fukubukuro

Lucky Bag Roundup: Our reporters choose the best fukubukuro of 2015

Japan has many wonderful New Year’s traditions, including visiting the local shrine, eating auspicious food, and sending postcards to all your friends. But one of the most exciting and potentially disappointing activities that occur on the first day of January is the purchasing of fukubukuro. Commonly referred to as “Lucky Bags” in English, fukubukoro are specially priced parcels of surplus items from popular stores across Japan that are usually valued well over the purchase price.

This year, we sent 10 of our Japanese reporters out on the streets early New Year’s morning to gather up the best Lucky Bags they could find. Some came back with somewhat useless products even Mr. Sato wouldn’t want. Other’s were pleasantly surprised to find rare and valuable items nestled in their bags. But despite deep discounts, Lucky Bags aren’t always worth the wait and price, so in order to save you time on next year’s Japanese New Year’s shopping adventures, each of our writers has chosen the best Lucky Bags this side of the Pacific.

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Help our writer figure out how to wear the mysterious clothing item in her Muji Lucky Bag

Remember the Muji Fortune Can that we featured a few days ago from our favorite minimalist home goods store, Muji? Following that welcome discovery, our Japanese reporter also managed to get her hands on both a Muji Women’s Clothing Lucky Bag and a Muji Health & Beauty Lucky Bag.

Although she was content with most of the surprises, there was one clothing item in particular that stumped her–can anyone give her a few tips on how best to wear it? Don’t miss her mini fashion show after the jump!

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Attention coffee lovers: The RocketNews24 Ultimate Café Fukuburuko Ranking 2015 is here!

It seems like we’ve been spending every spare moment we have snatching up fukubukuro, the lucky bag bundles that shoppers in Japan buy at New Year’s without knowing what’s inside. As a matter of fact, by the time we stopped and took count, we’d grabbed eight different fukubukuro from cafés near our office.

As a result, we’re pretty much stocked up on coffee for the next couple of weeks. Honestly, we’ve got so much we’d be happy to pour you a cup, if only the RocketNews24 offices had a visitors’ lounge. But since it doesn’t, instead, we’re going to give you the information you need to pick the best café lucky bag for yourself, as we present the RocketNews24 Ultimate Café Fukubukuro Ranking 2015.

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What wonders do a Super Potato Lucky Bag hold? Grab your retro gaming hat and let’s find out!

When you buy a fukubukuro (lucky bag) from a store in Japan, you can usually be sure that the value of their contents will surpass the amount you paid for the bag; it’s a guarantee, or else no one would ever buy them! But when you decide to buy a fukubukuro from a secondhand store, you certainly can’t feel 100% sure that you will get your money’s worth.

Are your secondhand items going to be in good condition? Are you going to be getting some good value? Or are you getting the games that even the secondhand store just wants to get rid of? Let Tokyo’s most famous used video game store Super Potato help you decide after the break.

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Yoshio discovers that lucky bag loot from a UFO catcher is spectacularly underwhelming

While our RocketNews24 Japanese team of writers has been having fun snatching up a variety of lucky bags during this first week of the new year, the contents of those bags have ranged from exciting to just plain meh. But the two lucky bags our Japanese correspondent Yoshio grabbed from UFO catchers (aka claw machines) have hit a new all-time low. We don’t think he’ll be going back for more next year…

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Mr. Sato divulges the contents of a 2015 Apple Store Lucky Bag–will he get a lame t-shirt again?

Following his tradition of the past few years, RocketNews24’s ace reporter and calendar model Mr. Sato dutifully lined up outside the Apple Store in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighborhood to wait for the January 2 release of the its 2015 lucky bag (luckily, his experience waiting outside wasn’t nearly as traumatic as the poor folks’ up in Sapporo). Although he was hoping to score a MacBook Air for the second year running, this year our man had his eye on another item as well–the Apple Store lucky bag-exclusive t-shirt.

Will Mr. Sato find the coveted t-shirt in his bag again this year? See his haul after the jump!

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Baskin Robbins’ new year lucky bags are Snoopy-tastic! (Also, free ice cream!)

