Matches for: “nengajo” …

Japan Does It Better 5: Nengajō

NengajōI 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?

The best.

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!

(For more JDIB posts, click here.)

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Spending the Yen: Year of the Boar

new years cards, japan post, itoya, We really hit the sweet spot during our trip to Japan this year. I was able to shop for Halloween and fall things, as well as planners, Christmas, and New Years. If you’ve been around for awhile, you may remember this post that explains the Japanese tradition of sending nengajo, or new years postcards.  We found the regular New Years postcards (the two on the right) at Itoya. Many stationery stores offer printing services for New Years cards. We could have ordered something personalized if we had more time (and wanted to send a bunch.) And on our very last day and our very last trip to the post office, we saw the Japan mailbox postcard with the boar. There were Christmas ones too. I just love these cards…it’s always fun to visit the different neighborhood post offices to see what they have available. There’s usually a seasonal one and sometimes regions have their own styles. new years stickers, japanese stationery, year of the boarI picked up a couple of styles of stickers with Japanese new year symbols and the little boar. From left to right: a paddle (I thought it was a bottle of sake, which is why it’s upside down in my picture) for hanetsuki, which is a game like badminton played on new year day, a drum that brings good luck, the boars, and an ema, a placard where you can write a new years wish and hang it at the shrine. new years stickers, japanese stationery, year of the boarA kite, the boar, and kadomatsu, a bamboo arrangement common for new year. new years stickers, japanese stationery, year of the boar, mail artI put all of the postcards in envelopes because of the odd shape of the post boxes and because Japanese postcards are oriented vertically instead of horizontally. I didn’t feel like making weird adjustments on the cards to meet USPS standards, and also this way, I could decorate the envelopes, too.

Happy New Year! May your mailbox be full in 2019!

 

 

P.S. If you’re interested in seeing our New Years cards from the past, here’s a link to those posts.

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2016 New Year’s Postcards

Adami Hasegawa New Years postcards 2016After buying Japanese New Year cards (nengajo) for the past two years, I decided to try making my own for 2016. They were pretty simple…so simple that I made a stack of fifty! So far, I’ve sent out about half of those. Adami Hasegawa New Years postcards 2016, 2I started with some A2 Paper Bag flat cards as my base. Last summer, I picked up a traditional nengajo stamp at a (yet-to-be-blogged-about) stamp shop in Kyoto and I was happy to get to use it for these cards. I embossed the Japanese characters and then added my Greetings from Illinois, LWA member, and a giant 2016 in blue, red, and gold inks. I added a quick message to each card. Adami Hasegawa New Years postcards 2016, nengajo, Japanese washi tapeOn the front side, I added a strip of Japanese patterned washi tape and a label. It feels good to start off the year with good mail momentum!

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New Year’s Cards 2015

New Years cards, nengajoOn January 1st, I spent the day catching up on all of my mail. I sent out a big stack of seventeen New Year’s cards and thank yous on the second.

For New Year cards, I sent three different versions–two different Japanese postcards and letterpressed greeting cards. We got the Japanese postcards at Mitsuwa again. Roughly translated, the fan one says “We humbly wish you a happy new year” and the bamboo one says “Thank you very much for all assistance rendered the previous year.  We ask for your continuous guidance this year as well.” The little bamboo drawing on the bottom is a classic Japanese New Year symbol called a kadomatsu.

The greeting cards are from Saturn Press, a letterpress printing company in Maine. (They don’t have a website, but I found some information about them here, which I think is quite interesting.) The card features two juncos sitting on a branch and the quote by Rainer Maria Rilke, “And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.” I love everything Saturn Press does, but these are my favorites–from the birds to the simple phrase and the gorgeous paper stock with its deckled edge…these cards are dreamy. Cavallini Japanese Woodblock calendar, mail artI put all of the cards in envelopes (even the postcards) and decorated them with washi tape, metallic stars, and old Japanese Woodblock Cavallini calendars. (I had several in my stash, so I picked out the wintry months to use. Cavallini uses artwork by Hasui Kawase, the same artist who was on our Christmas cards.)Letter Writers Alliance member number seal stampAnd to seal the deal, I got to use my shiny new Letter Writers Alliance member stamp. It feels good to start the year out with a stack of mail…let’s hope I can keep up the postal momentum!

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