The sales really aren't that great to me. It's usually something around 20-30% off, which isn't tempting enough to deal with the massive crowds in Namba. What is tempting enough are the 福袋（ふくぶくろ), or lucky bags. Every store comes out with their version of this mystery bag with contents worth more than the price you pay. According to wiki, in the late 1800s a department store in Tokyo started the tradition. They get rid of old merchandise from the previous year, thus helping with the superstition that you should start a new year clean and uncluttered.
This year we decided to try for an Apple lucky bag once again. We attempted it last year and failed miserably due to lack of planning. The Apple bag has quickly become one of the most popular bags in Japan, and you must arrive very, very early to get one. We found out this year you need to line up at about 5:30 pm on the 1st, which is exactly how we spent our New Year's. I naively thought we could take last train on the 1st, stay at a love hotel near the Apple Shinsaibashi store, and show up around 4 a.m. and be ok. Instead I found people were lining up as early as noon and by 4:30 there were already over 60 people in line. A friend messaged us that he had decided to camp out and asked us to join him. We packed up some blankets and spent the next 15 hours in line to ensure our purchase. It was an interesting evening. We ate from the 24 hour McDonalds and Burger King all night, which was an awful idea. There might have been bottles of sparkling wine for each of us, and ghost stories. I fed a cat a burger in a parking lot at 3 a.m. while a homeless man drank from trashed alcohol bottles behind me. That will probably be the only night I can sleep on a curb in Osaka city while police officers patrol the area.
|The hundred or so people in front of us.|
|The line went on to the next side of the street.|
|That's class right there|
|Early morning McDonalds nappers.|
|They gave us free Starbucks!|