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Lesson Transcript

Sakura&Yoshi: おはよう東京。
Sakura: 年末スペシャルです。Sakuraです。
Yoshi: Yoshiです。
Peter: Peter here. End of The Year Special from japanesepod101.com. As always, brought to you by Erklaren, the translation and interpretation specialists. Sakura san, Yoshi san joining us for well, the first of its kind, an end of the year special.
Sakura: うん。よろしくお願いします。
Peter: Now you might be asking, what does this exactly entail? Sakura san, what does the end of the year special entail? What are we talking about?
Sakura: About things going on in Japan at the end of the year.
Peter: That’s right and Yoshi san, there is a lot going on right?
Yoshi: Uhoo.
Peter: Now yesterday was Christmas.
Sakura: Huh.
Peter: So everybody had a good time, I take it?
Sakura: Umm.

Lesson focus

Peter: Now Christmas in Japan as we discussed earlier is not such a significant holiday kind of for couples and lovers.
Sakura: Yes….
Peter: And a romantic holiday.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: But recently many families also give presents to kids and things like this but the end of the year, Sakura san, how big of a day is this?
Sakura: Everybody is involved. Very busy time of the year and everybody is running shopping and getting ready.
Peter: To spend the New Year together.
Sakura: そう。
Peter: Yoshi san, this is a pretty big deal right?
Yoshi: Right.
Peter: What do you have planned for the end of the year as we know already?
Yoshi: What is it?
Peter: I don’t know, you tell me about your plan. Where are you going?
Yoshi: I am going to Nagasaki.
Peter: Right and when are you leaving?
Yoshi: Yesterday.
Peter: Yeah. Umm…well pretty much I think that line of questioning led to the fact that yeah, this could be prerecorded. How was Nagasaki?
Yoshi: No we are caught, this is live via satellite. How is Nagasaki Yoshi san?
Yoshi: It’s pretty cold.
Peter: All right. Yoshi san live from Nagasaki. Now let’s get our focus a little more. Get a little – we are going to get back on track here. Now over the next few lessons, what we are going to do is introduce you to some customs and some things that take place only at the end of the year. Now this idea was given to us by a listener.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: She emailed us and said why don’t you tell everybody what’s going on at the end of the year. So over the next few days, we are going to cover foods that you can only eat at the end of the year. Things that only take place at the end of the year. Now to start things off, we want to tell you about something. We are going to give you a little time to prepare, to get ready for something that you can do next week. Sakura san, what is the topic of today’s lesson?
Sakura: 福袋(ふくぶくろ)
Peter: Good luck bag, good fortune bag. Sakura san, can you tell us a little something about this?
Sakura: 福袋 is the very typical ones are in a big paper bag and they are sold at department stores and other retailers at the beginning of the year.
Peter: The very beginning of the year.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: When you say the beginning of the year, what time?
Sakura: Time! On the first day of business.
Peter: Now there is a sign. There is usually a big tell-tale sign that a department store is offering one of these. What sign is that?
Sakura: There is a long line in front of the department store for people who are waiting to get in and buy one of them.
Peter: Yeah now what is so good about these? Why would someone wait out in the cold waiting on a long line for the chance because there is a certain amount of these. Not everyone will get one. Why would someone do that, wait outside?
Sakura: Because there is a deep discount on the items in the bag.
Peter: Exactly and we’ve heard upwards to 50% off. So it’s kind of like a grab bag. You don’t know what’s in there but you know what’s in there is discounted.
Sakura: Right.
Peter: So if you pay a USD100 which is
Sakura: 1万円
Peter: For one of these bags, you can be confident that whatever you get in there is going to be worth about 200 or a lot more than whatever you paid. Now the flipside is you don’t know exactly what you are going to get. When was the last time you bought one of these?
Sakura: Many years ago. Yeah.
Peter: And were you happy with the content of the bag?
Sakura: Well I was happy with half of the items but the other half were kind of you know, you can’t really use it. It’s kind of leftovers, you know.
Peter: Something the store doesn’t need.
Sakura: Yes right and I bought and department stores are the most typical places you can buy them but they are also some old 福袋s at like cosmetic shops or other small shops like in clothes shops as well.
Peter: But I think it's part of the excitement and fun of you know, the chance that you really might hit pay dirt. You really might get something really, really nice because a few bags have some really special items in it, right?
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: That would be a nice way to start off the New Year.
Sakura: Hmm…
Peter: Yoshi san, have you ever bought one?
Yoshi: I don’t think I ever bought any in my life yet.
Peter: This is the year, this is the year Yoshi san.
Yoshi: All right.
Peter: We want to see a blog about that. What you got, a picture too.
Sakura: Yeah.
Yoshi: That sounds great.
Sakura: Peterさんは?
Peter: Yes I have never got one.
Sakura: Oh really!
Peter: Either.
Sakura: Oh well, then this year.
Peter: No this is Yoshi’s year. I got the next year.
Sakura: Okay.
Peter: 2008 is my year.
Sakura: Okay.
Peter: Now so if you are visiting Japan and you see these long lines in front of the department stores, there is a good chance this is what they are waiting for. Also for the holiday shopping, are there discounts in general?
Sakura: Ah usually yes.
Peter: So this is everyone’s well rested with the money they spend so they are ready to go shopping. Okay now let’s just take a look at this word one more time. Can you give us the word for this?
Sakura: 福袋
Peter: Now the first word means
Sakura: Fortune, luck.
Peter: The second word means
Sakura: Bag.
Peter: So fortune bag.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Luck bag.
Sakura: When it’s gathered it’s ぶくろ(袋)
Peter: Yeah kind of like 池袋 like a bag but since bag comes second…
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: 袋 becomes ぶくろ
Sakura: ぶくろ
Peter: All right. So if you are in Japan, this is one thing we recommend that you check out.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Now we got the email from the person who suggested we do this lesson. She also wanted to talk about that before she came to Japan, she had a lot of advice that the end of the year is not a good time to go. Everything is closed, there is nothing to do but she wanted to write in and say that she had the best time ever.
Sakura: Oh!
Peter: Lots of places were open, you know it was easier to get around because there weren’t that many people traveling on certain days. Certain days, let’s make that a point. On the big rush days, everything is sold out but she had a very good experience. I’ve also had very good experiences traveling at this time of the year too. I find it easier to move around.
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: One of the things that I like to do and I think this year again, we are going to do it is that you can get a train ticket. All you can ride. You know you can get on and off for five days straight for 1万円 about a USD100. The only thing is it'4s limited to the local trains. So if you are planning to go to a faraway place, it’s going to take you a while to go by train because it’s local train. You can’t ride the Shinkansen, the bullet train or anything else.
Sakura: Hmm, Hmm, Hmm.
Peter: But I found this a really great way to get around Japan and it's really economical.
Sakura: Huh!
Peter: $100 for 5 days, all you can travel.
Sakura: Yes that’s good.
Peter: So the goal of today’s lesson was just to introduce you to this. Now Yoshi san, do you have anything else you want to add about this?
Yoshi: Some stuff about 福袋 might be interesting.
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: All right let us have that.
Yoshi: Today you can even like order 福袋 online too.
Peter: An online 福袋
Yoshi: Even Apple stores in Japan have 福袋
Peter: Oh Yoshi san…
Yoshi: You might like it Peter san.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: You shouldn’t have said it. I am going to have to change my travel plans.
Yoshi: Like it says like you pay about like 5万円, about like $500 and they say, you can get like about $1100 worth of stuff.
Sakura: 11万円?
Yoshi: 11万円。
Peter: Wow!
Sakura: すごいね。
Peter: That is a really – what to do, what to do!
Yoshi: But there’s a limit like so you want to be – you might have to be hurry.
Sakura: Ah!
Peter: There is only a certain amount of items…
Sakura: Right.
Peter: Or certain amount of bags. So you have to get there early. That’s why they have these lines.
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: Ah this seems like fun. Alright, this is the year I do it. Yoshi san, I am joining you this year.
Yoshi: We can write a blog about it.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Yeah let’s see who has the better one. 福袋 competition. Sakura san, you have to join in too.
Sakura: Eh!
Yoshir: You can also if you are rich, it’s interesting because it’s going to be a year of 2007, you can pay 2千7万円 which is…
Sakura: Which is
Peter: 2千7万円? About $200,000?
Yoshi: Yes so it’s $200,700
Sakura: Ah ah!
Peter: Yeah, yeah.
Sakura: I’m losing all the 0s
Peter: It means I will forget about those $700.
Yoshi: Because it’s a year of 2007.
Sakura: Yeah.
Yoshi: でしょ? So you can pay that amount to get like a world round trip twice.
Peter: Twice around the world.
Sakura: Twice around the world.
Peter: Roundtrip.
Sakura: すごい。
Peter: Well…
Yoshi: Like first you go around the northern…
Peter: North Pole?
Yoshi: No.
Sakura: Northern hemisphere.
Peter: Northern hemisphere?
Yoshi: Northern hemisphere.
Peter: Thank you Sakura san.
Sakura: Yeah, yeah…
Peter: Nice to have an English expert on here.
Yoshi: And the second trip is around the southern.
Sakura: すごいね。
Yoshi: Hemisphere or….
Sakura: Yeah, yeah…
Peter: Hemisphere.
Sakura: So you have covered all the Globe ていうか。
Yoshi: はい。
Peter: The whole planet.
Sakura: すごいね。
Yoshi: But still it should be a good deal for that price.
Sakura: Yeah.
Yoshi: If you have the money.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: All right. Let’s see if japanesepod101.com upper brass will spend for that. Yoshi would you like to go in that?
Yoshi: Umm yeah why not!
Peter: Yeah but I guess this is all relative. Where we could afford that grab bag, we will have the time and the resources to really enjoy that trip. 200,000
Sakura: And this is targeting people who are going to retire next year right?
Peter: Yeah don’t even – don’t mind me. It’s the holiday season.
Sakura: そうそう、 Many people ね。
Yoshi: You can also get the diamond necklace for 1億円福袋
Sakura: 1億円…
Yoshi: Peter san…
Sakura: よろしくお願いします。
Peter: A million…
Yoshi: For your wife?
Peter: Oh Yoshi, that’s a get out.
Sakura: Yeay!
Peter: You just love….
Sakura: 私にもお願いします。 For me too please.
Yoshi: I don’t mind getting one for you.
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: All right. This is out of control. Sakura san, let’s get back to what you were saying before. I so rudely interrupted you and then I interrupted Yoshi….
Sakura: Which one?
Peter: But yeah back to what you were saying about this is targeting.
Sakura: Ah people who are going to retire in 2007, year 2007.
Peter: So it makes sense that they were tired and then they go out.
Sakura: Yeah because it’s the baby boomer generation, these people are going to retire next year.
Peter: Yeah so ride into a world tour to see what they were missing for the 30 or 40 years of straight work.
Sakura: Yes, yes そうそうそう。 and this is a big social issue as well in Japan because so many you know, people with skills and experience are going to retire at once.
Peter: Yeah.
Sakura: But it’s going to be a good business chance for business targeting those people.
Peter: It sounds like a good one.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: Yeah and yeah Yoshi never mentioned diamonds again on the show. Never do that.
Sakura: Umm..
Yoshi: Sorry!
Peter: All right. So do we have anything else to add?
Yoshi: So all sorts of different businesses try to come up with you know like interesting ideas or new ideas with 福袋 to attract all the customers to the store or you know, it becomes like a hot topic on the news if you have something…
Sakura: Yeah.
Yoshi: Like different every year.
Sakura: Umm…
Peter: Yeah I think the online one is kind of the most shocking for me.
Sakura: そうね。
Peter: I am going to go check that out.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: We will try to get a link or something up there.
Sakura: Yeah and when I was working part time in 伊勢丹(いせたん) a department store.
Peter: Kind of a very nice department store.
Sakura: Yes in the suburbs of Tokyo, there were many people lining up for 福袋 and when the department store opened at 10 o’clock, people run in and you know, grabbing these bags and I was working at this coffee shop where you can like drink coffee and relax and there were middle-aged women who ran to the coffee shop with all these bags in their hands and they take the table and they are calling their friends you know ~~さん、 here, here, here and you know, invading the shop – coffee shop.
Peter: You can take more than one bag?
Sakura: Yes. In that place, yes and there are 福袋 for like different stores in the department stores as well.
Peter: Yeah because in any given department store, there is a bunch of shops.
Sakura: Yes.
Peter: Women calling, men calling.
Sakura: Yes, yes.
Peter: So it’s chaos.
Sakura: Chaos, chaos yeah. People who like 福袋.
Peter: Like the start of a horse race?
Sakura: Yes そうそう。
Peter: I didn’t know you can grab a few.
Sakura: うんうん。そうそう。
Peter: Put your arms through, you could get 5 or 10 bags on each arm.
Sakura: うん、そうそう。
Peter: Now do you pay for this before or after?
Sakura: うーんと、 After in the ones I know and you can buy one from like ¥3000, ¥5000 and ¥10,000. These are I think the most popular ones.
Peter: And they are marked with the prices or they are in different areas?
Sakura: Areas.
Peter: All the bags are in one area marked with different prices by size or the ¥10,000 bags in one spot, the 3,000
Sakura: ま、そんな感じね。並んでるよ。 Yeah.
Peter: Like the 10,000 bags are grouped together.
Sakura: Yeah.
Peter: The 5 – okay.
Sakura: そうそう。
Peter: All right. So let’s end it with this. Sakura san, you were there. You experienced the battlefield. Any advice for any of our listeners that are testing this out?
Sakura: Testing this out.
Peter: Run fast, head down, as much as you can grab.
Sakura: そうだね。
Peter: Yoshi san, are you ready to give it a try this year?
Yoshi: I rather do it online 福袋.
Sakura: そうね。


Peter: Come on! How are you going to trade war stories? I just dropped the shoulder. All right, so that’s going to conclude today’s lesson. That was Yoshi san live from Nagasaki and I was joined in the studio by Sakura san.
Sakura: またね。
Yoshi: またね。
Peter: Yoshi, you are breaking up. See you tomorrow.


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Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

JapanesePod101.com Verified
December 26th, 2006 at 06:30 PM
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Mina-san, A link about fukubukuro with lots of pictures: http://greggman.com/japan/fukubukuro/fukubukuro.htm A link about the Apple Store fukubukuro (Japanese): http://store.apple.com/0120-APPLE-1/WebObjects/japanstore?family=LuckyBag Yoroshiku onegai shimasu!

JapanesePod101.com Verified
February 22nd, 2016 at 12:31 PM
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Helena san,


Thank you for your positive feedback.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask us.

Yuki  由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

February 18th, 2016 at 08:37 PM
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Thanks for the links and post.

We don't have anything like this in Portugal.

Only recently we started to have a Black Friday and it is a very shy event.

Best Regards,


JapanesePod101.com Verified
June 23rd, 2013 at 09:52 PM
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Thank you very much for sharing the info and link!! :smile::heart:


Team JapanesePod101.com

June 20th, 2013 at 11:39 PM
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Found some pictures of the Fukubukuro at the popular Tokyo clothing store Shibuya 109. It's like Black Friday in America! There are police men and people crowded everywhere!


January 28th, 2007 at 07:03 AM
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Thanks man, i agree

Daniel Beck
January 3rd, 2007 at 10:55 AM
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There are some reports of the contents of the Apple 福袋 here:


January 3rd, 2007 at 09:19 AM
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December 30th, 2006 at 08:47 PM
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I love the local train travel too. I'd thought about buying one of the tickets for the winter break, but opted for a snowboarding holiday instead.

Traveling for 4 months in NewZealand and Australia and a year in S.E. Asia was an amazing experience and something that far too few Americans do. Including airfare it cost me about $7500 to travel for those 16 months (expensive yes, but far more rewarding than paying off my student loans). I spent most of my time hiking, taking cooking classes, reading books, and learning new languages. I love to go places that are off the beaten tourist track and make friends with the ladies at the food stalls in the market.

What sort of details are you looking for?

December 29th, 2006 at 03:42 AM
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i don't think i would ever go to a clothing store for fukubukuro..japanese women are sooo thin and petite. even my japanese friend who is 5'10" but a size 2! has trouble finding clothing and shoes that fit her. >.

chris masood
December 28th, 2006 at 07:32 AM
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i want some Fukubukuro now lol one day i will particpate and go wild :wink: