Daryl's Library - Final Fantasy CDs

Dealing with
Yahoo Japan auctions

THIS PAGE IS SEMI-GRAPHICS-INTENSIVE. If you are on a dialup connection and you notice the page is loading slowly, I suggest turning off image loading.

Okay, so you're looking for one of those first prints, CD singles, or -- heaven help us -- the ultra-rare Final Fantasy VII soundtrack limited edition set. You've looked all over the place and can't find it, you've begged on various bulletin boards and newsgroups to no avail, you're ready to tear your hair out in frustration, and then you find...the Yahoo Japan auctions.

*insert creepy three-note jingle here*

Anyway ^_^ for those of you who can't read much Japanese or can't read it at all, here's a guide for getting through YJ. Bear in mind that I myself can't read much Japanese, so I'll be giving you all the tips and tricks that I as a big novice use when I'm navigating the world of the Japanese language.


Things in this tutorial that need updating:

Please do NOT ask me for details about SELLING on Yahoo Japan! I do NOT know how to do so. If you would like more information, you will have to look up the relevant help pages on YJ and run them through a translator. However, I can NOT point you to to the proper pages; you will have to try to find them yourself. You can also take a chance and ask a middleman to do so, but I do NOT guarantee whether they will offer that service.

I do not teach Japanese. I am a student of Japanese in the sense that I had one semester in college. Since then, my "study materials" have been various games, anime, manga, music, and other stuff from Japan. I am nowhere near fluent in Japanese, either reading, writing or speaking; I use many, many online and offline resources to help in my romanizations and translations. I am struggling along with most likely many of you who are reading this, so PLEASE, DO NOT ASK ME TO TRANSLATE ANYTHING. The resources I list later on will help you with that.

BE SURE TO READ EACH MIDDLEMAN'S TERMS OF SERVICE CAREFULLY BEFORE ASKING ONE TO PLACE A BID! Anything I say here is either based on my own experience or is taken from their website and is NOT meant to be a comprehensive listing of their terms. I am NOT an agent for any middleman! As such, please DO NOT ask me to contact a middleman, to negotiate with one, or take care of a dispute you may have with one. And please, DO NOT ask me how to deal with a dispute you may have with YJ itself or ask me to sign up for any of their services! Any such requests will be ignored.

I've noticed that this page is being linked to as a general resource for navigating YJ. Just to let you know, this page was originally intended to help solely with Final Fantasy stuff. So although most of the info here is indeed in a general sense, some parts deal strictly with Final Fantasy. As such, please DO NOT ask me about anything other than Final Fantasy! That includes asking me what Japanese characters to type for some other game, anime, etc. Such questions WILL be ignored. Whatever page you followed to get here most likely has the information you're looking for.

The information and pictures on the sites mentioned may change depending on your browser, your operating system, and whether the site changes its layout. I will try to keep the most recent screenshots as much as I can, but I do NOT guarantee that. Respective images are the copyright of Yahoo Japan, Excite Japan, and whoever else may own them.

By the way, I'm a female. "Daryl" is the name of a female character in Final Fantasy VI (FF3 on the SNES). Just some trivia there. ^_~

[ Back to top ]

YJ middlemen/deputy services

In my YJ sprees, I've gone through 2 middlemen and 2 services: Jerold and Jyosui, and Celga and Shopping Mall Japan. I am NOT their agent or representative, so please do NOT ask me for their terms. I'm simply one of their clients, so to speak, and I have found all of them very reliable and trustworthy. There are other sites offering the same service, some of which I've listed here.

Even if you stick with only one service or another, it's worth checking out other sites; each one often has tutorials, links to translation services, and other helpful information that may not be found elsewhere.

BE SURE TO READ EACH MIDDLEMAN'S TERMS CAREFULLY BEFORE ASKING ONE TO PLACE A BID! Also, the following information may NOT necessarily reflect their latest policies; I simply don't have time to keep checking back with each service or person to see what's changed. Always check directly with the middleman for their latest policies, fees, etc.

Unfortunately, Jerold and Jyosui seem to be rather difficult to get ahold of nowadays, which is why I now do all my YJ buying through deputy services.

No matter what middleman you choose to go through, it's always good to be able to look through auctions yourself. That way you can follow an auction you *reeeeeally* want to win, you can check out any bid wars and, if you have a YJ user id, you can look at the auction after it's over and confirm the final price.

If you're content to let the middleman handle everything, then that's fine, and you don't need to read this tutorial. But it helps to be "proactive" and learn how to actively search auctions on your own, rather than relying on someone else's pre-made links. Hey, you might find some combination of search terms that works better for you. And this is where my tutorial comes in.

[ Back to top ]

Getting started

The first thing you should do is figure out if your computer supports Japanese characters. It will make life VASTLY EASIER if it can.

Please note that I have experience ONLY with Win98, Win XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS 9.2 and Mac OS X (up to 10.4.9), so please do NOT ask me about other operating systems. Please ask a tech person or search online at Google or at Microsoft's site.

PC users

If you're using Windows 98, go to this page to download what you need and instructions to install Japanese IME. Otherwise, just go to Microsoft's page and do a search for "language support."

Windows XP: Go to your Control Panel --> Regional and Language Options. Click on the "Languages" tab, click on "Install files for East Asian langauges," and choose Japanese. Then go back to the "Languages" tab and at the top, under the "Text services and input languages" section, click on the "Details" button. Under the "Installed services" part, click on the "Add" button and then choose Japanese in the Input Language dropdown box. Keep the Keyboard Layout/IME on the default choice, which is United States-Dvorak. Click OK and you should see Japanese now listed in the "Installed services." Click OK again and you should see a blue box with "EN" appear on the right side of your taskbar.

