived here in 1999 and can be a good source of used appliances, antique video game systems, and other stuff.

          On a related note, a gaijin friend I had in 1999 picked up a whole stereo system off the street in Osaka. It worked great except that the cd tray would never remain open. If you pushed the eject button it would slide out and immediately slide back in. Kept you on your toes when changing the cd.


          • #6
            2 or 3 new phenomena now that have affected this......
            1) disposal of sodai gomi (large items) and electrical goods is much more highly regulated due to environmental concerns - need tickets/ coupons in many areas so many more now use the pick-up services.
            2) small repair business is starting to grow, extending life of items
            3) less spending on big items and market saturation - bonus spending on upgrades has decreased, and bonuses have shrunk.


            • #7
              jarsyl that is some freaky stuff. Yours truly picked up a cd player matching that description in 1999. I thought that you must know me but by a bit of impromptu analysis I don't think you do.

              Then again, there were a lot of things like that lying around in the Sodai gomi in 1999.

              The laws have no changed to basically forbid Sodai gomi, which is a crying shame because I picked up some very nice Yamaha speakers, A brand new Technics amp (which sells new for 28000), and an old Sony separates hifi that used to retail for 170,000 yen. That too, had the sticky cd drawer but if there's one thing that Bluedog is good at, it's the swift removal of drawers, and I had it working pretty soon. Also JBL control 1 speakers and a couple of other nice finds. This stuff is not garbage, we're talking some decent hifi stuff.

              "Kept you on your toes when changing the cd. "

              You have to open the box and clean the contacts that communicate the "drawer is open" signal back to the motor.

              Emulator, now I see where you got your name. The old synths are pretty good here but you have to be in one of the big cities. Near my house there is a recycle shop that sells mostly hifi that has a DX7 for 10,000 yen. I have a DX100 that I actually bought in Australia and brought here. Because it has the cut down keyboard, the shop guys thought it was a toy casio and sold it to me for about 3000 yen 6 years ago. It was normally selling at that time for about 10 times that.

              If you're looking for real old analog stuff though, it's damn expensive here, as it is everywhere. But old drum machines, Roland, Yamaha synth stuff is abundant. I spent a lot of time when I first came here hunting around for stuff, but I don't make much music anymore. Lack of time and lack of talent means I spend more time with audio stuff in general rather than musical equipment


              • #8

                Yep, Emulator III at one point, but I had to give it back, so now I have an Emulator IV. I was definitely a gear whore, then I started actually making music. Amazing how much that can clear gear lust. I'm pretty much gonna store all my gear back here (a few friends of mine have volunteered to look after it all) and just go the laptop with controller keyboard route when I get there. I've spent two years working on one project, so now I figure i'll just have a small amount of gear to get any ideas down, but let life run it's course a bit more and take me where it does.

                You should keep up the music, if just for a hobby even. I find sound design is a good form of relaxation. Better than tv at least.

                Oh well, looks like I might have missed the boat on the free garbage gear. I'll be happy with bargain priced used mac laptops.


                • #9
                  Try the chain "Hard-Off" (affiliated with the more widely known "Book-Off") if you're in Kanto (don't know about areas). They've got stereo equipment, musical instruments, computers etc. They have vinyl too! I recently bought "Emotional Rescue" by the Stones in mint condition for 380 yen. Not an ivory tickler myself, but I saw plenty to choose from and their collection of used Fenders and Rickenbackers is impressive. Might just get me one cuz I don't think everyone on my street knows me yet.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sincity
                    Might just get me one cuz I don't think everyone on my street knows me yet.
                    Yep, they'll know you then! Thanks for the advice, I will check out those places when I get there.