Kanji Cheat Sheets
Every time I visit a thrift shop in Japan, I’m shocked at the amazing quality of the second-hand products, and all for just a few yen! Nobody will want to buy poor quality used goods, no matter the price. This means second-hand shops have to keep their quality standard in order to survive, but most people in Japan typically take good care of the goods they buy in the first place.
With such market potential for used goods, it wasn’t long before you could buy or sell in just a few taps on your smartphone. The Japanese term for this type of app is called フリマアプリ, a contraction of flea (フリ), market (マーケット), and application (アプリ).
Mercari was the first to succeed in creating a flea market app, soon followed by Rakuten (with Rakuma, previously Fril) and Yahoo! (with PayPay Furima and Yahoo! Auction), amongst others. Using those apps has become the first step when I want something for my daily life without paying full price for it.
As these apps are only available in Japanese, it’s a big jump into the local culture–just as much as bargaining in Japanese at a flea market can be. Fortunately, this guide has you covered!
Buying and selling
Nothing prevents you from going to your local second-hand store to shop or sell your stuff, but the major appeal for all these apps is that you can do everything from the comfort of your home including controlling your price–and (hopefully) making some great deals!
Each app works pretty much the same and you’ll just have to press 購入 (kounyu) to buy something or 出品 (shuppin) to sell something. Here are some useful keywords to help you with your search.
|Buy||購入, 購入手続き||kounyu, kounyu tetsuzuki|
|Display items for sell only||販売中のみ||hanbai chuu nomi|
|A used item in excellent condition||美品||bihin|
|Sealed product (seal intact)||未開封||mikaifuu|
|A junk item (not functioning eg. electronics)||ジャンク||janku|
|Item has been checked and is working perfectly (electronics)||動作確認済み||Dousa kakunin sumi|
|The body of an item (usually electronics)||本体||hontai|
|The item was tried on only once to check the size (clothes)||試着||shichaku|
Below are the first 13 categories to choose from when you’re looking to buy something. They’re the same categories you’ll use when selling an item. Later you can enter the size (for clothing) and brand.
Tip: When selling books, games, CD/DVD or cosmetics, use the barcode function to get the item description filled in automatically in Japanese!
|Baby & kids’ clothing||ベビー・キッズ||bebi, kidzu|
|Furniture, living, and interior||インテリア・住まい・小物||interia, sumai, komono|
|Books, music, and games||本・音楽・ゲーム||Hon, ongaku, gemu|
|Toys & hobby items (literally anything from instruments, craft supplies, card games, etc)||おもちゃ・ホビー・グッズ||Omocha, hobi, gudzu|
|Cosmetics, perfume, and beauty products||コスメ・香水・美容||kosume, kousui, biyou|
|Electrical appliances, phones, and cameras||家電・スマホ・カメラ||Kaden, sumaho, kamera|
|Sports and leisure items||スポーツ・レジャー||Supotsu, reja|
|Automobiles, and motorcycles||自動車・オートバイ||Jidousha, otobai|
Checking the item’s condition
For sellers, once you’ve selected the category and brand, you need to select the condition of the product,商品の状態 (shouhin no joutai). As a rule of thumb, always choose a condition that is lower than it actually is to prevent unsatisfied buyers from leaving bad reviews on your profile.
Buyers who want to check the condition of an item can ask the seller to add photos of any scratches or stains if there aren’t any posted already. Another thing you can ask, if it’s not specified in the description, is how many times they used or wore the item.
|Product state||商品の状態||shouhin no joutai|
|New & unused||新品/未使用||shinpin/mishiyou|
|Used, like new||未使用に近い||mishiyou ni chikai|
|Very good (no visible scratches or stains)||目立った傷や汚れなし||medattakizu ya yogore nashi|
|Good (few scratches or stains)||やや傷や汚れあり||yayakizu ya yogore ari|
|Acceptable (visible scratches and stains)||傷や汚れあり||kizu ya yogore ari|
|Overall poor condition||全体的に状態が悪い||zentaiteki ni joutai ga warui|
|“Could you please take pictures of the stain/scratch?”||傷 / 汚れの部分の写真を撮っていただけませんでしょうか？||kizu / yogore no bubun no shashin wo totteitadakemasen deshouka?|
|“How many times did you use/wear the item?”||何回ぐらい使用/着用しましたか？||nankai gurai shiyou / chakuyou shimashitaka?|
Enjoy the “free” shipping
If there’s one thing I cannot go back to when it comes to the Sayonara Sales and Mottainai groups out there, it’s the shipping. In most cases you have to go pick up your item yourself by car at best, by train at worst—wasting time, sweat, and money especially if the item is supposed to be free in the first place.
You might be happy to know that items from every single marketplace mentioned here will be sent right to your door–even bicycles and refrigerators! The app uses a QR code system that allows sellers to easily ship goods via the post office or convenience store.
Items from every single marketplace mentioned here will be sent right to your door–even bicycles and refrigerators!
There’s usually two categories of shipping: shipping fees included (送料含み souryou fukumi) and not included (着払い, chakubarai). What does that mean?
When shipping fees are “included,” the shipping cost is going to be deducted automatically from the item price.
When the shipping fees are not included, they will need to be paid in person when you receive the goods, meaning cash on delivery. The most preferred method is the first one as you never know exactly how much you’re going to be charged and sellers never know if the buyer is going to return the goods upon delivery.
|Shipping fee responsibility||配送料の負担||haisouryou no futan|
|Cash on delivery||着払い||chakubarai|
|Buyer’s charge||購入者負担||kounyu sha futan|
|Shipping fees included||送料含み||souryou fukumi|
|Seller’s charge||出品者負担||shuppin sha futan|
|Shipping methods||配送の方法||haisou no houhou|
|Sender’s location||発送元の地域||haisou moto no chiiki|
|Days before the item is shipped||発送までの日数||haisou madeno nissuu|
For sellers, once someone purchases your item, you’ll need to select the shipping method and the size of your item. Don’t be cheap and properly measure your wrapped package before choosing a size!
You can buy ready to send boxes or envelopes at any convenience store or just pack it yourself. I usually just use bubble wrap combined with recycled Amazon boxes or basic craft envelopes from ¥100 shops.
Be extra careful about the measurements when selecting the size of your item. If you’ve entered the wrong dimensions, your item will come back to you, losing the in-app tracking and leaving you to ask the person’s address and send it at your own expense on top of being charged for the original shipping.
When you’re done selecting the size of your package, take it along with your phone and go to either a conbini, the post office, or just stay home and the item will be picked up by a shipping company! As you can see above, some shipping methods only work at Lawson while others work at 7-Eleven and FamilyMart so be sure to check beforehand. If Yamato Transport is selected, they come to your house directly–it will cost an additional ¥30 only. I recommend using the conbini method as it’s the easiest if you’re not confident in your Japanese skills.
At the conbini or post office, the cashier will scan your QR code from the app, then give you receipts and a transparent seal to paste on top of your package in which you’ll need to insert the shipping receipts. The cashier will then take care of the rest so no need to actually post it!
Some conbini and post offices have a machine dedicated to flea market apps. You’ll just need to select the app, scan your QR code, confirm the information on the screen, paste the sticker given to you on your package, and hand it over to the cashier.
For bigger items such as refrigerators or furniture, you just need to measure the length, width, and height without any wrapping. Once you’ve selected the appropriate size based on your measurements, just set a day and hour for Yamato Transport to pick it up from your house and send it. Boom, done!
Some useful sentences for communicating in the app
|I’ll think about it.||ご検討させていただきます。||go kentou sasete itadakimasu.|
|Is it possible to have a discount?||値下げは可能ですか？||nesage ha kanou desuka?|
|I’d like to immediately purchase this item for ¥~, is it possible?||〜円で即購入したいですが、可能でしょうか？||~en de soku kounyu shitai desuga, kanou deshou ka?|
|Thank you for your purchase (from the seller).||購入いただきありがとうございます。||kounyu itadaki arigatou gozaimasu.|
|Thank you (from the buyer).||購入させていただきました。||kounyu saseteitadaki arigatou gozaimasu.|
|I’ll ship the product by today/tomorrow/the day after tomorrow/the weekend.||本日 / 明日 / 明後日 / 週末までに発送する予定です。||honjitsu/ashita/asatte/shuumatsu madeni haisou suru yotei desu.|
|I just shipped the product and it should arrive soon.||先ほど、商品を配送しましたので、到着までしばらくお待ちください。||saki hodo, shouhin wo haisou shimashita node, touchaku made shibaraku o machi kudasai.|
|I’m looking forward to doing business together.||短い間ですが、よろしくお願いします。||mijikai aida desuga, yoroshiku onegaishimasu.|