You can change some properties of the language bar by going back to the same control panel and looking at all the options there. I will not go into detail as you can probably figure things out for yourself or you can get better information from Microsoft's site or elsewhere online.

Windows Vista: Unfortunately, I don't remember what to do. I had Vista for only a relatively short time and did not update this tutorial with that information. I seem to remember it being similar to the process for Win7, though. After you install, you will see a white "EN" somewhere on the right side of your taskbar. Click on the "EN" to switch between languages.

Windows 7: Go to Control Panel and under "Clock, Language, and Region," click on "Change keyboards or other input methods." Go to the "Keyboards and Languages" tab if you're not already in it. Click on the "Change keyboards..." button to pull up a window called "Text Services and Input Languages." Under the "General" tab, you'll see a list of "Installed services," which has English as the default, solitary service. Click on the "Add..." button on the right side to pull up a list of languages. Next to "Japanese," click on the plus sign to expand your choices, then click on the plus sign next to "Keyboard" to expand your choices again. Click the box next to "Microsoft IME." The click OK. Keep clicking the OK buttons until you close all the windows that you opened in this process. After all that's done, you will see a white "EN" somewhere on the right side of your taskbar. (You may need to restart your computer.) Click on the "EN" to switch between languages. Or, if you activate the option, you can press alt-shift to switch.

You can change various properties of the language bar by going back to the "Text Services and Input Languages" control panel and clicking on the "Language Bar" tab. You can also right-click the white "EN" to go to "Settings..." to change properties.

Macintosh users

If you're running OS 9.2 or higher, language support comes with your original installation disc, if you haven't already installed it on your computer. Start up the computer from the CD and do a custom install, selecting only those languages that you want installed. A friend of mine also said that if your computer is connected to the 'Net, Apple (like Microsoft) will eventually send you an offer to download some system upgrades, including language support.

After you install languages, a small U.S. flag will appear in the upper-right corner of your desktop. Click on the flag and you should see all the various language inputs that you can switch between. I usually install only basic hiragana, basic katakana, and kanji. I don't use the half-width hiragana/katakana.

If you're running below System 9, you'll have to get an external language program. Unfortunately, I have no recommendations as to what programs are good. I'm not sure when exactly Apple started including language support; system 8.6 *might* have had it, but don't quote me on that.


An alternative to installing language support is to use a gateway, like the Monash University Japanese WWW Page Viewer. HOWEVER, take note that these pages do NOT enable you to type in Japanese. What these gateways do is take the coding of a Japanese page and convert all the kana into GIFs. Being so, you can imagine it will take quite a long time for a page to be converted, so those of you on dialup, be prepared to wait.

[ Back to top ]

Quick tutorial on Japanese

If you already know how to read/write Japanese characters, you can skip this section. If not, read on. If you've read the section in my notes from my main Final Fantasy page, it's the exact same thing, so you also don't need to read the following.

First, a little background for those who have not studied Japanese and may be confused by my terminology. The Japanese writing system consists of different types of characters.

- Hiragana characters are very curved and gracefully written. They represent sounds and are used for original Japanese words.

- Katakana characters have more lines and sharp angles. They represent the same sounds, but they are used mainly for foreign words that have been adapted to Japanese, and are sometimes used to emphasize a word. For example, there is no original Japanese word for "ice cream," so you won't find that written in hiragana. Their word for "ice cream" is based on the English pronunciation and so is written in katakana. In addition, there are some sounds not found in Japanese, like the sound "fi" as in "Final Fantasy" (weird, huh? ^_~). To make that sound, the characters for "fu," "a" and "i" are combined and the sounds blended together. Such foreign sounds are denoted in katakana. Also, katakana are sometimes used when someone wants to emphasize a word; instead of writing the word in hiragana, the person will use katakana.

Whenever I romanize, I denote katakana in ALL CAPS in my romanizations.

- Side note: There is only one way to pronounce Japanese vowels. A, I, U, E, O are pronounced (as best as I can put it in writing) "ah," "ee," "oo," "eh," and "oh," respectively. The sounds are short and stacatto; don't drag them out in a long breath when speaking.

- Kanji are characters taken from the Chinese writing system. Chinese is a pictoral language, and the characters represent ideas and concepts rather than sounds, which sometimes makes them extremely difficult to learn. For example, if you look at the kanji for "forest" below ("mori" in Japanese), you will see that it looks like three trees standing close together.

Kanji 'mori' (forest)"Mori" (forest)

- Hiragana and katakana are collectively known as kana, although when I say "kana" I am also including kanji.

Now about the terms romanization and translation. Those words cannot be used interchangeably. Romanization is keeping the original Japanese sounds and changing them to Roman characters, which are referred to as romaji. You can't really call them "English" characters because many other languages use the same characters, with some additions (Spanish, Filipino, French, etc.). This is opposed to translation, in which the Japanese is actually translated into a different language. Thus, if you had this kana:

Kana 'Mori e ikimashou'

It would be:
Romanization: Mori e ikimashou
Translation: Let's go to the forest

Get that? If not, you'd better read it again. Good! You now understand the fundamental aspects of Japanese. ^_^

More on romanization. There are several systems of romanization. The one apparently most often taught to Japanese-language students is the modified Hepburn system, which is what I learned and is the system I use in my romanizations. According to that particular system, the following romanizations hold:

Hiragana 'wo'Romanized as "o" NOT "wo" (although in actual speech, slurring will make it sound like "wo"). This is different from the regular character for "o"; this particular one has a certain grammatical use.
Hiragana 'he'Normally romanized as "he." Romanized as "e" in certain cases, usually to denote a place where someone is going (such as "Mori e ikimashou" instead of "Mori he ikimashou").
Hiragana 'shi'Romanized as "shi" NOT "si."
Hiragana 'fu'Romanized as "fu" NOT "hu."

