Fanclubs are great, but if you’re an overseas fan (a fan living outside of Japan, that is), then you don’t get to join fan clubs such as HYDEIST/VAMPADDICT, DEARS, Le Ciel, etc… Sucks, right? However, there is a way around this issue. The only reason why overseas fans can’t join these fan clubs is because you are required to have a Japanese address, not because you’re not Japanese. But I as just mentioned, there is a way around this issue – it’s just going to cost you a little more money than it were if you were living in Japan. Read on below to find out how you can bypass this ridiculous system:
1. Ask a friend:
This may seem like the most obvious choice, so I won’t go into too much detail. But basically, if you know someone living in Japan, you might want to ask them if they can assist you with filling out the fan club membership form. Or, if you’re able to do it on your own, politely ask your friend if you can use their address to join the fan club and have your fan club goods sent there. You and your friend can discuss payment/shipping arrangements for your goods.
2. Use a shipping service:
If you don’t have a friend or know of anyone living in Japan, utilizing a shipping service may be your only option. A shipping service is a service that provides you with a Japanese address, which is usually some kind of warehouse in Japan, and once your item arrives at the warehouse, it’s forwarded to you. Other shipping services, in the case of applying for J-Rock fan clubs, will actually fill out the application and set everything up for you so you don’t have to worry about not being able to read the fan club membership form (since it is entirely in Japanese). Such shipping services are: Celga, Mukunoki, and Tenso. Please note, however, that Mukunoki is no longer available. Celga and Tenso are two of many shipping services available.
Celga: Celga is notorious for being a little pricey, however from my experience, they are excellent at communication and responding to e-mails promptly. In order to apply for fan club membership with Celga, you need to send them an email here: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell them in the email the fan club you are interested in joining. Once they respond, they will provide you with further instructions. It will generally take 1-2 months to receive your fan club membership card and in the case of VAMPADDICT/HYDEIST, your VAMPS TIMES newspaper as well. Each month thereafter, in order to keep receiving your monthly VAMPS TIMES newspaper, you need to fill out a “shipping request” form on the Celga website, so it would be best if you registered on Celga’s website in order to keep track of your orders. So, you will receive notification from VAMPADDICT that the new issue of VAMPS TIMES is being shipped. Once you learn that the new issue of VAMPS TIMES is being shipped, you fill out a shipping request form. Celga will send you an email confirming your order and you will be prompted to pay for shipping of the VAMPS TIMES newspaper (it’s generally $20). If you have any other questions, please email Celga directly and they will be happy to assist you.
Tenso: Tenso is slightly cheaper, but I am not aware of the advantages/disadvantages of Tenso over Celga. They also assist people with joining J-Rock fan clubs, but you will need to email them and ask for more information. Be sure to include the fan club you wish to join (i.e. VAMPADDICT/HYDEIST, DEARS, Le Ciel, etc…). You can visit the Tenso website here: http://www.tenso.com
For those currently using Mukunoki:
As you may already know, Mukunoki is no longer providing services for J-Rock fan clubs. So now what do you do? You can re-start your membership with Celga, but you’ll need to pay all over again. Another option is to use Tenso. Unlike Celga, Tenso also provides you with a unique Japanese address that you can use to buy Japanese goods online at Japanese sites such as Amazon Japan, Yahoo! Japan, etc… So you can register with Tenso (which is free). Log into VAMPADDICT or HYDEIST and pull up your information that displays your name and address. From there, you can change the address and enter the Japanese address given to you on Tenso’s website. This is only recommended if you can read a little bit of Japanese and/or you are familiar with filling out Japanese address forms. If you are not familiar, please contact the service providers at Tenso and they will guide you through the process. You should not have to restart your VAMPADDICT/HYDEIST membership (or any other fan club membership you have with Mukunoki for that matter). I believe there is a fee involved, but you will need to discuss that with the Tenso service providers. Please check out Tenso’s website here for the contact information: https://www.tenso.com/en/inquiry/. Fill out the form and say you currently have [insert your fan club membership here] from Mukunoki and would like to use Tenso to forward your fan club items. Ask how you can go about doing so and someone should respond to you shortly.