Since the 1st of January, I have been receiving quite a handful of nengajos (New Year postcards) from mainly close friends and a couple of acquaintances. Nengajos are very important in Japan because they promote good relationships between businesses and clients, and friends and family. They are considered to be much more influential than Christmas cards and the sheer number of these that go out every year is phenomenal. Last year alone, more than 4 billion nengajos were sent out in total. According to the news, this year that number is expected to rise by 6%. That’s a lot of postcards!
Perhaps you have received nengajos for the first time and have no idea what to do with them. Fear not, you still have a few days to send one back. A few of my own nengajos to friends are still awaiting an address confirmation check before they can be mailed. These can be mailed up until January 15th, just enough time to grab one from the post office, address it to your friends, family, or business associates, and stick it into the mail slot for a timely delivery. The only exception of sending nengajos is that you would avoid addressing them to anyone who has experienced a death in the family last year. This is in order to show respect for the deceased.
With this year being the year of the mouse, I have received many mousey-oriented postcards. There was a good mix of pre-printed postcards and homemade ones done on the computer. Most of the mice I received were very pretty, with pale pinks and whites or cream colors. One unusual card that an acquaintance created was formed with strange mismatched shapes and colors. I had intended to create my own postcards this year but had a bit of a problem with the final product so ended up buying them in the end. Still, they were colorfully decorated with extra plump and cheerful mice so I doubt that I could have done better myself.