Please keep in mind that the romanizations noted in the above table are not necessarily "THE" way to romanize. As stated before, there are different systems of romanization, and you may disagree with me depending on what system you learned.

[ Back to top ]

Typing Japanese on your keyboard

Okay, after I went through all that to explain romanization, it is now time to totally smash it down. ^_^ When you're actually TYPING Japanese using a keyboard with Roman characters, things will be funky. Fer instance, according to the modified Hepburn, there are two different characters for "zu," and it DOES matter which you use!! It affects which kanji will be produced by the language processor. Here is a list of certain characters that need special handling when typing on a Roman-character keyboard. What I have listed under "What to type" should hold true for both PCs and Macs. This is just off the top of my head, so I may add to this later. If you have any suggestions on what to add, feel free to email me.

HiraganaKatakanaWhat to type
Hiragana 'shi'Katakana 'shi'Type "shi" or "si"
Hiragana 'zu'Katakana 'zu'Type "du"
Hiragana 'zu'Katakana 'zu'Type "zu"
Hiragana 'fu'Katakana 'fu'Type "fu" or "hu"
Hiragana 'wo'Katakana 'wo'Type "wo"
Hiragana 'he'Katakana 'he'Type "he" in all uses

That mark that looks like quotation marks in the upper-right corner of some of the characters is called a ten ten. It changes the way you pronounce the character. For example, that second character is normally pronounced "tsu," but with a ten ten is pronounced "zu."

Other quirks of Japanese involve short pauses in speaking and small kana in writing. Take the following kana, romanized "fukkatsu":

Hiragana 'fukkatsu'

Notice that the first "tsu" is slightly smaller than the rest of the characters. To romanize a word like this, you use a double consonant. So instead of the above word being romanized as "fukatsu," it is romanized as "fukkatsu."

If you speak words like this, there is a split-second pause before the character coming after the "tsu." So you would pronounce it "fu (pause) katsu." Double consonants are easy to deal with; simply type out the double consonant normally and it will come out correctly (although you should always check to see if it indeed came out correctly).

Small kana (which are probably called by a proper term, but I don't know what that term is) are a little harder to deal with. They are used to create sounds not usually found in Japanese -- or in some cases, *are* found in Japanese but for some reason are spelled with small kana. For instance, to create the sound "fa" in Japanese, the characters for "fu" and "a" are placed together, and the "a" character will be slightly smaller than the rest.

Hiragana 'fa'"Fa" in hiragana
Katakana 'fa'"Fa" in katakana

The difficult part comes when small kana are, for some reason, used to create sounds already found in Japanese. For instance, sometimes the sound "di" will be represented by the character for "de" and a small "i." But if you try and type "di," you'll pull up the character for "chi." Or take the Japanese name for the cute puffball Kirby, romanized "KAABI." There is already one character for "bi," but for some reason they decided that the official name would use both a "bi" and a small "i."

Katakana 'Kirby'"Kirby" in Japanese is spelled using katakana

To type the smaller characters on demand, type the letter "x" before typing the vowel, and it should come out as a smaller letter. So if you want to make a small "u," type "xu." However, this method doesn't work for making a small "tsu" on demand (which you probably wouldn't need to do anyway, unless you'd like to make a row of those characters for some reason). Thanks to Paul for this tip! ^_^

[ Back to top ]

Websites that will help

Bookmark these sites!!

  • Jim Breen's WWWJDIC - an online dictionary, kanji searcher, translator, and others. A very good general and in-depth resource and the one I use the most. The site is based in Australia; unfortunately, all of the U.S. mirror sites are no longer operating. This is an excellent resource and I rely on it heavily; please consider making a donation to the WWWJDIC project!

  • Altavista Babelfish text translations - When you find the URL of a YJ item that you're interested in, put the URL in the box provided, change the pull-down menu to "Japanese to English," and click "Translate." Of course, the translation is far from perfect, but you can get a general idea of what's being said in the description. Unfortunately, this site has lately been giving errors when trying to translate Japanese pages.

  • Nifty webpage and text translator - Enter the URL in the top box, then select the SECOND choice in the dropdown menu to translate from Japanese to English. Then click the button and your translated page will appear in a new browser window. The bottom box is for text translations; copy the text IN JAPANESE CHARACTERS and paste it in the box. Choose the SECOND option in the dropdown menu to translate from Japanese to English, then click the button. The translation will appear in a popup box, so if it doesn't appear, set your popup blocker to allow popups from this site.

    Nifty.com is one of several websites that is powered by Amikai, which is a company that offers language translation programs and services. Infoseek Japan and a few other sites I've found also use Amikai, but I think I like Nifty the best.

  • Excite Japan text and webpage translations - This is for checking out the descriptions of ended auctions, because if you try to run an ended auction through Altavista, it will give you an error. Here's generally what you'll find at Excite's site:

    Excite Japan translation page

    (If you're wondering why I have such in-depth information and screenshots on Excite Japan but not other translation services, it's because I found EJ first and used it extensively before I found other translation sites. It's not that other sites aren't as good; I simply know EJ best and unfortunately I don't have time to cover other sites with the same depth.)

