Waking up on Jan. 1 is a little like waking up on Christmas morning — there's a palpable sense of excitement in the air as you reach into your post box to discover who has (and who hasn't) sent you a New Year's card.

However, these greetings aren't distributed by a mythical Santa Claus-like figure in a sleigh, they're delivered to each home by the hard-working personnel at Japan Post Co.

With New Year's cards accounting for about 13.4 percent of all mail at the end of the year (in addition to the oseibo year-end gifts that are also sent in early December), post offices nationwide are frantic.