Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's in Japan

Cardy: J.Crew (similar); Necklace: J.Crew Factory; Top: Urban (similar);
Skirt: Majestic Legion; Shoes: Uniqlo 

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful time ringing in 2012. Matt and I had a really chill New Year's Eve... started it off by doing a bit of shopping, and then went home early. I know, not the most exciting way to spend New Year's in Tokyo, but we didn't want to miss the last train back! 

New Year's in Japan is the biggest holiday of the year. It's been really, really fun to experience what happens. For example, most people visit shrines and eat really special New Year's foods. Kids get otoshidama, or gifts of money. Everyone also sends out cards to friends, family, co-workers, business partners, etc to wish them a happy New Year. My favorite tradition I've seen is the fukubukuro, or lucky bag. Basically, on the 1st or 2nd (whenever stores re-open), stores sell big bags of merchandise that are worth way more than what they sell them for. For example, at a clothing store you can buy a big bag of clothes for $50, and the value of the items may be $100-200 or even more. The catch is that they are sealed, so you have no idea what is in them. I loved walking around and seeing everyone and their huge bags of stuff! I wanted to stop all of them and see what was in their bags.

We also learned a very valuable lesson about New Year's in Japan. Did you know that Japan is a cash-based country? It's rare for any stores or restaurants to accept credit cards and debit cards. Everyone carries around loads of cash with them. Not very convenient for us Americans who are used to swiping a debit card anywhere at any time. Anyway, another thing to note is that ATMs have working hours, and they stop working on holidays. Well, in Japan, the New Year's holiday expands from Jan. 1-3 for banks... Which means, no way to access your bank account for a few days. Matt and I were not so knowledgeable about this, and therefore we have been spending the past two days doing basically nothing. So, folks - if you ever live in Japan, make sure to pull out LOTS of money on New Year's Eve so that you have lots to spend on lucky bags. (I shed a tear because I wasn't able to do that... darn ATMs!) 

Whew, this is a long post. I usually like to limit my posts to a few sentences, because if you're like me, you have a short attention span and just look at photos (shhh). This outfit was worn a few days before Christmas back in rural countryside Japan, where it was snowing. I quite liked this combination of colors. I think I'll need to buy more fun colors and prints in 2012...


  1. I actually love to read about your stories from living in Japan Kristine.  Don't mind reading at all!  Sorry to hear you weren't able to get a lucky bag!  Happy New Years and love that turquoise print skirt!

    xx Vivian @

  2. That skirt is amazing! I love your blog


  3. so lovely!

    C |

  4. I love your skirt are colors in the outfit are amazing! So sorry you didn't get to snatch up some lucky bags, it sounds like a really fun tradition.

  5. Mr. Taylor and his LadyFebruary 3, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    i am just loving all the fun colors and patterns in that outfit girl! and that lucky bags tradition sounds fantastic! i'll have to spend new years next year in japan (and remember to take out LOTS of money)!
    xo TJ

  6. Lucky bags sound like the coolest thing ever! That's also crazy about the ATM sitch, wouldn't want to carry around that much cash!

  7. i'm coveting that skirt. love the combination of everything.

  8. Omg that skirt is gorgeous! Love the entire outfit, works so well together :)

  9. Wow, this is such a lovely outfit! I adore the colors, and that skirt is amazing.

    Your lesson about cash in Japan is very much true, haha! I encountered similar problems when I was studying abroad in Kyoto. Though I found Taiwan to also be very much cash-orientated as well - maybe America is the exception? Iono.

    Lucky bags sound amazing! I didn't know that they were only available in Japan in the beginning of the year, haha.

  10. That skirt is the most adorable thing I've ever seen..... :O
    Japan just sounds like such a fun country, lucky bags sounds like such a cool tradition!!

    Happy new year!!

  11. I really love how you mix stripes and patters. It inspires me to be brave and do the same.

  12. I love those boots they are so adorable. I also always love reading your posts about Japanese culture - so interesting!

  13. AHHH! I love the mustard and the tealy/turquoise color together!!!

  14. I actually didn't know that (the money/ATM thing) about Japan, so you taught me something valuable! I would die not to be able to shop during the grab bag sales, though. I'm sorry! Anyway, I love the combo in this outfit but I am certainly looking forward to you acquiring MORE colors and prints. (:

  15. LOVE this skirt, you are such a cutie. The New Years bags sound like a blast to bad about not having any cash on you. That's so weird (from an American POV) they don't take plastic but I'm sure it's much easier to stop yourself from going into credit card debt.

  16. looks like you had a blissful time in Japan.
    so jealous i've never been but certainly always wanted to go. 
    and as always you look darling

    xoxo katlin

  17. love the skirt - cute
    love the cardigan

  18. love your colors.. :) its sound fun you celebrated new Year's in Japan.. :) Irene Wibowo/

  19. new years sounds like such an event! i wanna be a kid in japan and get money hehe! love your skirt!!

    <3 steffy

    Steffys Pros and Cons

  20. Happy New Year! Sounds like Japan has a really fun time...what a bummer you couldn't access your bank account and spring for one of those big bags! But you look adorable...that skirt is amazing!

  21. the skirt is so adorable, and I love it with even more color!
    the lucky bag tradition sounds AWESOME, only I'm afraid I'd only get stuff that is not my size, or something :) love to read about Japan!

  22. Happy new year Kristine! That skirt is adorable, I like the subtle polka dots that can't be seen from a distance–small details like that are really nice. Wow, those lucky bags sound amazing, what an interesting New Year's tradition. It's like taking the regular Christmas draw-bag idea and amplifying it. Too bad about the ATMs though D: Thank you for the information! Have a great rest of the week!

  23. It is so interesting to hear about the New Year holiday in Japan. I think it's great that Japan is a cash-based country...I think we'd all be a little smarter if we shopped that way!

  24. I just stumbled upon your blog and love it! Your outfits are so cute!


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