New Year’s is a pretty big holiday over here in Japan. Not only do you have your shrine visits, but people also eat specific New Year’s food and play a lot of themed games. One big thing they do here is send nengajou, or New Year’s postcards. Similar to Christmas cards back home, people send postcards to family and friends, wishing them a happy new year. Receiving the postcards on January 1st seems to be very important as well.
Anyways, the week before I headed to the U.S. for Christmas break, I ate lunch with my fourth graders at my Wednesday school. I was talking about how I noticed that the school mail boxes were being put out outside of all the classrooms. One kid nodded and started saying something in Japanese that I didn’t really understand. Ichika, one of energetic girls of the classroom suddenly asked me “Diego-sensei, are you also taking postcards this year??”
“Postcards? Umm, yeah sure, why not?” I shrugged it off.
“Okay, we’ll keep that in mind!” she happily replied and we jumped on another subject. I thought it would be nice to receive something but I didn’t know what/if I would be getting anything.
Fast-forward to the first week of January. I come to my Wednesday school for the first time this semester and noticed a pile of New Year’s cards on my desk:
I had completely forgotten about the comment I made during lunch that day. Clearly my awesome fourth graders didn’t! It was a great way to welcome me back. A fifth grader and second grader even sent me one!
Not to be outdone, I made replies to theirs, although my drawings aren’t as cute as theirs: