In Japan, there is not a tradition of sending Christmas cards, the way there is in the United States. In Japan, nengajo (New Year's post cards) are the thing. Most families will send dozens of nengajo every year. The post offices in Japan hire thousands of temporary workers to help insure that all cards posted before January 1st get delivered on time. Each year has a theme, based on the twelve animals from the Chinese zodiac. 2017 is the year of the rooster, so most nengajo this year will include an image of a rooster. People also often add family photos, so this year, in keeping with the bird theme, we decided to include photos of our pet bird, Mame. Mame is a parrotlet, the smallest bird in the parrot family. Yet, despite his tiny size, he is a whole lot of bird, with a distinct personality and a demanding nature. He watches us always, and when he sees us relaxing, he bangs on his cage and yells, "Kaki kaki!" which is Japanese for scratch. He loves to have the feathers behind his head scratched. When we are home, he is often out of his cage, sitting on our shoulders or in our laps, having his feathers groomed. He sits on my shoulder while I use the computer, sometimes tucking his head into the feathers on his back, lifting one foot, and falling asleep. Nina often has him when she does her homework, or plays the piano. Akiko usually grooms him on the sofa. He feels like a fourth family member. So, for this year's nengajo, Mame is the star. Here are some of the photos I took for the nengajo. We will include two on the card.