Late Night Conbini Run – 11PM Opening, First 50 Customers

How many of you can say you have been to a convenient store ‘Grand opening’…at 11 pm at night?

I don’t think there are many of us who have done so.

I live in my company’s dorm in Osaka not so far from the company, close enough for me to walk to work everyday. It is a pretty fancy place but that’s another story for another post. The area around the place I live is mostly covered by my company’s facilities: our office, factories, hospital, dorms, employees club, gym and other facilities. So, besides these, there are not many things despite being located only one stop from Universal Studio. No McDonald’s, no Starbucks, forget about walking in a mall after work. Thus; when something new opens around here, we all get excited (I guess?).

This time, it’s a convenient store – Family Mart! Convenient store = Conbini コンビニ in Japanese, shortened from コンビニエンスストアwhich is a direct katakana translation from English. This new Family Mart is right in front of my company. It was built and decorated in less than a month. Then, when it’s finished, they put up a sign ‘OPEN 5/22 at 11PM – First 50 CUSTOMERS GET FREE PRIZES!’ We saw a lot of people stopping to read that sign and we got interested, so we set up a goal to be one of those 50 first dates customers! As odd as this may sound, this is probably one of the funniest moments since I’ve been in Japan and one I’ll remember…

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Something to do before going out to get the prizes!

9:30 PM, we gathered at one of my coworkers’ house right next to the new Family Mart. While waiting for the time to come, we managed to snack ourselves, laughed, and played Wii!! 😀

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Some snacks for the Wii night.
POPCORN PAPA and Umai 〔うまい)

At 10 PM, we went out to see our ‘competitors’. About 10 people were already there! We got a coupon from one of the Family Mart staffs to exchange our presents. She said although the coupon says 5/22-5/23, 5/22 11 PM- midnight is the only time we can use. So YAY! We surely can get the prize now. Went back to play Wii with peaceful minds!

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Present exchange ticket

Then, it was pretty much like what pictures tell. So funny being there, coming out to a conbini at 11 pm. I kept laughing while standing in line.

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10:45 pm
LOOK LOOK..There are there already!!

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10:50 PM

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Photo for memory… 😀

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We were not the only ones looking forward to this ‘grand opening’

The place was surprisingly packed. Believe it or not, some people brought their babies. Even at this time of the night. First thing we were handed when we went in was this little bag.

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The prize for the first 50 customers!

Then, we bought their Fukubukuro 〔福袋) or Happy/Lucky bag just for fun. In my head echoed (YAY YAY YAY!).

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Family Mart Happy Bag – 500 yen!

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The store got so packed…

I started laughing till my stomach hurts seeing everyone, including myself, got all excited over a new Family Mart. I have to admit, it was kind of…fun.

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Store front: The open sale

We got back and opened the bags. Both bags were filled with snacks and drinks.

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Stuff in the lucky bag!

I guess I got my breakfast…

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The first 50 customers bag

やった!YATTA (Finally).

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11 PM Convenient store opening
CHECKED!

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WOO HOO!!

This was just a very funny night. Made me thought of my time as a college student in Beppu city 〔別府市) when I would walk outside at night to the only McDonald’s and have a few laugh with some friends while devouring the M size french fries. Everywhere, city or suburban, there are always things and events to enjoy and laugh about. ❤

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New Year in Japan: Lucky bag, FUKUBUKURO 福袋!

Happy New Year 2013 everybody!

I hope you all had a wonderful countdown to the new year and a great holiday! I had a great dinner on the 31st and a count down at Minato mirai, Yokohama where they had a small firework at Cosmo square! 🙂

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Short countdown video here 🙂

My holiday is 9 days this time and after the countdown, the fun is nowhere near over. New year in Japan is the time for the biggest sale of the year and the annual shoppers-attractive promotion called “Lucky bag” or Fukubukuro in Japanese. This lucky bag first started in Matsuzakaya department store in Ginza. Each shop would put a lot of stuff in a bag and sell in cheaper price than normal. For example, for clothes- 5,000 yen for 6 items, which the real price would actually be around 25,000 yen. The customers cannot know what is inside except some stores that tells people the content of the items but people have no chance to choose color or types.

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Every year, people line up for these bags, sometimes even before the stores open. This year, I also joined the crowd. I shopped for some stuff I need which were on huge sale on January 1st. Most stores sell Fukubukuro on January 2nd-3rd. So, on 1st night, I searched for the stores list at a mall close to my place, then how many bags they sell, price, opening time, item details, etc. The mall I was planning to gave out fukubukuro catalog! After choosing the store I want to get the lucky bag, I went to bed early so that I can wake up early to line up for one! I went to Sotetsu Joinus in Yokohama around 9:10 (the mall opened at 9) and ran to the store I wanted a lucky bag. Turned out that I wasn’t early at all. I couldn’t get a waiting ticket for the shop I wanted so I gave up that one and went to another store. 🙂

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I got a 5,250 yen lucky bag from a clothing store. They offered another bigger bag sold at 10,500 yen as well. Inside the bag, there are five items! One coat, knitted sweater, scarf, and two shirts. It was worth it! 😀
Then, I also got a lucky bag from Bodyshop as well. Then a few stuff on sale and then I was out. Got tired from waiting in line for cashiers and decided to take a rest with my friends. 🙂
All of the stores have a really good deal on new year and lucky bag is just fun!!!

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These days every shops offer Fukubukuro. From clothes and shoes to snacks, cosmetics, and so many others. Even Apple has a lucky bag! I heard it is a great deal but people started lining up since the day before. Next year, I’ll try to go line up for Apple too! From the sources I read, it was 33,000 yen and the bag contains so many cool expensive stuff, even iPad or even a MacBook Air for some lucky people! Click here to read more about Apple lucky bag.

If you don’t like lucky bag and rather see the stuff for yourself before buying it, I recommend that this is still the best time of the year to shop. Everything is on sale! All the stores have a great deal during New Year. But…beware that there are loads of people out shopping during this time of the year, so make sure you sleep and eat enough- much energy needed. 😉

My 2013 started in a very happy holiday mode! I am enjoying my holiday a lot and sincerely hoping that this year will be a much better, brighter, and  happier year for me and for you all as well!
My best wishes to you!

HAPPY HOLIDAY!