I (kind of) won the Japanese lottery!

Okay, so I didn’t win the “Nenmatsu Jumbo”, but as a teacher I get sent quite a lot of New Year cards from my students. These postcards, from the post office, are marked with a number which if you’re lucky could be picked as the winning number in the post office’s New Year lottery. Here’s some background on “Nengajou” from Wikipedia:

The Japanese have a custom of sending New Year’s Day postcards (nengajou) to their friends and relatives. It is similar to the custom of sending Christmas cards. Instead of sending Christmas cards, Japanese people send these postcards so that they arrive on the 1st of January. The post office guarantees to deliver the greeting postcards on the first of January if they are marked with the words nengajo and are posted within a time limit, from mid-December to near the end of the month. In order to send these cards on time, the post office usually hires students part-time to help deliver the letters. The end of December and the beginning of January are the busiest times for the Japanese post office.

So, it turns out that I was a winner! Sadly I didn’t win the big-screen TV or the holiday to Hawaii, but I did win some…erm…stamps.

New Year stamps

The writing reads “Heisei 19 Year”, equivalent to the western “2007”, and below that it says “Otoshidama” which means New Year’s money. The stamps themselves (worth a bit over a dollar) feature a boar because it’s the Chinese Year of the Boar.

So while I’m thrilled to win the lottery, I figure these are collector’s items and should belong to someone who cares more about stamps, or pigs, than I do! So if you want them, start bidding in the comments section (no need to register)!

If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!

One thought on “I (kind of) won the Japanese lottery!

  1. Hi Nick,
    Very interesting STORY.
    I know about these lottery stamps,
    and I would be very kin to have this sheet of winning stamps.
    Please e-mail me, if you ever read this post again,
    as it is time for the new lottery 🙂
    Merry Xmas and a Happy New 2008 (Mouse) Year!

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