6: Fashion: 福袋 (fukubukuro)


Hey guys! It’s the most wonderful time of the year~
Of course, it IS Christmas season and warm-fuzzy-thankful-joy-joy-feels time, but it’s also the BEST time of the year for another reason: IT’S 福袋 time!!!

Hold up, what’s that again?

For those of you who don’t live in Japan, let me try to explain the awesome that are 福袋 (fukubukuro), or Lucky Bags.

Every year around this time, different stores put together sets of their merchandise and sell it ‘grab bag’ style for a fraction of the contents actual worth. For example, if the bag’s contents would cost ‎¥50,000 (about US $500.00) a-la-carte, they would sell it at ‎¥10,000 (about US $100.00). The stores I make it a priority to buy usually have some combination of coat, a few sweaters, tops, skirts and maybe a hat or scarf.

Generally, they give you a peek at the contents, but sometimes they go for stealth and surprise (I CANNOT RESIST). I live for these surprises. Seriously. It’s like some sort of primal force inside of me will not rest until I see the contents of the bag of secrets. Like now. Right now.

One thing I try to keep in mind, though, is that Japanese sizes are freaking tiny. Not every cute thing I see will fit my giant American frame, or if it fits, it might look kind of off. (I’m 5’5 and weigh somewhere between 145 – 150 lbs.) ((not really giant, I know, but compared to these tiny girls over here, I am an Amazon)) With that in mind, I usually only buy from stores I wear on a regular basis, because I know I can wear most of the things in the Lucky Bag.

Even still, sometimes tiny clothes get thrown into the mix. Last year, there was one skirt thrown into the set I bought that literally wouldn’t go up my thigh, much less button. I don’t really count that as a loss, though. From that set, it was 9 items, I wear 7 of them every week. That’s a total win, considering one of them is my main coat this winter.

2015 fb
This is the set I’m talking about. The offending skirt is that camo one.
¥15,000 (total value well over ¥50,000)


My picks for Lucky Bags 2016


I buy at least two from them every year. Seriously. I love the style of the brand. They are girly, but in a functional way. I plan on doing a post to highlight them a little more, because they are that awesome. Last year I bought two, the one above and this one:

2014 fb5
¥5,000 (over ¥15,000 value)

They’re totally doing the secret thing this year and not sharing the contents, because this is all I can find and it’s driving me NUTS!!

What’s inside you, bag of secrets?


Earth, Music & Ecology

This brand never fails to satisfy super-girly me. Everything is so wonderfully GIRL and flounce! I missed getting the ones I wanted last year:

I’m still super bummed, lol.

I have my eye set on this one, though and I’m not missing it this year!

I need that bag and that coat!



That’s right! It’s not just clothing or department stores who do Lucky Bags!
Starbucks does it RIGHT, too. This is what they offered last year:

I am being completely honest when I say that in the 5 years I’ve lived in Japan, I’ve been unable to grab a Starbucks Lucky Bag. They sell out SODAMNFAST. Like, people are lined up before the store opens to buy them. Not this year, though. This year, I will triumph!


Wrapping it up

It would be so easy for me to spend an entire months worth of my salary on just buying 福袋. Think about it, if they’re between ¥10,000 – ¥15,000 (US $100.00 – $150.00) per bag (or ¥3,000 – ¥5,000 for the smaller ones), that adds up super quick. It’s so easy to get caught up in the frenzied buying atmosphere, too. Like, grab that last one quick before someone else does even though you may not really want it- you don’t wanna miss grabbing it! …then you’re eating cup ramen for the rest of the month, lol.

My tried and true solution to this problem is ネット予約 (netto yoyaku) or Internet pre-order. It’s brilliant! You just buy the ones you know you want and the delivery man brings them right to your door, you pay him and get your boxes. This way, you know exactly how much you’re spending because you were good and stuck to your budget without any of the ‘day of’ excitement. Also, you didn’t have to fight crowds. Bonus in my book.

If you choose to go this route, be careful of the dates though. Some brands will open the pre-order at freaking midnight or at noon and will close when they sell out.

Pro tip 1: Set a budget and stick to it like glue!
Pro tip 2: Japanese netizens are LIGHTNINGFREAKINGQUICK, so watch your dates and times or you’ll miss out!
Pro tip 3: If you choose to go out into the feeding frenzy that is January 1st (think Black Friday), be prepared to wait in loooong lines.

Happy Shopping!






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