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Old 11-25-2009, 01:56 PM   #1
Nestor Cubas
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Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Hi. In adition to Karate and Aikido I practice Iaido. and I was in Japan in january and wanted to buy an Iaito but I didnt knew(still dont) how the US custom check may see my ''sword''.
So didnt buy it affraid it may be ''confiscated'' haha. But my training partner is going to Japan in one month and want to know if he can bring it to my country (Honduras) but the ticket is transiting through US too. can Anyone knows the politics here and guide me... thanks!.
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:04 PM   #2
Victoria Pitt
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Quote:
Nestor Cubas wrote: View Post
Hi. In adition to Karate and Aikido I practice Iaido. and I was in Japan in january and wanted to buy an Iaito but I didnt knew(still dont) how the US custom check may see my ''sword''.
So didnt buy it affraid it may be ''confiscated'' haha. But my training partner is going to Japan in one month and want to know if he can bring it to my country (Honduras) but the ticket is transiting through US too. can Anyone knows the politics here and guide me... thanks!.
If it is traveling through the US, its not the final destination so US law isn't going to matter in this case. If there is a stop, leave the airport with all the luggage and come back later, US law then will apply.

Why not have it shipped via DHL or UPS?

~Do one thing each day that scares you...~
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:17 PM   #3
Nestor Cubas
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

DHL would be fine but its cheaper bringing it as luggage, and here in Honduras there are "evil" people who open the boxes to "verify" you dont bring something harmful or illegal. One time my cousin´s playstation game God of War 2 was confiscated because "it was an lillegal game" they said.
So am affraid my Iaito ends at an ignorant officer´s living room wall. So, it may pass through US as a tourist luggage??
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:25 PM   #4
Victoria Pitt
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Yes, so long as it isn't carry on. It must be checked into the baggage hold. Not that you can take a sword on the plane anyway, but I just wanted to be clear.

That doesn't mean that customs in your country won't take a look at it.

That is at least my experience with world travel. I never had to worry at the in-between stops and layovers so long as my luggage was checked. Once at the final destination, that is another story entirely.

Hope this helps.

~Do one thing each day that scares you...~
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:39 PM   #5
Nestor Cubas
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Thanks Victoria!!! it helps me. You are an US citizen right?! so if in your experience had not trouble traveling with your Iaito/bokken I feel more safe about it. In Honduras there are no problem Because when my sensee comes (from Brazil, througj Panama) they allow him to enter with Iaito.

Thanks again. Any other experience is welcome!!!!!
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Old 11-25-2009, 02:53 PM   #6
Victoria Pitt
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

^^ Yes I am. I tried to bring a sword from Germany to the US once... The problem wasn't the sword, it was trying to walk on the plane with it (I totally forgot it was in my bag). After the sword was removed from my bag, I was politely escorted to the gate by the very nice German security guard who handed my sword, now wrapped in florescent "achtung!" tape to the person at the gate who put it in the hold of the aircraft.

Sword (and myself) show up safely in Chicago and were reunited 10 hours later.

The end. =)

~Do one thing each day that scares you...~
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Old 11-25-2009, 04:41 PM   #7
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

I brought a sword from Spain to the US and I didn't have a problem. I just had it in my checked luggage.

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 11-27-2009, 10:40 PM   #8
otomo
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Nestor, you should not have any kind of problem, as long as blade is blunt, as all iaitos should be, it's just another "toy", still you'd be wise to research how strong is your country's (the final destination) legislation about "belic toys" it might fall on that category in the eyes of some custom agents...expecting a little something in return..

At any rate be ready to give a broad speech about how it is a harmless tool for martial arts training, sports practice etc...

And don't pay too much attention to that god of war 2 episode, the agent saw a chance and took it.
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Old 11-28-2009, 06:17 AM   #9
Brett Charvat
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

I travel from the USA back to Japan about once a year expressly for iai training, and I've never had a problem either here or there with my iaito. Just be prepared to spend a bit more time at the airport in both countries. You may have to be escorted from baggage claim to the exit by staff (in the States), and you may have to check in with the airport police and let them examine it to ensure it's actually a mogito and not a shinken (in Japan), but all of it is very easy and simply involves a bit of extra time. And you may have to suffer through a difficult conversation with a customs agent about how his brother used to do Tae Kwon Do and had some swords "just like that." I suggest smiling and nodding.
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:08 AM   #10
Toby Threadgill
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Nestor,

I teach kenjutsu all over the world and have had very few problems traveling with swords. Traveling from Japan thru the US on your way to Honduras should be no problem as far as US Customs goes. The sword will not actually pass thru the hands US Customs officials as it will be in the secured control of airline personnel. Your only issue will be passing thru Honduran customs at your destination, but given you are transporting an iaito / mogito, I cannot imagine any issues.

