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nengajou card questions

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mtpiper
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nengajou card questions

Postby mtpiper » November 13th, 2007 2:44 pm

This year, I'll be sending nengajou for the first time to friends in Japan. Any experience out there to share when mailing from the US? I see the USPS says Dec 11 is the last day to mail and get it there by Dec 25th (which would be the perfect window for cards marked ねんがじょう, right?).

Also, would it be appropriate to send nengajou to someone we haven't met yet? We will be visiting Japan in July and meeting the family (and preparing an "American" dinner for them in their home...yikes!) of a high school girl that stayed with us this summer. We would like to send cards to the family, but I don't know if that would be viewed as appropriate since we haven't met.

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annie
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Postby annie » November 13th, 2007 2:51 pm

Just make sure that you write nengajo (年賀状) on the card and you should be fine.
I think it's appropriate to send a card to the family. Since you the daughter stayed with you you already have a relationship with them.

Make sure that your address is on the card as well so that they can reciprocate.

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mtpiper
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Postby mtpiper » November 13th, 2007 3:27 pm

annie wrote:Just make sure that you write nengajo (年賀状) on the card and you should be fine.


Thanks for the kanji!! I read somewhere that it should be in red, below the postage stamp, is that correct??
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mtpiper
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US mail too efficient?

Postby mtpiper » December 18th, 2007 2:57 pm

annie wrote:Just make sure that you write nengajo (年賀状) on the card and you should be fine.


I thought the Japanese postal system starts holding nengajo on Dec 15th. I sent my cards out the afternoon of the 13th (from Montana) thinking they would enter the Japanese system later this week, or early next week and be held for Jan 1st delivery (since they are maked as such on the front of the cards). After all, the USPS says that the last day to mail cards to Asia in time for Christmas is Dec 11th.

Well imagine my suprise when I started receiving "thank you" emails from my friends in Japan this morning (Dec 18th evening in Japan) telling me they received their nengajo cards today (by the way, including the weekend days, my cards were delivered in the same time frame as first class mail in the US). They are very suprised and happy to receive the cards from me, but I'm a little disappointed that I missed the mark on gettng them there on the first of the year.

So, did I mail them too early? Now I feel like a rube...typical westerner who knows nothing of Japanese customs.....
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JonB
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But your frieds are happy

Postby JonB » December 20th, 2007 1:15 am

and that is the main thing!

In Japan they convert one of the mailboxes to nengajo (there are usually two boxes one for normal domestic letters and post cards and the other for oversize and overseas). This probably helps them sort and store the cards which they can not do coming from overseas.

I wonder what happens if in Japan you put a nengajo in the wrong box - maybe I should try an experiment :lol:

I suspect it might then be treated as normal mail.

mtpiper
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Re: But your frieds are happy

Postby mtpiper » December 20th, 2007 3:01 pm

JonB wrote:In Japan they convert one of the mailboxes to nengajo (there are usually two boxes one for normal domestic letters and post cards and the other for oversize and overseas). This probably helps them sort and store the cards which they can not do coming from overseas.


That would explain it! So, unless the timing is perfect, there probably isn't a way to get foreign nengajou delivered on Jan 1. That's good to know.
Thanks!
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jemstone
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Postby jemstone » December 21st, 2007 1:04 am

we're all afraid that the card might reach too early, but i didn't want to seem like a foreigner who is ignorant of their customs, i probably would write something like a "guard condition" within the card... maybe something like "i hope this card reaches you on 1st January."

that would make the intentions clear i think.
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Joey
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Postby Joey » December 21st, 2007 3:46 am

i too am sending my first nengajo this year. So just mail it normaly (live in US) with nengajo written in kanji below the stamps or is that part optional? (I doubt it will be in Japan on the 1st by the time i send the letter.)

Also, whats the standard text of a nengajo? Do you simply wish the person a happy new year or should i also add some other personal stuff in it to make it longer? (Don't wanna look like a fool by writing too much and having them feel bad or me writing too little making me feel bad :oops: )
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mtpiper
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Postby mtpiper » December 21st, 2007 4:27 pm

Joey wrote:So just mail it normaly (live in US) with nengajo written in kanji below the stamps or is that part optional? (I doubt it will be in Japan on the 1st by the time i send the letter.)

Also, whats the standard text of a nengajo? (Don't wanna look like a fool)


We have a friend from Tokyo that is interning in the city where we live, so I went to her for nengajou advice. Since we are going there this summer, she said to write (and gave me the romaji, which I then typed in hiragana) "happy new year" and "we look forward to seeing you this summer". I took some winter-like pictures where we live, did some really cool PhotoShop effects on them, added the text (vertical, right-to-left), then put our kanji names and 2008 in the bottom left corner, printed them on blank 5x7 cards and mailed them off. If I knew that they wouldn't be held, I would have waited until this next week to mail them. I think if you're in Seattle, you would be safe sending it out the 26th (based on the time it took mine to get from Montana to Japan) and it getting there on the 1st. But everyone has been very gracious and understanding....very surprised and impressed to receive nengajou from a friend in the states.
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Joey
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Postby Joey » December 21st, 2007 5:11 pm

mtpiper-san, thanks for the advice! Wow, looks like you went all out for your cards. I was just planning on buying one from the store and writting a few lines like "akemashite omedetou gozaimasu" and what not. :shock:
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mtpiper
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Postby mtpiper » December 21st, 2007 5:57 pm

Joey wrote:mtpiper-san, thanks for the advice! Wow, looks like you went all out for your cards. I was just planning on buying one from the store and writting a few lines like "akemashite omedetou gozaimasu" and what not. :shock:


I think that would be fine. It's the thought that counts, right? I know that's an overused cliche in America, but does the thought mean more in Japanese culture? I think it does....at least to the people I know. I have the means to make my own cards, so I thought it would be cool to give them that personal touch. PhotoShop, a laser printer, and blank cards and envelopes from my local Target store did the trick.
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JonB
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What I usually see is

Postby JonB » December 22nd, 2007 12:56 am

stock text as people tend to print them in bulk and then if they are a close friend a personalised hand written message like "see you in the summer".

If you have kids then they normally form the central theme - first day at school, soccer club etc. Does not have to have a winter theme.

Also the new year animal using the Chinese "zodiac" is a common theme - so this year look out for lots of rats on the cards :lol:

Joey
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Postby Joey » December 23rd, 2007 5:41 am

mtpiper-san, thanks again for the advice and example for making nengajou cards, and thanks JonB-san for information on the themes of the cards! Maybe this is just coming from what i think about rats, but if i was born in the year of the rat i wouldnt be going around telling everyone 8)
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Ulver_684
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Re: What I usually see is

Postby Ulver_684 » December 23rd, 2007 10:23 pm

JonB wrote:stock text as people tend to print them in bulk and then if they are a close friend a personalised hand written message like "see you in the summer".

If you have kids then they normally form the central theme - first day at school, soccer club etc. Does not have to have a winter theme.

Also the new year animal using the Chinese "zodiac" is a common theme - so this year look out for lots of rats on the cards :lol:


JonB-san!

I am from the year of the rat 1984 so don't mess with my rats! :twisted:

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Postby jemstone » December 24th, 2007 2:51 pm

i'm thinking of making a nengajou card for a japanese couple from my church too! maybe i'll write the standard あけまして おめでと ございます.. and maybe "see you next year!"

on a side note, the rat from the chinese zodiac is the number one animal. it's the head of all 12 of them. apparently there was some race and the rat won. =D i'm horse though.. which i think came in six or seven in the race.
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