Just like everywhere else, the beginning of the year here is all about sales, sales, and more sales. This means that the Japanese don’t miss out on seeing something they bought last week, now selling for half its original price. Isn’t that such a wonderful feeling?
But in Japan you can attempt to inflict further misery upon yourself by buying a fukubukuro. These are bags priced from 1,000 Yen upwards, and contain unseen goods. The combined value of which is supposed to be worth more than the asking price. The translation for fukubukuro is lucky bag. Regardless of its name, and the supposedly good value, I’m not convinced.
For 1,000 Yen I guess it’s fair enough. That’s not exactly a huge amount of cash. But the most popular fukubukuro’s are between 10 and 20,000 Yen. That’s a lot of money. Up to 100 Pound. Especially so when you don’t know what you are going to get.
Yet these prices pale into comparison when you take a look at some of the big boys on offer. The Mitsukoshi department store comes out top this year, offering a lucky bag for the princely sum of 100,000,000 Yen (over 500,000 Pounds). A bit further behind, but not exactly in the bargain basement range is Isetan’s offering. For 30,000,000 Yen, they have a Fukubukuro that contains a house (that’s one big bag!). But what kind of house is unknown. Worth taking a chance? A 150,000 Pound gamble? And lastly we have the Seibu department store’s top fukubukuro. For a cool 20,000,000 Yen, you get a bag with some jewellery in it. For over 100,000 Pounds, that’s got to be some serious stuff. How many sovereign rings would that be!?
It’s hard enough to imagine having so much money, but if you did, would you spend it on something you couldn’t see, and quite possibly wouldn’t like? I don’t know if my understanding of the word lucky is a bit off, but buying a bag full of stuff you can’t see is asking for trouble in my books. There’s certainly a good chance you might end up looking as despondent as this fukubukuro gambler.
This seems so like the Japanese; I loved Tokyo, and will doubtless be back to study up vicariously 🙂 All the best for the year ahead!
Thanks! Best wishes for 2004!
O Johnson says
Hi I’m writing article on fukubukuru. If you have a related experience or opinion on the subject please email me by 3/23/04. firstname.lastname@example.org. thanks