We’ve been bringing you all the the details on the year’s best fukubukuro – or “lucky bags” – today, but no roundup of these wonderful New Year’s goodie bags would be complete without a visit to ice cream purveyor Baskin Robbins Japan. Let’s find out what frozen delights were hidden in their bag!

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We grab a bargain with the Muji Fortune Can, because Lucky Bags are so 2014

With its classic, minimalist style and unbranded goods, Muji is a popular and enduring brand. And whereas its international stores tend to mainly sell household goods and furniture, Muji in Japan has dipped its toe in a wide range of sectors, from show houses to cafés to a Muji car.

While Muji’s Lucky Bags always sell out, the store also sells this Fortune Can for, appropriately, 2,015 yen (around US$17)! As well as a 2,015-yen gift card – that’s right, every can contains a gift card that’s the same value as the retail price of the can! – each one also contains a traditional Japanese ornament from the Tōhoku, Kansai or Chūgoku regions.

Well, when our Japanese reporter Sachi Ojiya heard about that, he rushed down to Muji and bought not one but three Lucky Cans! This is his report.

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Lotteria’s lucky bag opened: even if you’re not a Naruto fan you’ll come out ahead!

As you’ve probably already gathered by browsing our front page today, fukubukuro season again! And for the 99.999999999 percent of us who couldn’t get the robot suit, every other store in Japan has something up for grabs.

This time we’re going to take a peek inside a lucky bag from leading fast food chain Lotteria as purchased by our own Hattori GO. Even though he’s not particularly a Naruto fan, he found himself very satisfied with his 2,000-yen (US$17) paper bag, so let’s take a look inside and see why!

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We buy a $45 Lucky Bag from posh chocolatiers Godiva so you don’t have to

New Year in Japan means family time, food with very specific meanings, and of course shopping. And one of our favourite things about this time of year is the opportunity to buy Lucky Bags (fukubukuro). As the name implies, these are bags containing a lucky dip of items from your store of choice – so you don’t know what loot you’ve got until after you’ve parted with your cash.

Sometimes, you can hit the jackpot with fukubukuro – last year, for example, our very own Mr. Sato was ecstatic to get his hands on a MacBook Air. But here at RocketNews24 we like our tech to come with a side order of luxury chocolate, so when we heard that upmarket chocolatier Godiva were selling Lucky Bags for 5,400 yen (US$45), we sent our reporter P.K. Sanjun down to buy one. Here’s what he got!

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Contents of Starbucks Coffee’s 2015 lucky bag REVEALED!

Happy New Year! At the start of the new year in Japan many stores release fukubukuro, or lucky bags, where you can get a selection of goodies for less than they usually retail for, as well as limited edition items. People rush around the stores picking up fukubukuro from all their favourite brands, but often the items inside are a secret. We’re here to reveal some of them so you can make an informed decision on which to go for.

Here we have Starbucks Coffee’s offering, which sells for 3,500 yen (US$29). Read on to find out what’s inside!

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Ring in the new year with a real robot suit, on sale at Keisei Department store

The New Year season is often a peak shopping time in Japan, and as such stores pull out the big guns in what are known as fukubukuro (lucky bags). These are bags full of the merchandise a particular shop peddles. Sometimes it’s random which means you could end up with a laptop for fifty bucks, other times the contents are known but you can still get a decent deal on a bulk purchase. And sometimes, in the name of publicity, shops will throw in some unusual item or offer remarkably great deals to celebrate the new year.

It appears the winner for 2015 will be Keisei Department Store who are offering what must be a very large fukubukuro containing a two-meter-tall functional robot suit!

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My Melody lucky bag turns out to be slightly unlucky

Buying a fukubukuro (lucky bag) is one of the most anticipated thrills during New Year’s in Japan. Although what’s in the bag is a mystery until you’ve paid for it, the goods in the bag are usually worth more than the price you pay for the fukubukuro, so most of the time it is indeed a “lucky” buy.

Depending on your luck, you might not get something you desperately want or need in the bag, but even that wouldn’t dampen your day as much as what this Japanese Twitter user found in her slightly “unlucky” My Melody fukubukuro.

