Our 2011 New Year’s Card
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Our 2011 New Year's Card -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl
Our 2011 New Year's Card

Japanese culture has people sending New Year's cards en masse just before the end of the year, with Japan Post holding them until the morning of January First, at which point they then deliver them in accumulated bundles to households across Japan.

The card above is what we sent this year, with pictures we took in the middle of an (almost) deserted road near the ancient but far-removed Sokushouji Temple in rural Shiga Prefecture, on the same outing when we made a family visit to the temple in November.

Here's the English version we used for our Christmas cards last week...

Our Christmas 2010 Card -- Rootstown, OH, USA -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl
Our Christmas 2010 Card

To take the photos, I set the camera up on a tripod and set for a photo to be taken once every second, and we just stood for a while as the shutter clicked. The area is so off the beaten path that moss actually grows on the road. In the half an hour we were there, three cars came by, so it must have been rush hour.

For reference, here's our card last year...

Last Year's Christmas Card -- Kyoto, Japan -- http://regex.info/blog/
Last Year's Christmas Card

... and from the archives: our New Year's cards for: 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006.

All 13 comments so far, oldest first...

Wow, Jeffrey! That is an amazing new years card. I really enjoy the simplicity and beautiful fall colors. It always astounds me, how you always find time to keep up a regular blog posting in the midst of everything else you do.

— comment by Tyler on January 2nd, 2011 at 2:09am JST (6 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Really a nice idea for a christmas card! Wish you & your family all the best for 2011!

— comment by Florian on January 2nd, 2011 at 5:17am JST (6 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

I count three fonts on the english card, including comic sans and papayous. The japanese card does not fare much better. Tisk Tisk.

And your point is what? Do you have some kind of Manual of Christmas-Card Design stuck up your jingle bells that causes my card to be a failure in your eyes? If so, why bother even leaving a comment? At least you had the sense to make it anonymous.

For your information, I like the use of fonts here… two handwriting fonts (Dakota and Bradley Hand), Hobo, and Papyrus. The fonts on the Japanese card are Hobo, Hiragino Kaku Gothic, and Kazuraki, a proportionally-spaced Japanese font based on the calligraphy of 12th-century poet Fujiwara no Teika.

You don’t have to like my card designs, but geez, is this page really the occasion to leave an anonymous “you suck” message? Sigh. —Jeffrey

— comment by Daniel on January 2nd, 2011 at 6:33am JST (6 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

You’ve taken my comment about 1001 times more seriously than it was intended. The “tisk tisk” was meant to convey such.

I provided criticism of the design since IMHO the font selection retracts from the excellent photography. It makes me wonder how ever you learned to take photos as well as you did if you lash out at people like this for even the slightest suggestion.

“anonymous “you suck” message” sign myself, you have my name and email, thus it is was hardly anonymous, and the only “you suck” was added by yourself. I never said anything about the cards as a whole only the fonts, seriously you need to tone down the defensiveness.

And in case you’re wondering a “Because I like it” is a perfectly valid defense, what I have issue with is your hostility.

It’s not so much hostility as a lamentation for a declining sense of civility. If I’d misspelled something or made some kind of factual error, I’d always appreciate a note, but a post like this for merely sharing happiness doesn’t really seem the right place for a public communication whose sole purpose is to point out that the design I proudly display doesn’t meet your standards. If the design was the whole point of my post, or if I made some kind of claim about the design’s greatness, then criticism-only reactions could be called for, but come on, man, for post like this whose purpose is to share a slice of my happiness, you could have at least included something nice if you were going to bother responding at all. Otherwise, for a post like this where “because I like it” is obvious, it appears that your note’s sole intention was to inflict hurt, AKA “you suck”.

But like my font selection, perhaps we just disagree on what constitutes appropriate “TPO” (a common concept in Japan denoting that what is considered “appropriate” not absolute, but is subject to the current Time, Place, and Occasion).

