On March 22nd, I did post about How to Connect Your Washing Machine here in Japan. Did you get a chance to read it? Well, inside of the video on that post, I mentioned that I got a free washing machine! I also mentioned that I would tell you about it later. Well…now is later, lol. I truly wasn’t mentioning the washing machine to boast “Hey check me out, I got a free washing machine.” I wanted to tell you exactly how I was able to do it.
I live in an amazing city called Tsukuba (it’s part of the reason I didn’t just leave Japan, part of the reason I may have been stupid for staying after the Earthquake) and it’s a city that chock-full of researchers, scientists, and students (Tsukuba University). The good thing about this, is that many of the research institutes may have hired people from other countries, ones that come to Japan, but don’t end up staying forever. Depending on the company and their research, these researchers and scientists may stay for a short time or an extended one. So you end up with cycles of influx and out flux. When these people leave, what do they do with their appliances? Some throw them out and others may try to take them (but that’s rare I’m guessing). Some list these items on a a city service called TAIRA.
TAIRA is an acronym: Tsukuba Area International Residents Association. This is an online congregation of foreigners here in the city that is EXTREMELY useful. You can find jobs in the area, get news (in English), find Japanese classes, find dirt-cheap appliances, and more. When I was changing apartments I had to buy so many appliances. I have had a couple of friends to make the joke that I’m rich because I bought so many appliances at one time, but this is absolutely not the case. Actually I’m having to penny pinch because I know with my next job I’ll have that month in the hole before I actually get paid…sigh.
Now, does TAIRA always have good deals? No. There are times where I’ve searched for appliances and couldn’t find anything I liked. Or, maybe a seller might not have taken good care of their appliances, so they post some items that are pretty beaten up. I think the key to this service is checking back regularly. There are a variety of sellers and items to choose from. Seasons can make a difference, too. In the the transition from winter to spring (namely in late March) a lot of companies are sending workers to different areas, and you end up with a lot of things posted on TAIRA. When I was moving and getting antsy about appliances, I posted an ad requesting a washing machine and got two responses the same day (unfortunately both of them fell through).
It’s a really cool service if you have some time to check it out:
If you’re in the area, it may be worth your while to go to the link above and join their mailing list. That way you can get constant updates on the latest TAIRA posts. This also enables you to start making posts on your own. This can be a bit tricky if you’re doing it for the first time but on TAIRA’s main page there’s a tab on the left hand side called “posting” which gives you instructions on how to do it.
-I bought a microwave/oven combo for 6000 yen (new retail value of very same one is 17,800)
-I was able to buy a refrigerator for 2500; 1500 for the unit and 1000 for transport (It’s not the best quality, but it works perfectly).
Washing machine- Free, but I paid a family who was also doing a TAIRA appliance pickup 2000 yen to transport the washer to my apartment (I don’t have a car).
Unfortunately TAIRA isn’t everywhere, but for those needing appliances badly, it may be something to consider, because even if you had to drive for a while to get the items, you could end up getting a sweet deal on something you really need. If the seller is moving in a hurry, heck, you may even get something for free.