Village Vanguard’s ‘Dangerous’ Lucky Bag Promises Exciting Highs and Miserable Lows

These are not good luck bags for the faint hearted.

Fukubukuro lucky bags are one of our favorite parts of the Japanese New Year… or at least they were. The thrill of buying a bag without knowing what’s inside, hoping your hard-earned yen has earned you something worthwhile, is an addicting gamble that keeps dozens of buyers coming back year after year. But since the risk that customers will be disappointed with the contents of their lucky bag is very real, some chains have chosen the safe but boring route for several years in a row, now. What is it, Krispy Kreme? Your lucky bag still contains donut coupons this year? Innovative.

Vanguard of the village once graced the spirit of surprise with gag items and a very real threat that you end up with a bunch of unwanted goods at the end of your lucky bag madness. In recent years however, Village Vanguard’s main store has started to follow the crowd with predictable bag content… But their spinoff store, Village Vanguard Outlet, that’s a whole different story.

▼ One of ten Village Vanguard outlets in Japan.

As the parent company sought to allay customer fears with their relatively safe, non-catastrophic lucky bags, Village Vanguard Outlet has thrived on its own rules. A representative contacted SoraNews24 to reassure us that their lucky bags carried a very real risk of disappointment… and how could we say no to that?

Here’s our reporter PK Sanjun observing his Village Vanguard garbage kingdom from previous years.

If the same vendor who sells the lucky bags is willing to testify to their level of risk, those bags must contain background waste. Since this is exactly the kind of thrill we were looking for, we headed to the Village Vanguard Outlet in Takao and loaded up the most expensive of these supposedly daring bags, which was priced at 10,000 (US $ 86.16 ).

?? “Buy 66,000 yen worth for only 10,000 yen!” “ announces the sign.

The enthusiastic publicity comes to raise our heart rate all the higher. There’s no way they’ll make so much noise on the package otherwise, is there? There must be a real risk of junk on the horizon. We awkwardly lugged the bulky box home on the train and prepared for whatever was inside.

So without further ado let’s get into this 10,000 yen bag which claims to be worth 66,000 yen.

The first one standing …

Ah of course. A stuffed sperm whale.

?? “I would never buy something like this usually,” said PK Sanjun.

It even has frayed stitching near the eyes for a few extra pity points. Oh dear.

The body is soft and smooth, and the plush has a nice and heavy weight. For unwanted items that you would usually never buy, we classify them as a reference item.

Moving on, the next item in the bag was a Sealane luxury watch. According to its price, it typically sells for 28,000 yen. Goal! We were lucky !

What followed in quick succession was a Pokemon backpack, shoulder bag, and woolen hat. None of these items were particularly offensive and looked quite pretty… but they were things we would never have bought on our own. We felt the rush of exciting handbag shopping from years past wash over us! Thank you, Village Vanguard Outlet!

Then we have shameless box fillers like this drip coffee maker and flip-note style clock. We respect the commotion, honestly.

So, do all these items add up to a value of 66,000 yen? May be. Not all items come with price tags so we have no real way of knowing. What we do know, however, is that this lucky bag really filled us with the excitement and passion that we missed from the lucky bags of yore. This stuff is junk, but it’s good junk, and well worth the 10,000 yen we paid to meet it.

Images © SoraNews24

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