Fast food fukubukuro is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach!
One of the most popular fukubukuro lucky bags you can buy in Japan at New Year comes from fast food giant McDonald’s. Not only are the bags reasonably priced, at 3,000 yen (US$26.02) each, but they also contain free vouchers worth more than that amount, plus a slew of specially branded merchandise that isn’t usually offered for sale.
It’s such a good deal that the bags are sold via an advance lottery system, and our reporter Shawn was one of the lucky few who won the privilege of purchasing one.
So let’s get right to it and take a look at what he received inside the bag!
▼ First off is a black backpack from messenger bag specialists Manhattan Portage.
▼ Check out the cleverly designed French fries on the logo!
Shawn was over the moon to find this unexpected treasure in his lucky bundle, so he immediately slung it over his shoulders to try it on.
▼ Fusing street fashion with fast food.
Unzipping the bag revealed it didn’t just look good, it was functional too, as it was actually insulated. Perfect for keeping hot items hot or cold items cold while on the go.
The next item in Shawn’s haul was a “Pote Light“, also created in collaboration with Manhattan Portage.
December and January are extremely busy months for most Japanese shops, as their winter sales attract lots of people looking to spend their year-end bonuses. The first three days after New Year are especially crazy, with huge crowds trying to make the most of the New Year sales and buying fukubukuro (lucky bags with random items from last year’s inventory).
How Tokyo winter sales work
New Year shopping in Japan is serious business, almost like Black Friday in the US. And you thought that the Japanese New Year was simply marked by such traditions as watching the first sunrise, or visiting temples and shrines!
Here’s a list of some department stores and malls holding Tokyo winter sales. Note that this is not a comprehe
A deal not worth breaking your New Year’s resolutions for.
2022 is already proving to be a controversial year in Japan, at least in terms of New Year’s fukubukuro “lucky bags” and how they’ve been stacking up compared to the versions released last year.
One bag that’s less impressive than last year’s is the one from doughnut chain Krispy Kreme. Our reporters have been purchasing these bags every year since 2016, but sadly, according to our team, this year’s was the chain’s most disappointing fukubukuro ever.
Why? Well, for starters, it contains pretty much the same stuff as previous years — 12 doughnuts, a bag, and a “doughnut passport“, which is a set of free vouchers for 12 Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
▼ Granted, the bag wasn’t too bad…
▼ …and the doughnuts were pretty cute too, especially the one made in honour of this year’s Year of the Tiger.
The doughnut vouchers meant we’d be able to get twelve free doughnuts, so that wasn’t a bad deal either.
However, the main problem here was the price of the bag. In 2016 and 2017, a Krispy Kreme lucky bag containing pretty much the same goods would set you back 2,400 yen (US$20.74). From 2018-2020, the price for the annual New Year’s bundle went up to 3,000 yen. However, this year, the price for a Krispy Kreme fukubukuro shot up to a whopping 4,000 yen ($34.56), which is almost twice the price of the bags five years ago.
January 1 wasn’t just a day to celebrate the New Year, it was a day to celebrate the release of the KFC fukubukuro (“lucky bag”) in Japan, which went on sale in limited numbers at branches nationwide for 2,500 yen (US$21.68).
KFC is the fast food chain on everyone’s lips here at this time of year, having made a name for itself as the place to dine at Christmas, and even at New Year, so they always go out of their way to give us a fukubukuro that would make the Colonel proud.
What’s in the bag for 2022? Let’s take a look at the contents below!
First up, we have an “Original Pocket Mini Tote“. The simple, unlined tote bag has an image of the Colonel on the front, along with his distinctive black bow tie, and it’s the perfect size for carrying a KFC order for one back home from your local branch.
Next up, we have some vouchers for burger sets and chicken pieces, which are all valid until 31 March.
These vouchers come to a total of 2,870 yen, which is already more than the 2,500 yen cost of the bag!
That’s not all, though — the real pièce de résistance is the “Otoshidama Coupon Pass“, which gives you unlimited discounts on the following items until 31 March.
・ Small Chicken Fillet Sandwich and Fries Set: 620 yen → 500 yen
・ Japanese-style Chicken Katsu Sandwich and a Krispy: 620 yen → 500 yen
・ Two Chicken …continue reading
Fukubukuro merch to make any Nintendo fan say, “Oh yeah! Mario time!”
When you decide to buy a fukubukuro lucky bag in Japan at New Year’s, it can be a bit of a hit-or-miss experience.
What’s inside the bags often remains a mystery until you open them, with the only guarantee being that the contents will amount to more than the price you pay for them. So it’s best to keep your expectations low so you aren’t disappointed if the bag doesn’t turn out to be the treasure box of your dreams.
That’s the lesson learned by our reporter Hirazi, who recently purchased a Super Mario Lucky Bag from Amazon for 4,620 yen (US$40). Before it arrived, he’d spent days wondering if the mystery bag might contain new or old games, or maybe some figurines or plushies catering to adult gamers.
▼ So when his package arrived, he couldn’t wait to tear it open.
However, when he opened it, he found that the bag he’d purchased was aimed more towards younger fans of the franchise. Still, that wasn’t an entirely bad thing, seeing as Hirazi is a big kid at heart, and in his eyes, any type of Super Mario merch is good merch.
▼ The bag doesn’t contain any actual Super Mario games, but hey — check out this haul!
