(Be sure to stick around to the end, where you can win some goodies from FlutterScape) In the past, I’ve written about a few ways you can buy things from Japan. Most of them have been so-so at best. Finally (seriously, it’s about time), someone’s come up with something that works pretty darn well (I’ll tell you about my experience in a bit), and that something is FlutterScape.
FlutterScape seems a little complicated at first, but really it’s quite simple. There are people in Japan going around to various stores taking pictures of things they want to sell. They don’t buy these things from the store until you buy them. Once you buy the item, they go to the store, get the item, and send it to FluttersScape HQ in Japan. Once FlutterScape gets it they forward the money along (or will send it back to you if the person never gets the item for you) and will send the item to you. Seems complicated, but all you really need to know is that you can safely buy something without much worry about getting screwed over very very easily.
What Can I Buy?
Between the time that FlutterScape just started (I was poking around back then too) and now, FlutterScape has really stepped things up in terms of items available. You’re still not going to be able to go to the site and find anything and everything you want (that’s what the request feature is for, keep reading), but you’ll definitely find a lot of interesting and wonky items to keep you interested for a while. Personally, I’m really into the weird crazy stuff (even though I’ve tried to go a bit more minimalist), and always feel tempted every time I visit the site, which is more and more recently. I’m not much of a shopper but it’s hard to help myself.
There are a bunch of categories you can search through, as well as an actual search function, so if they have what you want then you should be able to find it… but what if they don’t??
Requesting An Item From Japan
Over the last few months, whenever somebody asked me where they could be “Item A” or “Item B,” I’d forward them along to the FlutterScape CEO who would help find the item. I’m guessing he got tired of this and decided to create a request feature (genius!) so that no matter what it is you want from Japan, you can find it.
The part that stands out to me isn’t the text areas, it’s everything else. Let’s go through the request features – I get a little giddy just looking at them.
Is This An Auction? This is if you wanted to buy something off, say, Yahoo Auctions Japan. Ho-Lee-Crapola. You can put your max bid, the URL to the auction, etc, and someone will bid for you based off your criteria. Then, if they win it they’ll send it to you like a regular FlutterScape item. Wow.
Pictures: Perhaps you don’t know what the item is called, and only have a picture. Fear not, you can upload a bunch of photos and someone will try to find it for you. It’s more likely that someone in Japan knows what the Japanese product is, so pictures are the perfect way to go.
YouTube Video URL: There’s a good chance that a lot of cool Japanese items are discovered via YouTube, so if that’s how you did it, then you can share a video of it as well.
Wow, every base I can think of is covered, here. It’s nice and simple, but they did a really good job with the request feature.
Does FlutterScape Work?
A couple of months ago I was introduced to FlutterScape, and decided that I needed to get some Rummy (chocolate with rum raisin inside). I got 20 packs of the stuff, ordered it, and approximately a week later I had a box of Rummy in my mailbox. Mmm, and they were (and are) tasty too. I can’t say what experience other people have had, but things worked out well for me and I imagine it’ll work out well for you too. Try things out on something small, and see how you like it. I think I’ll be using FlutterScape to buy many fun Christmas Presents this year (no Rummy for the younger cousins, though).
Win One Of Three Cupmen!
I have three Cupmen to give away. If you’re the cup noodle eating type, you’ll know that you have to put something on top of your Cup Noodle to keep the lid down while you wait for the hot water to cook and soften the noodles. I usually use my wallet. Now, though, you can use these little “Cupmen” who hang over the top.
Here’s the product description:
“After pouring hot water over your instant noodles, get a helping hand from the hardworking Cupmen. Watch as it turns different colors while desperately trying to prevent the lid from flicking back up. Enjoy a few minutes of fun with Cupmen until your noodles are ready to eat.”
Aww, if that doesn’t win your heart over, I don’t know what will. Here’s more information on Cupmen.
Winning one of these three Cupmen is very simple. You don’t even have to leave the page! In the comments, tell me why you need this product oh-so-bad. Feel free to go into a (fictional or non-fictional) account on how painful it is to make ramen using your shoes, or something like that. I’m going to pick my 6 favorites, and then three will randomly be picked from there. So, although there is some luck involved, quality comments are going to be key to get into that top 6! You have (approximately) a week to get your comment in!
Oh, and if you tweet about the contest, you won’t have higher chance of winning, but you will get some brownie points, you brown-noser you.
Great, so there you go! Win yourself a Cupmen so you can have the full Cup Noodle experience. Speaking of which, I bet FlutterScape has some noodles to go along with it in their Japanese Snacks section.
Oh, and if you have a lot of extra time, you should check out the short film “Mr. Cupmen” by fake French Video artist Jacques Koichi.
P.S. If you eat ramen, you should subscribe to the Tofugu Newsletter.