Part 2: How to Write New Year's Cards
When dating the card, the word "gantan （元旦）" is used instead of the date that card was written. "Gantan" means the morning of January 1st, therefore it is not necessary to write "ichi-gatsu gantan". As for the year, the Japanese era name is often used. The year 2010 will be "Heisei nijuuni-nen （平成２２年）, the 22 year of the era Heisei. Although nengajo are often written vertically, it is acceptable to write them horizontally.
When sending New Year's cards from overseas, the word "nenga （年賀）" should be written in red at the front (side with stamp and address). This way post office holds it and delivers it on January 1st. Unlike Christmas cards, nengajo shouldn't arrive before New Year's Day.
Write your name (and address) at the left side of the card. You can add your own message or draw the picture of the present year's zodiacal animal (eto). The animal of the year 2010 will be the tigar (tora).