If you have a friend in Japan, maybe, you've seen a Japanese New Year's Card called "Nengajo."  Nengajo, which literally means "a letter of celebrating year," is a postcard delivered on and after January 1st.  It's a custom to send words of appreciation and greetings to friends and relatives on the New Year's Day. 


There are actually various kinds of Nengajo but the most popular type of card is called "Otoshidama tsuki Nengajo " meaning "a New Year's Postcard with Otoshidama."   Every year Japan Post Holdings issues several billions of this type of card.  Last year, 3 billions of cards were actually delivered in Japan while Japanese population was 123 million.  The postal stamp which is usually an animal of the year, is already printed in the card.  Each costs 52 yen (about 40 cents.)


As Otoshidama means "a new year's monetary gift", this type of Nengajo has lottery numbers at the bottom of the card.  I think  this is a unique feature of Nengajo as compared to the postcards in other countries.   Yes, this is a card with lucky number!!! By sending cards to friends and relatives, you are sending not only greetings but also possible lottery prize to them. 


According to the Japan Post website, the first prize of this year,  is cash of 100,000 yen (about $1000)  or you can choose an electric item such as a TV or a travel coupon worth about 100,000 yen ($1000).  The probability of winning 1st prize is one in one million.  I know it's difficult but the more you receive cards, the more chance of winning, you'll get.


The  2nd prize is called "Furusato Kozutsumi" or hometown package in English.  You can choose a package of the special product of various prefecture.  For example, there are Ume (plum) from Wakayama prefecture, O-cha (tea) from Shizuoka prefrecture......maybe you should better see this site to know the exact items.   The probability to win 2nd prize, is exactly, one in 10,000 cards. 


Then 3rd prize is a set of special postal stamps which are usually design of the animal of the year.  This will happen two winnings in 100 cards.  So if you receive over 100 cards, then you have higher possibility to get two 3rd prizes.


The drawing was already done last month in January 17.   But if your card is winner, you can exchange of the prize by July 19, 2016.   


The 2016 lucky winning numbers are as follows:

The winning numbers for the first prize is 667085 (last six digit numbers)


The winning numbers for the 2nd prize is 9648 (last four digit numbers)

The winning numbers for the 3rd prizes are 69 & 90 (last two digit numbers)


If you received this type of Nengajo, please check numbers now!


By the way, my first part-time job was to deliver this Nengajo when I was 16 years old.  Because of necessities of delivering huge numbers of postcards in January, they needed to hire lots of part-timers to divide and deliver cards.  I remember from December 23 to 31st, I was helping sorting cards and then from January 1st to 7th?, I delivered soooo many cards while snowing winter.  Then somehow my supervisor liked me, I was recruited to do this job for three seasons plus two summer vacations while I was attending to the high school.   My fast pay was 500 yen/hour.   It was completely not necessary for me to work but through this delivery job, I learned many things and jot to work hard.  Maybe I should write more about this experience in another article.  Should be interesting.

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