A slight improvement on last year, but nothing like the cans of glory days.

Whenever we enter a new year in Japan, our attention turns to the New Year’s tradition of fukubukuro (literally “lucky bags”). Sold by all sorts of companies, fukubukuro generally contain a bundle of random goods that cost more than what you pay for, but over at retail giant Muji they like to do things differently by bundling their items in a “fukukan” (“lucky can”) instead.

Last year, the fukukan turned out to be a real disappointment, with less goods inside than the previous year and no cap to reuse the can, so we were keen to find out if the chain had upped its game for 2023.

▼ Last year’s can drew flack as it only had a pull-ring lid so it couldn’t be reused as a sealable container.

▼ The first thing we noticed about this year’s can was…the resealable lid had returned!

Well, this was a good opening start for this year’s Muji can, so we had high hopes that the contents might be new and improved too.

▼ Upon opening the can, we tipped out its contents.

First up, we discovered the Muji gift card, worth 2,023 yen (US$15.51), which is valid for three years.

Nothing to complain about here, given that the fukukan cost 2,023 yen. All that was left to do was delve inside the small box, where we pulled out the “Unglazed Nagomi Doll Rabbit” from Yokkaichi City, Mie Prefecture.

It’s something of a tradition for Muji to include one of a selection of decorative talismans handmade by craftsmen from around Japan in its New Year’s cans, and this one was particularly cute as it contained a clapper inside, making it a bell that jingled when it moved.

Last year’s fukukan (pictured below) contained a gift card and decorative talisman, which was a bit mediocre compared to previous years.

However, this year’s fukukan looked like it contained two more items, which appeared to be wrapped in paper. That would bring the total number of decorative items to three, which is more like what we’re used to receiving from Muji!

▼ However, upon opening the paper, we found they contained…nothing at all?!

Yet again, the can had raised our expectations and then squandered them, leaving us thinking, for the second year running, “Is that all?” This wasn’t a case of missing items, either, because another colleague who bought a Muji can received a cute “Choshu earthen bell turtle” from Mine City, Yamaguchi Prefecture

▼ …along with the same deceptive paper packing.

Oh well. We guess it’s our fault for having such high expectations of Muji in the first place. With this being the second year of receiving only a gift card and talisman, it looks like this is the way things are going forward for future fukukan.

▼ Still, the objects we received were cute, so it wasn’t a total loss.

In the end, we were left with mixed feelings about the Muji fukukan. On one hand, they had listened to customer feedback and included a resealable lid, which was an improvement, but we couldn’t help feeling wistful for the cans of 2021, which came with a handpainted daruma and two lucky stainless steel bookmarks.

It was a bittersweet way to start the new year, but times have been tough for businesses since the onset of the pandemic so we guess we can’t be too hard on them. At least we were able to track down plenty of other good-value fukubukuro to make up for the slightly more disappointing ones!

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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