January 2nd used to be known as one of the few times the public was allowed behind the walls of the Imperial Palace to see the emperor, but these days you’ll find everyone under 30 jamming the sidewalks of Harajuku in search of Lucky Bags. Lines form outside the most popular stores hours before they open, the shivering stalwarts hoping to grab the merchandise of their dreams for a fraction of the regular price.
Gambling plus bargains – what’s not to like? On fukubukuro day, giant sealed shopping bags are stacked in towers, the goods inside unknown until after you buy, but guaranteed to be worth the amount advertised. The price is usually 75-90% less than regular retail, so squeals of delight from brand devotees come early and often as bags are opened.
And every kind of store gets into the act:
These photos were all taken in Harajuku on Takeshita Street, known for its many shops catering to Lolitas, Gothic Lolitas and Princess Gals. I spent a lot of time here researching Nightshade, the first book in my mystery series. It’s where Mei and Kei meet Yumi Hata, to discuss how their friend could have gotten mixed up in the world of suicide websites…