Here are three of my favorite 2011 nengajou, featuring three of my favorite animals in Japan.
This is Otosan, patriarch of the White Family of SoftBank's brilliant TV commercials.
His nengajou is more of an advertisement than a nengajou, but it does say "Happy New Year" and offers a fukubukuro, or "lucky bag" present when you go into a SoftBank store. (I think it's for new customers.)
Next is Pan-kun! Isn't he sweet? I admit, I've never really liked monkeys, but this one is growing on me.
Last, but not least, is my all-time favorite Japanese bobtail, Nyaran.
He's the salarycat who works hard selling Nikukyu Manjuu and takes vacations booked through Jalan, a Japanese travel agency. In this nengajou, Nyaran looks like kagami mochi, a traditional Japanese New Year decoration of two rice cakes (mochi) topped with an orange. He's asking if it's the New Year yet.
It is the New Year, Nyaran! I wish all of you a happy, prosperous, and super-cute 2011!