Forgetting the fact that Japan somehow now has a Black Friday manufactured shopping holiday in the middle of November, the traditional shopper’s marathon is the first three days of the year. It makes sense because most people are off work and school, workers are flush with their winter bonus pay, and kids will have received their New Year’s money envelope, called “Otoshidama (お年玉).”
Stores put out their best “Fukubukuro (福袋),” literally “lucky bag” gifts for sale. These are bags filled with mystery merchandise that are often selling somewhere between 15~70% below retail– but the catch is no one knows what’s in the bags when they buy them! They are almost always a steal, and since the bags are limited in quantity, you will catch people lining up at the fashionable shops on New Year’s Eve to wait for the doors to open the next day.
If you are a shop-a-holic, then you can’t miss this tradition.