    The button at the bottom center, between the two blue-bordered boxes, says "clear." If you click on it, it will clear whatever text you've typed in the left box.

    Simply copy the text -- IN JAPANESE CHARACTERS -- and paste it in the left text box. (The text already in the box should disappear when you click on it. If not, simply highlight and delete that text.) In the small box between the blue-bordered text boxes, choose the bottom option to translate from Japanese to English. After that, click the button right below that small box -- the one surrounded by an orange border -- to translate. In the below picture, this is the translation for an auction description of the rare Orchestral Game Concert 2 (in Japanese, "GEEMU Ongaku CONSAATO"):

    OGC description via Excite

    You can see some of the description didn't quite make it through the translator, but it does give you a good general idea of what's being said.

    You can also use Excite to give a GENERAL translation of English to Japanese. Type your message in Roman characters in the left, then click the top option to translate from English to Japanese. I wouldn't really trust this, though, especially if you tend to use idiomatic English.

    There is also a webpage translation service. Look at the links above the left text box and click on this one:

    Excite webpage translation function

    On the page that comes up, enter the URL of the page you wish to translate in the text box. Then click the SECOND radio button below the text box to change it to "Japanese to English" translation. (The first radio button is to translate from English to Japanese.) Leave the dropdown menu on its default choice to show English translations only; select the second choice if you'd also like to see the original Japanese characters in addition to the English. Then click the orange-bordered button right next to the text box to translate. The results will pop up in a new window/tab, so if you have a popup blocker, make sure to disable that.

    Excite also offers an expanded translation function. Look at the dropdown menu and text box immediately beneath the first blue-bordered box.

    Excite expanded translation function

    There are 2 ways to use it:

    1. Leave the dropdown menu on its default choice (which translates to "English-Japanese dictionary"), then type an English word in Roman characters (it will NOT understand romaji) in the top text box and click the button to the right. It will not only give the Japanese equivalent (in kana), but it will also give some common phrases that include your chosen word. For instance, if you enter the word "rain," it will not only give you the kanji for "rain," but also gives phrases such as "a misty rain," "caught in the rain," "rained out," etc., along with the phrases' respective Japanese.

    2. Put the dropdown menu on its SECOND choice (which translates to "Japanese-English dictionary"), then type kana or kanji in the text box and click the button. If you enter hiragana or katakana, it will search for all strings that contain those particular characters, so you may get a lot of results. Like the English-to-Japanese function, it will give the English equivalent and phrases that include the word.

    If you enter an English word, it works just like a regular dictionary, with a dictionary's normal restrictions. This means you must search for a base word instead of a conjugated verb, etc. For instance, you can get results for the word "rain" but not for the word "raining."

    [ Back to top ]

    Yahoo Japan in general

    Here are a few things to note when using Yahoo Japan. These are off the top of my head and I may be adding things as I think of them. If you have any suggestions of what to add, please let me know.

    [ Back to top ]

    Creating a Yahoo Japan ID

    YJ used to disallow the viewing of ended auctions unless you had a YJ user ID -- you had to sign in before you could see an ended auction. However, that restriction is no longer in place. Also, some middleman/deputy services will allow you to view ended auctions through their own website, whether or not you have a YJ user ID. However, I will keep this section up for those interested in signing up.

    Please note that the signup process described here may be out of date. I have only so many email addresses that I can use to create new user IDs to test out the signup process, after all, so unfortunately I won't be able to keep this section as updated as I might want to. However, considering that you no longer need a YJ user ID to view completed auctions, the lack of updated information might not be such a big deal overall.

    Yahoo.com finally streamlined all its services so that one username will get you into all of its various areas, and Yahoo Japan has followed suit. Therefore, you need create only one username, and if you want, you can also use it to get a YJ homepage, a YJ e-mail address, etc. etc.

    Take note that there are actually TWO slightly different signup pages. If you follow the instructions and links in this tutorial, then you shouldn't have any unknown elements. However, if you link from certain other parts of Yahoo Japan, you will get a slightly different page.

    On the main YJ auctions page, scroll almost all the way down to the bottom until you see the following menu on the left side of the page. Click the link that says "Yahoo! Japan ID."

    Click on the 'Yahoo! Japan ID' link

    You will then be taken to a page that has lots of pretty colors and graphics and which extols the benefits of signing up for a YJ username. Don't ask. On the right side of the page, click on the yellow button that has the words "Yahoo! Japan ID" in it, along with some Japanese characters. (You can also click on the below graphic to take you to the signup page.)

    Click on this yellow button

    You will be taken to the signup page. Here is the first set of boxes:

    Choosing your username and password

    First of all, do NOT use your Japanese IME to type; SWITCH BACK TO REGULAR ROMAN KEYBOARD INPUT BEFORE TYPING IN ANY OF THESE BOXES. The boxes are, from top to bottom:

    1. Type in your desired username. The text in the gray box on the right says your username must be between 4 and 31 characters long, and may include an underscore or numerals.

    2. Type in your desired password. The text in the gray box says your password must be between 6 and 32 characters long and CANNOT have information similar to your username or other personal information, such as your telephone number, etc. In other words, make a password that's totally different from your username.

    3. Re-type your password.

    Now for the next set of boxes:

    Enter your personal information

    For these, the very top text in the gray box on the right side says to input alphanumeric characters (regular Roman characters).

