Nengajo is the Japanese word for New Year Cards. Sending out nengajo is a Japanese tradition that you do once a year and rely on the Japan post office to ensure that they arrive before or on January 1st. Very similar if not the same to the purpose of what a Christmas card serves. You can choose to design the postcards or buy pre-designed ones. It is a rather fun and creative way to get in touch with people you wish and tell them how you have been.
Until a few months ago, I had no clue what New Year cards were. It was until an Adult community English class held by my school that I learnt about it. These community classes are 2 hour workshops where mostly retirees come and visit my school one Saturday a fortnight to speak English. The topic is different each workshop. And eventually, one of the topics made to be discussed was New Year Cards. I realised from that workshop that sending out New Year cards has been a tradition that people did years and years ago. My understanding is that nengajos are sent to long distance friends or faraway relatives mostly where you tell them basically you are alive and well. I knew I wanted to send out something to my family and friends as a greeting for Christmas; but given I now live in Japan and this is a tradition to send these out rather than Christmas cards, I opted to do that instead.
I sent out my first batch of New Year cards to welcome the new year of 2016. All cards were sent to my good and close friends back in Australia and Hong Kong. A few were to people I had met in Japan. I designed it at a local photography store. There were over hundreds of designs and I choose one where I could include some photos that I had taken to share with my dear friends. It had been a while since I wrote so many cards to people. I think we all at times take certain things for granted and feel it is not necessary to express our gratitude or gratefulness for what has been given or brought to us. This was an opportunity for me to reengage and build onto of the relationships I had with my family and friends. Thinking about just the receiver and how they would react when getting your card could be a much more wonderful thing than being the receiver. I did actually receive a few cards from my dear friends back home. Miss you, E. Miss you too LL. To LL – Thanks so so much for a lovely little gift you sent me!
By now, a number of my friends have messaged me saying that they have received it in the mail. Thank goodness! International mail always makes me feel a little nervous. Others I haven’t heard back yet. Either way, whether they like it or not, I hope they feel my gratitude and thankfulness for their friends and support. Wishing them all a Happy New Year. 明けましておめでと!!