Posts Tagged ‘ Kamine Zoo ’

2013 ~~ Happy Year of the Snake! (へび年)

Happy New Year . . .

明けましておめでとうございます

Ah*ke*ma*shi*te    Oh*meh*de*toh    Goh*za*i*mas

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According to the Chinese calendar, 2013 is the Year of the Snake.  This ancient calendar runs in 12-year cycles.  2012 was the Year of the Dragon and 2011 was the Year of the Rabbit.  2010, the Tiger.  Below you’ll see a photo of a snake, a young cottonmouth, I took in the U.S. Deep South Alabama earlier this year.

Cottonmouth.  In the Deep South piney woods.

Cottonmouth. In the Deep South piney woods.

Positive and negative attributes of persons born in a Year of the Snake (2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941 . . .) -

 *  Positive: The Snake can be amiable, compromising, fun-loving, altruistic, honorable, sympathetic, philosophical, charitable, a paragon of fashion, intuitive, discreet, diplomatic, amusing and sexy.

*  Negative: The Snake can also be self-righteous, imperious, judgmental, conniving, mendacious, grabby, clinging, pessimistic, fickle, haughty, ostentatious and a very sore loser.

Quoted in toto from this site.

More characteristics (which I quote from the same, above-linked site) of persons born in a Snake Year:

The person born in the year of snake is the wisest and most enigmatic of all. He/she can become a philosopher, a theologian, a political lizard or a wily financier. Such person is a thinker who also likes to live well. The snake – person loves books, music, clothes, and fine food; but with all his fondness for the good things of life, his innate elegance gives him a dislike for frivolities and foolish talk.

They like communicating and like interesting conversations, although if the conversation becomes repetitive their attention may soon wander. It is almost impossible to fix their attention for long talking about the weather. They prefer to focus on new interesting unusual ides and intelligent discussion in general.

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Your author actually has a little, recent, history with snakes in Japan.  Below is a photo of yours truly, taken at the City of Hitachi’s Kamine Zoo in 2008.  They thought I’d be all scared and freaked out by having a snake hung round my shoulders.  They had little idea that I spent much of my childhood in the woodsy wilds of South Alabama .  .  .

Yours Truly, at Kamine Zoo. Hitachi, Japan. 2008.

Yours Truly, at Kamine Zoo. Hitachi, Japan. 2008.

Here are a few ways the Year of the Snake is being commemorated and celebrated in Japan:

“It’s a great year, you know!”

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So, Happy Year of the Snake and Best Wishes for Health and Prosperity in 2013!

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Japanimals (日本動物)

Most of these are live animals.  There may be a repeat shot here or there.  I know the eels are also in the Tsukiji Gallery, but the opportunity was just too good.

Friend with kitty cat at Shinshogokuraku-ji (Shinnyo-Do) temple.  Kyoto.  2009.

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Tiger.  Hitachi’s Kamine Zoo.  2008.

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Deer.  Nara Park, just in from of ToDai-ji.  Nara.  2001.

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Kyoto City Gov’t sign.  Doggy’s saying:  “You forgot some poo.”  In red it says, “Take your poo home!”  2008.

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Some guy with a snake.  Hitachi.  2008.

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Tanuki.  “Lucky Badgers.”  Kyoto.   2008.

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Ikebukuro, Tokyo. August 2011.

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Fish.  Tsukiji Market.  Tokyo.  2009.

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Rain Dogs. Kyoto.  2009.

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Sign for restaurant on the back of a Kyoto City Bus for  “The Astonished Donkey” restaurant.  Above, it says simply:  “Hamburger Restaurant.”  You decided why the donkey’s so astonished.

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Paper mache (or something like it) kitties.  Corner of Jingu-michi and San-jo. Kyoto.  2009.

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Eels.  Tsukiji Market.  Tokyo.  2009.

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“Happy New Year” = Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu

2013 UPDATE:  The YEAR of the SNAKE!

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Click Here for 2012 YEAR of the DRAGON info, background & trivia!

