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2021/07/03

A comprehensive guide on buying fumos

A guide on fumo purchasing

What is a fumo (and why are they so popular)?

Fumos are a series of high quality soft plush figures that are manufactured and sold by the Japanese company Gift. Fumo designs are created by ANGELTYPE, a former Touhou-based circle. The Touhou line of fumos are popular and a favourite among many Touhou fans, due to their softness and overall cuteness. 

In recent years, fumos have exploded in popularity thanks to users sharing photographs and videos of their fumos through platforms such as YouTube and Twitter. Because of the sudden global fumo boom, the amount of stock available has dwindled. As a result, scalpers have taken to reselling them, resulting in skyrocketing prices. Because of this ongoing issue, many fans are not able to find affordable fumos, and for the most part have had to give up on purchasing these plushies. With proper research and knowledge, however, one will be able to buy fumos at an affordable price. 

In order to combat the issue of scarcity and scalping, this comprehensive guide will help you understand the basics of fumo purchasing and how to get the best possible deals. The following segments will cover all of these questions:

  • What is a proxy and forwarder (and what are their pros and cons)?
  • The fumo buying guide (for Gift, Tenso, Transferwise, Zenmarket) AKA: How to use forwarders/proxies?

What is a proxy and forwarder? What are their pros and cons?

Thanks to Fumo Website https://fumo.website/ for their information as well as Tenso, Wise and Bagels for the images. 

Proxies and forwarders are important to purchasing fumos as many Japanese companies generally don’t provide international shipping. In order to circumvent this, fumo purchasers should use proxies and forwarders to help them obtain fumos.

Proxies are a third party service that places orders on your behalf and sends the products to you for a service fee. Forwarders also work like proxies, except that the product will be forwarded to a Japanese address (the forwarder’s warehouse). They will then be sent to your real international address for a service fee. Be aware that using proxy and forwarder services will require a credit/debit card to pay for your order.

Forwarders:
Pros: Full control over your order.
Cheaper than proxies

Cons: Most likely requires a guide, as the setup process is complicated. Requires verifying your identity (your ID and proof of address) in order to comply with Japanese laws.

Proxies:
Pros: Do not require as much Japanese to use. Proxies can offer alternative payment methods if direct payment fails. Relatively uncomplicated.

Cons: Unreliable in terms of purchasing speed. May fail to place an order if order volume is too high or is too competitive (such as an auction or a site). More expensive compared to a forwarder.

Recommended forwarders: Tenso 

Recommended proxies: Buyee, White Rabbit Express, Zenmarket

Pricing:
Proxies and forwarders charge fees for their services, This includes service fees and possibly consolidation or insurance related fees.

Tenso: Cost per package (around ¥150). Consolidation fee (¥200 +¥ 300 per package beyond the first). Use the price guide for accurate shipping prices.  

Buyee: Cost per order (¥300). Optional ¥0-500 insurance/inspection service. Other fees (¥200 per successful bid on Yahoo Auctions). ¥ 500 for two packages or ¥1000 for 3 or more. Website will calculate the overall price. 

White Rabbit Express: Cost per order  (¥400 + 5%). Other fees (3.6% money transfer fee). Consolidation fee (Free for up to 5 items). 

ZenMarket: Cost per order (¥300). Other fees (3.5% money transfer fee). Consolidation Fees (Free).

Please use these services wisely. Garakuta cannot claim any responsibility for any issues that might occur while you use these services.  

Forwarder Fumo purchasing guide for Gift (Using Tenso): 

Before starting, please be aware that you will not be able to purchase fumos from Gift without a proxy or a forwarder. This is because Gift does not ship internationally. You will also need a credit/debit card or a personal bank account which can transfer funds. Tenso also requires you to provide two forms of identification (ID Card + Proof of Address). The following is an example:

Cited from Tenso https://www.tenso.com/

As cited from Tenso, these are the required documents necessary to verify your identity.

