Another new year in Japan, means another stab at fukubukuro, or lucky bag shopping! The gist of fukubukuro is heading to the mall on New Year’s Day, and buying a bag with unknown contents for a set price. The contents of the bag are a mystery, but are guaranteed to be worth more than you paid. It’s such a fun custom, and always a gamble!
Starbucks is one of the most popular bags to buy. I’ve heard they have several drink gift cards, mugs, and bags of coffee. But since I’m not much of a coffee drinker, I’ve never waited in line for this bag. You can see the line forming all the way down the mall hallway!
Ella’s bag cost Y800 ($6.00), which had a bracelet, a few hair accessories, and don’t forget the cute bag! She was somewhat pleased with the purchase, but said she won’t use the hair accessories. You win some, you lose some!
Now, on to my purchases. I got this bag from my favorite Japanese goods store and paid Y5,000 (about $42). I got a Sasicco woven bag (worth $60 alone), bath salts, leather book cover, umbrella (worth $10 alone), two washcloths, woven scarf, coin purse, and skin care set. So, I’d say I probably got double the value on this bag and found the stuff to be useful. So far, so good.
My next bag, I had much more mixed feelings about. I went back to the kitchen store where I had so much luck last year, and this year? Not so much. I paid Y3,000 (about $25) and got; two linen place mats, two insulated mugs that are much too small to be of any use, two wooden platters, which are the only redeeming items in this bag, and a small fondue set. Huge disappointment.
On to my last bag. Another bag at the same kitchen store had the OXO logo, which I thought might be a good bag because I like their products. It cost Y3,000 (about $25) and was full of very practical, useful items; a scrub brush, three food storage containers (two of which have a special lid to keep liquids from spilling), and a small herb/salad spinner. At least these were items that I will use, so I was overall happy with this bag.
So, as it goes with gambling, you win some you lose some. But even though most of these items are not things that I would walk into the store and buy, we have had so much fun with this custom. I’m sure there will never be a New Year’s Day in the future that we don’t fondly talk about fukubukuro, disappointments and all.