I love the tradition of sending holiday cards to my friends and family. I also love that throughout December, my mailbox is a flurry of greetings from people I hear from regularly as well as those friends and family who only send greetings once a year.
In Japan, instead of sending Christmas cards and other holiday greetings, people exchange nengajō–New Year’s Day greetings. These greetings come in the form of postcards, either store-bought or handmade. Usually the messages are handwritten and the cards are always hand-addressed with the sender’s best calligraphy.
The best part of nengajō though–and this is where Japan Does It Better–if you send your cards during a window of time (usually mid to late December), the Japan Post Office holds the cards and delivers them ON New Year’s Day!!! Wouldn’t it be fun to open your mailbox on January 1st to find a flood of new year wishes from all of your family and friends?
According to this tweet (which includes a great picture of the delivery team), the Japan Post estimated 1.82 billion nengajō cards were sent throughout Japan on the first.
The cards pictured above were nengajō that I purchased at Mitsuwa last month. I filled them out on New Year’s Day, so they won’t be arriving anywhere on time, but the spirit is there. The one on the left says “Happy New Year” and the one on the right says “Welcoming Spring”, both typical nengajō greetings.
Nengajō and well-orchestrated New Year’s wishes…another reason Japan Does It Better!
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