Friday, November 26, 2010

Foster Flea Market

When we lived in California, our neighbors would have yard sales almost every weekend it seemed. Matt and I never had one. I guess we just never had enough stuff stored away that we weren't using. In Okinawa, no one has yard sales. Instead, they take their old junk to the Flea Markets we have here. The Flea Markets are run by the US bases, and they rotate bases each weekend. There are a few conditions, however. In order to sell at the Flea Market, you must be an American (SOFA status personnel - basically, you have orders from the US Government to be here), you must pay $15 to secure a spot, and you must have patience while hoards of Japanese people practically mob you.

I had been saving up a bunch of my old clothes, jewelry, shoes and home decor items for the last year and a half, and I was planning on donating them to the Marine Thrift Shop that we have on base. It was only after a few of my girlfriends told me about the Flea Market that I decided to give it a try. Our base (Camp Foster) hosts the Flea Market the first weekend of each month, so a few weekends ago, Matt and I lugged all of our plastic garbage bags full of belongings down to his truck and drove over to the location, which is simply a parking lot. We were surprised at how many Americans were in line to pay for a spot and sell their things - there was literally a line of cars wrapped around the block! We were even more shocked at how many Japanese people were there waiting to shop! The basic concept is that Americans sell, and the Japanese locals buy.

The line to sell

Japanese people waiting at the gate like zombies ready to mob us

After waiting in line for about 30 minutes, we set up our spot right as the Flea Market opened at noon. Everyone basically sells their things right out of their cars. A few people set up tables and things, but most just lay everything out on blankets, which is what we did. Matt also fashioned a clothing line on the back of his truck to hang up some of the nicer clothes on. We were setting up our spot and selling at the same time. We were swarmed from the moment we got out of our car! They were asking us what we had and were even rummaging through our garbage bags that we hadn't even opened yet. It was insane! I don't know how I would have done it without Matt there helping me. He was trying to set up and deal with the money while I was constantly being bombarded with questions about prices. At one point, I was trying to untangle a mess of necklaces that had gotten balled up in one of the bags, and little Japanese women were everywhere, asking me for the necklaces. I wasn't able to untangle them fast enough, so one of the women actually purchased the tangled mess from me as it was! The market lasts three hours, and I would say it pretty much stayed at this pace until the last hour or so.

Check out this video clip of the Flea Market:

Matt and I started the day out with 6 1/2 bags of stuff, and we ended up with 1/2 a bag and $430! We were so impressed - the Flea Market was crazier than any yard sale I've ever seen, but it was fun and well worth it in the end!



  1. "I Like It" (heard that playind as Matt videoed). Great way to increase your income and clean house. (I soooo need to do this! So I'm sending stuff over and will try to follow - jk, oc!) Hugs! <><

  2. Are the Japanese locals always allowed on the bases? How much did the lady pay for the ball of necklaces? I think this is cool and looks like fun!