    1. Enter your ZIP code. The text in the gray box on the right side says to type "000-0000" if you're outside Japan.

    2. What sex you are. The first option is "male," the second is "female."

    3. Your birthday. Leave the first dropdown box on its default option as shown above (which translates to "Christian era" or "anno domini," "in the year of our Lord.") First box is year, second is month, third is day. For those interested, Japan often marks their years by who is reigning at the time and what number year he is in power. For example, you may see a year listed as, for instance, "Shouwa 35." This basically means "in the 35th year of Shouwa's (Hirohito's) reign." The Shouwa era lasted from December 1926 to January 1989, so Shouwa 35 roughly translates to 1960 in the Christian era.

    4. Your e-mail address. Your YJ registration information will be sent to this address, so you need to enter a legitimate address. Unfortunately, the help pages say that you CANNOT use a Yahoo.com or a Yahoo.co.jp address to register! If you try to do so, you will get an error message.

    5 and 6. The last two boxes ask about your occupation. While they do have a whole list of occupations, to make things easier I suggest choosing the last option for both, which translates to "other."

    On to the next section:

    Choose your 'secret question'

    This part deals with the "secret question" that you're asked in case you need to retrieve your password, and the "secret answer" that you need to give. The text in the gray box says you CAN use Japanese characters (hiragana and katakana), and you can also use full-width and half-width katakana. To keep things simple, I highly suggest keeping with Roman characters. Of course, if you feel like using Japanese characters, go right ahead.

    The first box, the dropdown box, is your question. I can't really understand what all the questions translate to, but here's what I can understand from some of them, so I suggest you choose one of these questions. Starting from the top of the dropdown menu:
    (default) [ Please select your question ]
    1. Favorite pet's name?
    5. Favorite team?
    7. School you graduated from?
    9. Your favorite movie?
    After you've chosen your question, enter the corresponding answer in the text box below.

    If you do not see this next section on the page, then ignore this part. If you're linking from certain parts of Yahoo Japan, you may see the following text box in your ID signup process:

    Self-introduction text box

    This is for writing a brief introduction of yourself, which will be shown if someone decides to look up more information on your user ID. This part is OPTIONAL and does NOT affect your success of signing up for an ID. You do NOT need to fill in the box.

    After that, it's pretty straightforward. In the next section, correctly enter in the text box whatever number you see in the picture. This method is used by several sites to try to prevent automated signups; they're often referred to as "turing" numbers. The following section, with all the checkboxes, asks if you want to receive news on various subjects (all in Japanese, of course). Uncheck the box if you DON'T want to receive any such news. After that, click the gray button at the bottom of the page.

    If you do not see this next section on the page, then ignore this part. If you're linking from certain parts of Yahoo Japan, you may see the following options just above the gray button:

    Agree with YJ's terms

    According to an online translator, the text is a warning saying that all email sent from your Yahoo Japan account is "mechanically analyzed" to prevent the sending of bulk email or spam messages. The default choice says "Douishinai" or "I do NOT agree." You MUST change the radio button to the first choice, which says, "Douisuru" or "I agree." If you don't do this, you will get an error message when submitting your information. After you do this, click the gray button at the bottom.

    If all your information meets YJ's conditions (password length, etc.), then you'll be taken to a page that has your new username, the e-mail address you entered, and the URL of your profile page on Yahoo Japan. Congratulations! You've just signed up a YJ user ID! ^_^

    You may receive an error for several reasons. If you've taken too long to complete the page, the turing number will be obsolete; YJ will then simply ask you to input a different turing number. You may also get an error if your username is too short or too long or has illegal characters, if your password is too short or too long, or if something is wrong with your "secret answer." (One person emailed me about that last one, but I wasn't able to duplicate her error, so I don't know what could have gone wrong.) Your error will be marked in red; I suggest going to Excite's translation page and copy-pasting the red text in the left box to translate it into English.

    [ Back to top ]

    Navigating Yahoo Japan and doing basic searches

    The layout of Yahoo Japan generally follows the layout of Yahoo.com, so if you're ever stuck, leave a browser window open on Yahoo and compare the links and layouts. Believe me, that's how I got through a lot of times when I was stuck. ^_~

    The link to the main YJ auctions page is auctions.yahoo.co.jp. Unfortunately, YJ so far doesn't allow you to search through ended auctions, although you can access an ended auction directly for about 3 months if you have the exact URL. So, KEEP THOSE AUCTION URLs!!

    When you go to YJ's main site, here's generally what you'll see (of course, the pictures will change daily):

    Yahoo Japan main page

    The text box near the top is the keyword search box.

    YJ keyword search box

    The dropdown box immediately to the right of the text box is the category box; you can limit your search to a specific category. According to Excite Japan, the list from top to bottom translates to:

  • (default) All auctions
  • Computer
  • Consumer electronics, AV, and camera
  • Music
  • Book and magazine
  • Movie, video
  • Toys and games
  • Hobby and culture
  • Antique and collection
  • Sports and leisure
  • Car and motorcycle
  • Fashion
  • Accessories and clock
  • Beauty and health care
  • Food and beverage
  • House, interior
  • Pets and animals
  • Office and store supplies
  • Flower and gardening
  • Ticket and note (don't know what exactly that means, but I think it pertains to currency)
  • Baby goods
  • Talent goods (don't know what that means)
  • Comic, animation goods
  • Real estate
  • Others
  • The link immediately to the right of the search box pulls up more search options that you can use to narrow your search. These advanced options will be covered in the next section. But I suggest you just use the keyword search box on the main YJ page. Believe me, unless you're real picky or unless you're bidding on auctions yourself without using a middleman, you won't be using the advanced options.

