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With November half over, it’s time to start worrying about the big holiday this season: New Year’s! While Christmas might be the big winter holiday in many countries, for those in Japan, the changing of the calendar is a far bigger event and everyone from school kids overworked salarymen gets a row of days off.

In addition to lazing about and eating way too much food, January first also means nearly mandatory New Year’s postcards in Japan. Next year is the year of the sheep (or goat, depending on who you ask), and the Japanese postal service has revealed their special postcard stamps featuring an adorable four-legged wool giver just for the occasion. However, eagle-eyed patrons with a good memory have noticed something special about the stamps…

2003, a full 12 years ago, was the last Year of the Sheep and quite a bit has happened since then. You could be forgiven for forgetting what you were even doing in 2003–we certainly have! Heck, that was even before freaking Facebook had been something you used to stalk exes–and certainly before you had to worry about your mother adding you.

Which makes it even more amazing to us that someone realized that the 2015 Year of the Sheep stamp is a continuation from the 2003 stamp. What do we mean by that? Well, take a look.

“This is amazing! The 2015 Year of the Sheep and 2003 Year of the Sheep postcard stamps hide a drama that lasted for 12 years!”

We’re not sure we’d call this a drama, but as you can probably tell, the 2003 New Year’s postcard stamp is on the left and the 2015 version is on the right. In the 2003 version, the sheep is hard at work knitting a scarf–out of wool, we assume. On the stamp on the right, you can see the sheep wearing the scarf! It took the poor creature 12 years to complete the project, probably because of its lack of thumbs, but after over a decade of work, the scarf is finished! And doesn’t it look warm and snuggly?

▼An sample of the stamp on a blank postcard.

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And in case you thought this was all a coincidence, it’s definitely not–Japan Post refers to this as the “design with the finished scarf,” alluding to the original stamp from 2003. Of course, you don’t have to use this particular stamp–a crane and hatsukama (the first green tea ceremony of the year) stamps are also available, depending on the type of postcard you order. The postcard with the sheep is for inkjet printers, while the crane postcard is a simple, plain postcard and the hatsukama stamp is for inkjet photos.

Japanese Internet commenters were impressed with the connection.

“I had no idea about this ‘secret.’ But it’s been 12 years! LOL Maybe in another 12 years it will have made a hat–or have a lamb!”

“Wow, really? It was still knitting after all this time!”

“It also has less wool!”

“I’ve been wowed by this all morning!”

Well, we’re not sure we’ll be impressed with this all morning, but it is pretty darn cool. We can probably take a few more minutes out of our day to think about how cool this is.

And now it’s time to start writing our New Year’s cards. We’ll definitely be using these adorable stamps, but first we’ll need to find a suitably cute design to go on the front. Any ideas, readers?

Sources: Jin115, Japaaan, Japan Post
Images: Japaaan, Japan Post, Wikipedia (Dezidor)