Dogu Shopping (2 replies and 6 comments)
I just listened to the post with Hamana-sei where you discussed dogu. I've found a website that I really like, they have a very big selection of antique dogu, reasonable prices (especially when they have special sales) and free shipping.
Sou Japan - http://www.net-qp.com/en/
Was moved from Suggestions to the Plug forum.
A word of caution about this site: when comparing the prices with the Japanese version of it, which has the same items, the USD price is significantly higher than the conversion alone. I recognize that more work goes into dealing with shipping and dealing with business internationally, but with "free shipping," you lose the chance to save money on shipping and handling by combining multiple objects into one shipment. The sale they have going on right now is great though!
In the case of the former, 25,000 yen is currently about 209 USD, but the USD price listed on the English page, which includes "free shipping" is $276. The latter, at 14,000 yen, would be converted directly to 117 USD, but English page price is $163. That seems to be in both cases significantly more than what even Express shipping and handling would be if one were to add the actual cost of shipping and handling to the converted price. Once again, if they are employing a translator or have to take more steps to work internationally, I could understand a little difference between yen and other currencies (I haven't looked at currencies other than the USD) but this seems extreme in my opinion.
Even with that markup, I have found no other place on the web which I can buy dogu at a better price. Do you have any sites you like to shop at? Rikuycha (http://rikyucha.com/) has great dogu but the prices are significantly higher, especially with the shipping!
Let me qualify, most of the items I purchase are on sale at 30-50% off, and with the discount, usually the price just cannot be beat. I haven't really comparison priced their full priced items much, but i still think a lot of those items are great deals as well.
I agree that they have good if not great prices, especially at sale times. The occasions they have made errors in shipping or processing they have had excellent customer service. Additionally, with the shipping price included, many heavy things like kama or furo are really a steal. I just think it is slightly shady to advertise "free" shipping but then have their prices in different currencies vary. Perhaps it is just my interpretation of the word free; were they to use complimentary I would have no issue.
I've never purchased from them, but I have a friend who has gotten things from http://www.net-shinei.co.jp/com/index.php/ They are also mainly a kimono shop that sells tea things. I have found an item sharing the same photos between Sou and Shinei, and have no idea if they are related businesses. The one item overlap I found was less expensive at Sou. I found that interesting given that there was a statement on Shinei's page warning about other shops using their photos for sales.
There are also some Rakuten shops which I would rather use for buying things like hishaku and chasen. I am not sure how Sou evaluates these "disposable" items before selling them, but I would rather not pay for something even knowing that it is used and have it be cracked or leaky.
Thanks for the link, i'll check them out. I have gotten a few chasen and hishaku from Sou when they were on sale. Some were fine, others not, but at about $8 per item, i felt they were worth the risk. I pay no attention to Sou's evaluations. According to them, everything is in excellent condition, even "has some chips and cracks, but otherwise in excellent condition:"! lol, i don't call that excellent!
A few updates: Shinei and Sou are the same. Shinei seems to be more focused on kimono sales, with dogu as their side business and Sou site focuses on dogu with Kimono as well. The item #s are exactly the same and I'm 99% certain it is the same business. IT seems like the sales on Sou are not carried over to the same item on Shinei, but Shinei charges shipping separately so the item weights are listed on the descriptions. If you find an item on one site and then search for the same item # on the other site, you will find and be able to compare pricing.
On Sou, you can also order and ship to a Japanese address for a significant savings. I've found that Sou marks up the international price solely on the item price. For example, if the price is 1000 yen on the domestic shipping site, it will always be $36 on the international site, regardless of size or weight. So if you are ordering light items you probably are overpaying shipping but if you order a heavy item of the same price you are probably getting a reasonable deal. I've done this once where i shipped to a Japanese a forwarder who consolidated my items, and charged the 'real' shipping fee (plus a handling charge) and since i ordered several fairly light items I was able to save about $30 in total.
I've also found that Sou puts items on ebay (seller name: sou_japan) for auction (not the buy it now ) if they don't sell on the website. The bidding often starts at $1 so there are some pretty good bargains to be had if you bid wisely. But do be aware, last month they announced that they would begin charging a per item surcharge now, but i recently looked on the ebay site and didn't see any notice of it so, maybe they changed their mind...