Holiday postcards sent at the end of the year are called "Nengajo". The cards are based on the Chinese Zodiac calendar and 2009 is the Year of The Ox.
Cards are typically mailed in late December but are held by the Japan post office and delivered to residents on January 1. In the days following, more cards are sent by people who received a card but had not sent one to the given party.
Towards the end of the year, people mail unassuming "mochu" (bereavement) post cards that indicate a person has died or misfortune has occurred and nengajo cards should not be sent to that household.
Nengajo cards purchased from Japan Post have a lottery number on each card. The cards can be purchased with a blank back or with printed designs. Winning lottery numbers are announced January 15.
The Japan Post nengajo lottery first prize selection for 2009 includes the winner’s choice of a Sharp Aquos 32-inch flat-panel LCD digital TV, a Canon EOS digital camera, a Toshiba vacuum-pressure rice cooker and bags of different varieties of rice, a trip in Japan, a selection of furniture and goods valued up to JPY200,000, and a massage chair. Nengajo card 2008 lottery prizes.
Nengajo card examples for 2009, the Year of the Ox
Order them from a printer, card shop, or the post office. Or, download templates from the web and print your own. Some download sites are free, some require a fee.
Japanese New Years Card Writing Nengajo
"Happy New Year" phrases for 2009 in English and Japanese. Copy and paste the text to customize your card. (If you don’t have Japanese fonts installed in your computer: take a screen picture and use an image-editing application to make your card.)
Writing New Year’s Card
Free downloads (all sites Japanese) Nenga.org; Nengajyousozai; Nengajyo; Nengajyo; Kumamis; Brother; Mihosozai
Oxen and various card parts – make your own design.
Nenga-sozai (menu is on right side of the page)
Designbank Wanpagu (menu is on left side of the page)
Cowzen. Cowzen parts ( 1 ) ( 2 ) ( 3 ) ( 4 )
Free after registration
Cards for sale
Examples from the Japan Post Office: Japan Post; DEX
Others sites selling Nengajo cards
Nengajoo; Aisatsujo; Synfront; Pret-E-Shop; Cardbox
Hello Kitty: Card: MyPrint. By mobile phone in Japan: KeitaiPost