There’s a monkey in the house

For 2016 I have pledged to myself – as I am the only one listening – to write a blog post once a week. This is to compliment the videos about business and books I am posting over on my YouTube channel. I’ve decided to do this every Friday. It seemed like a good idea, but then I found out that the First Friday of the year is today, January 1st. So, that wasn’t so great, but, as I promised myself, and I don’t like to break promises to myself, here goes.

This year, 2016, is the year of the monkey. In Japan, where I’m currently spending most of my time, people and businesses ring in the New Year by sending all their customers and friends little cards – called ‘nen ga jo (年賀状)’  to let them know they’re being thought of in the new year. This one is from the little company that services our car.

car service nengajo

There’s several remarkable things about this, and not just the outrageous cuteness of it!

First, there is an incredible business here in the designing and selling of these cards. And customizing. They come pre-printed with postage (say that ten times fast!), so maybe it’s a difficult thing to get into but when you have EVERY person and company sending at least a few of these THAT’S A LOT OF CARDS!

Second, what a great way to keep in touch with your customers and still look respectful. One thing this does – which I am a big believer in – is that not every time you reach out to a customer should you be selling. Actually, I think you should almost never be selling. Get them thinking about you, loving you, etc. THEN go in for the sale. That sounds creepy, but, it’s not. Honestly.

kitty nengajo

This is the one I’m sending out. Kittychan with her monkey slaves basking in the view of Mt Fuji. For some reason this card is seen as slightly childish, whereas the other card is not. I think that the Japanese are always using cartoon characters in inappropriate situations. I once was shown a happy illustration info sheet at a bank that explained why I wasn’t going to be able to open a bank account. Cute!

But I think the point I’m trying to make is always be on the mind of your customers. Wouldn’t it be awesome to send out cards like this everywhere? Not with a coupon (that’s selling), not announcing something about your store or business, but just a ‘Hi, we’re here, we’re thinking of you’!

Now, here’s a couple lists I found on the internet.

The Lucky Things for “Monkeys”

Lucky numbers: 4 and 9
Lucky days: the 14th and 28th of any Chinese lunar calendar month
Lucky colors: white, blue, gold
Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum, crape-myrtle
Lucky directions: north, northwest, west
Lucky months: Chinese lunar months 8 and 12

The Unlucky Things That “Monkeys” Should Avoid

Unlucky colors: red, pink
Unlucky numbers: 2 and 7
Unlucky directions: south, southeast
Unlucky months: Chinese lunar months 7 and 11

Missing from the first list is ‘bananas’ and missing from the second is ‘people’.

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