Tweet of The Week #162: New Year and Going Back to Work

How do people in Japan feel about going back to work after their New Year's holiday?

By 2 min read

So long, 2021, hello, 2022! This week, we welcomed the new year, and most of Japan headed back to work. Last year was wild and, sadly, ended with a really short holiday off work.

The few national holidays people get for year-end celebrations fell on a weekend, leaving only December 31 through January 3. Thus, January 4 marked the first workday of the year (仕事始しごとはじめ).

Here are a few selected tweets to take a peek at the atmosphere during Japan’s this first week of the new year!

Five more minutes


For those who start work tomorrow.”


Danger! Five more minutes will last a lifetime.!

Mascots work too!


“O-hakuma! Let’s get to work!”

Gloating Woody



“These are the people who worked through the New Year’s holidays.

They have different attitudes.”


“Those who rejoice when they see tweets from people who are depressed about the start of work.”

‘Happy New Year’ in Japanese

“You’re a hard worker. But you wished me a happy New Year after the 7th so…”

These phrases are for specifically after the New Year holiday. Some Japanese articles on business manners even consider January 7 the end of the greeting period. But it’s hard to catch up with everyone within a few days! Regardless, here’s how you wish your boss and colleagues a happy start as soon as you’re back in the office.

  • 新年しんねんけましておめでとうございます。(Polite)
  • 明けましておめでとう。(Casual)
  • あけおめ。(Very casual. Only use with people you know very well!)

Extra polite

Want to be extra polite? Add your thanks for their help and support in the previous year, and anticipate the year to come with gratitude.

  • 昨年さくねん大変たいへん世話せわになりました: Thank you very much for your help last year.
  • 本年ほんねんもよろしくおねがいたします: I look forward to working with you this year.

Using email

Finally, when it comes to greeting the new year via email, there are a couple of words written slightly differently for politeness.

  • 今年ことし becomes 本年ほんねん (this year)
  • 去年きょねん becomes 旧年きゅうねん or 昨年さくねん (last year)


Japanese Romaji English
仕事始しごとはじ shigoto hajime First day of work of the year
けて ni mukatte For…[targeting a group of people]
一生いっしょう isshou Life-time, life-span
面構つらがま tsuragamae Attitude, countenance, look
憂鬱ゆううつ yuuutsu Gloom, low spirits, melancholy

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