Now may be the best time.
Let’s face it: Japan has a lot of cool stuff. Whether you want to read your favorite author’s other series, finally play that a never-released-in-English video game, or even own a plushie army, Japan has a lot of neat collectibles and series that just aren’t easy — or even impossible — to find on this side of the Pacific. A lot of us could probably go broke within five minutes of landing in Japan.
But if you can’t get there right now, this would probably be a good time to pick up those gashapons you’ve been eyeing.
Reason #1: More shopping options than ever
Years ago, if you wanted to get items from Japan, you were limited to a few select sites. Now you have both Amazon and Amazon Japan, Asian media sites like Play-Asia and YesAsia, and more anime-centered sites like Tokyo Otaku Mode and J-List. Of course, you can’t forget the thousands of sellers on eBay, both professional and casual. Unfortunately, shipping rates for a lot of services increased in January, but I guess you can get an early start on avoiding any 2018 postage increases.
Reason #2: More import-friendly… Or Maybe Not
You can browse Amazon Japan in English. Nintendo Switches are region-free. Of course, there are companies like Avex Pictures have restricted exports, so perhaps you want to be ahead of the game and not worry about other companies suddenly doing the same?
Reason #3: Pretty good exchange rate.
I’m sure most of you know the easy exchange shortcut of $1 equaling 100 yen. As of this writing, $1 can get you about 112 yen. According to Xe, in the past two years, the high has been about 125 yen and the low around 100 yen. This 100 yen low was just around back in September and has been on a fairly steady climb until it reached a recent high of 118 yen in December. Although there have been a couple of spikes, the yen seems to be hanging steady. You don’t want it to rise and get less yen for your buck.
Reason #4: Proposed import taxes
Trump has constantly talked about taxing products not made in the U.S. While Mexico and China are at the top of his list, Japan surely can’t be too far behind. This would probably automatically raise the cost of consoles in the U.S. (in fact, the Electronic Software Association is reportedly already planning on fighting Trump), let alone anything else you want to buy. That 6,000 yen game now is 6,600 yen with a 10% tax, but there’s also nothing to prevent stores and companies from raising prices in a trade war. Suddenly that figure that you had planned on splurging on for $100 may cost you $120 or more.