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Where to Get Limited-Edition Japan-Only Products: Through a Proxy

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There's a fascinating new "How To" post on Valet about using a proxy to acquire Japan-only products. Yup, you read that right—now there's no need to hop a trans-world flight to get those limited-edition shoes/pants/bags/goodies that companies sell only on the Japanese market. Valet identifies three services to swear by: Japan Goods Finder, Sharp Service, and Rakuten, and notes that these services are especially useful when shopping special-edition menswear. The writer describes his buying process:

For a moderate up-charge, sites like would ship to American customers directly. I had reservations—lots of them, actually. At the time, the Japan Goods Finder site was a little under-designed to the point of seeming a tad scammy. But transactions begin with a simple, no-obligation inquiry email so what did I have to lose?

Within hours, a polite e-mail in perfect English pinged into my inbox, clearly written by an actual person and not a machine. The service agent's message explained that my shoes were available in the size I'd inquired about and attached a link to a PayPal invoice if I was interested in ordering them. I was but one click away from my making my dream shoes mine!

Sure, buying via proxy comes with the inherent risk that if things don't fit or items are exactly as you'd imagined, returns can be difficult, if not impossible. But, as Valet points out, there's always eBay.
· Japan Goods Finder [Official Site]
· Sharp Service [Official Site]
· Rakuten [Official Site]
· How to use a proxy [Valet]