Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Happy Year of the Sheep!

In Japan, people don’t really send Christmas cards. They do, however, send cards or postcards for the New Year.

The end of December and the beginning of January are the busiest times for the Japanese post offices. The Japanese have a custom of sending New Year’s Day postcards (年賀状 nengajō) to their friends and relatives, similar to the Western custom of sending Christmas cards. Their original purpose was to give your faraway friends and relatives tidings of yourself and your immediate family. In other words, this custom existed for people to tell others whom they did not often meet that they were alive and well. – via good ol’ Wikipedia

These cards often feature the Zodiac sign for that particular year, despite the Zodiac originating in China rather than Japan. And this year is the year of the sheep.

I came across this blog post this evening, which is a collection of some of this years nengajō – mostly created digitally. I wanted to share my single favourite postcard (although the postcard from Nintendo is pretty cool too).

Year of the Sheep by Eiko Tamura
This Year (2015) is called ‘Sheep Year 未年’.
so I made the shape of the S (use Futura) with a flock of sheep.

Some common nengajō greetings include:
  • kotoshi mo yoroshiku o-negai-shimasu
    (I hope for your favour again in the coming year)
  • (shinnen) akemashite o-medetō-gozaimasu
    (Happiness to you on the dawn [of a New Year])
  • kinga shinnen
    (Happy New Year)
  • shoshun/hatsuharu
    (‘early spring’ – in the traditional lunar calendar a year begins in early spring)
  • geishun
    (to welcome spring)

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