Thursday, January 26, 2012

Trump Cards

An old mail box in Kawasaki

If there were a competition, Japanese New Year's postcards would trump Christmas cards hands down every time and here's why. While an Xmas card may convey a lovely message of peace and hope, the New Year's card in Japan is a little sliver of hope itself. If you doubt it, just look at the numbers. I'm talking about the numbers printed at the bottom right hand corner of practically every New Year's postcard stamped "Made in Japan." Those six little digits magically transform each card into a potentially winning lottery ticket sometime around mid-January every year. This time around one out of a million lucky New Year's card recipients will win either an-all-expenses-paid trip to some exotic overseas locale, a laptop, an LCD color TV or other great prize while a greater ratio of the less fortunate will get to claim two commemorative stamps. It's all courtesy of the Japanese Post Office, a.k.a. Japan Post, the entity that provides the card stock that makes the winning dream a reality (if you happen to get a postcard that came from any place other than the Post Office, like Hallmark, etc., you're plumb out of luck).

Both sides of a typical New Year's postcard 
Sure the sending end is definitely not as financially rewarding as the receiving end, but how often do you get the opportunity to give somebody a dream? While I may "dream of a white Christmas with every Christmas card I write," I get to share the dream of hitting the jackpot with every New Year's card I tip in the mail slot. On the flip side, should the wheel of fortune spin south and none of your numbers get picked for a prize, you're still lucky to be left with a priceless work of art to be treasured for as long as you wish.

PSST: The trick to getting New Year's post cards works pretty much the same as Christmas cards. The more you send the more you get in return but as a financial investment, it's kind of low yield.

Related post: Never Forget


  1. Thanks for your post. I like nengajou, too.

  2. Yeah they're really neat. This year I "discovered" another great thing about the postcards they sell at the Post Office. If you make a mistake, like write the address on the wrong side - which is an easy mistake to make many times over, you can exchange it for a new one (or a 50 yen stamp if you are willing to fork over five yen).