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Friday, March 26, 2010

My job at HobbyLink Japan

It's awesome!

(That's my car in the front of the shot, btw. Oh wait! I am missing a hubcab...)

As many of you already know (and now everyone else does) I work for a company which sells Japanese anime, manga, and hobby related products via the internet. Or to put it simply so everyone knows what I am referring to, I WORK FOR HOBBYLINK JAPAN! And it's awesome! Oh wait, I already said that.

Some people have asked what my job entails and more specifically how it relates to Gunpla. Having asked for, and received, permission to blog about my position I am going to use this blog entry to tell everyone a little about what I do each day.

If I had a job title it would be 'Wholesale Account Representative'. Sound fancy, doesn't it. That's because I made that title up for myself, so I feel important. Aside from retail, HobbyLink Japan also has a wholesale department for businesses who wish to purchase large amount of products at less than retail prices. My job is to take orders from wholesale customers, co-ordinate shipments, track down hard to find products, occasionally offer input and/or advice on product lines, and so on and so forth. While that may not sound too exciting, I will remind you that I AM SURROUNDED BY GUNPLA!!!

I have a confession to make. When I first started here I didn't really know what Gundam Plastic models were. I am an action figure guy. Before moving to Japan I had amassed a very large collection of various action figures and had them packed securely away in boxes or hanging all over my apartment walls. Star Wars, Mcfarlane Toys, Final Fantasy. You name it, chances are some kind of figure variation was in my apartment somewhere. I sold everything to move to Japan.

Shortly after starting my employment here the first indication, for me, that Gunpla was enormously popular, was seeing a whole truckload of Master Grade Sinanju hit our warehouse and piece after piece being packed and shipped out at rapid pace. I also started noticing that a large amount of the wholesale customers I am responsible for were ordering Gunpla. And lots of them.

"Why are these so popular?", I thought.

So I decided to try one out and see for myself. That first one, the MG Shin Musha Gundam (the one that inspired me to start this blog), set the hook and now I cannot get free, even when I tell myself that I have better uses for my time and money. Hobbies are like that. Then I started reading into Gundam plastic models on various internet forums and blogs and discovered that you don't just build Gundam models, you can also paint them and customize them as well! Now I will never get free...

But back to job...

Here's some shots and commentary to give an idea what a day at HLJ is like for me.

First off, here is the most important spot in the entire building. This is where the magic is created. Well, to be more truthful, this is where my daily drinks are created. It's the vending machine area.
I usually hit this place first thing in the morning to grab some kind of tea (I don't drink coffee). There's nothing like a good FREE drink to get you going.

And here's my desk. As you can see, um.. ya, this is definitely my desk.

It was thursday yesterday which meant new Gunpla releases! Knowing thursday is new kit release day I was able to run outside and snap some picture of the truck being unloaded. Often we will open up the carton on the spot and have a look at the newest big Gunpla release.

Look! It's the 30th anniversary PG Aile Strike with clear armour! And the Shin Musha Gundam Sengoku no Jin! It's back!

Once the Gunpla is moved into the warehouse and received into the system, one piece of each new release makes its way to the office where the box is scanned in order to place the pictures on its product page, and then the item description is written or tweaked. And that's my job too! Here's what my desk area looked like when the new Unicorn hit a couple of weeks ago.

And here's what I will be working with later today.

I open the box, drool, look at the contents, flip through the manual, meditate with a couple of runners in each hand for inspiration, and try to write as informative and detailed description as I can. I try also to cross-link the kits to their respective Bclub hands/parts, decals, and kit variations so people looking to purchase a kit can also easily see what else is available.

And after staring at Gunpla kits all day I get the urge. I get restless. Sometimes you may even see me building gunpla at my desk during break time or after work. Then I hop in my car, drive home, kiss my wife, sit down to dinner with my family, put the daughter to bed, and then.. you guessed it; Gunpla!

And the next day I hop in the car and drive to work and do it all over again. And it's awesome!


  1. Your job is like a heaven for all the Gunpla modellers out there

  2. I agree. Reading your post makes me shed tears of agony and joy. Oh the pain.

  3. OMG UR WORKING ON DA PG AILE STRIKE CLEAR VERSION OMG!!!!! cann u get me discount lol like seriously im not jking lol

  4. I envy you...
    Stay in Japan, and work for HLJ...
    A dream for a lot of us...

  5. this might be one of the best gunpla blog posts ive ever read. this is amazing. your job is awesome but its even better because you werent into gundam before and now your eyes have been opened. i just saw the pg strike clear parts, and titanium finish gundam today myself. along with the pg variations. very cool.

    just one thing... why do you only build mg's? im glad you got the hg hazel. they're quite nice too! very quick in comparison to mg's and a helluva lot more model options.

    dream job for sure. you made the right choice coming to japan for this one. experience of a lifetime!

