This could be the stupidest thing that I’ve done in life, and now that I’ve undergone it, I decided to reserve my past judgement of it “being stupid”, or maybe I am just in denial mood.
Would you line up 24 hours in advance, sleep outside in the cold at -1 degree Celsius just to buy a special Apple promo “lucky bag”? I doubt I would do it.
But well, given that I am on holiday and having the company of a friend, I decided to give it a try. And the experience turned out to be a one-a-lifetime experience…
Apple’s Fukubukuro 福袋 : The Lucky Bag Experience
Early morning queue
What is Fukubukuro?
Fukubukuro is an old Japanese New Year’s tradition. Customers get to buy a mysterious bag in which they don’t know what is within, but the value of the items is usually greater than the purchase price– in the case of Apple’s fukubukuro, a 36,000 yen bag could contain 60,000 yen worth of products. It can be considered as a huge bargain.
On the first day of 2015, I got up early and after having a quick breakfast, headed off to Omotesando’s new Apple store. We reached there at 8am, and were probably among the 50 earliest people. I found my classmate, sat down beside him and for a moment, I gasped,
” Woah, so I’m gonna be sitting here for the whole day? yikes 23.5 hours left!”
But well, after 24 hours of “patience” being tested out, here are at least 4 lessons I learnt from my 2015 fukubukuro experience.
We know its winter and it’s freezing cold. How are we going to keep ourselves warm to survive long enough?
I prepared 5 layers of clothing, 2 layers of socks, 2 layers of glove, a winter cap and two sleeping bags. When I first arrived, I was already feeling cold after 2 hours of sitting outside. That time, I decided to put on a layer, and then let my body acclimatize. Every 6 hours, I put on an extra layer and by evening, I was already on 5 layers inside my sleeping bag. I slept at 11, woke up at 2 to put on another layer of sleeping bag. Then slept till 4 before deciding to call it a night’s sleep. Went to a nearby convenient store and had “oden”- hot soup with all sorts of stuff like radish, tofu and fish cake.
a bowl of hot soup tasted as if it came from heaven…lol
Omotesando’s Apple Store
2. Time is Yours. Find ways to kill it.
Now, I think the fact of whether lining up for fukubukuro is “stupid” or not lies on two matter: health and time. If you completely waste your time and sacrifice your health ( getting a bad cold later on), then it could be kinda stupid. However, if we know ways to shield ourselves from the harshness of cold and treat it as a “hackathon”, whereby we use the free time to accomplish a lot of work in a short period of pro-longed concentrated hours, it can be a fulfilling experience.
During that time, I managed to read half of a ” thick book”, revised few chapters of my Japanese language texts, and watched a few chapters of “Sun Tzu’s biography” drama. If you go with a group of friends, it would be a good chance to:
3. Bond with them through “an enjoyable hardship” haha.
I’ve seen a few groups of Japanese students gathering together laughing over jokes, playing cards, watching movies together and ordering pizzas or bentos for dinner.
Reporters interviewing a group of students
The merrier the warmer, and the faster time pass by. Sadly for us, its only two person…but if you’re lucky enough, go make new friends!
4. When things don’t come easy, you appreciate it much better.
We actually hope for a Macbook air or atleast an ipad, but we end up getting only the basic fukubukuro only- Ipod touch, Apple TV, Dr Dre’s beats headphone, Itunes’ card, a Powerbank and of course the Incase backpack (the fukubukuro!).
Although it was not on par with my expectations, I am very much happy with what I’ve got and appreciate them much better than if I just walk in an Apple Store to acquire something (If I’m rich maybe).
5. ” 平常心 ”Heijoshin”/Accepting your “luck” or “merits/karma/fate” whatever you call it.
No matter what we get in the end, it’s better to keep a “heijoshin” by not expecting much and accepting it as we go. Hereis a very good article on 平常心
and in short, it means:
Heijoshin is a three kanji word, the first one “Hei” means calm, peaceful, steady. The second one “jo” means always, constant. The third one “Shin” means mind or hearth, the whole inner essence of the individual. So a final interpretation could be “Keeping a mindful, calm state all the time/in all situation”.
Personally, I think it’s better to work hard, save enough money and buy a “product” you really wish for instead of hoping to get a Macbook air, which may lead to expectation and disappointment ( Last year there was someone who lined up 8 days beforehand and still failed to get a Macbook Air as the first-in-line) .
Intention matters most and overall it’s a good experience for anyone to try out this crazy queue for themselves. After going through all this, I don’t regret a single moment now but maybe this is the first and last time ever, for I will spend the rest of my New Year trying out something else for the years to come.
Hopefully something much more “heart-warming” ^^
Photo credits: Frank Hsueh