The Japanese App Store is a treasure trove of free games you can download and play, even if you don’t know Japanese. Back in 2011, I published a tutorial on how to make a Japanese iTunes account without registering a credit card, and it continues to be one of my most popular posts. Though the process is largely the same, my original post was long overdue for an overhaul, so allow me to present… “How to Make a Japanese iTunes Account to Download Free Apps,” the 2015 edition! Read on and you’ll be downloading all sorts of free Japanese apps in no time!
It’s hard to be an anime, manga, or video game fan and not live in Japan. While our friends in the land of the rising sun have access to all of the latest merchandise, exclusive collaborations, and tie-in events, we’re left high and dry, with only an internet connection and a credit card serving as a gateway to the nerdy items we crave.
Admittedly, things have come a long way since I was a young Japan nerd! Now there are tons of online retailers that ship Japanese anime, manga, video games, figures, and virtually anything else otaku-related all around the globe. In fact, there’s almost too much choice! When you’re after a specific item, how do you know where to turn?
Odin Sphere is one of those games that, while I think extremely highly of it, I’ve never actually finished it. Unlike my usual excuse of “well, I just got sidetracked…,” I can actually pinpoint the terrible slowdown the original PlayStation 2 version of the game experienced as the reason for my inability to complete the game. As you can imagine, I was thrilled when the HD remaster Odin Sphere: Leifdrasir was announced for a January 2016 release on PS3, PS4, and PS Vita in Japan. Not only will the game look gorgeous, but the new version should totally fix the slowdown problems of the original!
Though preorders for the Japanese version have been up since shortly after the announcement last month, the official website has only just unveiled the store-exclusive preorder bonuses for the game. Now, normally I am not a fan of these kinds of deals, but for my beloved Odin Sphere, I’ll make an exception. I may even make an exception and preorder my first Famitsu DX limited edition… I mean, just look at some of the amazing stuff you get:
Coasters?! A a Kitchen Pooka mug?! Not only that, but the extra special limited edition, exclusive to the Japanese store Ebten, will also include an A2 size tapestry, a desktop calendar, and a 3D LED crystal featuring the adorable Alice and Socrates (preview images not yet available). All preorders of the game also come with a special art book, and the Famitsu DX limited edition is no exception.
The Odin Sphere: Leifdrasir Famitsu DX limited edition will set you back ¥14,615 regardless of system for everything, or ¥11,534 for everything but the 3D crystal. I… may have already ordered the crystal-less PS Vita version. The game itself is retailing at¥7,980, clocking in the cost to get the additional tapestry, calendar, coasters, and mug at ¥3,554. That’s not so bad for all those neat goodies, in my opinion!
If you’re desperate to get your hands on this limited edition, keep in mind that the game has already been announced for an English release sometime in the future. However, I’d say it’s highly unlikely that items such as the mug, coasters, or 3D crystal will be made available elsewhere. If you’re ready to spring for this amazing set like me, you can either the preorder version with the crystal or without the crystal using a forwarding service such as Tenso to order from Ebten. I have a guide that walks you through the whole process. Happy shopping!
I can’t stress enough how much I am loving the current 90s shōjo revival! Of course there’s the always-popular Sailor Moon, but over the past year or two, we’ve also been seeing classics such as Magic Knight Rayearth, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and Cardcaptor Sakura receive a slew of all new merchandise and fun promotional items. And when a new line of affordable Cardcaptor Sakura necklaces popped up for preorder on Ami Ami, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. If it were up to me, I’d probably own necklaces of every magical girl trinket I could get my hands on!
Too often I’ve gone on a search for a rare piece of anime merchandise or a niche Japanese video game only to find that it’s not available anywhere that ships outside of Japan. Most fans of Japanese products that live anywhere but Japan itself eventually run into this problem – there are so many items that simply can’t be procured without a Japanese postal address. That’s where forwarding services like Tenso come in; for a fee, they provide eager shoppers with the Japanese address they crave and then forward any purchases to their final destinations overseas.
I’ve heard great things about Tenso from friends who’ve used the service for years, but despite the amount of Japanese products I import, I’ve never actually used a forwarding service myself. I’ve been blessed with having more than a few friends who’ve been willing to be middle men and women for my packages, but to be honest, I feel bad asking for so many favors! So, after many years of relying on friends in Japan to ship my purchases out for me, I’ve finally decided to give Tenso a go. Since I’ve received more than a few inquiries wondering if it’s worth the effort, I’ve decided to write up my complete experience purchasing a PlayStation Vita 2000 from Amazon Japan and forwarding it with Tenso vs. purchasing it outright from various importers.
Importing Japanese manga can be a daunting endeavor, with exorbitant shipping fees often costing more than the books themselves. While my last tutorial on importing manga lots from Amazon Japan provides a method for decreasing those costs, the obvious other option would be to cut out shipping all together! By purchasing digital volumes of manga and other Japanese books and magazines for the Kindle, you can get everything for shelf price or less, and never have to worry about shipping again.
Let me start this post off by saying: sometimes when you’re pals with Anne, she will ask you to be a surrogate plant parent to a vegetable ikemen boyfriend. She will ask you what your vegetable boyfriend type will be. Don’t resist. Give her your address. Receive the above box in the mail. This is my duty as official Tokyo correspondent to Chic Pixel, and I will take up any and all responsibilities, be it sampling various themed cafés or tenderly growing an anime boyfriend.