Unfortunately Amazon and Rakuten are just aggregators. I have nothing but crap experience in online shopping from any Japanese cycle-tailer. Usually end up having to just call them on the phone and / or faxing the order. Yahoo Auction, on the otherhand , seems to have a much higher level of reliability - even the Yahoo Shops e-tailers who also have associated e-comm site work much better under the Yahoo UX. Look at Yoshida - wtf is THAT!? Most of the content has not been updated since 5yrs or more, rarely is anything actually in stock, no tracking, etc etc ... makes CRC seem like the Pope's Pajamas. (And for sure they're protestant!!)
LoLz! You might be right about Yoshida and Worldcycle, Tim, but you will be asked to transfer money only after they confirm their stock for your order and send you confirmation e-mail, which takes some time, but it is a safe and sure way to order, unlike CRC.
Also amazon is quite good for the stuff sold and delivered by amazon, and not by a linked shop - zero shipping, fast delivery (the following day after the order, in fact). I get some cheap stuff from them sometimes.
Rakuten is just a market place, but no complains from me so far.
I prefer the globals like Amazon and Yahoo - at least you have some recourse. Yoshida direct is insanely awful. Can't get into it. But - they do have some great deals if you can get them to actually send you the stuff. BTW - most of the Japanese e-tailers also have a cancellation fee - so BE CAREFUL. Once they have your money (by bank xfer which costs YOU yet another $5) they are loathe to give it back and will do so only with a serious amount of harassing.
With the Yen still strong and Japanese e-tailing stuck in the 1960's vis a vis antiquated linear distribution model - why bother? Just buy from Wiggle, PlanetX or any other number of direct-to-mfg sellers.
I deal with Yoshida but email direct to the guy that handles dispatch and ask him if they have what I need. Have never ever paid for something I never got and the service is pretty personal, albeit by EMail. Kamihara 上原さん is his name and they do offer tracking
1) Selection - limited.
2) Inventory - not listed.
3) I purchased <hopefully> a set of wheels and received 2 emails of basically nothing except their lame purchasing policy. Meaning no pertinent information like:
- Order tracking
- Shipping date
4) Very poor shopping cart payment system - in fact, it did not even accept CC.
Japanese e-commerce sites suck when compared to anything in NA or EU. They rarely show actual stock information, endless apologetic mails for delays, crappy payment options, insecure entry forms, etc etc.. The only thing good about buying something in Japan is that when it is shipped, its very prompt.