Unique Japanese Items normally unavailable in New Zealand…

We’ve all seem glimpses of Japanese culture, such as t-shirts with obscure Japanese characters, or visited the couple of Japanese shops in Auckland. But did you know that you can find heaps of unique Japanese items available to buy online? Let’s check out a few.

Paper napkins. We’ve all seen them, we go through them, and then we buy some more. Well how about cloth napkins? That’s right, they’re reusable cloth napkins, good for about five year’s worth of use. And it’s not the same as just any old cloth, it’s got funky patterns, and then special absorbing material on the inside. And sure, while they’re nearly $32 NZD, that’s less than ten packs of the paper napkins, which is less than a year’s use. So if you’re big on saving the environment, these are the thing.

Or, what about Eucalyptus towels. OK, a bit weird, only really heard of cotton being used to make towels. But if you think about it, it makes sense, Eucalyptus is made of fibre, just like cotton, and you could process that fibre into a fabric that you use. Why you’d want to is a bit the same as why you’d want to eat Manuka Honey or use Bamboo Chopping Boards – the reduction of bad things getting near your body. In this case, the towels reduce the amount of bacteria that can hang out on the towel. Pretty good idea, and only $25 NZD.

And where would you be without a Japanese-style face mask. Probably outside of Japan to be honest. Everyone in Japan wears these masks, and not just to stop the infectious air of other people, but also as a courtesy to others to say “hey, I’m feeling a little under the weather, and I’d much rather you not catch this”. Not super stylish to be honest, but could be good if you deal with food or the like. 50 of them for $20 NZD isn’t bad at all.

Or if you’re a fan of spending money on quality goods, how about a $4200 NZD fountain pen? I think one of those items that are wholly unique and really only appreciated by a few. But I mean until now you’d have to go to Japan to get these goods, and now they’re all available online, one click, and done. So do check these items out, at the moment a bit of a deal is going on with cheap shipping at Rakuten to New Zealand.

Understanding the Japanese Lucky Dip Bag

If you’ve ever been to Japan around New Years you’ll see what appears to be a whole bunch of Lucky Dip Bags. The difference between the New Zealand and Japanese versions is mainly to do with price and quality – in New Zealand Lucky Dip bags contain crappy gifts and cost about $5. In Japan, Lucky Bags, or Fukubukuro (福袋, lucky bag, mystery bag) are serious business, with the most expensive bags costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So what do you get? Well, it’s a mystery of course! And yet, it’s not really. I went to an electronics store in Hiroshima once and saw Digital SLR camera Lucky Bags. The bags specified the minimum specifications of the camera, but you didn’t get to choose the brand or model. Rest assured you were more than likely going to get something great and at a heavy discount.

I ended up paying 10,000 yen (roughly $160 NZD) for a Lucky Dip of Japanese clothing worth $600 NZD. Awesome bargains, I ended up getting a puffy jacket, puffy vest, hoodie, beanie, long sleeve shirt and t-shirt. Not a bad haul, though bear in mind that fashion taste in New Zealand is often different from Japanese fashion – while puffy shiny jackets are in vogue in Japan, they certainly are not in New Zealand.

Interested in seeing some examples of lucky dip bags? Check out a collection of lucky bags at Rakuten, Japan’s largest online shopping mall.