  6. Aha! I knew it! You have the best-est job in the whole world! :)

  7. For me ~ its the most awesome job that i never had in this life ~~ i wish i could work in japan~~

  8. Thanks Gaijin. I actually found out what your posistion is a couple weeks ago via a bit of good old facebook stalking ^^; It's great to read about it in such detail. A thoroughly engrossing and well written post.

    Love to hear about what inspired you to move to Japan next =)

  9. +1 for the photo of the building as well. Awesome architecture.

  10. Best job in the world I wish I could at least live in japan

  11. amn,did ur company sold this gunpla to local customer besides selling it via internet?

  12. Holy crap! Extreme dream job, anyone?

    It's no wonder you have such easy access to Gunpla. I really so wish I were in your position right about now, it seems so perfect!

    Besides, with so much Gunpla around you, it's impossible to retire from Gunpla! ^^

  13. Thanks everyone! I knew that this post would generate a lot of excitement and perhaps a little bit of jealousy. To answer some questions.

    *No, I cannot give anyone any discounts as per company policy. ;)

    *I only build MGs because I really like the engineering of the frame and the mechanics involved. I have built an HGUC or two and they look great but there isn't much going on 'under the hood'.

    *We only sell via the net but we do have japanese customers as well. That is mostly what is for. With the amount of gunpla available in Japan, japanese business will mostly by from Bandai or its distributors.

    *Tonzo, I moved to japan to deepen my study of Japanese martial arts, and to be with my girlfriend at the time (now wife) who was returning to Japan after almost a year in Canada.

    Glad everyone enjoyed reading about my job and it's true, with so much Gunpla around, it's impossible to stop.

  14. Nice set up you have there, sounds great! I was wondering where those shelves-full-of-gunpla photos came from (saw them on /toy/), now I know!

    HLJ is a great site, it was my primary source of Gunpla before I found better prices somewhere else. However, it's the definitely best for making Japan's extensive hobby world available and understandable to English speakers such as myself. Keep up the good work!

  15. Hi Shinra,

    Thanks for the comment. You say you saw these photos elsewhere? Do you have a link? I would be interested in checking it out.

  16. Just got back from Toronto and read this amazing post. I love your job!!! Jealous to hell about it!!!

    So in the future, if I decide to do some gunpla business, you can assist me with wholesale pricing and logistic stuff???

    I love what you have done with your office desk. I wish I can do that too.

    Again, great post and thanks for sharing those photos at HLJ too!

  17. No, they were on the /toy/ board on 4chan. Probably gone by now. No one was claiming them as their own (didn't source you either). People were drooling over all the Gunpla though!

  18. Hey G.G., I can definitely help you out if you want to do some gunpla business. If you need more details, let me know.

  19. Thanks GaiGun,

    My email address is:

    Pls drop me a line so that I may acquire your email address. Let me consolidate a set of questions to seek your expertise.

  20. You work for my main gundam retailer!
    I've spent well over €1000 at HLJ.
    One question, are the unicorn ver ka waterslide decals really discontinued?!
    I cant find any to put on my OVA version.

  21. awesome so when I order at HLJ maybe you are one of them who accept my order ;)

  22. Sorry for the late reply guys!

    @Zro: As far as I can tell those Unicorn Ver Ka waterslides are discontinued. I can't even find them in Akihabara anymore. If you want some good decals try

    @moemoekyun: I have worked in the packing part of the warehouse to get a feel for how things operate at HLJ but now my primary position involves dealing with wholesale orders. All retail orders are picked and packed by the lovely ladies in the warehouse.

  23. im still wondering about hlj shipping, does it really charge shipping per item? not by total buying weight?

    nice blog anw,... ^^b

    and by any chance, does there any job vacancy there? (just kid)

  24. You have an awesome job my friend,i'm jealous

  25. aww man....envy! lol, how did you get such an awesome job? ^-^

  26. I'm an absolutely noobie, and by noobie I mean that I have ordered my very first gundam [HG Hi-Nu Gundam GPB Color], and I'm waiting for it to be delivered here in Colombia, and if I find this to be my thing I think I'll order the RG RX-78-2 Gundam.


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