Sendai’s answer to the Black Friday shopping tradition
To ring in the new year, the Sendai Hatsu-uri (lit. “first sale”) will take place in stores around the city’s main shopping districts. On January 2, in addition to the usual New Year's fukubukuro ("lucky bags" containing goods whose retail value totals more than the price of the bag), stores across the shopping district will be offering bargain sales and merchandise giveaways. While at first glance this might sound similar similar to an American Black Friday, Hatsu-uri is actually a traditional event that dates back some 200 years to the Edo period. The tradition was inspired by the notion that January 2 is a lucky day to do something for the first time in the year, another example being kakizome (lit. “first writing”) for calligraphy enthusiasts. There will also be taiko drum performances, lion dances, traditional prayer rituals and even free sake! All this adds up to a unique and festive shopping experience.