    Okay, after all that, we FINALLY get to the meat of the matter. For those who aren't feeling *that* adventurous yet, here's the direct link to the Final Fantasy auctions, using the search term "FAINARUFANTAJII" (more on that term later):

    Click here for the auctions.

    For those who don't have Japanese support, you can type "Final Fantasy" in Roman characters and search for that term. You'll get maybe 10 to 15 pages of stuff, which is decent. However, if you can type in katakana, you can pull up over 100 pages!

    If you have Japanese support and can type in Japanese characters, switch the writing system to katakana and type in, literally, "FAINARUFANTAJI" into the search box, then click the button beside it. (Based on this romanization, you can understand the error on the spine of the Symphonic Suite jewel case.) I know you can't see the entire thing, but this is how it looks like:

    Searching for 'Final Fantasy'

    Small notes:

    If you type *exactly* those Roman characters, you should see the corresponding katakana above appear in the box. That last character is made by typing a hyphen -- you know, a dash, a hyphen, the key between the zero and the plus sign on your keyboard. It is a *hyphen* and NOT an underscore!

    For those who may be wondering, katakana usually uses a hyphen-type character to denote long vowels or double vowels. Therefore, the romanization of "Fantasy" in "Final Fantasy" is spelled "FANTAJII" rather than "FANTAJI."

    You don't need to put the hyphen to successfully look for Final Fantasy stuff -- the beauty of YJ is that it can search for partial strings and single characters. For example, if you were to type "fant" as part of "fantasy" in eBay, most likely you won't pull up anything because it will search for only whole words. Not so with YJ. I usually type in "FAINARUFANTA" when searching in YJ, and it pulls up the FF stuff just fine.

    If you're looking for one of the FF CDs that are under the name "Seiken Densetsu," switch your writing system to hiragana and type these Roman characters to pull up the following kanji:

    Kanji 'Seiken Densetsu'

    The first two characters are "seiken" and the last two are "densetsu." There are several kanji combinations for the word "seiken," so make sure you have the right one as shown above!!

    I've noticed that typing "seiken" usually will not pull up the correct kanji. I suggest simply typing "ken" and then scrolling through the list of possible kanji until you find the correct one.

    It actually doesn't matter if the kanji for "seiken" and "densetsu" have a space between them or not -- as I said above, as long as you have the proper kanji and enough of them, YJ will search for all instances of those characters. However, in order to pull up *only* Seiken Densetsu items, type it so that no spaces are between the kanji.

    On a tangent, for more advanced searchers, if you know only a couple kanji from a particular multi-kanji term you're looking for, you can input those kanji and YJ will pull up quite a few hits, and you're likely to get some that are the particular term you're searching for. For instance, I often search for a popular anime singer named Akino Arai. But for some reason, my language support will not give me the exact sequence of kanji that make up her name. So I simply enter two particular kanji and do a search. When I find an item that has her name, I then copy it and paste it into the search box.

    Be warned, that method works best with several kanji or with multiple-character hiragana/katakana. In other words, you can't just enter the characters "NARU" and expect to pull up only Final Fantasy stuff. As an example, I often search for the terms "FAMIKON MYUUJIKKU" (Famicom music). But I usually don't remember how to spell "MYUUJIKKU " -- even now I'm not sure if that's the correct spelling -- so I usually input just "FAMIKON MYU" and it'll pull up those particular auctions just fine.

    [ Back to top ]

    Advanced search options

    If you click on the link to the right of the keyword search box on the main YJ page, you'll pull up the following set of advanced search options. Please do NOT ask me to elaborate any more on these options, as it is already going beyond the scope of this tutorial, and those going through a middleman or deputy service will never need most of these functions. Personally, I think that if you're in a position to require the use of these advanced options, then you probably don't need to be reading this tutorial. ^_~

    YJ options

    Let's take a closer look at the various options. Please note that in order to use these options, a keyword MUST be entered in one of the keyword boxes.

    -- Keyword options (they work with both kana/kanji and romaji):

    -- Category suboption:In the drop-down box, choose the category you want to search from. The categories are the same as those found in the dropdown box on the main page. Again, the list from top to bottom translates to:

  • (default) All auctions
  • Computer
  • Consumer electronics, AV, and camera
  • Music
  • Book and magazine
  • Movie, video
  • Toys and games
  • Hobby and culture
  • Antique and collection
  • Sports and leisure
  • Car and motorcycle
  • Fashion
  • Accessories and clock
  • Beauty and health care
  • Food and beverage
  • House, interior
  • Pets and animals
  • Office and store supplies
  • Flower and gardening
  • Ticket and note (don't know what exactly that means, but I think it pertains to currency)
  • Baby goods
  • Talent goods (don't know what that means)
  • Comic, animation goods
  • Real estate
  • Others
  • -- Current high bid suboption: This looks for auctions whose current high bid, in yen, is within the range that you enter. So if you put 100 in the first box and 3000 in the second box, it will look for those auctions whose high bid is currently between those prices.

    -- "Buy it now" suboption: This will search for only those auctions that have a "buy it now" price. Enter your lowest desired "buy now" price, in yen, in the left box and your highest price in the left box. For example, if you put 100 in the left box and 3500 in the right box, it will search for auctions that have a "buy it now" price between 100 and 3500 yen. The BIN price is shown in a yellow bar in the auction listing.

    'Buy it now' price

    The way I understand it, YJ's "buy it now" works quite differently from eBay's: You can bid *below* the BIN amount, but the BIN will still be listed. If the bidding doesn't reach at least the BIN amount, the seller has no obligation to sell the item. BUT, if someone bids the BIN price, then that bidder automatically wins the auction.

