Only in Japan : The Shady Black Bag

Here is one of the “only in Japan” little things that totally blow my mind. When shopping in Japanese supermarkets, drugstores or convenience stores, you usually get the usual white plastic bag. These are somewhat transparent, so there is a high probability that people could see what you purchased. So what happens when you buy something really embarrassing, like sanitary napkins ?

You get this :

I’m not joking. It seems that buying women personal items is highly embarrassing in Japan, so it should be hidden. What really blows my mind is how systematic it is. If there’s no black bag, they will carefully wrap the shameful item in brown paper, and then put it with the rest in the white bag.

Recently I went to my local drugstore and purchased many items, including sanitary napkins. The store was really busy, so a guy came to help the cashier wrapping at the counter. I was closely paying attention to see if I’ll get the black bag or not. Believe it or not, the guy began putting everything in a white bag, and then noticed the embarrassing item and switched everything in a black bag. How amazing is that ! I mean… being a guy, he’s probably not so familiar with the brands and all. I can imagine the training they get about this… how funny it must be !

But then I’m thinking, if the only time you get a black bag is when you buy embarrassing stuff, if you’re seen carrying a black bag, it’s basically the same thing as saying “I purchased sanitary napkins”, no ? 🙂


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