Bargain hunters in Japan know all about the “Off” stores which are great places to find used and/or cheap stuff, from books, video games, phones, clothes, and even…cars and liquor.
All you need is a little bit of patience to dig through the messy aisles for treasures, but isn’t that the joy of thrifting? Let’s take a look at all the different outlets of the “Off” brand.
Going back to the early 90s, Hard-Off has 897 stores around Japan as of February 2019. This chain deals with audiovisual equipment, PC, music instruments, and other electronic miscellaneous such as cables, batteries, and so on. It’s a treasure trove for vintage electronic lovers.
— MoonSnow＠転職活動中 (@Moon5n0w) August 17, 2020
“I feel like I can spend the whole day looking inside a Hard-Off store.”
Perfect for avid readers looking for secondhand books, especially in foreign languages, Book-Off is Japan’s biggest chain for all things you can read and more. Indeed, most Book-Off stores also have video games, DVDs, music, and small electronics corners.
Contrary to regular Japanese book stores, books are not wrapped in plastic (unless they’re brand new), so Book-Off stores are notorious for their standing readers, oblivious to the surrounding shoppers.
— ざまッチ (@stride1091) September 23, 2016
“Since I passed by Tsuruhashi Station, I saw the famous ‘automatic ticket gate for entering and leaving the Book Off store’.”
Fancy some good old fashioned whisky or scouring for the cheapest wine on the market? With an amazing variety of alcohol of all sorts and origins, Liquor-Off comes to the rescue of both amateurs and classy drinkers. Brought to the world by Hard-Off in 2013, Liquor-Off is actually not that cheap and resells old stock of spirits from private collectors or other stores.
— Neenu Mackenzie (@umaizoumaibo) July 4, 2020
“Today I went to Hachioji’s Liquor-Off which I had always wanted to go to. There are a lot of expensive liquors! lol”
Looking to renew your wardrobe without spending too much money? Mode-Off is the place to go if you have an eye for secondhand fashion gems and time to browse the cluttered shelves. You can also “sell” your old clothes for 20 yen every 10 kilos.
Remember you’re not in for the cash, but for the eco-friendly habit.
— MODEOFF(モードオフ) 秋葉原店【公式】 (@mode_akiba) September 6, 2020
“Hello! We’re Akihabara’s Mode-Off. Our store has tons of items in our men’s and women’s ¥300 corners! Please drop in when you come to Akihabara!”
Off-House (which fancies a slightly different name from the rest of the Off series) is kind of a mashup of Hard-Off & Mode-Off with a zest of chaos.
This particular brand focuses on secondhand clothes, bags, and all you need for your home. You’ll find everything including appliances, furniture, tableware, indoor & outdoor materials, and sports equipment. Basically, anything you can think of to furnish your home, kids’ toys included.
かわいいくまさんたちがいっぱいいます (^ ^) また、売り場を変更しております ^_^ まだまだ途中ですが、掘り出し物が見つかるかも
“Our bears welcome you! We have a lot of cute bears. Also, we’ve changed the sales counters. We’re still in the middle of changing, but you may find some bargain.”
Not as famous and popular as otaku paradise Mandarake, but still convenient to complete your goodies collection, Hobby OFF provides secondhand figures, games, plastic models, and all things deserving to be preciously exposed on your shelves.
“I did a little tour of Hobby-Off after a while.
I was wondering whether to buy Keroppi goodies or not, but this time I’ll control myself.
I found something that could become a gift, so I got it.
I got zero points when I checked in.”
The only Off store missing from Hachioji’s infamous Eco Town is Garage-Off, the last (but not least?) branch specialized in car parts and accessories such as audiovisual equipment to do some mean tuning. They sell used bicycles too!
ここにならべて勝手にガレージオフをしましょう( ) pic.twitter.com/ESYtPBF9C8
— S500 (@S500Honda) September 2, 2020
“Let’s willfully display a Garage-Off here!”
Eco Town (aka all of the above)
Located in Hachioji City, in the Western part of Tokyo metropolis, Eco Town is a one of a kind mall dedicated to second-hand shopping and open all year round. It’s also the only place in Japan to list up all (but one) “Off” chains proudly brought by Hard-Off Group.
Their motto? “Reuse” to make the world a better, cleaner place.
— プラレールの宿の松岡さん (@plarail_bot) August 29, 2020
“Wow! It’s got all of them lol”
While each store has its own specialties, they often kind of overlap creating a wonderful mess you’ll enjoy getting lost in.
Japanese vocabulary to resell stuff at “Off” stores
Selling your stuff at Book-Off, Hard-Off, and so on, is really easy and you actually don’t even need to know much Japanese. But of course, you’re here to learn some key vocabulary along the way!
When you come in, you’ll have to look for the 買い取り counter, where you’ll hand out your bags to the staff. Quick sentence to start with:
「本」を売りたいです = I’d like to sell「books」.
You can replace 本 by any item you want to sell:
- 服: clothes
- ゲーム: games
- スマホ: smartphone
- フィギュア: model figures
- If you’re looking to sell heavy stuff, such as furniture or home appliances, you’ll have to check (in person at the counter or on the phone) with nearby stores beforehand whether they’re interested in what you’re selling. From there, you can set the 買取サービス , “purchase & pick up service”, in motion. The store staff will come to your place to take your stuff away (you’ll be paid after appraisal).
- Not sure how to say it in Japanese? Good old “これ” (“this“) will get the message across.
At the counter, you’ll be given a number. Prepare to kill some time in the store while the staff is appraising the value of your things (査定), but don’t wander too far off if you’re not confident you’ll understand your number when they call it. When the appraisal is complete, they tell you the amount of money you can get. For stuff that has no value, you can opt to take it back or donate it to the store.
If you’re satisfied with the amount, you then need to provide an identifying document (本人確認書類) that shows your full name (氏名), your address (住所), and your age (年齢). Copies or expired documents are not accepted:
- 運転免許証: (Japanese) Driver’s license
- 在留カード: Residence card
- 学生証: Student card
- 健康保険証: Health insurance card
Foreign documents, such as your passport or your home country’s driver’s license, are not accepted as they do not show a Japanese address.
Once your ID is cleared and you’ve signed up the receipt, you’ll get the money in cash on the spot. Happy bargain hunting and selling!
|気がする||ki ga suru||have a hunch|
|秋葉原にお越しの際には是非お立ち寄り下さい||Akihabara ni o koshi no sai ni ha zehi o tachiyori kudasai||Please, by all means, drop in when you go to Akihabara|
|お出迎え||o demukae||welcome, meet|
|勝手に||katte ni||without permission, suit oneself…|