Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year

New Year's is celebrated a tad differently here in Japan than it is in the States.  Us Americans are all about staying up until midnight {usually drinking and partying with friends} to ring in the new year but in Japan it's all about getting up early on New Year's Day to watch the 1st sunrise of the year with your family.  This made it very difficult to decorate for a NYE party at our house.  Thanks to the 100 yen store, I was able to whip up a few things for a great price.

homemade party hats

including a balloon drop that sort of worked out.

 I could not have asked to end the year surrounded by better people.  I'm so blessed to call these women my neighbors AND my friends!

In America, we send out cards for Christmas, here they send out New Year cards.  We received our 1st one this year from Jason's buddy Hama!

In Japan everyone starts the New Year with family and most stores/restaurants are closed.  The trains were running today but the stations were deserted!

Some friends and I headed out to a local shopping area {one of the few that were open} to participate in a "tradition" called fukubukuro.

As a way for shops to get rid of last year's merchandise, they create "lucky bags" or "mystery bags" containing items from their store.  These bags are sealed so that you cannot see its contents and sold for a substantial discount.

Kristin and I selected bags from one of my favorite shops for 3000 yen or about $40 US.  The sales lady directed us to feel each bag for weight and choose the one we wanted.  All we knew when we purchased them was the size of the items inside.

Here we all are with our purchases!

Bags come in all different sizes and are priced accordingly with smaller bags costing less than larger ones from the same store.  Bags are also priced based on the average price of things inside the store.  Some bags at high end stores sell for tens of thousands of yen.  

I came home with a bag from a stationary store for 980 yen or $12 US.

This was the contents of my bag from the clothing shop.  2 sweaters, a cardigan and 2 blouses.  Not too bad for $40!  I even got my 1st Japanese English shirt, "just a little grow"...what ever that means!

here I am modeling one of my new shirts...not sure if it's 100% my style but I'm going to try to make it work!

I also picked up a bag from the pet store.  2000 yen {$25 US} for all these treats and toys {and some puppy pads, wipes and a spray of some sort}!

It even included "suckers" for dogs!

Buster was VERY excited to try out a new snack!

I have been hearing about fukubukuro for almost 3 years now and I'm very glad I got to experience this my last New Years in Japan!

I hope the year of the Snake brings great health and happiness to all of you!


JG said...

How fun! Sounds like you got some great deals! What a great way to start the New Year :)

This American Wife said...

This looks awesome! I would be so nervous about buying one of those bags without knowing what was inside, but it sounds like a fun tradition!

Chantal said...

Sounds fun! I like the idea of mystery bags.

Molly said...

I love the idea of mystery bags. I just stumbled upon your blog and have loved reading about all your adventures.

Emily said...

Totally know what mall i'm hitting up next year! Hopefully it will be slower like it was for you guys.