Nengajo: How to Send a Japanese New Year Postcard

Source: Gaijin Pot
Nengajo- How to Send a Japanese New Year Postcard

Japanese “nengajo” (年賀状) or New Year greetings cards are a fun and easy means of showing your appreciation to all those people who have helped you navigate the tricky waters of living in a foreign country—and they’re also a great way to send cool Japanese well-wishes to your friends and family back home.

But there are rules about when and who to send your nengajo to and restrictions based on what happened during the previous year. So, to avoid offending a large group of people too early on in the year here’s a step by step guide to sending your nengajo.

Step One: Buy or create your own nengajo

From late November onwards you can pick up pre-printed nengajo in variety and stationery stores like Loft and Don Quijote, post offices and supermarkets. There are literally hundreds of different designs to choose from but most will have a version of the zodiac sign for the upcoming year.

An example of a nengajo for 2020 with this year’s Chinese zodiac animal, the rat.

2020 is the year of the rat so not too difficult to draw if you want to create your own! Some people like to include photos of themselves or their family and there’s also the option to create digital designs and print them off. There are websites that offer free printable designs—the Japan Post has a whole amazing create-your-own section for nengajo.

You can also even just buy a normal card and write “nenga” (年賀) next to the address to indicate that it’s a New Year card.

Step Two: Write your message

Once you’ve made your nengajo, it’s probably best to include a message (there’s nothing more mysterious or creepy than an empty greetings card) and Japanese has many a stock phrase to wish …continue reading