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We purchase a Starbucks Lucky Bag, makes us look at the big picture

A New Year’s Tradition in Japan is the fukubukuro (lucky bag) sold in most businesses in the country. Basically it’s a bag full of merchandise sold at a fixed price, but the catch is you don’t know what’s inside. For example, last your our reporter waited eight days to get an Apple fukurobuko only to get some measly accessories, while the guy in line behind him scored a MacBook Air (don’t worry the story had a happy ending, and this year turned out a lot better).

This year our food reporter Kuzo got a Starbucks lucky bag in hopes of some high quality coffee and related gear. Did fortune smile on him? Let’s find out.

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This Apple store gave away 15 Macbook Airs, stacks of iPads and accessories in “lucky bags” this morning

It’s January 2 here in Japan, and for most major stores and savvy consumers alike, that can mean only one thing: fukubukuro! Literally meaning “lucky bag”, fukubukuro give stores a chance to bundle items together – some great, some not so great – to sell off at a massively discounted rate and make room for incoming stock. The catch? Customers have no idea what they’re buying until after they’ve handed over their cash. Usually, though, they get far more than what they pay for.

For larger companies like Apple, lucky bags are also a great opportunity to drum up a little additional publicity and get people lining up outside their stores hoping for the chance to buy one. Ever the Mac and iPhone fan, our reporter extraordinaire Mr. Sato was there to grab some swag for himself.

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2013 Lucky Bag Fail: “I waited in line for eight days and all I got was a stupid iPod nano…and a T-shirt”

Our reporter, Mr. Tashiro, is a man of great patience. He waited in front of the Shibuya Apple Store from December 25th until January 2nd in order to be the first one in line to purchase the 2013 Apple fukubukoro.  Also known as “lucky bags”, fukubukuro are bags filled with mystery items that are sold at a fixed price at the beginning of each year. It’s a clever way for stores to get rid of excess merchandise, but if you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll score a great deal on items that far exceed the price you paid. 

Hoping to score a MacBook Air for 33,000 yen (US $377 and the price of this year’s Apple fukubukoro), Mr. Tashiro spent eight freezing days in front of the Apple store and gave up his Christmas and New Year’s for a chance to snag a grand prize lucky bag.

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Lotteria x Evangelion Fukubukuro! What Anime Surprises Await Inside!?

Fukubukuro, lit. “lucky bag”, are a wonderful way for stores to shift merchandise at the start of the year, not unlike western stores’ New Year’s sales but with far more mystery and intrigue involved. Shoppers take a gamble when they purchase these gift bags as they are completely sealed and their contents unlisted, and they don’t always contain products that we desperately need, but fukubukuro usually contain items whose cash value far exceeds the bag’s asking price.

So when our reporter Kuzo heard that the fast food chain and home of 30-patty cheeseburgers Lotteria was offering up special collaborative Evangelion bags for just 2,000 yen each, he powered down his Wii U, stepped out into the sunlight and sprinted – well, sort of jogged while wheezing quietly – to his nearest store to grab one for himself.

Was it worth the US$22 purchase, or was Kuzo lumbered with a cooking-oil-scented bag of tat? Find out after the jump.

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Unhappy New Year! Unlucky Bags Set to Be Sold This Holiday at Village Vanguard

An annual custom across Japan is the sale of fukubukuro (lucky bags), which are huge bags of assorted products from a store usually hidden from the buyer’s sight until purchase.  Surprises can range from Apple goods to children’s clothing to kitchenware.

Although it’s a really fun idea in theory, many are uncomfortable putting their purchasing power in the hands of lady luck when they can just choose what they want.  Others point out that while the total cost of items is a bargain, much of what you get are things you really don’t want.

Village Vanguard, a chain of stores known in Japan for their counter-culture merchandise such as “Homo” figurines, came up with a novel way of remedying lucky bag blues with their line-up of “unlucky bags” which ensure disappointment. It’s a brilliant idea considering when you buy into an unlucky bag, your luck can only improve from there.

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