As a child, I used to have serious issues with second-hand things. The society I was brought up in was all about shopping for shiny new plastic wrapped things. It has actually taken me a long time to remove the mental stigma of second-hand goods being somehow dirty or of lesser quality, but I’m so glad now that I have.
Having said that, living in Japan gives us quite a different second-hand purchasing experience than we might have back home. Garage sales and thrift / charity stores? Forget it. The Japanese market has absolute no use for second hand goods unless they look absolutely new. The second hand stores here in Japan (also called recycle-shops) are actually rather strict with what they will and won’t take. Of course, this also means you can expect better quality (and higher prices) for second hand items than you might back home.
For those of you without great Japanese, the sign you are looking for is 中古 or リサイクル. Search for either of these terms on google maps (just copy and paste the Japanese once you’ve zoomed in) for your local area and I’m sure quite a few will come up. Don’t bother hunting around for lost treasures – recycle shops generally hold clothes, appliances and maybe have a poster board with furniture from their warehouse. They may also hold brand goods like handbags etc, but they certainly don’t have antique bargains of any sort.
Do you enjoy second hand shopping in your local recycle shops? Found any bargains? How much of your worldly possessions in Japan are second hand?