We just finished moving back to the US (west coast) and we thought we'd post a note on shipping for anyone's future reference. When we moved, we did it the hardest possible way, thanks in part to information gleened from Taira, but due mostly to bad timing. Last year someone posted moving info and recommended, Saburo Koike, International Express Co., Ltd.,2-1-18 Kaigan, Minato-ku Tokyo 105. We don't. Our schedule put our move about 10 days before Obon, so we tried contacting the above a couple of weeks before that. After a couple of days of trying, we got ahold of him. For the next several days, we got into a rhythm of Koike-san promising to fax info and we calling and leaving him messages to remember to fax us. The final cycle consisted of his vehement promise to fax, followed the next day by our call and the news he had taken 10 days of Obon yasumi Eleaving us less than a week to our departure and Obon with no shipper and no info!
Just by luck we came across ValueMove: phone 0120-682-444, fax 03-3589-1065 and http://www.occidental.co.jp and email to moovers[at]occidental.co.jp We can't recommend this great crew of Aussie and New Zealand movers enough! In less than 24 hours they had made all the arrangements for picking up all our stuff in Tsukuba (27 boxes @ 370 kg and 1.4 cubic m) and the transport to the US. They even made it possible for us to leave Japan before our stuff was picked up. All we did was pack the boxes, although they could have arranged that too. In total, the cost was „120,000 in Japan, and $40 in the US. Our stuff made the trip in 3 weeks (faster than seamail!?) and nothing was broken, including anything from close to 200 pieces of pottery. We cleared US customs ourselves (10 minutes and no charges) and picked up our own boxes, which saves about $300 as opposed to going through a customs broker (which Koike's company recommeds). It took a bit of driving and a lot of time on this side, but considering the savings, I was glad to do it. So if anyone is looking for a good moving company, call this one.
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