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Welcome to my blog!

If you are in for an adventure paired with lengthy, quirky, brutal honest thoughts then you are in the right place.

My name is Arisa and was a cosplayer for 12 years in Malaysia before settling down in Kyoto, Japan. Exploring Japan full time has been a long time dream of mine, so let's explore it together!
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How to survive Japan's Fukubukuro season & Hauls

I think i have officially exceeded my 6 months worth of shopping quota for clothes in less than a week, well i do have a valid excuse for it because it's my first time and second, it's not everyday you get such good deals! It's like our usual year end sale back in Malaysia except what you are getting is definitely (usually) more value for money goods with some suspense added in for a little spice since the routine life in Japan can get rather dull after a while. 

And it's not just me who gets overly excited over year end sales, even locals here hoard the shopping malls like some zombie invasion. It's seriously a scary sight and i can totally understand why some people choose to just skip it; stay at home and enjoy their long holiday instead. 
Even the danna who used to work in fashion retail line as a promoter (haha like me) say the crowd can get quite rowdy (but still civilized) despite them mostly filled with elderly people.
Younger people mostly just shop online these days, which is so much more convenient to be honest because imagine having to lug around in a crowded area with your arms filled with bulky fukubukuros. Definitely a BIG NOPE.

Seriously a rare sight, jam packed malls

Look at the crowd waiting to cross the road, almost as busy as Shibuya's crossing!

As a first timer, but technically not a fukubukuro virgin la..because i saw them 3 years ago when i was in Chiba and before i went back i saw Narita airport shops being filled with all types of Fukubukuros but i didn't get much except a small Canmake fukubukuro, i still wanted to experience how "chaotic" Japanese shoppers can be so the danna brought us out (Shijo kawaramachi- shopping district of Kyoto city) for shopping on the 2nd day of New year.  
What no one told me was these sales usually starts only from 2nd of Jan onwards, so you won't be able to see any fukubukuro before that date unless it's in an airport or tourist targeted area. 
No wonder i was puzzled how come i didn't see any in Kyoto from Christmas onwards unlike how i saw in Chiba 3 years ago.

Fukubukuro sales lasts about 3-4 days (less than a week) and after that if there are any leftovers it would be sold of at 50% off. Cheap, but usually the good stuff will be gone by then leaving the unwanted stuff on the clearance rack.

 In Tokyo you'll probably see some shops already having them out early but in Kyoto, it's according to schedule and not any earlier even if it's at Kyoto station (bummer). As much as i thought i overspent this round, looking back at my haul, considered okay la..because i technically did save some money as all these items rounded up together probably costed me almost 100,000yen!
That's because i bought some slightly more high end branded stuff like SNIDEL, always wanted their clothes and it's not that i can't afford them; it's just their price tag doesn't really justify the clothing. Ex fashion student who knows her material and labor costs here lol, would i pay RM500 for 1 chiffon skirt? NO. Because chiffon costs RM5 per meter, most "expensive" also RM15-20.  
I sometimes wonder how did i ended up doing Fashion when i can't understand how can people bay so much for the sake of "brand". 

That included people like the danna, my clothes are seriously cheaper than his and much lesser too, according to him my wardrobe probably looks like Marie Kondo's. Too "minimalist" liao, but i somehow feel i have alot haha!

Okay, out of topic dy..back to talking about Fukubukuro- Inside each bag is a mystery, but most of the time brands would have a so called "visual poster" to give you a hint of what may be inside of it and it's total value to attract customers. Most of the time it works for suckers like me, because the initial value and the price paid has quite a vast difference it's like 80-90% off! 

But with that being said, because it's a mystery bag there are bounds to be HITS & MISSES.UNLESS, it's the type of fukubukuro that discloses its contents, those aren't as cheap as the mystery ones.    

This concept can technically be labeled as "gambling" because it relies alot on luck and some researching on past year's reviews lol. Seriously, to local Japanese 10,000yen is probably cheap like RM100 but to me as a Malaysian it's almost RM400! So i definitely have to do tons of researching before hand before i throw that amount away over items i don't even use, just for the sake of spending. I can't believe that the danna hasn't bought any fukubukuro before despite working in a department store lol, probably the brand he likes doesn't have them (high class international fashion brands don't do fukubukuro, only local brands).

