MacBook Air

The “doya-gao” phenomenon and where you’re most likely to see it

The “doya-gao” phenomenon and where you’re most likely to see it

A calm atmosphere, free Wi-Fi, and decent coffee – what’s not to love about Starbucks (unless you’re a staunch New Englander who swears by Dunkin’)? If you walk into any branch, you will see a line of people waiting to grab their favorite caffeinated pick-me-up. You’re also likely see a bunch of people hunched over their laptops typing away furiously, either by themselves or huddled together in groups. The laptop of choice to go with their steaming mug of coffee? From what we’ve seen, it seems to be a MacBook Air.

Have you ever watched people when they’re silently working on a computer, wondered what they’re up to, and then all of a sudden a smug little grin inexplicably breaks across their face? This self-satisfied look is known as a doya-gao in Japanese. One of our Japanese reporters, who is a frequent patron of Starbucks, recently began to notice a correlation between the frequency of people using MacBook Airs in Starbucks and those wearing a doya-gao expression. Intrigued, she started taking notes, and discovered that there are three branches of Starbucks in Tokyo where the doya-gao phenomenon is particularly common…

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

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 Update: A Happy Ending! (Brought to you by Acer)

2013 Lucky Bag Fail Update: A Happy Ending! (Brought to you by Acer)

You might recognize this beaming face standing in front of the Shibuya Apple store, deliriously waving a t-shirt in the air. After standing in line and living on the streets for eight days in a quest for a lucky bag containing a MacBook Air, our hero was disappointed to find that his efforts were fruitless; the best item in the lucky bag he received was an iPod nano and a grey t-shirt.

Disappointed and exhausted, he consoled himself, sighing, “I like the Acer that I already have and I probably wouldn’t have been able to figure out how to use a MacBook Air…” He trudged home, defeated and MacBook Airless.

But this story has a happy ending! Here is our hero’s account of the events that transpired after his epic 2013 Apple lucky bag fail:

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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”

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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