Fukubukuro

2003-01-05

In America we have the famous after Christmas sales.  In Japan, as the biggest holiday of the year is New Year's Day they have after New Year's sales or Hatsu−uri, literally "first sale".  But on top of that, one of the big traditions during this time is the tradition of Fukubukuro pronounced foo−koo−boo−koo−row.  Fuku means surprise, bukuro means bag.  In English we would call them "gab bags"

Here is someone walking around with the most basic fukubukuro

I'm just guessing but I believe it's a way for the stores to clear out unwanted inventory.

Now, you would expect fukubukuro or grab bags of things like toys

Here are bags of toys. $18 each

You might even be able to conceive of fukubukuro of accessories

accessories, the $18 bags and the $45 bags

But what about the $8 fukubukuro at the sock store?

or what about $90 fukubukuro at the jewelry store?

Even that I guess is conceivable but lets keep going shall we?

 

Here are Rolling Stones merchandise fukubukuro at the Virgin Megastore.  $60 each.  

Passing through the supermarket I saw...

grocery fukubukuro only $18 each!

And to top if off I think the one that was personally the strangest to me was:

 

The $90 suit fukubukuro.
I yes, I saw people buying them!

A friend of mine went down to a game store in Akihabara and bought a Saturn fukuruburo and a Dreamcast fukubukuro.  Each was only $8 and each had over 25 games in them.  I guess you'd consider that a score except that as a collector he already had all the games.

All the same cautions apply to fukubukuro that apply to American grab bags.  Meaning that generally the stuff inside is not something you would have spent the money on had you seen it.  Hence my another friend's preferred reading of fukubukuro.  Just add a few spaces and you get:

    fuk  u  bukuro

I'll leave you to figure out how to pronounce that one 😃

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Salvatore
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