Yes i managed to RESIST these!!
Usually when you ask the staffs for hints of what's inside, they either don't know (packed elsewhere & brought in) or they'll give super vague answers lol.

And it's a good thing we left the house abit late because of the baby (naturally lol), so some brands i liked like Gelato pique were already sold out by lunchtime. Well, not too bummed about it being sold out because that means i can save money haha, and i'm proud of myself for resisting my favorite bag brand, Samantha Thavasa! Because i rather pay abit more and get the design i want rather being stuck with some random unit that i don't want, and in all honesty i don't need a new wallet/ pouch anytime soon. 

Lined up at AEON's entrance

Fukubukuros are not only limited to fashion items, in fact you can even find electrical or household items and from what i saw online even IKEA has their own fukubukuro! Super cheap, 3000yen for tons of useful house items, wished i knew about this earlier lol, should put it on my list for next year.
Digital malls like BIC Camera & Yodobashi also a place to hunt for good fukubukuro deals, some throws in TV, DVD players, PS4, aircond, hairstyling tools, camera at a dirt cheap price.

Electrical fukubukuro for only 12,000yen!

Walking pass rows after rows of shops offering their own version of fukubukuros, it's really tempting and even if that doesn't impresses you, in-store items have discounts up to 60%, but here is a tip i learned from the Danna :

Wait till AFTER the fukubukuro sales like during the 2nd week of January, they'll start dropping the price further to clean out their shelves for the upcoming season's collections. Stuffs will be going at 70-80% off!

Also most of you who saw my insta stories requested for me to make an entry about my hauls, i can definitely foresee some of you planning a year end trip just for shopping liao lol. I'll be making a score rate for each fukubukuro bought, so you can roughly compare mine with previous years to see if it's worth getting near future. I should so start a fukubukuro proxy service since i'm already staying here and can easily get access to pre-orders and bring them back during CNY lol. Buttttt....i'll think about it, too many Malaysian buyers are very unethical, like to make other people's life miserable by not paying on time. 

  • Pre-order online if possible, it will save you the hassle of pushing through crowded malls.
  • Check online for previous years reviews on brands you are eyeing 
  • Follow their official accounts (IG/ LINE) or subscribe to newsletters for announcement updates
  • Fukubukuro sales onsite starts from 2nd Feb onwards (lasts a week) and after that it would be sold at 50% to be cleared
  • Websites like Amazon, Yahoo, Rakuten usually has all the big brands listed for pre-orders and all categories too (fashion, cosmetics, food, etc)
  • Fashion websites like fashionwalker, zozotown, gladd, runway channel has tons of fashion brands listed on them, great place to hunt for your favorite brands
  • If you want to experience the shopping rush then department stores like Daimaru, Aeon, Takashimaya, Tokyu hands, ISETAN, Fuji Daimaru, O1O1 (MARUI) are the places to go, you can find Fukubukuro on every single floor
  • Price starts from 1000 yen & above
  • For electrical item fukubukuro try Yodobashi or BIC Camera
  • For Food fukubukuro try AEON, department stores food section, cafes or online 

So as you guys have been patiently waiting for, here's my fukubukuro haul for 2019!

Total Damage: 21,999 YEN
Score rate: 3.5/5

Starting with my best purchase of all, from SNIDEL, i was seriously contemplating whether to get this or not until it was sold out on the initial fashion website i was stalking it on. Was super upset because i delayed so long and then suddenly it's Amazon Japan was taking in pre-orders too! Not wanting to regret again later, i just checkout with it. Really had that "doki doki" feeling because i didn't know what to expect from my first clothing fukubukuro lol.

It arrived on new year itself, super efficient dispatch by Amazon and i was quite impressed because the contents in it definitely costs 10 times more than the amount i've paid. Remember what i said earlier about SNIDEL clothes costing minimal 10,000 yen a piece? 

Inside there are 7 items including the large recyclable bag it came with, 2 tops, 1 skirt, 1 dress, 1 neck warmer & 1 coat, all in my favorite shade- PURPLE!!
Paid only 10,000yen!!

