Yahoo Japan is a great place to look for unusual portable radios. However, it is not possible for us living in the states to actually open up accounts and place bids. I used a service called Japonica Market (do a google search). The way it basically works is you go to their website, copy the text from the order form, place it into an email, fill it out with the correct information, and email it. They will then send you an invoice to your paypal account for a down payment equal to your maximum bid. Once you pay that, they will bid on your behalf up to your max bid. If you do not win, they are very quick about refunding your money (I've lost 4 or 5 auctions now).
Then I finally won one - a Panasonic RF-877. Once you win, they pay for the item and have it shipped from the seller to them, then re-pack it to ship it to you. They then invoice you for shipping + commission (they charge very reasonable commissions, check out the website) minus whatever credit you had left if you won for less than the maximum bid. Once you pay that, they ship it right to you.
My experience from start to finish was very smooth. It did take them a while to actually ship out the item (I waited almost 2 weeks, though some of that would have included time for it to get from the original seller to them), but after that, I got my tracking info and had it here surprisingly quick - it was like 5 business days. Shipping from Japan to here is quite expensive, but if you can get a good deal its still worth it. Right now the conversion rate from Yen to USD is very favorable.
I ended up with a near mint RF-877 and the price broke down as follows:
$80.00 for the radio
$6.00 for shipping from the original seller to Japonica Market
$7.50 for commission
$2.50 for paypal fee
$43.20 for shipping to here
Grand total of about $140 US. Not too bad for a radio that last sold in this condition on ebay for just over $250.
As far as condition - it arrived with no damage to the box and the radio itself is near mint. Everything on it functions correctly (the light, the timer, all bands, the pop-up AM antenna, etc) and it seems to be aligned very well. I think this radio was barely used. I won't get into a lengthy review because I know this model has been reviewed here before, but I will say that its performance is excellent in all categories. Its built like a tank and is probably the coolest looking radio I own. Its also very fun to use - the tuning is silky smooth and has no backlash whatsoever. Shortwave covers about 3.8 to 12.5 KHZ. Sound quality is very good for its size and sensitivity is constant with no drop-off at both ends of the AM and SW bands. Definitely a keeper.
Now a few quick tips for using Yahoo Japan - If you're interested in FM, make sure it covers up to 108 MHZ because many Japan radios cover 76 to 90 MHZ on FM. Also use Bing Translator. Japanese to English is still difficult to understand but you should be able to get enough information from the translation. And check the conversion rate - 1000 yen right now is roughly $11.00 US, so a 10,000 yen item is about $110 bucks.