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With just two weeks to go until the end of the year, people across Japan are scrambling to finish up writing their New Year’s Cards, or nengajo, as they’re called in Japanese. While traditions have softened and it’s becoming a bit more acceptable to send tidings by email, many still choose to send physical cards, since receiving personal mail is something of a rare treat these days.

That means most people need to make a trip to the post office to pick up some stamps, and Japan Post is happy to oblige with special New Year’s varieties. And though the ones for the upcoming Chinese zodiac animal are undeniably cute, the designs that really caught our attention were the sushi and tempura stamps.

Nengajo aren’t folded, and are generally mailed like post cards. Postage for such mail is 52 yen (US$0,44), and with next year being the year of the ram, Japan Post is offering stamps featuring the fluffy critter. If you’re sending a standard letter in an envelope, Japan Post charges 82 yen for delivery, but at least the 58-percent price jump comes with a comparably sized cuteness boost.

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If you’re in a giving mood, you can also opt to spend three yen more, which provides a donation to charity, plus a spiffy background for your New Year’s rams.

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Those prices, though, are all for domestic deliveries. Sending a postcard overseas requires 18 yen of additional postage, and just as the foreign-bound nengajo represents Japanese culture, Japan Post’s supplementary 18-yen stamps represent Japanese cuisine with illustrations of sushi and tempura.

▼ The artist seems to have been craving shrimp during the project.

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Of course, sushi and tempura aren’t only popular abroad, but well-loved in Japan, too. As a matter of fact, some of our Japanese-language sister site’s writers are feeling bummed out that they don’t know anyone overseas and therefore don’t really have an excuse to buy the supplemental stamps.

We say you don’t need one, though. The sushi and tempura stamps can be bought at any post office in Japan, or over the Internet through Japan Post’s online stamp shop here. A sheet of 10 will only set you back 180 yen, and even if you’re not sending any nengajo overseas, you can always use it as a quirky bookmark.

Besides, if you actually used the stamps, you wouldn’t have them anymore, and you’d be right back where you started: needing to go out and buy another batch for yourself.

Related: Japan Post online stamp shop
Images: Japan Post
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