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glass cased item - grab staff's attention, they will get it for you and walk you to the checkout. gesture is fine, no Japanese is needed.
if you are looking for many items, then you will grab the paper sheet they have and write the item code and hand it to the staff.
some places have baskets but many you just grab them in your hand.
at checkout, you pay by either credit card or cash.
cash is straightforward, place it in the tray at the checkout counter.
but If you pay by credit card, most places will ask you if you want the transaction to be split. you can just say ikkai. (no split)
after a few transactions, you'll get used to it.
I noticed one part on the Glass Cases that might have been missed. This is specifically for Rental Boxes
If you come across something similar to Rental Boxes with each box being labeled a certain number (B10, A16)etc. All you need to do is find a piece of paper and pencil from the surrounding vicinity (Provided by the store and are all over the place).
On the sheet it will say which box, which item, and how many. There are slips that are in English so you won't get confused.
After you browsed through all the boxes simply bring what you have written down to the clerk at the cashiers desk and they will help you take the items out / check them out. Make sure you que up behind other people and line up on the proper side which will be marked on the ground.
Speaking of residing in Japan I don't suppose you would be there during Winter WonderFes 2017.
Pay for things separately on every floor, unless it's somewhere like Don Quixote where there is only one floor that does duty free (fifth floor iirc in the akiba one).
I don't know if anyones mentioned but make sure you put your money in the little trays, don't hand it directly to the cashier. You don't need to say anything during the entire exchange, watch Japanese people if you're unsure. Basically, if you're ever unsure, always watch and observe. I would say 'arigato gozaimasu' at when I got my stuff but you don't need to and you won't be seen as rude if you're just silent. Which is so weird!
I'm from the UK and I visited Japan in November/December and found the whole no interaction with cashiers weird at first but got used to it. Don't be afraid to slip up, people working at these places are used to it, just make sure to try not to get in the way of people or be too loud. Follow by example and you'll be fine and have a great time!
Pretty much everything that you need to know has been covered below :) Japan is a really chilled friendly place you have nothing to worry about just have fun. If you have any questions feel free to ask currently in Japan from the UK and my second trip in a year, I pretty much live in Akihabara :P Have a great time!
If you happen to be holding onto a few things without a basket, don't be surprised if you're approached by a very smiley clerk and a basket! This happened to me on more than one occasion while I'm awkwardly just zoning out in a section of Yuri on Ice merch or something. It doesn't happen all the time but just so you're aware! Japan prides itself on customer service so they go the whole 9 yards. Not that I'm saying I purposely stood there waiting for a basket either but they're just that helpful! That or I always look like a lost lamb despite being close to 30. Anyway, have fun!
Kuromii (5 months ago) #17456676
Beautifully said! Don't let these people get you down! ^_^ I know I would be doing the same thing and asking tons of questions if I were going to a place I was unfamiliar with. Getting as much info as you can never hurts!! :3
SageGuy (5 months ago) #17447965
Shimakaze69 (5 months ago) #17449426
Hi, thanks for completely misunderstanding why I am asking these questions! I'm from England and our culture is entirely different from Japan's. Here its normal to put money in the cashier's hand with one hand and not bother to say thanks. Despite what people from other countries think of us, its common and acceptable to be indifferent or rude to cashiers. I don't want to be "that dumb tourist" when in a country that has entirely different customs to my own.
Also thanks for reminding me that my anxiety disorder is stupid! Considering I can't even get around my own city's shops without a map, I think its quite sensible to ask about how a different country does things.
I also speak the language very well, but funnily enough just speaking it doesn't mean I know every detail of normal life there.
As an example of me being "that dumb tourist" abroad, when I was shopping in Spain last year I didn't know the supermarket I was in didn't bag your things for you or indeed provide you with bags, so I stood there like a moron waiting for the bags to arrive. I was very embarrassed and I don't want to do anything like that when in Japan.
Its frightening going halfway across the world to somewhere you don't know. Hell, I can barely even leave my city, so this is going to be testing me to the extreme.
Hope you both feel great about yourselves. Have a nice day.
Shimakaze69 (5 months ago) #17449426
What OP is asking is advice for how to shop in another country, not how to go to a local grocery store to buy food. Things and customs are different everywhere. Going into another country where you don't know the language can be very daunting and scary, so I think what OP is asking is smart. Better to go into a shop and know how things are done beforehand and how to be respectful to the people who work there, like the putting the money on the tray. I'm awkward about asking for help even in stores that speak english, it would be even more awkward for me to ask for help in another country.
Not sure if people have mentioned this already, but almost every store I shopped at had a little tray on the counter for you to place your money in, rather than directly handing it to the cashier.
Japan isn't a third world country where you shop by flagging down the nearest UN convoy or find an NGO aid drop. I can't wrap my head around someone asking such a common sense question....
Unless things changed from 14 years ago when I went, you walk in, grab the stuff you want, pay, and leave. Besides the obvious requirement of telling your bank or credit card company you'll be out of the country, it's literally the same as anywhere else. They're obviously going to know you're a tourist, so I don't think they're going to make you commit seppuku for not bowing or saying the right thing. They actually bend over backwards for customers, so take advantage of that.