    Note that I have NOT tested out my theory on BIN amounts, nor have I read YJ's auction FAQ, so my above explanation may be incorrect or imcomplete.

    -- Uncertain price range suboption: I'm not sure what exactly this one is, and all my attempts to translate have left me totally lost -- as far as I can figure out, it means something like "instant buy price." This option seems to work like the "buy it now" option, although I have noticed that all auctions brought up using this option all seem to have the "store" icon. If anyone can explain the difference between this and the second option, please let me know.

    -- Prefecture suboption: Change this if for some reason you'd like to restrict your search to sellers living only in a specific area in Japan. From top to bottom, the list is:

    -- Various other options: From what I can gather, YJ allows sellers to put certain icons to catch buyers' attention or advertise special offers, and you can search for auctions that have a certain icon or other characteristics. I'm sorry to say that I have no idea what most of them mean. Because you'll be going through a middleman, you don't need to be concerned with this section. However, I'll give brief explanations here.

    Starting with the left column:

    Now for the right column:

    The dropdown menu after that searches for "special" icons. According to Excite, here's what the list literally translates to, in order from the top (when I have time, I'll also include the romanizations and hopefully get clearer translations):

    For more information on these icons, check out YJ's icons help page. You'll have to run it through a translator. Please do NOT ask me for any more information on the subject of YJ icons! As I've said before, you really don't need to concern yourself with them since you'll be going through a middleman. If the middleman has some kind of issue, then they will tell you.

    [ Back to top ]

    Making sense of search results

    After you input the search term "Final Fantasy" (or whatever search term you're using) and click on the button, you'll be taken to a page like this (again, the pictures will change daily; also, the below screenshot actually consists of 2 screens' worth of info just to give a better idea of the layout):

    YJ Final Fantasy search results

    Those links below the pictures lead to specific categories. For the more adventurous, here are the various categories associated with a Final Fantasy search and the corresponding translations (yeah, they have ENTIRE CATEGORIES dedicated to Final Fantasy merchandise!). Click on the pictures to check out that particular category:

    Auctions > Music > CD > Game music > Final Fantasy

    Auctions > Music > CD > Game music > Final Fantasy

    For some reason, people also like listing swords and knives in this category. I don't know why...

    Auctions > Books, magazines > Manga, comics > Doujinshi > Classified by title > Final Fantasy

    Auctions > Books, magazines > Manga, comics > Doujinshi > Classified by title > Final Fantasy

    For those who don't know, doujinshi, which doesn't really translate into English, are fan-made comic books based on games, anime, movies, etc. (For example, you can find a lot of Star Wars and Harry Potter doujinshi.) They're usually drawn in black-and-white, but the art in most of them is really beautiful. They're published by companies known in general as "circles."

    Auctions > Toys, games > Figures > Game characters > Final Fantasy

    Auctions > Toys, games > Figures > Game characters > Final Fantasy

    Auctions > Antiques, collections > Trading cards > TV, game > FF Art Museum

    Auctions > Antiques, collections > Trading cards > TV, game > FF Art Museum

    A note about doing searches: If you do a search and then click on a category, note that the search box will be slightly different. If you do a new search and you are WITHIN a category, note that the dropdown menu to the right of the keyword-search text box will default to "Search ONLY within this category." So if you try to do a keyword search after you've entered a category, it will be limited to items ONLY within that category. You MUST change the dropdown menu back to the FIRST choice, which will search within ALL auctions. (The kana to search in all auctions say "Subete no Auction"; if you can't read Japanese characters, compare the text to the picture in the Doing Basic Searches section to ensure that you have the right one.)

    Like eBay, YJ puts featured auctions first in a separate list, followed by the "regular" auctions. Let's examine the page more carefully, with the more important items noted:

    YJ search explanations

    I believe YJ gives sellers the option to highlight their listing in yellow so that it stands out from the rest -- the yellow highlight doesn't mean anything special other than to draw your attention to it. This is comparable to eBay's option of making your auction listing have a bold title.

    Click on the seller's name to see what other items he or she is selling. Click on the link in parentheses next to the seller's name to see his or her feedback rating.

    Sorting options: The links in the gray bar just above the auction titles allow you to sort the auctions by the various aspects. You can sort by time remaining, high bid, and number of bids. You can sort by ascending or descending. It defaults to ascending time remaining; in other words, the auctions that have less time remaining -- and therefore will be ending sooner -- are shown first. When you choose a certain aspect to sort by, there will be an arrow shown next to it; click on the arrow to change it to ascending or descending.

    Display options: YJ now has many more possible ways for you to display your search results. In the lines just above your page numbers and total number of items, there are some links you can click. If the text is bold and there is no link, it means that is the current display. The options are as follows:

    First line:
    • First link: show entire titles AND pictures. This is now the default view (the default used to be titles only). If the auction has no picture, it will have a blank box where a picture would normally be.
    • Second link: show TITLES ONLY
    • Third link: show PICTURES ONLY. Actually, this option shows you the picture *and* a small portion of the auction title. If the auction has no picture, it will have a blank box where the picture would normally be.
    Second line: These allow you to display only auctions that have a certain icon. If you haven't read that part of the tutorial, click here for a general explanation. The default for all icons is "all" (or "subete" as it says in hiragana on the web page), which means it shows all auctions with or without icons. If you click on the link (which says "nomi" in Japanese, which means "only," in this case meaning "auctions only with this icon"), you'll display only auctions that have that particular icon. From left, the icons are:
    • Obviously, "Store." I don't know what that means in YJ, however.
    • The yen symbol with two blue arrows: means the seller accepts escrow.
    • The third icon symbolizes "Yahoo payments," and once again I don't know what that means. This icon has actually changed slightly since the above screenshot was taken, but most of you don't need to worry about icons anyway.
    • The "Y!" with a yellow circle: This has to do with a Yahoo point accumulation system that's apparently new, because I never noticed this until recently ("recently" meaning sometime in 2006). Clicking on this will show items that offer points. I do NOT know how the system works, so please do NOT ask.

