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Shipping Heavy/Bulky Items from the US to Japan

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  • Shipping Heavy/Bulky Items from the US to Japan

    I'm planning to go to Japan next spring (specifically, Sapporo), for a fairly long-term sabbatical .. my current "plan" is at least 6 months.

    I recently became interested in the DJ arts and purchased a pair of turntables off a friend of mine. These are fairly heavy items, about 12kg (26lbs) each .. and that's not including the indestructible carrying cases I'd be shipping them in .. which would probably bring the weight to around 20kg + or - a few. With the cases, and rounding up, the size is about 55 x 45 x 25 cm (21x18x10 in).

    Anyway, does anyone have ideas on the most economical way to ship these mothers to Japan, from the midwest United States? I estimated it on the UPS website and came up with almost $400 -- for that price I might as well just sell these and re-buy them in Japan (which I really do *not* want to do) ..

    I'm thinking shipping by sea would be the best bet, as I absolutely don't care how long it takes for them to get there (within reason), even if its 6 weeks or so. So I'm not really sure where to begin to look for this kind of service .. does anyone know of any companies/websites/etc. where I can find more info on this? Or just advice in general about this situation.


    On a related note -- I have a decent mid-range mountain bike, and I'd really like to ship that as opposed to buying one in Japan. It can collapse down to a fairly "small" size, and is fairly lightweight (probably 10-13kg or around 25 lbs), but still definitely not your typical baggage size. Would this be something better shipped by air, since sea shipping is more volume-sensitive (as opposed to weight) .. and due to the fact that I need my bike SOON after arrival? (Again, as for buying after I get there .. I'd really prefer to not have to waste several man-en on a bike I'd be getting rid of relatively quickly)

    Sorry for the lengthy treatise, any ideas/advice are welcome (even if it's to call me an idiot for wanting to ship all this shxt) ..

  • #2
    Re: Shipping Heavy/Bulky Items from the US to Japan

    Try unaccompanied air cargo, inconjunction with the airline that you fly to Japan on. Just make sure that you obtain and complete an unaccompanied declaration on arriving in Japan, otherwise apology letters are needed for customs clearance. Check-in the day before you leave, usually arrives within a few days/ week of your flight.

    MTBs - same. Unless you have any obscure or rare fittings, in which case buy one here.

    Just a thought - how much chance you will have to use the turntables - 6 months is not much time to make connections and start gigs. Wonder if Glenski or any of the Hokkaido regulars can comment on that aspect.

    Long term sabbatical - what visa do you propose to have? Student? Tourist waiver with renewal after the 3 day hop to Seoul? Do tell us!

    th

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    • #3
      Re: Shipping Heavy/Bulky Items from the US to Japan

      trip hop, thanks for the tip! I'll ask some airlines about unaccompanied baggage. gotta be cheaper than UPS/FedEx/et al. at any rate. I'm guessing I can also work with the airline at Narita to have the stuff shipped to some other place in Japan as well ..

      as for the turntables .. honestly, I'm not at the skill level required for anything more than personal/friend entertainment at the moment (dunno if that will change come spring). that's not my intention. it's just relaxing playing around with them, and will provide some low-cost amusement for me .. as well as to prevent whatever skill I have at that point from atrophy. Sapporo did show some signs of having a hip-hop scene though ..

      and visa. yes, that's always a problem isn't it .. right now my well-thought-out plan is to go as a "temporary visitor", and do the Seoul hop. I'm also considering looking for some sort of income, and maybe something that will provide a work visa. if I stay for longer than 6 months, it would definitely be in my interests to do so, but at this point, I'm not sure I'd look for anything "official"

      my remaining issue seems to be accommodation though .. I'll have to think about/research that one a bit =) especially considering all this garbage I want to carry around with me ..

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      • #4
        Re: Shipping Heavy/Bulky Items from the US to Japan

        Onward shipping can incur a large processing charge - more than a few hundred dollars - better to remove by hand from the airport customs/ processing area, and hand carry/ taxi to airport, then send on by regular Japanese courier service.

        Hope you have a degree - needed for a work visa.

        th

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        • #5
          Re: Shipping Heavy/Bulky Items from the US to Japan

          mm, I think that's what I meant. I had this idea - transport via unaccompanied cargo to Narita, physically remove from customs myself, and finally ship via courier to Sapporo. is this what you're advising?

          here's a problem though: you mentioned (and I suppose I should check with some airlines in case they have different policies) that unaccomp. baggage can arrive day(s) later, right? well, it's likely that I'd continue from Narita to Shin-Chitose the very same day. so my question is, can I hook all this up remotely? or am I gonna have to blow a ton of cash staying in Tokyo till my cargo arrives and I can personally get it shipped north? probably a stupid question, but I'm totally new to this concept

          and yep, I have a 4-year degree. gives me comfort to think that even though it's useless in my country, it can do something positive for me in Japan .. =)

          thanks again for the pointers

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          • #6
            Re: Shipping Heavy/Bulky Items from the US to Japan

            Good question - Shin-Chitose has International flights, so it would also have International Customs clearance. Make sure that your cargo goes there, and you get the unaccompanied baggage declaration before you leave your international flight. You will not be able to get it on the Narita>Tokyo leg.

            th

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            • #7
              Re: Shipping Heavy/Bulky Items from the US to Japan

              On air cargo shipping I used OCS in the US the number is 1-888-744-7627. It arrived within a week although it wasnt exactly economical. Yeah i have the same turntable dilema. Mine are in the US and I want them but to buy new ones in Japan would be only a little more than having the others shipped. Never can be certain how long I will be in Japan as I am a gaijin and feel it is not realistic to live in Japan forever, although I love the place. PS the record stores in Tokyo are great!!!

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