Nengajo for 2015 is now on sale in Japan
Nengajo (年賀状) is one of the important events of the New Year for many Japanese people. It was my favourite moment, to check the letter box if there were any Nengajo for me. Not only as a child but even when I was quite a grown-up. As a child it was the only occasion I would get letters like adults. Of course, my parents would get letters and cards all the time but I didn´t. Now I know that many of those letters are not so interesting or even worse…. many are just the bills. But how would I know, I was only a kid and I wanted to get letters. Oshogatsu (お正月/New Year) was the perfect time because my school friends would send me Nengajo.
Yesterday, the 30th of October, Nengajo for 2015 went on sale at the post offices in Japan. Used to be people made a queue from the night before to get them. But because of the recent digitalisation, less people send physical greeting cards. And yet, they are selling around 3,200 million this year.
There are two types, one blank and other with illustrations. This year there is a Hello Kitty version too. By the way, the next year is a year of sheep. Are you one of them? Then you are Toshi-otoko (年男) or Toshi-onna (年女).
Each postcard has a set of numbers, which is a lottery number. After the New Year, the winning numbers are announced by the Japan Post and if you are lucky, you get some prize. OK, they are not WOW thing but it makes you feel good you win something at the beginning of the year. The prizes are some money, 10,000 yen (about 73€) for the first prize, some local food around Japan for the second and some stamp collection for the third prize.
Even I´m away from Japan, some of my friends still send me Nengajo to my mum´s house. I think it´s nice. I can also see how they are from it. First, I saw them with their partner then with a baby, the baby becomes a kid, then another baby appears then they are getting bigger. Although I don´t see them all the time, I don´t feel I´m missing out a lot.
There were long queues in the post offices all around Japan yesterday, which you can see how important this tradition to many Japanese people.
For catching up with the hi-tech generation, the Japan Post has now Nengajo that you can send via LINE or other messaging programs and Email. You can design your own card from yubin-nenga.jp site. The Japan Post has or will have a LINE account. You can upload a photo you like, the program designs your photo with a LINE character, which you can buy as a template for your Nengajo. The site is in Japanese but it may be a fun challenge. Oh, if you are in Japan and want them to be delivered on Gantan (元旦), the 1st of January, you need to post between the 15th and 25th of December. Don´t forget!
I have also found some sites that you can download Nengajo designs for free
This is an Ad for Nengajo. The girlfriend accepted the guy´s propose. He was so happy that he promises her to be more mature. Then he sees the TV ads for Nengajo and says, "I even write Nengajo". It´s funny. If you design any Nengajo, send us a photo. We will publish it in iromegane.
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