To the best of my knowledge, there are several ways of purchasing Japanese electronics:
1. The best one, of course, is to go to Japan and browse the shelves of electronics stores. This way, however, has its disadvantages too - you may discover that you forgot the trasformer/converter (Japan uses 100 volts, but Europe & Australasia - 220-240 volts). Plugs are also quite different... If you are from the USA - you're in luck, as the current is almost the same: there is not much difference between 100 and 110 volts and it's very unlikely that you will need any converters. Another common mistake (or so I'm told) that people buy minidisc players without realising that they do need a recorder as well. Player is what it is called - 'player' only (as all Panasonic MJ series).
2. Internet auction sites. A lot of interesting stuff can be seen on Yahoo auctions - Japan, but... [a] One has to understand Japanese quite well in order to read the pages - starting from the registration ones, and [b] It is quite rare that a seller will agree to post items outside the country. The appearance of brand new Japanese electronics on e-bay and other auction Internet sites is quite rare and can be omitted from this argument. There are also several places on the Internet that provide a service of purchasing an item from Yahoo auctions in Japan and sending it to you afterwards. I have not used any of the ones I've seen, for the single reason - rules and conditions about postage/handling/deposits appear to be quite incomprehensible even for a regular e-bay user like myself...
3. Other Internet sites. There are several of these (based outside Japan) but I personally don't feel like using them. Of course, I have not checked all (or even most) of them, but from what I've seen - the price for shipping and handling is typically quite steep and I won't even comment on their potential profit margins in comparison with prices in Japan... Also, to use most of these sites you will have to create 'an account' with all your details beforehand - even if want to buy a pack of five minidiscs... It took me quite a while to get rid of a regular 'newsletters' (read: ad catalogues) from these sites...

So, my personal suggestion is (from 2006-2007, so I am not sure that it is still valid):

1. Search Yahoo Auctions in Japan for whatever you would like to have (not just mini disc equipment, everything)
2. Go to e-bay and search for the seller called nt1290 (links will be different for different countries)
3. Send him a message via the e-bay (preferably with the link to the item on auctions) asking if he will be able to help you
4. Most likely you will get a prompt reply, then he buys the stuff you want at the auctions and sends you a bill
5. You pay and the item arrives by express mail really quick
If I ever need anything I will most definitely deal with him - please note that there are always some rare Ayu (and other) items for sale, you may consider purchasing something else as well (as it will most likely go in one package anyway)
Other points to consider:
• Generally, the equipment manual will be in Japanese (but they typically have a page or two in English anyway),
• Ensure that you also order a correct power converter for the equipment to work in the country it is being send to.
• Great help, reasonable prices and extremely fast shipping.

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