New Years is the biggest holiday in Japan. There are many traditions…one of which is sending 年賀状 (New Years Postcards) to friends and relatives. A bit like Christmas cards in western countries.
One the back of “official” Japanese New Years postcards (which are the only kind that anyone sends) is a six-digit serial number.
Every year on January 15th, the Japanese post office chooses random numbers as winners in the お年玉 (New Years postcard lottery).
People who have postcards with winning numbers win nice prizes.
(Click here to read a post I’ve written about this before.)
Here are the winning numbers for the 2016 New Years postcard lottery:
★ First place – cards with the number 667085 – the prize is ¥100,000 (approx. US$1,000).
★ Second place – cards with the last four digits of the number being 9648 – the prize is one of several wonderful things such as an onsen (hot spring) stay, a TV, a computer, Nintendo DS, etc.
★ Third place – cards with the last two digits of the number being either 69 or 90 – the prize is commemorative “Year of the Monkey” postage stamps.