“Life sometimes need a little bit of mystery to get through another ordinary day.”
For my next blog post I went to Harajuku’s buzzing Takeshita street to experience a century old custom called Fukubukuro or Japanese lucky bags. I went to Japan late in January so lucky bags are almost sold out and only a few stores have some of them left but the good news is since it’s the last week of January, most of the Fukubukuro bags are sold for much cheaper prices than they originally were.
|WHAT DOES FUKUBUKURO MEAN?|
From the kanji 福袋, ”fuku” meaning “luck” and ”fukuro” meaning “bag”; it’s generally a New Year tradition where shops fill goody bags with assorted items for 50% off or more from the original price.
For example: You may buy a Fukubukuro bag for ¥1000 yen and get something worth ¥3000 yen inside. It truly is exciting and sparks your imagination therefore making it a big hit in the market.
Another reason why this custom survived this long is because of its mystery factor. The buyer usually wouldn’t know what’s inside the bag until he or she opens it, he or she only knows that it’s all earrings, accessories, gadgets or clothes but there’s no way to know specifically what’s inside. If you’re lucky your bag may be filled with all good items, if you’re unlucky it may be filled with items you wouldn’t want to use, thus in Fukubukuro events it isnt uncommon for people to swap items so make sure to smile and make friends with people on your line.
|TWO KINDS OF FUKUBUKURO|
This kind of Fukubukuro is the one you buy at the store itself, on New Year’s day, January 1 & 2, the stores would be filled with people lining up to buy their lucky bags so be sure to arrive early. Luckily for me, I bought mine towards the end of January so there was no line and I could pick which one I thought would be lucky for me. I bought 2 sets of Fukubukuro from Paris Kids in Takeshita street and here’s what I got:
The Earrings Bag
I was able to buy this lucky bag for 324 yen and the items inside were worth 3000 yen or more. What a steal!
The items inside were 5 dangling earrings of different sizes and designs. Take a look at them here:
- Fukubukuro was invented by Ginza Matsuya Department Store in the late Meiji period.
- Ala Moana Center in Honolulu adopted this tradition in 2004.
- The term “fukuro” was changed to “bukuro,” which is a phenomenon in the Japanese language known as rendaku.
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