You buy things just like you would in any other store, if they have baskets, take one and use it, if you want something behind a glass case, ask for it. If the same store is on multiple floors, treat it like a department store. It sounds like you're making a mountain out of a mole hill.
If you want to hit doujinshi shops eg Mandarake, Meikodo, K-books etc there's usually a basket by the door that you can use to put your stuff in. Beware that if you're buying R18 ones they may ask for you id so keep your passport on you at all times!
I don't know about other cards and if they fixed it now but there was trouble with my mastercard in a lot of places (even conveniences stores). I had to go to the post office to withdraw money (max 20k yen per withdrawal + fees if I remember correctly) so bring more cash with you. And Japan is really safe so don't feel too worried about carrying that much money but of course, do keep some stashed in separate places eg luggage/bag/sock drawer just in case ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
And I do recommend paying per floor for shops such as toranoana & animate. Sometimes they have a scanner by the door so you don't really want it to go off and get stopped by the staff. It was pretty embarrassing *A*
Personal recommendation: if you're ready to go for a whole days worth of figure/doujin shopping (which can get pretty heavy) you can buy a small suitcase to drag around with you. It's acceptable and you see a lot of people walking with it in Akihabara/Ikebukuro
Best of luck!
Most major anime stores in Akihabara accept credit cards. Some may have a minimum amount, which could be anywhere from 1,000yen to 10,000yen. Mandarake and K-books don't seem to have a minimum, as I've used it for payments as low as 1,200yen. A few years ago Jungle had a minimum of 10,000yen, but it may have changed.
They may ask you if you want to make it in one-payment or split payments (which is a Japanese credit card thing only), so just tell them "Ikkatsu barai" (single payment) or hold up a single finger indicating "one".
Some stores will ask you if you want to pay (by credit card) in your home currency or Japanese Yen. (They will hand you a little paper explaining it in English.) This "service" has a bad exchange rate, so I never use it. You press the RED button to say NO to it.
Foreign ATM cards will work at 7-Eleven ATMs (also called Seven-Bank), and probably Citibank and Post Office ATMs. Just make sure in advance that your PIN code is only 4-digits. Some machines may not accept 6-digit PIN codes. 7-Eleven ATMs do not charge any fees; however check with your bank on what they charge. Also, inform your home bank of your travel dates. There are tons of 7-Eleven ATMs around, and even some in subway stations where there isn't even a 7-Eleven convenience store.
Not many anime stores offer the Tax Free service. It is only valid on purchases of 5,000yen or more (pre-tax), and at stores that offer it, IIRC. Anime Jungle may offer it (check their sign at the register).
A note on the tax-free system in Japan: Officially you are supposed to present the tax-free items to the customs counter at the airport upon departure (to show them that the items are being taken out of Japan). However, the customs counter is located after the security check. So you've already checked in your luggage, and liquids over 3.2oz aren't even allowed through security. So how do you show the customs counter the items? The answer is you don't. Just present them with your passport at the customs counter and they will remove the tax-free receipts stapled in your passport. Then you're good to go. If no one is at the counter, just skip it. If you forget to do it, don't worry. Once you leave Japan you can then remove the stapled receipts (if you forgot to visit the customs counter).
Some stores ask you to pay on each floor. Others allow you to combine items from different floors. It varies by place. Either ask or just pay on each floor if there is a register.
For items in a glass case, it is referred to as a "Showcase". They'll understand the word "Showcase". Just find a store employee and ask them to see something from the showcase, or simply say the single word "showcase" and they'll understand. Then just lead them to the case.
Some stores have a basket, some do not. You can always ask an employee to hold stuff at the counter for you.
It's easiest to let them bag everything for you, as they have a system of taping your bags closed when you purchase something. It's partly a security thing, so people don't shoplift by putting things in open bags. They can also combine your purchases from other floors into the same bag for you. Some stores will even combine your bags from other stores with your current purchase, so it's not so cumbersome for you.
As for the reusable bags thing, it's primarily only done in supermarkets, where in the checkout line you grab a plastic card (saying you don't need the plastic bag) and place it in your basket with your items, so the cashier knows.
It feels like people exaggerating Japan as a cash only society, if you’re in Tokyo most big chains take cards (Kotobukiya, Animate I frequently used card since paying 15.000yen by cash felt like a hassle) and Seven Eleven is pretty much everywhere so there’s really nothing to worry about! There are usually lots of baskets in stores so there’s no need to carry things in your hands and they put tape on your bag for privacy reasons rather than safety (some stores also encourage bags not to be opened in stores but idk). (*´∀`*)
While you CAN buy items all together on one floor (items from different floors) this usually takes extra time and troubles the cashier. In animate they call staff from respective floors for details about the goods so imagine if you have dozens of items from different floors… But there’s really no worry, I did this multiple times and made sure to give my thanks properly afterwards.
When I went there my vocal Japanese was awful, but basic Japanese and simple English gets you far! Just knowing “excuse me”, “Thank you”, “Sorry”, “Where is…” helps you most of the time. For instance I got lost on my way to a stage play and with the help of my phone I could ask people for directions fairly easy without the widest skillset in Japanese.
My friend told me a rule I went by: Don’t assume anyone knows English as this may be rude, rather do your best trying to communicate in Japanese. Also be sure to check out Otome Road, Animate (both the normal ones and the female-targeted one in Akiba!). Have a nice trip ~
Don't worry about it, it's good to ask now, especially with it being your first time, so you don't stress out during what's supposed to be a great trip.
-Most shops have baskets near the entrance/escalator (such as Don Quixote with its multiple floors).
-Some shops may not have big enough baskets (think large figure boxes) so you can carry what you want in your arms and you can also leave it with the staff at the till to hold while you shop more.
-Certain buildings have different shops on the same floor so you pay with that individual store (radio kaikan for example) but places like Don Quioxte with multiple floors you can pay all together at the last floor you visit (assuming there's a open till, otherwise take it to another floor).
-Depending on how much goods you purchase/how big they are, start placing your goods on the counter and if the staff sees you have many they will start to ring it up as you place it on the counter. They will bag it up for you (unless you go to a place like Daiso or a supermarket where you bag your own stuff).
-It's acceptable to bring your own bag, you just need to repack it after the staff hands you your goods in their bag.
-Domo/arigatou are OK but a bit informal for me to say to a stranger, even if the customer is "god" as they say in the customer service industry in Japan. I always say "arigatou gozaimasu." Depending on the store I usually give a small bow/head tilt to the staff as well.
-For the glass case, check to see if there are price tags as well otherwise it might just be a display. If you want to ask for help to see/purchase what's in the case (especially in places like radio kaikan with the clear box commission stores) you can ask/call a staff member by saying "sumimasen" and they will follow you to the case and you point to what you want for them to retrieve. For the clear box commission stores they have a small sheet of paper you can fill in with the box # and item # of what you want so you can make a list to have the staff look at to retrieve with you rather than do one at a time. Also, when waving at staff to get their attention, wave your hand down and not up.
As others have stated, credit cards are more commonly accepted but cash is still something you want to keep on hand. Certain shops in Akihabara and Nakano Broadway only accept cash, even if you have a big purchase. When I know I'm going to these places I usually keep at least 20,000 yen in my wallet just in case.
When paying with a credit card the staff will ask you, in Japanese, if you want to do one charge on the card. You can say "hai" usually or hold up a finger for "one." It's a system in Japan where a person can basically do installments, sometimes without interest, when paying with a credit card.
Depending on the store, usually the higher end stores, after your purchase and your goods are bagged, the staff will ask you/walk with you to the front of the store where they will give you your bag.
Don't be afraid to speak in English if you're confused, sometimes the staff can speak fluently or maybe in broken English to you. I would still keep a translator app on hand, such as Google translate with the dictionary downloaded to the phone so you don't need a connection/data to translate, just in case.
Meloncreamsoda (5 months ago) #17446713And they seal the bag with a small bit of tape (I don't quite know the reason, maybe to keep you from putting unpaid stuff in the bag ...?). You can put it in your own bag afterwards.
Perhaps to prevent other from peeking into the bag? (ecchi figures)
Some places have really big paper bags which could hold the rest of the bags you carry too. But you can have sore fingers at the end of the day if the weight in one bag is too much :)
I always say "arigatou gozaimashita" after buying. And remember when giving your 10k bills (and receiving items?).. two hands!
About places with creditcard: you can get tax exemption above 5000 yen or so. You can take out the notes they put in the passport at the outgoing customs and drop them in a box. But I think you need to have the items on you then just in case they check.
Thank you all so very much!
I'm fine with the language itself, but the country's customs regarding little daily life things like this remain a mystery to me, haha. I've only visited once, and back then I just followed my mum and step-dad around and didn't do any of these things for myself.
I'll be taking cash with me to avoid charges to my card and accidentally overspending, so that's no worry ^^
I feel a lot better about things now!
I don't have anything to add, but this is totally something I'd worry about too, so don't feel bad! The responses are all very intriguing ~
As stated by Solluxcaptor, it's better to bring cash. Akihabara is a tourist area so I've no problem with using credit cards, but in most of Japan most stores and restaurants only accepts cash or Japanese issued cards. It's also very hard to find ATM machines that accepts foreign cards. I've withdrawn cash from some 7-Eleven and MiniStop convenience stores, but again not all of them have machines that accepts foreign cards.
Also, when you're gonna answer someone with a 'Hai!' for a yes, don't say it twice or many times like "Hai. Hai...", it's kinda insulting to them, just a firm "Hai!" will do.
solluxcaptor (5 months ago) #17446759You should bring cash with you, it's pretty rare for places to accept credit card in Japan, it's a widely cash based society...
A recent survey claimed that US consumers were largely cash based as well, but this doesn't mean that it's rare for places to take credit cards.
The only time I've ever encountered issues with credit cards was back in the 90s. Nowadays, every major store will take credit cards. The only places where you may need cash are at restaurants and mom & pop type establishments.
If they ask for ID, you can show your passport or other form of photo ID (I just used my US drivers license).