The sweater top can be worn 2 ways, can easily style into 3-4 looks with what i have here.
I've tried to trace back some of the items on their website, and found the exact coat selling for 30,000 yen, but it's already sold out. So will i get their bag again near future? Definitely!

Paid: 2000yen

Even optical shops has their own fukubukuro selling contact lens solutions at a cheap price and it's nowhere near its expiry date too! I got this at the AEON near my place, 5 bottles of 480ml solution for 2000yen! That freaking cheap!! In drug stores, the size sold in a pair is slightly smaller and costs almost the same as the fukubukuro. The amount of bottles here can last me about 6-8 months, definitely worth it for frequent contact lens users such as myself and if you are staying in Japan then do keep an eye (no pun intended lol) out for these kind of essential item fukubukuro!

Total of 10 pcs of items- 2 jackets, 6 tops, 1 neck warmer & 1 bag
Price: 7,999yen

Moving on to my GRL fukubukuro that arrived 2 weeks later than the rest of my items as they were waiting for restocks and i ordered it towards the end of December. My friend Jean ordered hers 2 months earlier so hers arrived on new years, yea so that's another tip to avoid delays- order as soon as it comes available.

Having to wait so long just be slightly disappointed with its contents, out of 10 pieces of clothing only 2-3 items caught my fancy while the rest were just "MEH". GRL's fukubukuro is a HALF MISS on my list, i'll think twice before getting their fukubukuro again next year. 
For the price paid i guess i shouldn't get my hopes to high, it's 7999 yen but i only paid 6500yen after using my member points. I personally think their poster photos were pretty misleading, like SERIOUSLY misleading lol, shows that it may contain skirts, dresses, shoes, hats but none of those came in mine. 

I know it states that images are purely for visual purposes only, contents don't necessarily contain the items, but for a fashion brand i thought the very least they would do is pack something you can mix & match easily.

So many plain and dull colored tops and all of them lacking of the usual GRL vibe like the ones shown on their promotion posters. Really can use the term "cheat my feelings".

Unlike SNIDEL's, their's is definitely more like a bag full of random clearance items so i can't really coordinate with what i have in this box. All i had were tops, no bottoms at all lol. Quality wise was low to mid tier, something that wouldn't cost more than 1000yen a piece kind of clothing. The Mustard colored jacket & fluffy white top were definitely good, but the rest left me speechless. Can conclude that these are remnants from previous seasons throughout the year that can't be sold all dumped together in the box and shipped out to the recipients. 
No fancy packaging whatsoever, feels like receiving reject stocks because of how it was packed lol.

Another top, neck warmer & furry sling bag

Don't get me wrong, i love shopping in GRL because other items i've purchased so far the design and quality is good but i can't say the same for their "lucky bags", so i'm just gonna avoid their fukubukuro from now on lol. 

I can't recall the shop's name but i but it was a random one along Shijo kawaramachi 
Not exactly the kind of accessories i would use but bought it for fun because it was only 1000 yen lol
Was hoping it came with the cute anti-shock bracelet they were promoting, guessed my luck used up for the SNIDEL fukubukuro liao. This is a MISS for me because all the items here looks exactly like the ones from DAISO.

Our Fukubukuro from Haagen Dazs lol, super worth it because the big box alone costs usually 990yen+ (before tax) and we even got a postcard that allows us to apply for 1000yen AEON voucher, this one confirm a HIT because who doesn't like ice cream especially Haagen Dazs? 
1000yen well spent!

That's all my fukubukuro haul and newbie shopping tips for 2019, think i've contributed enough to Japan's economy and also for my recent CNY shopping that i need to start working my ass off again to replace back the balance in my bank account *ouch*.
Hope you found this post interesting & helpful, we'll see again next year if there is anything else to update on the tips!

Thanks for reading and if you like my content, please do subscribe to my blog; planning to reach 500 subscribers before June for my next giveaway :)

Tags: SNIDEL Fukubukuro 2019, GRL Fukubukuro 2019, SALE, New Year 2019, Japan

Yours Truly,

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