Happy New Year! There's no better way to say it than with people worldwide sending a note of good cheer to someone in the Tohoku disaster zone.

A group based in western Japan is calling on young people to send heartening "genki" letters to residents in the area still recovering from the 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear disasters, building on the nebulous positive word that can mean anything from "energetic" to "good health."

The Genki Mail project aims to get elementary and junior high school pupils writing a short note to an anonymous recipient. The letters and cards will then be taken to schools and shelters in Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures and handed out, said project leader Yukitaka Uritani.