Christmas in Japan really isn’t seen as a holiday, it’s more of an event. New Year, on the other hand, is a holiday. Usually from the 1st of the year through the 3rd, people have off. Big business are closed and people go shopping.
The beginning of the year is the best time to hunt for deals at your local five and dime. Many stores offer something called “Lucky Bags” that are a set price and contain mystery items that are either worth the cost of the bag or more, hence the word “lucky”. I read that this year Apple stores in Japan offered bags that cost up to $495 but contained things such as iPads and MacBook Air computers. Most just had iPods and accessories in them. You can get “Lucky Bags” from almost any kind of store… clothing, makeup, electronics, anything!
There’s an interesting shopping mentality about Japan. Culturally, the Japanese don’t just like to keep up with the Jones’s… they are the Jones’s. It’s not uncommon for a Japanese family to get all new appliances every time they move. You don’t see many old things in a Japanese home; it seems it’s constantly out with the old, in with the new.
Bargains aren’t just found in stores nowadays. With internet shopping booming in popularity, online retailers are offering sharp discounts and even “Lucky Bags” that they’ll deliver right to your door. Yesterday, I got an email from an online video game store I sometimes frequent. I was at my computer when the email came, and I clicked on the link almost immediately to see what kind of deals they were offering up. I’ve taken the time to translate their Lucky New Year’s Sale page for you:
It took five minutes from the time someone at the shop hit SEND for the email to appear in my inbox. In those 5 minutes they sold out of everything except for GameCube games and bags of Saturn “junk” games. Hopefully I’ll be more “lucky” next year.