Busman's Holiday

It's early December, and I noticed in the Post Office the other day the sign announcing the deadline for mailing nengajo ... still a couple of weeks away - more than enough time, right?

Maybe. But as it happens, I have a bit of a problem with nengajo. I make a living as a woodblock printmaker, so my friends of course expect me to produce my card each year using carved woodblocks. 'Purinto Gocco' is out of the question!

This suits me just fine, because I do truly love making woodblock prints, but something happened a couple of years ago that made me realize that making these cards is a bit more serious than I had thought. I was visiting a friend and was astonished to see, hanging on her wall, in expensive and beautiful frames, all the New Year cards I had sent her during the previous years. The little prints that I had made so casually and carelessly, were being preserved as 'art'! I have since found out that other people are doing the same thing - they are collecting my nengajo!

I thus have to be more careful nowadays. If my little prints are indeed going to be inspected so closely, I have to make sure they are worthy of it, and that takes time. So very soon now, I will take a week-long vacation from my daily printmaking work. A vacation for the purpose of making ... another woodblock print!