Nengajo (Ne neigh – n – ga Ga – jo Joe) a.k.a. New Year’s Cards
So in Japan, New Year’s Day is for family while Christmas is for friends or couples, which is almost a complete switch from the U.S. Families will normally send out cards for the new year, and these can be as different as Christmas cards can be; short messages or longer accounts on what’s been happening within the family.
There does have to be a certain phrase on every card: Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu, basically Happy New Year (not literal translation). The temptation
not to teach you how to say this phrase is great. 😉
Akemashite (A ah – ke cay – ma Ma – shi shh – te table)
Omedeto (O – me merry – de day – to tow, long o sound)
Gozaimasu (Go – zai sigh with a z – ma Ma – su Sue)
On the card below, you’ll see this saying written in Japanese on the right hand side, upper corner. In the bottom right corner, you’ll see the rabbit (2011 is the year of rabbit), some mochi and a tangerine / Mandarin orange on top.
This is a card I got from one of my teachers, someone who I would also consider a friend as well. (She was so cute when I thanked her for the card at work, she had wanted to put her name in English because she was worried I wouldn’t be able to read the kanji! 🙂 I told it it was fine, I could read her family name and I knew who it had come from).
The only time a person will not get or give a new year’s card is if they’ve had a death in the family (they’ll send out an earlier card telling of the death).
And if they are around 25 or younger, they tend to send out mass e-mails to their friends instead of cards.
Huh…I’m thinking this would be a great tradition for me to do, instead of Christmas cards.
Hehehe, family, watch out! 🙂