From 1 yen to 50 kilos: bid for a big surprise on Yahoo! Auctions Japan

The great thing about online auctions is that sometimes, you don’t 100% know what you’re gonna win.

On Yahoo! Auctions Japan, you’ll see the following Japanese words and phrases come up. Ignore them at your peril, brave Japan auction hunter! When you win, you could end up with much more than you bargained for.

See a little more of what you’re getting into… All the images in this post are from real auction listings. Click on the Japanese word in any of the sub-headers to go straight to DEJAPAN auction search results.

Tsumeawase (詰め合わせ) – an assortment

Now, this word can mean a lot of things.

  • A bulk box of some food/drink, like 20 packs of gum in 4 flavours
  • A set/collection of the same item, like 8 identical envelopes
  • Related items someone’s put in a pile together, like a box of tools

The literal meaning of ‘tsumeawase’ as ‘assortment’ implies the items aren’t all the same. Try searching for this if you want auction listings with more variety.

Tairyou (大量) – a stupidly large amount

Think we’re kidding? We’re so not.

Maybe, just maybe, you’re the type of person who needs 70+ smartphone charger cables. Or 20kg (or more) of random jewellery. Or 14 copies of Office Personal Edition 2003 (in Japanese). Yeah, we’ve seen a lot so far.

A ‘large amount’ is generally taken to be at least 10. In any case, it’s an unreasonable number of whatever the item is. The amount of stuff you get in a ‘tairyou’ listing is more than you’d ever need. But you might still want that much. Knock yourself out.

We can’t lie here: the international shipping cost on 20kg will be high. Hard to get around that one. If you win the auction for a super bargain low price, it’ll still work out as good value overall.

Matome (まとめ) – a roundup, all together

If you read any Japanese news and gossip sites, you’ll know this word already. In that context, it’s like a summary of info.

For auctions, it’s more like the seller rounded up every similar thing they own. Stuff that all comes from the same brand, or loads of different types of the same item. And it’s all being sold off together.

‘Matome’ is often used with ‘tairyou’, because the amount of items can get big. How does someone end up with 26kg of Gundam pencil topper erasers? But a matome can also be smaller, like 4-5 leather belts, or 7 Game Boys, or whatever.

Jankuhin (ジャンク品) – yep, this is junk

Listing items as ‘junk’ is gutsy, don’t you think? To be so upfront about the quality of the stuff you want someone to pay for. There are clear types of junk:

  • Stuff that doesn’t work any more
  • As above: seller broke it and has no idea how to fix it
  • Obsolete, unuseable technology
  • Seller couldn’t be bothered to clean/untangle… whatever it is

So what we’re saying is, some of this junk is salvageable. It’s worth buying and fixing up. For a start, you should see how many stopped watches are on Yahoo! Auctions right now. Humans don’t have that many arms, but if you get even one wristwatch working again that’s a plus.

Intai set (引退セット) – retiring from the fandom

‘Intai’ means retirement. In this case, it means stepping back from an obsession. Leaving a fandom behind, and selling everything. It takes years of dedication to build collections like this. Trust that the seller hasn’t taken this decision lightly.

Lately, we’ve seen loads of people giving up their Yu-Gi-Oh cards.

We also spotted big multicoloured Beyblade collections up for grabs. And Pokemon figures, baseball memorabilia, and anime/idol trading cards. (Tellingly, you won’t spot many sellers abandoning their Love Live! merch just yet…)

See how low you can go

Many Yahoo! auctions for bulk listings like these start from 1 yen. That’s less than a cent in US dollars and in euros, and less than a penny in UK pounds. It’s probably low in a bunch of other currencies, too. Even if the currency exchange rate’s changed by the time you read this, a single Japanese yen is always gonna be cheap.

Go down the rabbit hole on Yahoo! Auctions Japan, and see which huge pile of stuff you end up in.

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