    In the picture above, the particular Japanese characters shown in the "Time remaining" column are in hours; if the time remaining is one hour or less, the time will be shown in red and the character will denote "minutes" remaining. Otherwise, time remaining is shown in days.

    Days, hours and minutes in kanji

    Note about auction endings: Remember that YJ works on Japanese time, which is AHEAD of U.S. time. Therefore, if an auction says it ends on August 10, it might actually end August 9, U.S. time. Also remember that while Japan usually puts their dates in the format "day/month/year," YJ uses the format "month/day."

    One drawback about YJ is that there is no way to exclude terms in the basic search. Using a minus sign doesn't seem to help. I actually haven't tried this out on Yahoo.com yet, so I don't know if it's a worldwide Yahoo thing or if it's unique to YJ.

    [ Back to top ]

    Examining auctions

    When you click on a listing, here's generally what you'll see (yeap, everyone, this was an auction for the coveted Final Fantasy VII limited-edition soundtrack ^_~ ):

    Looking closely at one particular auction

    (Yes, I know I have to update the screenshot because some things have changed.)

    Once again, it looks similar to Yahoo.com auctions. If you're going through a middleman, then you won't be using most of the links on the page. Here are the ones you'll likely be using:

    Look what else the seller is auctioning

    Explanation of some other auction info

    If you click on the link showing what other items the seller is selling, the layout and display options switch to the old system that YJ had before. I'll redo that section once I find the screenshots I had before.

    In the second picture above, there currently is no high bidder, and the kana say "nashi" (which translates generally to "without" -- in this case, an auction that is without a high bidder).

    One thing that second picture doesn't show is a "buy it now" or "reserve" amount. If there is a "buy it now" price, it will be highlighted in yellow and appear under the high bidder's user ID.

    The way I understand it, YJ's "buy it now" works quite differently from eBay's: You can bid *below* the BIN amount, but the BIN will still be listed. If the bidding doesn't reach at least the BIN amount, the seller has no obligation to sell the item. BUT, if someone bids the BIN price, then that bidder automatically wins the auction.

    Note that this might have been explained in the U.S. Yahoo.com auctions, but as I do not frequent those auctions much, I'm not sure if the rules are the same.

    'Buy it now' price

    A special note about auction ending times. Most, but not all, auctions will automatically extend their time if a bid is input in the last 5 minutes of the auction. HOWEVER, if you see the following sentence in the item description, in the section that includes the item's current high bid, the end time will NOT be extended:

    This sentence says the auction will NOT be extended

    Compare that screenshot to the previous screenshots and you will notice that extra sentence. (The sentence says "Jidou enchou wa arimasen," which translates to, "There is no automatic extension.")

    After that, it's pretty straightforward. Below that is the item picture (if any) and the item description. Right above the description or picture is a series of 3 tabs.

    YJ tabs

    The default tab, on the left, shows you the description and picture of the item (if included). The middle tab brings you to the item's bid history. The third tab brings you to an area where you can ask the seller questions and where the seller can respond. If there are any questions that have been asked, there will be a number in the parentheses in the tab.

    The box on the right side is for either creating a YJ user ID if you don't already have one, or logging in if you want to bid. However, YJ now requires a valid Japanese credit card or bank card in order to bid because it apparently charges a fee to all users, bidders and sellers alike. This is the only thing that has kept me from bidding on some auctions myself. ^_~

    YJ bidder login

    The above box will appear if you're not logged in. If you are logged in with a YJ user ID, then the box will change to something else with registration instructions that you don't need to worry about if you're going through a middleman.

    [ Back to top ]

    Regarding doujin (fan-made) CDs It's new!

    This section is intended more for Final Fantasy seekers, but if you're looking for various game, anime or other CDs, this may apply to you also.

    If you scope out YJ often enough, you'll start seeing a lot of doujin CDs. If they're not listed as "doujin" outright,they're often called "arranged" albums. They are most often collections of game music -- sometimes from just one game, sometimes from several, sometimes from a series -- that have been remixed by some fan. While these CDs are not bootlegs, they also are not officially licensed CDs. You can find doujin CDs in lots of different music styles, such as trance, rock, new age, and more. They've grown a lot in popularity in the past few years, and many who create their own CDs have gotten quite sophisticated, with obis, fancy printed covers, liner notes, and such.

    Doujin CDs are usually made in very limited numbers. I don't know how exactly the remixers get their wares out to potential customers, but some remixers do have quite a fan following and their CDs can command high prices at auction because of the very limited supply. There are also very few reviews of doujin CDs, so no matter what, you'll be taking a risk when you buy one, whether it will be something you'll utterly loathe or something you'll totally love. Still, if you'd like to have a go at it, it's a interesting subgenre to delve into.

    And that's it! You're on your way to raiding the YJ auctions! *evil grin* Remember, if you ever get stuck, compare the page to an English page at Yahoo.com. If you have any suggestions, corrections, possible additions, or other comments about this tutorial, please let me know. Have fun and good luck! ^_^

    [ Back to top ]

    Back to the main Final Fantasy CD page

    Last revised March 05, 2010