You don't get many Christmas cards in Japan, but you do get plenty of New Year's Cards (nengajou).
The winning cardThe Japanese send more than 4 billion of these postcards every year--enough for every man, woman and child to receive 30 cards each. Almost all of the postcards sent double as entries in the postal service's New Year's lottery. You pay 3 extra yen of postage, in exchange for which your recipeints can win fabulous prizes like an iPod or a trip to Hawaii.
Since Yukari is in touch with tons of people through her work, she got over a hundred of these postcards. I bugged her for weeks to bring them home, so I could see if we had won anything.
I'm glad I did, because one of the cards was a winner! I took my card to the local post office to claim my prize. I walked in with my winning postcard and walked out the proud owner of: stamps.
Not just any stamps, though. These stamps, pictured at right, have cute dogs on them (year of the dog, donthca know) and are only available via the lottery. These are sure to be a collectors' item. I look forward to the purchase of and subsequent lounging upon our own tropical island, thanks to the proceeds from our sale of these stamps on eBay.
Fellow Dog Walker Randall forwarded me a link to the Dolphin Bay Hotel's "How To Cook With Lava" page. If you've ever wondered how you can cook a guinea hen and simultaneously give yourself a third-degree burn, this is the page for you:
Eric Rodenbeck sent me a link to Chris Bliss' site. He's a comic that does a schtick about technology. I didn't find his standup routine hugely funny, but his interpretive juggling is amazing. He does almost 4+ minutes of faultless juggling to last few tracks of Abbey Road. . It's incredible stuff. Click our silver-haired juggling friend below to watch it: