Now that the Fukubukuro season is here, the excitement is through the roof. There are a few reasons why people are going crazy every year about it. Let's run through them:
1. It can be a really, really good bargain
If you have heard about Apple's Fukubukuro, you know that for a bag that costs you around USD300, there is a chance that you can get a whopping MACBOOK. Naturally, this doesn't happen for all of the bags, but there are plenty of other items in a Fukubukuro that, when you total the individual prices, will always be worth much more than the bags' cost. This doesn't only apply to electronics, naturally, but also for brand clothes (although you need to watch out for the size) and accessories. You can net 5 different brand items in a bag that only cost you as little as USD100!
2. It can be really, really elusive
Since we've established just how good of a deal these Fukubukuro are, you can easily surmise that they will run out really quickly. Most of the time, the lucky bags are available for purchase starting on a certain date (the first days of January, usually) and at a certain hour. However, some people will line up as early as the previous night and camp out in the winter cold, just to get that elusive package. Of course, each person is only entitled to one bag, but that will not stop the good stuff from running out. Indeed, it's first come first serve, and if you do come first, the things you get are well deserved.
3. It is like a 100% lottery
For some reason, the Japanese in general love the idea of lotteries. There is a proverb for "winning big" in the language: 一攫千金 (ikkaku senkin). I suspect that at a certain level, people understand that it is very unlikely to win that million-yen lottery even if they bought ten every day, but the dream lives on. That is why the idea of a lucky bag that is guaranteed net you more than what you spent on it is such an appealing idea. Who doesn't enjoy the thrills of being a winner?
You totally should try for a Fukubukuro if you happen to be in Japan during the holidays. It's even more exciting than Black Friday sales! Avoid the major department stores in the downtown areas of big cities, though; the sight of the crowd will break your dreams. But if you aren't trying to win big, you can sample a bit of the excitement by going to the nearest Starbucks - they sell cheaper lucky bags containing tumblers, mugs, coffee beans, and other stuff.
Personally, I am planning on getting one from a local retail store that apparently sells a lucky bag containing a 64GB iOS tablet and all its peripherals at under 200 dollars. Yep, they don't tell you it's an iPad outright, so I'm not sure about the exact model, but whatever it is, a chance to fill a tablet-shaped gap in my geeky heart for 20,000 yen is not something I want to miss out on. I bet this is one of those bags that will run out very early, so there is an absolute need to hurry.
The question is: to camp or not to camp?