While New Year's Day is strictly for family in Japan, people sometimes sneak away from their family gatherings to line up at stores for January 2nd, the first day of business. New Year's Day sales, of course, are big, but even bigger is a uniquely Japanese item: the Fukubukuro, or "lucky bag."
Muji, the store most often called a Japanese IKEA, decided to change things up this year by offering a "lucky can" to its customers. The can included a gift card for the price, 2,015 yen, but also contained random gifts, this time from artisans in Tohoku, Kansai or Chugoku regions of Japan. Check out the cute Fugu bell!
The Otaku choice for Fukubukuro seems to be the Japan-only fast food place Lotteria. This time, their Fukubukuro celebrated the final chapter of the Naruto saga, with plenty of goodies for the fan of the demon-blooded ninja boy.
You got the price of the bag back in food vouchers, but you also get Naruto swag: a tumbler, a face towel (handy for sweaty hours at Tokyo Big Sight during Comiket) and a postcard for writing home about your haul.
The big action, of course, is at high-end retailers. For example, The Apple Store's Fukubukuro cost the US $ equivalent of $300, but of course the stakes were much higher.
Some people lucked out big time, getting a card good for a MacBook Air in their custom lappie bag. But others didn't necessarily do as spectacularly...the average was getting about $600 worth of goodies in the lucky lappie bag.
However, the most outrageous gift this time seems to be your very own mecha. That's right: a mecha! Keisei Department Store says that one of their Fukubukuro will contain a certificate for a kid-sized mecha that stands over 6 feet tall and gets around with battery power. No mention of whether it can neutralize AT fields, but it seems like lots of fun.
Those in other countries don't have to miss out on the Fukubukuro fun. Our buds at J-Box have lucky bags if you want to take a chance. If you want to take a chance on potentially ecchi lucky bags you can visit their sister site JList, but since we're a family friendly purveyor of Asian Pop Culture (well, most of the time, anyway) we'll just link you to a Fukubukuro full of kawaii funstuff appropriate for the whole fam. Good luck!