DId you receive many Christmas cards last year? I do not think nobody receives Christmas cards now; those cards have to be sent out by Christmas. People in the countries like New Zealand, Australia, U.K., U.S, and so on send Christmas cards to others. We, Japanese have a similar custom, but it’s not a Christmas card; it’s a New Year Card called “nenga jo (年賀状) ” in Japanese. There are several differences.
When you send Christmas cards, you should write them well in advance, post them to make sure your recipients to receive BEFORE Christmas, the 25th of December. You normally purchase beautiful Christmassy illustration-printed cards at shops like Whitcoulls, Paper Plus, the Warehouse etc. Japanese New Year cards are quite different in many respects. First of all we use post cards, not greeting cards. Secondly most of Japanese purchase post cards which are specially made for this purpose at post office. Ideally you should write it well in advance, which sounds very similar to the protocol of Western Christmas card, and then take those written ones to a post office and put them into a special post box set there. All of those New Year post cards are to be delivered on the 1st of January. Yes, I just said on the 1st of January. This might sound crazy, but it’s true. To make this happen, we must not put the cards into normal post box (otherwise New Year cards will be delivered before the 1st of January which feel extremely odd and stupid!). The post office hires a lot of part-time people at the new year card season every year to sort out cards beforehand and to deliver millions cards on the 1st of January.
Since I am out of Japan, I still receive (NB. it is 9 January today, by the way) those New Year cards from my friends living in Japan. It’s not the ideal, but there is no way for this Japanese traditional delivery custom to happen abroad. No matter what, I am still happy to receive cards from my friends. It is always nice to receive cards from friends.
The following is "nengojo" you could buy at a post office in Japan