This is not quite food related, but I thought it might be of interest if you’re reading this site and like to order Japanese books, DVDs and other media.
I go through books like I can go through a bag of potato chips. I order quite a lot of books almost every month from Japan. I don’t have a local Japanese bookshop available, so I get everything from online stores.
I’ve ordered books in the past mainly from three sources: Amazon Japan , Yes Asia  and JList . (Disclaimer: Just Hungry is an affiliate of all three companies, and product links do contain affiliate code that helps to pay costs for running the site.) Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
The immediate disadvantage here for a lot of people is that the site is in Japanese. While it’s possible to switch to an English version, the only parts that do actually switch to English are the ordering info parts. None of the reviews, descriptions, or even the product name are translated. This is not an issue for me, but it would be if you didn’t read Japanese.
The main plus for Amazon Japan, and the reason why I personally shop here the most, is that the selection is huge, and as with other Amazons the stock situation is usually accurate. The base price of the books is the lowest of all three vendors, since they just sell at the retail price. (There’s usually a discount for DVDs, CDs and other media. New books are not discounted by any bookseller in Japan.) And as with all the Amazons the ordering process is dead easy and familiar.
The big minus to Amazon Japan is that as of March 2007  they eliminated all shipping options for overseas shipping except for the very expensive courier service (which is usually DHL here, though occasionally it’s Fedex). On the other hand, delivery is very fast - I usually get my orders within about 5 business days if everything in my order is in stock.
JList (or the PG-rated version of the same site, JBox ), the mailorder source for all kinds of fun things from Japan, is based in both Japan and San Diego, USA. The site is entirely in English, and prices are in US$. Ordering is a breeze here, and there are several delivery options. In my experience quoted delivery times are quite accurate. The main drawback for book lovers is that the selection of books is very small. Also, the base price of each book is quite high.
Yes Asia is located in Hong Kong. Their site is available in four languages - Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese - besides English. It’s easy to switch between each. The main plus of YesAsia is that international shipping costs are included in the price. You can also get the prices in your local currency. It’s the most internationally aware site of them all.
There is a drawback to YesAsia though, and that’s the delivery times. In my experience they can be sometimes so slow that I’ve forgotten I’ve even placed an order by the time I get it. It’s taken up to 16 weeks to receive something from then, though usually I do get things within 4 to 6 weeks.
Neither books nor other media here are discounted off of the suggested retail price, at least for Japanese products.
I tried placing an order for a single book, up to the point where I have to enter my payment information, on all three sites. The book I tried is Watashi tachi no obento (Our Obento). Shipping is to Switzerland, and the cost may vary for your location.
One more option is to use a package consolidation and delivery service, such as DankeDanke . I have not used any of these services, so I can’t say anything about them, but they might be worth a try. They are good for things other than books too. (I can occasionally use my mother for a ‘free’ version of this service but I don’t want to bother her too much either!)
I hope this has been helpful. If you have any experiences with other ways of buying books and media from Japan, please let us know in the comments.