Post offices around the country on Thursday began accepting "nengajo" (New Year greeting cards) for 2017.
Though the custom has lost some of its popularity in recent years – young people tend to avoid sending the cards, while others design their own cards and send them by email or other social networking sites – “nengajo” are still important for businesses and the older generation for expressing appreciation and best wishes for the New Year. “Nengajo,” many of which are hand-written, also have lottery numbers on them.
Given the falling number of people sending traditional "nengajo," post offices have promoted services such as online registration so that users can send cards to recipients' homes without knowing their address. Other services include cards with popular comedian Pikotaro's Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen tune. Japan Post says that for cards to arrive on Jan 1, 2017, they must be mailed by Dec 25.
Japan Post said that it expects to deliver about 28.5 billion "nengajo" for the coming New Year, an estimated 1.7 billion fewer than this year, Fuji TV reported.
The bulk of “nengajo” are delivered on Jan 1, with the rest being delivered over the next 10 days.
Although post codes are read by computer and mail is sorted automatically nowadays, Japan Post hires legions of temp workers to deliver the cards. They can be seen whizzing around the cities on scooters, delivering cards to offices and households.© Japan Today