The bag was packed with 13 different items, and if you were to purchase them all separately, they’d come to a total of 8,600 yen. That means Hirazi paid nearly half price for them, which was an excellent deal. So let’s get to it and take a look at each of the products in more detail below!
Take a look at the special goods only available to special lottery winners.
As we herald in a new year in Japan, it’s time to herald in a new set of fukubukuro (literally “lucky bags”), which is what discounted product bundles sold by companies at this time of year are called.
For a lot of people, the absolute champion of lucky bags belongs to Starbucks. This year, like previous years, the bags were sold by advance lottery, and securing one is no easy task — out of the 16 reporters who applied for one in our office, only two were successful.
Our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma was one of our two lucky lottery winners, who was given the privilege of purchasing a bag for 7,500 yen (US$65.16). He had to wait until New Year’s Day for his bundle to arrive, though, and when it did, he found it came in a Starbucks-branded cardboard box.
Opening a fukubukuro like this on New Year’s Day in Japan is just as exciting as opening a present on Christmas Day, because what’s inside is a mystery. The only thing Starbucks revealed about the bag was that it contained drink vouchers and goods like mugs and stainless steel tumblers, all valued at more than the price you pay for the bundle.
The first thing he saw when he opened the box was not one, but two Starbucks tote bags!
As a foreign resident of Japan, especially if you live in a big city, you might never own a car or even miss owning one. Trains, planes, buses, bikes and rental cars are all convenient and reasonably priced. Used cars often come with attractive price tags, but there’s a reason that Japanese cities aren’t constantly jammed with traffic—running a car of any kind is pricey.
Things to consider before buying a car in Japan
If you live in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, or another large Japanese metropolis, the costs of running a car may be much more than you realize. If you’re not lucky enough to have a parking spot attached to your house, then monthly car parking charges are around ¥30,000/month. The rental car parking busi
Bring good luck in the new year of the Tiger with Tigger and other Disney characters!
One of the highlights of transitioning into a new year is the changing of the Chinese Zodiac animal, which means new housewares, collectibles, decorations, and more using animals as a motif. 2022 is the Year of the Tiger, so you can expect to see plenty of tiger-themed products in the stores in Japan, which switches over to the new Zodiac animal on January 1. And who better to represent tigers than Winnie-the-Pooh’s bouncy friend, Tigger?
That’s why Tigger features heavily in Disney Japan’s 2022 line of New Year’s goods. For example, check out this Tigger akabeko, which is a traditional toy from Fukushima prefecture with a bobbing head that is said to protect against illness. It’s a beautiful product that mixes traditional Japanese aesthetics and a popular Disney character! A collectible, to be sure.
Each one is hand-painted by an artisan, and it comes in two different sizes to fit your needs. Keep it nearby and it just might bring you good luck and good health next year! The large size costs 12,100 yen (US$105.05) and the small one 8,000 yen.
Of course, you can’t have Disney Tigger products without making reference to the Tigger Movie, in which the joyously bouncy tiger sets off to find others of his kind. There’s a scene in the movie when Pooh and his friends dress like Tigger, …continue reading
And here we were thinking cans of hot green tea were amazing.
Japan has so many vending machines that they hardly register in the minds of most people walking down the street. However, an array of vending machines in Tokyo’s Kamata neighborhood has been catching eyes recently.
Occupying the curb and otherwise empty interior of a small bank of coin-operated lockers, the first thing you notice might be the machines outside offering canned drinks for as little as 50 yen (US$0.43), less than half the price of most vending machines in Japan, but the really unusual machine is the one found inside. The product display case is stocked with cans, but these they don’t contain beverages. Instead, you’re purchasing the path to a potential romantic partner.
The pink cans represents women seeking companionship, and the beige ones men, each with the individual’s age written on it. The vending machine isn’t anything so vulgar as an anonymous hook-up provider, though, as its inventory is stocked and managed by Matching Advisor Press (which also goes by the acronym MAP), a matchmaking service for singles actively seeking a serious relationship that will hopefully lead to marriage, or konkatsu, as it’s called in Japanese.
Each can costs 3,000 yen (US$26), but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a date, let alone a spouse. Instead, what you’re purchasing is a voucher for a one-hour interview and advice session with a MAP advisor, whose name is also written on the can, ostensibly to see if you’re an amicable match for the single whose can you bought. If you are, then MAP will arrange a three-hour dinner date for the two of you, with an additional 9,000-yen service fee …continue reading
Full villainous fashions at a fraction of the price!
Although it’s still a good week before the end of the year, we’ve been seeing a lot of year-end fukubukuro or “lucky bags” arriving early in the form of fukubako or “lucky boxes.” These are when a retailer ships the lucky bag directly to homes, especially to prevent large crowds from gather during the pandemic.
As you can see, this online retailer specializes in fashions geared towards bad guys of all stripes, from yankees to yakuza. Their lucky bags are especially wicked and boast an 85 percent satisfaction rate among their clientele. That might seem a little low, but considering Birth Japan caters to street fighting men who can’t get no satisfaction, it’s actually pretty good.
This year, Masanuki got the Kanzen Do Akuto Fukubukuro (Total [Bang!] Villain Lucky Bag) for 8,888 yen (US$78) before tax. It was about twice as much as his previous two outings, but this bag is said to contain 38,000-yen worth of Japanese bad-guy fashion.