I don’t want to dissuade people from giving the gift of honest feedback, for that is indeed how one grows (especially me with design, because I’m no good at it), but I think some TPO is called for. Anyway, a difference in opinion on TPO is better than an intention to hurt, so I’ll take it as the former and will keep it your comments in mind when doing our card next year, so thanks for that. —Jeffrey

— comment by Daniel on January 2nd, 2011 at 11:13am JST (6 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

We loved your Christmas card, especially all the SILLY pics! Felicity sure loves Anthony and requests to look at the “Anthony” book a.k.a. 6 1/2 cousins daily. It is sooooooooooooo cute! We know that book from front to back!

Thanks also for the wonderful wooden play food! It is a GREAT addition to Felicity’s kitchen and she sure loves to cut with the knife!!!!

Happy New YEAR!

— comment by Natalie Friedl on January 2nd, 2011 at 11:47am JST (6 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

I have a very high opinion of your photography skills, one of your images currently resides on my desktop. I’m sorry I didn’t phrase my response less harsh, I really did intend it to be a friendly chiding over the quantity of fonts. I made it after being shocked by the discrepancy between photography and the fonts I suppose I expected you to be as familiar with topography, which is honestly the only area of design in which I have any competence, as I was. But I concede you are right, my tone and selection of words did not convy my whole opinion and i am very sorry that I have caused you this distress.

If I were to change anything I would swap the limish green to either a green present in the photo’s pallet or a deep red from the leafs. Looking at 2009’s the green works well because of the prominent red which forms the classical red and green christmas pallet but 2010 has a fall pallet. As well on 2009 the “silly” font is used for both the signature and the photos thus keeping total # of fonts at two. Thus I’d change 2010’s signature to use calligraphy font from the Polaroids or from the header. Then I would change the url color to white and remove the http:// which reduces noise. The poloroids could also be moved slightly to the left filling the space which is otherwise occupied in the japanese version.

For the japanese one I’d consider using a serif font for the signature or move it away from the serif header.

— comment by Daniel on January 3rd, 2011 at 5:08am JST (6 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Very nice card! With (as expected) great pictures. You have a beautiful family. All the best for 2011! May your health play along well!

Best regards

— comment by Andy Muelder on January 3rd, 2011 at 8:13am JST (6 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Nice greeting cards! Great fall colors! I like the polaroid photo effect for the small photos.
-Todd Ovick
Minnesota, USA.

— comment by Todd Ovick on January 3rd, 2011 at 8:37am JST (6 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Dear Jeffrey,

all my best wishes for a happy new year full of joy, contentment and health go to Fumi, Anthony and you. I am looking forward to your blog entries and wonderful pictures and hope that you will be able to find the balance between the need/wish to keep your blog up to date and finding enough time for yourself and your family….

Best wishes from Germany,


— comment by Peter on January 4th, 2011 at 5:41pm JST (6 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

PS. As for the card: I like the photography and general design a lot. The idea to include “motto”-pictures for your hobbies/interests is really great!

As for the fonts: I personally am also a friend of simplicity and choose as few different fonts as possible, normally only one, max two. However, in the case of your card the different fonts don’t bug me. The handwriting beneath the motto-pictures suits perfectly and a differentiation between the title font and the greetings is fine as well.

— comment by Peter on January 4th, 2011 at 5:49pm JST (6 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Beautiful card as always!

Fumie has a ballerina body type now! What do you feed Anthony? He is growin so much!

Congratulations! Happy 2011!

Griselda Nishikatsu, Arlington, TX

— comment by Griselda on January 10th, 2011 at 11:04am JST (6 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

I think it’s the most perfect New Year’s card I’ve ever seen.

— comment by Anne on September 26th, 2012 at 2:09pm JST (5 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Love the cards!!

— comment by Jackie on December 16th, 2012 at 4:29pm JST (5 years ago) comment permalink
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