Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"Fukubukuro" Japan's Lucky Mystery Bags

As if Japanese culture wasn't charming enough, it seems they have a New Year tradition of kicking off the retailing year with "Fukubukuro" or Japanese Fortune Bags with shopping bags having unknown contents exceeding the amount of its marked price.

Japan's Fukubukuro

Department stores are hoping that this will boost consumption from the more thirfty shopper.

According to Japan today, Mitsukoshi Ltd’s flagship store in Tokyo’s Nihombashi district opened at 9:45 a.m., 15 minutes earlier than scheduled, as many people were lined up in front of the store. As one of the features of its New Year sales, the store was offering lucky bags filled with clothing for 10,500 yen.

Takashimaya Co prepared luxury lucky bags containing tickets for a cruise tour to the Antarctica, priced at 1.8 million yen, to mark the 180th anniversary of its founding.

The Seibu flagship store in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro, meanwhile, offered a series of lucky bags named after recent booms in Japan. They included lucky bags containing outdoor items for ‘‘yama (mountain) girls,’’ the nickname for the growing number of women taking to the hills in fashionable garb, and those including lunchbox and other items for ‘‘bento danshi,’’ or men who fix their own home-made lunches.

The whole idea is so novel I wonder if local retailers would be more than willing to do the same here?

In any case, how do shoppers know what size of clothes they'll be getting? Or do they just take the risk and pay for the sheer excitement of it?

Pessimists think that its a good way for stores to push for useless things and add junk to Japanese homes -as if they weren't small enough.

Happy campers on the other hand are satisfied with their purchases especially after braving the cold early morning outside Apple stores. They claim the wait was well worth it since many shoppers have hit the jockpot by finding MAC Books in their mystery bags.

Here is a list of the most common loot from their Apple Fukubukuro bag priced at 30,000 Yen or USD 380:
  • Sennheiser earphones, smart remote with mic (iPod, iPhone, iPad)
  • Mophie Juice Pack reserve
  • iWires 3.5mm to 3.5mm stereo plug retractable cable
  • iPod nano OR iPod touch
  • Griffin Slap case for iPod nano
  • Nike + sensor
  • iHome speaker system for iPhone/iPod
  • Red Limited Edition Apple T-shirt

Apple's Fukubukuro Loot

With the end value estimated at USD 800, its not a bad deal (if your not looking for something in particular) after all.

If you want more juice on this Japanese tradition, Tokyo Mango does a comparison on Uniqlo vs. MUJI loot.

Cost: 5000 yen
Packaging: Neatly presented in a beautiful silver-and-bronze box with a personalized note by "charismatic housewife"
Chieko Kuroda. 3 items: A pink cotton cashmere cardigan, a short white cotton sweater with big buttons, and a white nylon blouse with a big ribbon in the middle.

Cost: 3000 yen
Packaging: Thrown together in a large clear shopping bag.
9 items: Three thigh-high socks (one gray, two black), one brown painter's hat, one brown leather bag with a single canvas strap, one beige woolen p-coat, two black t-shirts—one sleeveless, one with 3/4 length sleeves, and one taupe table mat.

Manila Fukubukuro, where are you?!?



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