I was pen pals with my cousin A in Amsterdam through the latter half of grade school, and with my cousin W in South Carolina all though high school. I still have 3 shoeboxes full of old letters that we exchanged, and a crazy supply of cute stationary I'd pick up at Chinese bookstores.
I must confess that I have a mild addiction for stationary. When I was in Japan a couple years ago visiting my friend S, I spent many hours perusing the stationary aisles in the various department stores there. May I just say that American Hallmark has got nothing on Hallmark Japan? And even though I don't write nearly as many letters as I used to, it doesn't stop me from browsing the stationary at Winners and buying the occasional box of discounted note cards.
Let us refer to exhibit A, the assorted stationary and related paraphernalia that I bought within (I think) the first few days of my 1 week visit:
S thought it would be funny to take a picture to document my addiction. Heh.
I've been trying to get into the habit of sending Thank You cards and I was pretty good for a couple years there, but have since gotten lazy again - it's a bit of a bummer to put effort into thank you notes and not receive any in return, like, ever, except for the occasional wedding thank you.
The one good thing that's come out of my addiction is that I'm prepared with a greeting card for just about any occasion. Consider Mother's Day: My manager was telling me yesterday about how crazy-expensive Mother's Day cards are. I haven't bought a Mother's Day card in several years so was shocked to hear that they were going for about $8 a pop - and not anything particularly special or oversize either! Is that not obscene??
This pretty beaded(!) Sanrio card is the one I plan on giving my mother this weekend: