My mama always said life is like an Akihabara junk shop fukubukuro. You never know what you’re going to get.

Our ace reporter Mr. Sato has long lamented the commercialization of the fukubukuro (lucky bag), a bag containing a slapdash assortment of products sold for a discounted price. While back in the day the contents were unknown prior to purchase, now they are often displayed in advance, even at McDonald’s.

And there’s an unwritten rule that you are certain to get some kind of limited edition fancy Starbucks mug or whatnot anyway, so what happened to the random “luck” element of the phrase “lucky bag?” For that thrill Mr. Sato once again went where you would truly need luck on your side to get something good from a fukubukuro: the Akihabara junk shops.

Early on New Year’s Day, Mr. Sato headed down the street to the same familiar junk shop he had gone to last year and the year…

What the hell?!?

It was gone… The entire junk shop was reduced to a literal pile of junk. This was a shame – a damn shame, as Mr. Sato was now at a loss as to where he could buy a huge bag of Game Boy Color adapters and AOL CDs.

As he dejectedly walked back to the office, he came across another junk shop selling fukubukuro. This shop called their bags Atari Fukubukuro, using the Japanese word “atari” (lucky hit) emphasizing that you could win some extra goods along with the usual stuff. That was the kind of action Mr. Sato craved.

According to the person selling them there was a chance to get a junk computer, iPhone, or Xperia. That was some high-tier junk and one bag was only 3,000 yen (US$27)! Needless to say, he bought one and headed back.

2019 Akihabara Junk Shop Atari Fukubukuro

Mr. Sato popped the tape of his bag, full of the excitement that only a Junk Shop can provide. His heart was racing as he eagerly started grabbing everything and laying it all out on the floor.

Then, as he stood back and looked at it all, his heart sank lower than it ever had.

He got a scotch tape dispenser, and it only went downhill from there…

There was also a fly trap…not the cool plant though. Just a stupid box…

A guitar toy that isn’t even a guitar because it only has four strings…

A foldable trivet

A disgustingly disproportioned toy airplane

sprinkler shaped like a flower

Beads that you can iron…

46 Bob The Builder name tag stickers

A net to catch small fish…

A basket

And a water-proof chart to help memorize the Roman alphabet…in the bath…

Mr. Sato was furious. He had paid 3,000 yen for a bag of junk, but instead got a bunch of crap. Sure, the iPhone 2 cases and VHS cleaning kits weren’t fantastic either, but they had their nostalgic charm and, in the right hands, could potentially be of some use.

This stuff, on the other hand, was clearly all just 100 yen shop fodder. Because of that, he could easily calculate the net worth of it all to be 1,200 yen ($11). Is this what has become of Akihabara in 2019?!

Overall, it was a dark New Year’s for Mr. Sato and he’ll have to do some soul searching, looking back at his happier days at the junk shops, before deciding if he’ll try it again next year…

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