Left: Men's clothing; Right: Women's clothing (Photo: Takeshi Matsukawa)

New York Joe Exchange

Fringe shopping at the Shimokitazawa clothing exchange

Left: Men's clothing; Right: Women's clothing (Photo: Takeshi Matsukawa)
Takeshi Matsukawa   - 3 min read

Second-hand goods are amazing in Japan. However, where are the best bargains to be had? At thrift shops or recycling shops? It’s hard to say, but one thing is for sure, the New York Joe Exchange (NYJE) is what I would call an “in-between shop.” Not only is it a great place to browse and shop for second-hand stuff, but they also let you sell your own used goods for cash or credit. Trading in your used stuff isn’t that common in Japan yet, but it’s catching on. And if you have unique goods (specifically apparel and accessories) to trade, then you’re going to love NYJE. NYJE is attempting to promote the recycling by making second-hand shopping fun and stylish. The more interesting the product, the more they will promote it.

The chain’s first shop opened in Shimokitazawa three years ago, in the Ichiban-gai business area, situated on the north side of the station, right next to the residential area. Shoppers and neighbors walk side-by-side throughout the day, making it a friendly place. Indeed, the store used to be a sento (communal bathhouse) in a previous incarnation. The name New York Joe actually comes from the Japanese pronunciation of "bathhouse", or, "nyu-yoku jyo", so the owners have a nice sense of humor.

New York Joe’s interior is utilized to the maximum, with plenty of rough and ready scaffolding holding up the inventory and store exhibits while providing easy access for shoppers.

NYJE mainly handles second-hand clothes and offers three levels of trading:

• Buy – The buy authentic and interesting goods with no restriction. You get 30% cash back from the appraisal value. You will need a passport to do a transaction.

• Sell – Anything under 10000 Yen. The average price 2000 Yen.

• Trade – You get to cross-trade your goods for other goods in the store, at a rate of 60% of the appraisal value.

NYJE doesn’t just handle popular brands. In fact they will acquire anything that is unique and interesting, including clothing, headgear, shoes, accessories and other stuff. Their criteria for judging the quality of clothes is simply whether they are cool or not. They are looking for clothing for every season, whether or not it happens to be that season right at the moment.

So check your things in the closet before you come to Japan? You might find you have some stuff that will sell well here, and NYJE will help you do that. It’s fun, and you’ll get to meet some interesting people in Shimokitazawa.

Takeshi Matsukawa

Takeshi Matsukawa @takeshi.matsukawa

Spent most of my time in Fukui. Rural quiet is great.