Friday, October 11, 2013

My Chanel Bag

This might sound strange, but Japan and Korea (and I'm sure China, too) have the cutest bags! And when I say "bags," I don't mean purses; I am talking about the shopping bags. I remember when I spent a summer semester abroad in Korea, I'd save all of the cute bags because we had nothing like that in the U.S., or at least not in Michigan. I thought I was strange.

Then I came to Japan.

One of the first things about Japan that stood out to me were the sheer number of women with brand name purses. Wherever I looked I saw Prada. Chanel. Louis Vuitton. Coach. Hermes. It was like nothing to people here. 

"Oh! You have a Prada bag?!"
"Duh. Of course I have a Prada bag. Who doesn't have one??? Are you fucking stupid?"

Something like that.

Another thing that stood out were the women who always had the bag their bag came in. The Prada Bag bag. The Coach Bag bag. etc. It was as if every other woman had just stepped out of Hudson's and wanted the world to know that she just bought something at Hermes.

At least, that's what I thought...until I looked in the bag.

They were putting their bento in the Chanel or Coach shopping bag and carrying it around. This might be more of a West Japan thing than an East Japan thing. On Himitsu no Kenmin Show (a show that looks at the unique cultures of the various prefectures of Japan), Osaka gals who did this were made fun of.

Which bag should I carry my bento in?
So, yeah. I felt vindicated in my bag love. And I of course hold on to any bag that I can get so that I, too, can look like I'm rich. It doesn't help that the bags are in fact quite sturdy. And I guess it does look cute to walk around with a Chanel shopping bag filled with your wallet and stuff.

As a related story, a year or so ago I was browsing through a store that sold used and discounted designer bags. Two Chinese guys came in and bought some LV bags. But, when the staff put the bags in an nondescript shopping bag, the men asked her if she had a LV bag to put them in. 
The bag that the bag comes in carries as much status as the bag itself. 

Just remember that.


  1. OHHH! A revelation indeed. I just thought that these ladies had a fresh designer purchase in their bags but now I see~ I did notice some of my Japanese girl co-workers/friends hoarding all sorts of "nice" bags and it all makes sense now.

  2. You'd better believe that I started doing the same thing as soon as I realized! And I felt a lot better about myself hahaha!