wm Holidays Japanese Style

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So we’re just about out of the holiday season. The best thing about the holidays in Japan? The stores weren’t crowded at all until wm today.
In Japan Christmas is kind of a throw away holiday. A lot of stores decorate and try to have holiday sales, but there is no real practice of gift giving, so it doesn’t really have the same impact. Christmas Eve is spent with your boyfriend or girlfriend and you might trade one gift a piece and that’s about it. However, there’s two really nice things about this. First, of all you don’t have to shop for anyone. Second, neither does anyone else and so the stores aren’t crowded. So you’re free to buy yourself all of the presents you desire with absolutely no crowds. Awesome.
On the other hand New Years is the most important holiday all year. On the 1st almost everything is dead. Most big stores are closed and only a few smaller shops and restaurants are open. This day is reserved for family dinners and shrine visits. Everyone goes and prays for good luck for the coming year.
However, on the 2nd its a shoppers paradise. I actually saw young girls camping out, complete with tents, starting at 6pm in Shibuya. The stores open early and close just as early. Everything is on sale and its a total mad house. I actually went to a bunch of stores just to see the mayhem, but even as a bystander it was a bit too much.
Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures because I forgot to charge my camera after the crazy New Year’s Eve party my friend threw. Don’t bother checking back though because there won’t be any blog post on that. One performance only!
There is one interesting thing that they do here. They have these good luck bags at all the store. Basically you pay a particular price and get a bag full of stuff, but you don’t get to find out what is in the bag until after you buy it. I think the basic idea is that it always has stuff that is worth roughly what you paid, but occasionally some of the bags have really valuable stuff. Prices were as low as 1,000yen ($8.50US) and went all the way to 25,000yen ($212US). I couldn’t really find one I wanted to risk money on, but I saw a few the clothes stores I like had some so maybe I’ll go ahead and take the risk.
I did make one New Years purchase though. Sony apparently sent retailers a bunch of PS3 stock and so I grabbed one. It’s actually really fun so far and for some reason three out of the four games I bought are completely in English. That’s a huge surprise. I also have some Blu-ray discs on the way so I’ll brag more about that once I’ve had a chance to see the HD movies.
Somehow I actually spent more money on myself than normal and fit it all in my tiny apartment. Yay for small expensive toys!

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