FWIW...I have had more problems with national transport as opposed to international. During one European tour I taught in both Munich and Berlin. It was going from one city to another inside Germany that raised questions requiring phone calls by the German police. It was resolved without any problems but did cause a delay of perhaps 30 minutes.

Good luck,

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
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Old 12-01-2009, 10:05 AM   #11
Nestor Cubas
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Ashley, Nestor, Brett, Toby and Victoria thank you a lot.
I feel more confortable about giving my money to my partner to buy the Iaito for me in Japan.
I was very affraid to loose it hahaha. Its funny the story from Victoria in Germany!
One more question: if bringing the Iaito, it should be in an alummin (metal case) or any baggage is fine? its better to bring it alone or in the same baggage of your Gi, Obi, clothes etc? to make easy the explanation to the officer...
Sorry my bad inglish, I am an spanish speaker who learned inglish playing RPG videogames.
Thanks in advance!!!
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Old 12-01-2009, 12:26 PM   #12
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

I had mine wrapped up in with my clothes. It was just fine. I would only suggest that if you have a nice durable suitcase though (either strong side walls or the hard suitcases). You don't want some cheap suitcase that gets crushed too easy holding your iaito!

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 12-01-2009, 02:46 PM   #13
Brett Charvat
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

I travel with my iaito in a hard sided plastic rifle case. It's fairly lightweight, and I've not had any problems with damage from baggage handlers (yet). Also, it's much easier for the typical "get it out so we can make sure it's not a shinken" encounters if it's alone in its own case. I will also note that when I do get my shinken, it will only travel in a very high-grade case (Pelican or something of equal quality and security). Good luck with your purchase.
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:17 PM   #14
Nestor Cubas
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Lets Hope it comes to me!!

Hi, today my partner is on his way to Japan. gave him the money necesary to buy the iaito, the cleaning kit, the carrying bag and the extra baggage charge.
So, I faithfuly hope i can recive my new iaito next january....
Thanks to all again. will report to you when I recive it.
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Old 01-07-2010, 04:28 PM   #15
Nestor Cubas
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Hi, me again. My friend did get the Iaito but... a new problem appears. Continental Airlines in Japan said him that for tha extra baggage the charge is $230 US DOLLARS! thats not possible isnt it??? He is returning on january 18...

Generally its about $50, the extra charge, so I am in shok, can you tell me if that happened before!
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Old 01-07-2010, 11:02 PM   #16
ninjaqutie
 
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

That is quite high, but how many extra bags does he have? They can also charge you by the weight. I would suggest you go to their website and check out the extra fees. Maybe international is higher...

~Look into the eyes of your opponent & steal his spirit.
~To be a good martial artist is to be good thief; if you want my knowledge, you must take it from me.
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Old 01-08-2010, 05:11 PM   #17
JohnSeavitt
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Keep in mind that the extra bag fees often apply to unusually shaped luggage, not just weight and bag number. The airlines have become much more vigorous about applying fees when they can, though I had success returning from Japan recently by asking for confirmation about a fee - bag allowances vary between international and domestic flights, and it's good to be sure the attendant is applying the correct schedule to you.

John
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:22 PM   #18
Toby Threadgill
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Quote:
John Seavitt wrote: View Post
Keep in mind that the extra bag fees often apply to unusually shaped luggage, not just weight and bag number. The airlines have become much more vigorous about applying fees when they can, though I had success returning from Japan recently by asking for confirmation about a fee - bag allowances vary between international and domestic flights, and it's good to be sure the attendant is applying the correct schedule to you.

John
Hi,

I've never had anything near that charge for taking a sword on an international flight. I'm very suspicious as I just traveled between New Zealand and the US with my sword with NO extra charge.

During a recent flight inside the EU between Germany and Spain the charge was only 30 Euro's.

I'm very suspicious about this $230 charge. Call Continental.

Toby Threadgill / TSYR
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:55 PM   #19
Keith Larman
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

I've traveled extensively with large, heavy, pelican cases loaded with swords. Never paid anything like that. I'll second Toby's point -- contact the airline and ask them directly.

