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My Compulsory Christmas cards

There is a nice tradition in Japan. Every Christmas people prepare their personalized Christmas and New Year cards and send to friends. It could be a family photo, calligraphy with good wishes or as in most cases just a normal Christmas card purchased in a stationary shop. The card is called "nengajo" in Japanese.

After so many years spent in Japan I naturally acquired couple of Japanese traditions and every year making and sending my photo Christmas card. If you missed some of them, please find it here.


Fishermen of Shimoda
Shimoda is a small fishermen town not very far from Tokyo. While walking in the port area I spoted this fishermen mending nets.

Santa of Shinjuki
This picture of Japanese Santa was taken in Shinjuku which is the part of Tokyo hosting Tokyo goverment, the busiest railway station in the world and one of the sleasiest entertainment districts.

Nikko: Toshogu Shrine
Nikko is one of the most beautifull historical towns in Japan. You may ask if I digitally altered the phot to make all umbrellas look red. The answer is "no"! That's how it actually looked!

Choosing "right" photo is usually long and painfull process. Normally I prefer the thema of my photo to be the winter, while content to be kind of "buoyant". Given that winter in Tokyo usually won't last more than a day per year, the first condition is hard to satisfy.


Christmas in Omotesando, Tokyo
One week before Christmas Omotesando, which is famous for it's fashionable crowds, trendy restaurants and galleries, would turn on the illumination. Each brunch of of each tree is lit. To see the "miracle" people drive from all over the Tokyo and even its suburbs.

Department stores of Ginza
Ginza is area of Tokyo where most expensive shops in the world getting filled by dense crowd every day from their opening hours till close. The tide of shoppers turns into tsunami days before Christmas. There are two famous department stores in this frame: Wako at the left and Mitsukoshi featuring Christmas ad.

Snowfall at Meiji-jingu, Tokyo
Snow falls in Tokyo once a year at most. I was lucky to catch one of rare snowfalls in Meiji-jingu which is the most important Shinto shrine in Japan. Calligraphy at the background was created by school kids. It depicts sort of New Year good wishes thus turning this card into recursive one.

The printing procedure is simple and convenient. You bring slide or negative to almost any from zillions photo shops, choose layout and here we are! After 1-2 weeks you will get bunch of beautifully printed cards. The averarage price depending on quantity will probbly be arount 100 yen per card. I was happily using this system for couple of years until I discovered that I can actually do much better with my money.

I have an artist friend who often needed to print invitation cards and catalogs for her exhibitions. She pointed me to a printing company where I can make cards much cheaper. The only catch is that the quantity should be no less then one thousand. But even then it will cost me the same amount of money to print 1000 cards as if I would print only 200 card using a normal photo shop.

The company name is "Shinko Sha". Their address:

Hikarri kougei Building 2F
2-49-5 Nishi-Nippori
Arakawa-ku Tokyo
tel: 03-3806-5077

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