As you may know Perfume have a pretty extended discography: Indeed our girls actually have 4 albums (5 including the compilation Fan Service: Prima Box), 15 singles (20 considering the indie singles), 6 DVDs and 3 photobooks, all of this without considering the many posters, live only merchandise, Official Fanclub items and so on. While it’s certainly not the biggest discography in the Japanese industry, getting all of their items and releases may be a little bit more complicated than it seems, and that’s why I’ve created this guide to suggest the best sites where to buy their items.
First of all, having more or less items doesn’t make you a better or worse fan: everyone choose how to support a group in their own personal way, no matter if you buy a digital copy of an album on iTunes or if you own every single physical CD and millions of rare items. That said, if you’re a hardcore collector for passion you’ll surely have a good amount of fun and money going away while searching for every single piece of their discography and rare items, but if your target is just to support them by buying their releases without caring too much about unfindable items or forgotten limited editions, you’ll have fun and a way easier life. Though you may need to know a couple of things before starting, and that’s why I’ve created a list of the main online sites and shops where to buy Perfume items from overseas.
Let’s get started!
If there’s a good place where to buy upcoming and old releases of every japanese artist, get bonus and exclusive free pre order items and a great service overall, CDjapan is without a doubt the best answer: If this is your first time buying a Perfume CD, I highly recommend this website.
If you’re searching for an old Perfume Single, CD, DVD, Photobook and so on, here you will find the complete discography available to buy in case you may want to own a particular release you love. Obviously, as any other shop, you won’t find old Limited Editions and rare releases since they are all out of production, but you can find without a problem everything you would see in a real Japanese music shop.
CDjapan does its best when it comes to new releases: once a new single (for example Spring of Life) is listed on their site, they will send an email to all the registered users and leave a message on their Twitter page so you will always be warned immediately when an important item is available to buy. This is a fundamental aspect since this website is one of the most used, and Perfume Limited Editions usually sold out in a few days and barely re-stock. But the greatest advantage is probably the shipping; Indeed, CDjapan usually ships 2 or 3 days before the official release date, giving you the chance to put your hands on the item as soon as possible and not so far from the day one, which is seriously a blessing. Last but not least are the pre order external bonus that you can get if you buy a First Press release (no matter if Limited or Regular edition) which is usually a poster for Perfume releases. Less often, other than the pre order bonus, they may also include an exclusive CDjapan bonus, but this never happened with Perfume releases yet (though you can find this extras in many other artists releases). Also, starting from August, in case a pre order poster is given with the order, CDJapan uses rigid cardboard tubes inserted inside the package itself which is way safer than before (they used to roll the posters with some paper only).
The prices are in line with other import websites and shops but the shipping methods are way more numerous, making you choose from the cheapest solutions like SAL and Airmail, to the most expensive but extremely fast like EMS and FedEx, giving you a wide range of shipping options that will satisfy every pocket. There is no free shipping choice like in many other sites, but the money you pay more for the shipping are well spent considering how fast they ship and how fast the items arrive in front of your door. Also while buying items, you gain Customer Points that will allow you to lower the price of your future orders: the more you buy, the more you get points. Once you place your order, be sure to have the required amount of money in your credit card: they WON’T charge you until the item is shipped, but it’s necessary since they have to check if you can effectively place your order.
They also have a very functional customer service via e-mail and Twitter, giving answers in extremely short times and solving any eventual problem in no time: Just contact them and they’ll reply to you.
In conclusion, this is definitely the best choice if you want to buy old releases and see the new ones arrive as soon as possible at your doorstep. The only complaints are the absence of a free shipping option and fast sold outs on the most famous releases, but if you can deal with these issues then you’ve probably found your main source of Japanese music.
Another famous and good import website is YesAsia. Differently from CDjapan, this website is located in China, and it ships worldwide every genre of good like CDs DVDs gadgets and so on: It is the direct competitor of CDjapan, and also one of the best alternatives to it.
Exactly as the above site, here you can find all the new and past Perfume releases and items, but there are some differences with CDjapan that you must know. The first is that there is a free shipping option, so you can just pay the price of the item itself without being charged of any other cost, but obviously this means that the shipping won’t be fast as an EMS (for example) and it could take two weeks like a month or even more, depending on when they ship the item and on your country’s custom laws: Indeed some countries have stricter rules than others on items arriving from China, and this could drastically slow the delivery of your package. As personal experience, I can say that a videogame took exactly a month and a week to arrive at my home, and so I’ve heard of many users from different part of the world: if you choose the free shipping option, don’t expect a fast delivery as it would be by paying for another method (but I guess you already know that, right?).
So, what are the advantages if we compare YesAsia with CDjapan? Besides the free shipping option, there are some good sales they usually do on particular items discounting them at half the price or even more, which is a good deal if you combine this with the free shipping option. You must also notice that Yes Asia ships the posters on a rigid cardboard tube that is sent separately from the main package, so i’s probable that you may see the CD (for example) coming first and the posters a couple of days after. Also, the Limited Editions lasts way longer than CDjapan.
In conclusion, while CDjapan offers a better customer service and shipping options and speed in terms of delivering, YesAsia wins if you don’t care about quick deliveries and you want to save money on the shipping (remember you can choose EMS shipping by paying more). Basically, you can save money, but at the same time you have a less quick and accurate service: If this is not a big deal for you, then you’ve found another good alliate for all your Japanese needs.
In the first two points I’ve talked about the two main sites to buy normal and common Perfume releases and items, but what if you want to go hardcore and start collecting rare stuff like P.T.A. items, Live only merchandise, T-Shirts, Pamphlets, old and unfindable posters and so on? Well, there are two choices, and the first one is Yahoo Auction Japan, the biggest auction site of Japan.
Theorically, it’s really simple: You need a Perfume item? No problem, here you will find EVERYTHING you need: T.shirts, super rare posters, Limited Editions, Photobooks, P.T.A. items, magazines… whatever you want to buy, you will find it here.
Pratically, it’s really hard: Leaving aside the “little” particular that the whole site is written in japanese, you can’t create an account without a japanese adress. This means that you only have two options: create an account on Tenso or Celga, which are warehouse services that give you a japanese adress and receive the package for you and then deliver it to your true adress, or rely upon a japanese friend (if you have one) that could eventually and kindly receive the item and then ship it to you, making you save the money for the warehouse service. The second option is obviously the best one, but since not everyone have a japanese friend (which is a shame since they are very kind persons), many people are left with the Warehouse Service option, and let me tell you that this choice is extremely expensive: to make it brief, here is what you would pay for choosing this option:
- The price of the item on YAJ
- The shipping from the seller to the Warehouse Service
- The Warehouse Service price
- The shipping (which is usually EMS) from the Warehouse to your home
- Custom Taxes, if you are unlucky.
As you may understand is a really expensive, annoying and pretty long procedure that will cost you money and time, but if you’re really convinced and you want to build a unique and beautiful Perfume collection, you can do it (many people do).
Asmart is the Official Perfume Online Shop. Here you can find all the Tour merchandise and other exclusive P.T.A. members only items, and the standard prices are more honest if compared to the increased ones you usually find on auctions sites or private people selling. That said, you may think this is the better place where to buy Perfume merchandise, but it is only for those who live in Japan: Indeed, exactly as Yahoo Auction Japan, Asmart is a Japan only service and it doesn’t accept foreign adresses, so the only way to buy those items is to use a Warehouse Service or to rely on some friend living in Japan, who also needs to be a P.T.A. member if you want to get your hands on an exclusive Fan Club item (for example, the Tokyo Dome Photobook).
So the procedure to buy on Asmart is the same as Yahoo Auction Japan, though here you can obviously find brand new items with standard prices. Be careful though: the rarest items seels out pretty fast.
In the end, if you think that these long procedures are just crazy, then your last chance is…
At this point you may ask “Why did you explain all of that if I can comfortably use eBay?”. It’s simple: on YAJ you can find everything you want, on eBay… you must be lucky and very attento.
Ebay is one of the sources that you must check constantly if you want to make some good deals. Normally, here you can barely find some single Limited Editions and albums, but usually the prices are not so convenient, while most of the times are just ridiculously high. Though there are a few sellers who constantly have something interesting and sell at honest prices, and if you’re lucky you can even find some rare items from them, but as I said you must check constantly the same circle of sellers to get the best deals. For example, I’ve bought my sealed Tokyo Dome Photobook (which is pretty rare and expensive) for 98 USD including EMS shipping, which is a killer price if compared with any other auction site around the web. I’ve been really lucky, but I’ve seen several deals like this while lurking eBay, so keep searching around every 2 days or so and you will surely find some great occasions too; Once you’ll know the right sellers, they could also search some items on request and sell them for you, which is probably the best solution overall if you want to collect rare items and you don’t want to go crazy with YAJ.
Last but not least, don’t forget that the girls have their last album JPN on iTunes! This is their first global digital release, but the enw single Spring of Life and Spending all my Time got the same treatment, so this is going to be a standard method for their future release. Also, by buying a digital copy of their albums and singles online, you give your contribute to the girls’ overseas activities, and the results on the global charts of iTunes could define their future decisions on activities outside Japan. Don’t forget that Perfume are now open to the entire world thanks to Universal, so let’s show them they have thousands and thousands fans outside Japan!
These where the main and most used website for buying all the Perfume items you may want to own. Other very good websites are Amazon,jp, HMV and PlayAsia, but the four I’ve suggested to you are definitely the best choices.
Are you planning a trip to Japan? Do you want to buy everything you can about our girls, but don’t know where to start? Or are you just curious to know what kind of stores you can find in Japan? Then check out my guide to all the major Stores and Music Chains in Tokyo and in all Japan, made for you!
That said, I hope this guide will be helpful if you want to start supporting Perfume or if you want to create a collection with their beautiful and rare items. Good Luck!