As post offices across Japan began accepting on Dec. 15 the posting of "nengajo" postcards for delivery during the New Year period, two apprentice geisha took part in a ceremony at the Kyoto Central Post Office to help remind people to mail the cards as early as possible.
At the event, "maiko" Kanatomo and Kanasue, along with children from a nearby kindergarten, put stacks of New Year greeting cards into a special postbox set up at the post office. A post office staff member, dressed as a traditional courier, collected the cards and declared, "We shall deliver them with all our hearts."
Local residents who had been standing in line since the morning also began putting bundles of New Year cards into the postbox or handed them in over the counter.
"I wrote Happy New Year," a 5-year-old girl who posted a handmade card to her grandmother said with a smile.
Meanwhile, a 75-year-old man who posts about 150 nengajo cards every year, said, "I had thought about quitting, but then I keep sending them year after year as it is proof that I am still in good health."
Japan Post urges senders to mail their cards by Dec. 25 to ensure delivery on New Year's Day.
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