I wanted to write a short bit about Yahoo auctions for any of you English people living in Japan that might have thought about using the service but weren’t too sure how to go about it. I (Luckily) had my girlfriend check through most of the steps I took when setting up an account, bidding and paying for purchased items, but I could have (probably) done it by myself.

Why? You may be wondering why I have bothered to write about Yahoo auctions. There are a few reasons, but the main reason would be that many Japanese people use the service, and you can get really good deals. I managed to get a couple dell servers for about 15000 yen each. The entire process was fairly simple and payment was a cinch.

When setting up an account you will need to know all your personal details, address etc in Japanese. Most of the application form is self explanatory. Unless you pay a monthly fee (200 yen I think) you will not be able to make bids over 5000 yen. After setting up the account you will be able to bid on items but not sell.

For those of you looking to sell on Yahoo Auctions, you will need to have your address confirmed. This can be found on one of the pages in your account settings, and Yahoo will send you a letter with a confirmation code to confirm you address and allow you to sell items.

Of course you will most likely need a Japanese credit card to make this a simple process but there were options to use Japanese banks, so if you don’t have a credit card there may still be options for you. Payment options are varied but most sellers allow payment by credit card, payment on delivery or Yahoo raku pay (Yahoo payment via your credit card or specified bank)

If you are unable to read any Japanese, I wouldn’t recommend using Yahoo Auctions unless you have someone who can help you out. Personally, I needed help with the initial setup, but finding items and purchasing is easy, so intermediate level Japanese will be sufficient to use the service.

One final thing. For those of you looking to buy something new i.e a camera, computer, television check out http://www.kakaku.com It tracks online shops for the lowest prices and will give you an idea of how much you should be paying. Expect around 5 to 10 percent more at retail stores.