■ Appropriate documents for ID (name and birth of date) verification

※   These documents also suffice for current address verification, if they show your

current address.

・ National ID card

・ Driver’s license(including those for cars, motorbikes, boats, operator’s licenses etc)

・ Passport

・ Student ID(including ID cards for educational organizations)

・ Copy of family register

■ Appropriate documents for current address verification

※ Please note that the documents listed below are not appropriate for ID verification.

※ “Documents” must be official papers created by the appropriate organizations (statements, notifications, bills, invoices etc.)

・ Bank documents

・ Documents from your credit card company

・ Documents concerning public utilities (gas, water, electricity)

・ Documents from your phone company or internet provider

・ Lease agreements

Gift hosts online pre-orders during the year, though mostly sporadically. Information can be found by subscribing to Gift’s email service, their own site, or by following their Twitter page. You want to use forwarders if you’re prioritising speedy purchases of high-demand fumos before they sell out. The full guide is provided down below.

Credit Card method:

     1. Sign up for Tenso itself. Once completed, you will receive a Tenso Japan address (with something called a TS number) and phone number. This is required when signing up for an account on Gift’s site. 

     2. You should then send over images of both of your IDs to Tenso (you can blank out all unnecessary information).

*Necessary information for ID: Your photo 

*Necessary information for Proof of Address: Current place of residence

     3. Navigate over to http://giftshop.jz.shopserve.jp/SHOP/465093/465098/list.html and find the account creation button. From there, you will need to put in the following information to create your account. 

(Gift account making image here)
Cited from Gift: http://giftshop.jz.shopserve.jp/ 

Required Info for Gift account making: 

Prefecture: 東京都
City/Ward: 足立区

Town/Village: 千住曙町42-4

Apartment Number: TS(Number)(転送コム) Example: TS14960496転送コム

Phone Number: 03-5739-3341

Make sure to translate your name into both hiragana and katakana (machine translations will help with that). First, use an English to katakana name converter site (such as this), and then convert it into hiragana). If this method does not work, fill in both name sections with katakana.  

     4. Update your card details by logging into your account, then go to Confirmation -> editing of member information. This will also change your default paying method to credit/debit card. It is strongly recommended that you contact your bank two to three weeks before the actual shipping month about your international payment to Gift in order to not have your card reject the order. 

Accepted cards: Visa, Mastercard, JCB, AMEX, DINERS

*If you want to use a bank transfer as your default paying method, then skip this step entirely and proceed to the bank transfer method. 

     5. Once pre-orders go live, (non-purchasable products have the buy button greyed out), log into your account, open up each individual character’s pages, choose the amount of fumos you want to purchase via the quantity box (max 3 per character), then add to cart. 

*In order to maximise your chances of getting your preferred character, you want to have your pages open ahead of time, and refresh them around 6 pm Japan time (on the sales date). Gift does a 1 hour maintenance at 5 pm Japan time in order to prepare for fumo preorders, so you aren’t able to open the page during those times.

Cited from Gift: http://giftshop.jz.shopserve.jp/

     6. Proceed to checkout. (You have 30 minutes to purchase the items in your cart, or else the items will be removed automatically). Select the credit card option (down below), fill in the information and you’re done with pre-ordering. 

     7. Notify your bank two to three weeks before the shipping month, check to see if your payment was successful (your credit should show some kind of deduction), and wait until the fumos are sent to Tenso’s warehouse. Tenso will then notify you of shipment methods.

*IMPORTANT: Do not hit your credit/debit cap one month before fumo shipping. If this happens, you will not be able to pre-order your fumos. Gift will notify you, and you will have to pay via bank transfer (guide below). 

     8. Now that you have finished everything, all you need to do is wait for your fumos to arrive!

Cited from Gift: http://giftshop.jz.shopserve.jp/

Bank Transfer Method:

Follow the credit card guide until step 5. From there, follow these steps.

     1. Proceed to checkout. (You have 30 minutes to purchase the items in your cart else the items will be removed automatically). Select the bank transfer option (first option) and finish the order. 

*Skip step 1 if you only need to transfer funds.

     2. You should receive an automated mail from Gift, saying that you will have one week to transfer the funds (from the day that you pre-ordered). Go to Wise https://wise.com  and set up an account there. 

     3. Proceed to the Recipients tab. From there, add your bank/card details first, then proceed to add a new recipient.

     4. Put the recipient details as follows.

Cited from Wise: https://wise.com 

Email: support-onlineshop@gift-gift.jp

Account Holder Name: カ)ギフト

Bank: ミツビシユーエフジエイ [0005]

Account type: 普通 Futsuu

Branch: アキハバラエキマエ [666] / Akihabara-ekimae [666]

Account Number: 0001764

     5. Confirm your recipient details, then go to Home -> Send Money. Adjust the currency so that the recipient receives Japanese yen. Make sure to put in the correct amount of money you will be paying (¥4070 per fumo + ¥660 inland shipping fee). 

     6. If required, insert the following information.

Gift Address for Transferwise

City: 墨田区

Address: 両国4-25-9 三和ビル4F

Postal code: 〒130-0026

Prefecture: 東京

     7. Choose your new recipient (Gift), before sending Transferwise a photo of your ID. This can be a national ID, Passport, or Driver’s License.

     8. In the review step, there is a box to put in a reference. Insert your reference number (aka your order number) here. It will be listed in the email you received from Gift. If this doesn’t work, then once you finish the transfer, email your reference number and your name to Gift). 

Make sure to check your details look something like this: 

 

Cited from Wise: https://wise.com

     9. Proceed to transfer. 

     10. Make sure to email Gift saying that you paid (include your name and the order number). 

     11. You should get an email from Gift saying your transfer was received. 

     12. Now that you have finished everything, all you need to do is wait for your fumos to arrive!

ZenMarket (Proxy) Guide: 

Proxy buying can generally be used for fumos that don’t need to be purchased speedily due to high demand. This is not recommended for purchasing fumos on Gift’s site. If you are going for a less popular choice, and don’t want to bother setting up a forwarder, you can try to use a proxy. 

  1. Register on ZenMarket for an account. It should look something like this.

Cited from ZenMarket: (https://zenmarket.jp/

     2. To order Gift plushies, click on the fumo you want on http://giftshop.jz.shopserve.jp/ and copy the link of the fumo you want. Alternatively, you can seach on AKIBA HOBBY for a fumo resale. 

     3. Find the “Add a product” button, paste the desired fumo’s link into the URL box, and then enter a description.

Cited from ZenMarket: (https://zenmarket.jp/

     4. Add the required amount of funds you think is necessary for your purchase. This can be done via PayPal or credit/debit card, or various other forms of payment methods which are detailed on ZenMarket.

     5. Once approved and bought, the fumos will be sent to ZenMarket’s warehouse. They will notify you when it arrives. Create a package, and insert the required information (name, address, phone number, delivery method).

     6. When the package has been prepared, you will need to pay for the shipping. Once paid, your packages will be sent to your address using the shipping method you have chosen. 

     7. Now that you have finished everything, all you need to do is wait for your fumos to arrive!

 

Here are some additional resources for fumo purchases:

Fumo Information (Written by the fumo Discord server):

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1qNz36ZJm_P83ke4pzbi4MiinhmGDuES-PEgLEjyIsy8/edit#gid=816962628

Fumo Buying Guides:

https://fumo.website/#:~:text=Fumos%20are%20a%20line%20of,Fumos%20are%20designed%20by%20ANGELTYPE.

ZenMarket fumo guide:
https://zenmarket.jp/en/blog/post/9665/how-to-buy-fumo-from-japan

Unofficial fumo guide:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fToivUsyHWiFV0C2CHDSq6HFZZMqIoOiLMFIHCLTDqA/edit