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Old 01-19-2010, 09:26 AM   #20
Nestor Cubas
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Hi. yes, its a very high charge! He said that he called Continental by phone a week before his return and they told him this was is charge for the extra baggage.
He was carrying two baggages and the carry-on so he wanted to be sure of the price for the iaito bag.

anyway, I didnt wanted to pay THAT HIGH so presented him two options:
1. send him about $80 to buy a baggage bigger enough to introduce the iaito bag, and throw one of his smallers to the garbage hahaha.
2. to call DHL or EMS to ask how much is the cost of sending it this way.

So, $55 was the price by EMS and he sended it on january 13 (takes about 15 days).
My friend returned from Japan yesterday and gave me all the recipes of iaito, bag, sending etc.

So I am a little affraid it may be "confiscated", but lets hope not!!

Thank you all for your kind suggestions and will tell you when me and my new iaito finally meet.
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:27 PM   #21
otomo
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Quote:
Nestor Cubas wrote: View Post
Hi. yes, its a very high charge! He said that he called Continental by phone a week before his return and they told him this was is charge for the extra baggage.
He was carrying two baggages and the carry-on so he wanted to be sure of the price for the iaito bag.

anyway, I didnt wanted to pay THAT HIGH so presented him two options:
1. send him about $80 to buy a baggage bigger enough to introduce the iaito bag, and throw one of his smallers to the garbage hahaha.
2. to call DHL or EMS to ask how much is the cost of sending it this way.

So, $55 was the price by EMS and he sended it on january 13 (takes about 15 days).
My friend returned from Japan yesterday and gave me all the recipes of iaito, bag, sending etc.

So I am a little affraid it may be "confiscated", but lets hope not!!

Thank you all for your kind suggestions and will tell you when me and my new iaito finally meet.
International cargo fees, specially if "over" something (extra baggage) can be outrageously high, I've heard about it, yet we can't discard the possibility that your friend wanted to earn a little something, which is more or less normal, unless you both are very close.

Anyway, if everything follows the normal course it will not be confiscated, if something is up probably you will be called to handle your country customs matters, signatures, nationalization fees, fines etc....

let us know how it goes.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:26 PM   #22
Nestor Cubas
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Hi everyone! Today I received my new iaito, to get it I told my friend in Japan to send it by EMS to my japanese language teacher with adress in the Japanese Embassy.

So, this way the guys at customs could not pretend to be wise enough to keep it, because of the adress hahaha.

in total I spend 37,590 yen (iaito, bag), 4,050 yen (EMS); and the lunch I ate with my teacher at the moment to get it ($10).

So after all this I have my reward!!!!! Thank you all for sharing your experiences and advice!

Tomorrow i will set my profile picture along with my habiki!!!!!
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Old 02-13-2010, 07:54 AM   #23
dalen7
 
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

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Nestor Sierra wrote: View Post
Nestor, you should not have any kind of problem, as long as blade is blunt, as all iaitos should be,
All the iaitos I have seen are sharp as can be... just saw one in Eger in the shopping center, sharp as can be with a gook all over it to protect the blade.

Anyway, thought swords were different stateside from what I have seen here - and I guess I was right. [how do you guys cut mats, etc.] ?

Peace

dAlen

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Old 02-13-2010, 08:44 AM   #24
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

never mind, suppose they were technically speaking shinken since they were sharp.

suppose you can ship a shinken to the US?

- dAlen

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Old 02-15-2010, 11:36 AM   #25
George S. Ledyard
 
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Re: Bring IAITO from Japan through USA to Latinamerica

Quote:
Nestor Cubas wrote: View Post
Hi, me again. My friend did get the Iaito but... a new problem appears. Continental Airlines in Japan said him that for tha extra baggage the charge is $230 US DOLLARS! thats not possible isnt it??? He is returning on january 18...

Generally its about $50, the extra charge, so I am in shok, can you tell me if that happened before!
This doesn't sound right to me. I think around $50 is going rate for a second piece of luggage. But it does depend on how many items he is checking and what airline. Alaska is $25 per piece per direction for everything after one. Delta is charging for even the first one and it goes up substantially with each additional. But still, $230 sounds completely exorbitant.

Shipping it with precise, careful documentation about what it is may be best. Customs in Japan has people who know what to look for and how to handle it properly. I believe that Otake Sensei's son may do this at Narita. Do NOT try to slip it through as if it were not a shinken. Then some complete idiot will be handling it. A friend did this and the customs fellow split his 400 year old saya. But most of my KSR friends have had no problem shipping their swords back, they just made sure the documentation was clear and accurate.

George S. Ledyard
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