Lucky bags offer winter bargains, survival food

Kyodo

Major department stores kicked off their first business day of 2012 on Monday as crowds of shoppers lined up to gamble on so-called lucky bags filled with random discount goods and other New Year’s bargains.

This year, many department stores prepared bags filled with emergency goods and survival foods, as well as warm clothing for dealing with power-saving steps being taken at homes and offices in light of the March disasters.

The charm of the mysterious “fukubukuro” bags is that their contents are supposed to be worth more than the price.

Mitsukoshi Ltd.’s flagship store in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district opened at 9:50 a.m., 10 minutes earlier than scheduled, after many people braved cold weather to line up in front of the store.

Matsuya Co.’s flagship store in Tokyo’s Ginza district offered luxury lucky bags costing ¥30,000 that were filled with winter clothing, including coats worth ¥200,000.