Kogirekai is steadily improving their online site. I don't go to the site that often, only to download the auction results PDF. There is a different site, Mainichi Auctions, that has better quality items, chock full of name brand tea ware. http://www.my-auction.co.jp/en/index.html
I am licensed. It took over a month for the background check. It sounds a little more thorough than it was. I went to a police station, filled out the form, got a complete run-through on what the license is and what I am required to do and then went home. A little over a month later I got a postcard calling me back to pick up my license. I think I paid a returnable fee of about 20,000 yen. The license allows me to buy and sell antiques. It also allows me to go around to buy direct from people, ubudashi as it is called. If I were to go 'ubudashiing', to coin a term, I would go to a house and ask them to sell me their unwanted items. I have just opened an Etsy store for the antiques but I haven't put anything in it yet.
Mr. Kawase is the 'Don' of Nara antiques. He is 88 y.o. I go at least twice a month to his shop and spend a couple of hours listening to him talk about antiques and life in Nara/Osaka and photographing what he has on hand. It is a treasure to be able to do. I would go more but I take my wife along to yell questions in his ear as he can't hear that well and her limit is about every other week. He is a specialist in Momoyama period tea works. I tend toward Imari but I am still taking the time to gorge on his knowledge and to handle his antiques. I post these outings on my blog under 'Antiques ..." with the date. He is also the head of a local auction I attend that takes place every 15th. of the month. I do sell Japanese textiles but don't study them. I just like them and generally find them of such high quality they are a pleasure to sell. I have been studying antiques for about 2 years now and am just starting to feel I have any kind of grip on what is what.
Happy New Year to everyone.