Of late I've been doing a lot of looking (and lusting) over the sheer volume and quality of smaller-wheeled bikes available in asia, and more specifically Japan.
Here in the UK, there are one or two places that will sell me a mini-velo of sorts, either a Cycroc Bike Polo bike (stripped down fixed-wheel) or distinctly feminine Bruno Ventura with balloon Cream tyres. Oh and the Dahon Sharks.
Bruno Mini 20
This isn't a bad situation at all, but since there are so many more out there I'm really tempted to grasp the nettle and try and get one imported.
In my internet travels I discovered a site called 'Rakuten Global Market' which seems to promise the world. As I understand it - the site leverages Google translate to westernise listings from the Rakuten.co.jp site (seems to be somewhere between ebay and amazon) so as to make the purchase of Japanese products directly possible; Reading the blurb, it seems they will even ask as some sort of intermediary in the transaction between you and a (most likely non-english speaking) merchant.
The skinny here:
Does anyone have any experience of buying from the site? I've looked around a bit and found evidence of people buying the odd thing with no trouble, but nothing as large as a bike so I thought I'd ask.
Why would I go to all the trouble?
Well - when you see these lovely bikes you too might be tempted?
Billion Lionel - look at the CHROME!
Unite Liv (Has sweet frame-based storage sack)