I mentioned in my “In The Works…” post that I was in the final stages of procuring a few CDs direct from Okinawa and today, I received my shipment. 😀
The best (or only) way to get your hands on Okinawan music is on the web and although there are very, very good online stores that ship outside of Japan such as CDJapan, YesAsia.com, iTunes, Amazon.co.jp and @Tower.jp, you won’t be able to find that gem of an album of upcoming utasaa (folk singers) on those. So I decided to check up on my favorite online sanshin store (they also have a fine brick-and-mortar store in Futenma too) e-34ya.com (aka Sanshin’s [also Sansin’s] Matsuda) and they had it in stock! It took me some contemplating on whether to contact them via email or not and after a few days the message was sent asking them if they would be willing to ship to Hawaii which they wholeheartedly said yes to. 🙂
Although they do accept all major credit cards at their online store, ordering is basically limited to shoppers in Japan. That left either faxing my info over (emailing was out less I trouble them with obtaining a public key) or the more convenient way, do it via PayPal which they were intrigued by the simplicity of and agreed to give it a go. (On a side note: I had a chance to meet and chat with the Matsuda brothers in person on my last trip to Okinawa and found them to be very friendly and helpful. They weren’t too surprised when I told them I’m from Hawaii and I visit their website often — I guess it happens quite often as they have one of the better websites out there.)
It took a couple of days for them to figure out the cost with shipping/handling to my location (the price came out to a lot less than you’d pay elsewhere online) and another three days or so for the transaction to go through via PayPal. Once I received the email that it shipped, it took about two days to get here. I was stoked! As expected, the package was wrapped with great care and they even included a cool “We Love Sanshin! Sanshin’s Matsuda Okinawa” sticker too (maybe I’ll put it on my MacBook).
This opens up a new way for those of us who live outside of Okinawa to conveniently order what would otherwise be hard-to-acquire CDs (DVDs included) and let’s not forget music supplies (they are a sanshin store) too. I only covered ordering CDs from them but they also do made-to-order sanshin too which you can pickup in Okinawa (as there may be a problem with US customs in shipping hongawa [real snakeskin] sanshin outside of Japan).
Steps to take when ordering:
- Setup a PayPal account if you don’t already have one.
- Email them (you’ll find their email address at their website) and let them know your location, if they would be willing to ship there.
- Let them know the item(s) you’re interested in ordering from them.
(Feel free to leave a comment here or email me at karakuipress[at]gmail[dot]com if you have any questions or need help navigating their website. I’ll have another post up about the CDs I received from this shipment. I’m too busy digging them. 😉 )