Welcome to Japan!

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??Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture???.

2 weeks, 10 Auction houses, 9 Hotels, 9 cities, 2 car yards, 5 bullet train rides, more than 30 cars purchased, 1,000++ kms traveled by car.

Welcome to Japan???the land of the rising sun, the land of Naruto, the land of manga and anime, the land of sushi and sashimi, and the land of ??the bullet train…Sounds like a Rockstar Tour??? Amazing race? Vacation Adventure?

Nah, although it felt like all of that, it wasn???t any of the above.?? It rather was a regular albeit crammed and hectic 2-week IBC Japan Buy Trip that brings you all over Japan – from the Kansai (West) area:?? Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto, Nagoya, Chubu to the Kanto (East) area:?? Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba, Tokyo Bay, Kisarazu.?? We were NOT on an all expense paid vacation. Rather, we were given the opportunity to discharge our duties onsite, ??in Japan that is, ??to ??buy and inspect cars, learn the business process, inspection process and most importantly get to know the cars up close and personal.

 

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At the USS Tokyo Auction House, getting up close and personal with the Lhamborginis and the Ferraris

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Trying on for size???.at the Kisarazu Tokyo Bay yard driving a 2012 TOYOTA LANDCRUISER RHD??

 

Cold Days???.. Warm Reception

I took the trip in the last two weeks of November 2013 with our IBC Sales and Services Director, Minoy Villaruel.?? It was harshly cold when we got there – temperature was as low as 10 degrees and below.?? It was the tail end of autumn and the start of winter.?? In Tokyo Bay, we could see from afar the snow capped tip of Mt Fuji, an awesome sight we appreciated as we were shivering in the cold afternoon under the glaring sun.?? What a conundrum!

 

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Minoy and I bundled up on a cold morning on board the Shinkansen en route to Nagoya???

However, no matter the cold weather???the Japanese reception was oh so warm!?? I felt the warmth from the top of my head to the tips of my toes???from the IBC Japan Kyoto office colleagues to the auction house staff and employees, to the everyday Japanese people we met along the way, in the trains, in convenience stores and restaurants. Everyone was simply extremely courteous and polite always greeting you with a smile and Iraisshai mase! (Welcome to my store) and with the oft heard phrase Arigatou Gozaimasu (thank you)!?? If I had a dollar for everytime I heard Arigatou Gozaimasu I would have had enough to pay for my round trip plane fare.

 

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at the IBC Japan?? Kyoto office ??????????????????????????????????

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??with the IBC Japan Shipping girls at the Kyoto office?????????????????????????????

 

IMG_0126????with Benson Tiu, Chuchie Niere and the auction staff at the Kobe car yard

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??Favorite Auction House???.Favorite City

Japan is every car buyer???s dream.???? Used cars are the country???s no. 1 exports and auction houses are a very big business in Japan.?? Everyday from Monday to Saturday there is an auction going on with over 20,000 cars for sale every week.

Picture a huge cinema with a huge parking area and a carpark building.?? That ??essentially is what an auction house looks like. ??Save for one auction house in Osaka where auctions are done traditionally with an auctioneer who speaks a mile a minute and bidders who raise their hands to indicate their bids, all bids for the cars being flashed on the screens in the auction houses are done silently via a button found on your desk.

We visited 10 auction houses and bought and inspected cars in each one of those.?? My favorite auction houses were the biggest auction houses: ??USS Nagoya with its ultra new modern building and facilities, located in my favorite city, the new and bustling metropolis of Nagoya, and the biggest auction house in all of Japan, USS Tokyo with an average of 10,000 cars for sale every Thursday.

 

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Auction Houses:?? USS Nagoya, HAA Kobe, USS Yokohama

 

Surreal

My trip to Japan was very surreal..???I have worked in iCOMM for 6 years and in IBC Sales & Services for 4 years.?? All that time I was content to view the checklists of the cars in stock, auction sheets of those available in the auctions and chat and email regularly with the Japan staff. ??However, everything is indeed better when seen live and in person.?? Nothing compares to seeing everything firsthand, getting to know the staff personally, and seeing the car yards and auction houses. ??It would seem that everything was larger than life, the checklist and photos do not really do a car justice and my imagination did not come close.

The trip was in itself an amazing race going from city to city, , from car to bus and on foot, changing hotels each night, one auction house to the next to inspect and buy cars we can sell to our customers.?? At the end of it all is not a reward or a prize for the winner but knowledge gained and an experience worth every frenzied moment.