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Coming up:  2011.  The year of The Rabbit!

 

The Resolute Rabbit

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Happy New Year . . .

あけましておめでとうございます

Ah*ke*ma*shi*te    Oh*meh*de*toh    Goh*za*i*mas

________________________

2 0 1 0 :     Y e a r   o f   t h e   T i g e r

Tiger. Kamine Zoo. Hitachi, Japan. April 2008.

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2010 is the Year of the Tiger, according to the ancient Chinese calendar (which runs in 12-year cycles).  2009 has been the year of the Bull, or Water Buffalo (plodding along, never giving up, persevering).  2011 will be the Year of the Rabbit (my year, thankyouverymuch).  But 2010 is for the Tiger:  active, self-assured and ready to strike at opportunities.  More on the Chinese/Japanese calendar below.  Here’s a nice, 2 min 10 sec video from Japan (titled): Year of the Tiger.  New Year’s Card.  How to Paint a Simple Tiger.”

Here’s a Happy New Year 2010 vid from Alien Eye, a Tokyo-based boutique marketing firm.  What I like about this 1 min 47 sec vid is that it pretty much captures “a day in the life” of anyone strolling the streets of Japan … ;o).

Stay tuned for updates on this page over the next several days and week.  Please consider joining others in signing-up (right-hand side of this page) so you’ll be notified by email of updates here on Japanese New Year Traditions, the Chinese/East Asian Zodiac, and other end-of-the-year/beginning-of-2010 information and esoterica.

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Japan has used the Gregorian Calendar since 1873,  5 years into the Meiji Restoration, but being a nation with close cultural, geographic and historical ties to and influences from China, the 12-year cycle Chinese calendar continues to hold great sway and influence in most Japanese hearts, at least from a standpoint of tradition and sentimentality.  Most Japanese New Year’s Cards  — Nengajo — (having gone into the mail by the millions and millions over the past few days in order that they be delivered on January 1st!) will feature a tiger motif.  Here’s an example:

Found at this website

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Otoshidama ( お年玉 )  is the Japanese custom (also in China and elsewhere in East Asia) where adults give children New Year’s envelopes containing money (bills only).  Japanese bills come in ¥1,000 (somewhat rare) ¥2,000, ¥5,000 and ¥10,000 increments, so children (depending on their age and relationship to the adult giver) can expect anywhere from ¥1,000-¥10,000 (around $11.00 to $110.00 given today’s exchange rate).  Envelopes are colorful and cartoony and cute.

Here’s how Kit-Kat (yes, that Kit-Kat) has gotten in on the otoshidama trade, combining a box of chocolate with an otoshidama envelope, suitable and intended for mailing from grandma to grandson/granddaughter  —  with, of course, a Year of the Tiger motif:

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お正月 O-Shogatsu

Shogatsu (or O-Shogatsu) are the amalgam of customs and celebrations that mark and are intertwined with celebrating the New Year in Japan.  Special foods eaten, temples visited, decorations made and gifts given all begin at 12:00 midnight on January 1, and continue for the next three (3) days.

Houses are cleaned and decorated in the days preceding O-Shogatsu.  Families walk or ride together (many at midnight, January 1) to their neighborhood Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines, businesses shut down, and Shonenkai (New Year’s Parties/Feasts) flourish.  Among the decorations are the front doors of homes and businesses, often sporting with pine (松 matsu, symbolizing deep-rooted strength), bamboo (竹  chiku, symbolizing the ability to bend with but overcome the winds of adversity) and plum fronds (梅  bai, symbolizing hope – plum being the first tree to blossom in the spring, with buds often bursting forth even through the late February snows).

Chion-in

In about three (3) hours (I write at about 8:30 a.m. U.S. Central Time), no less than 17 monks will take up the ropes attached to the log that strikes and rings great bell at Chion-in Temple in Kyoto and will swing that log into the 74 ton bell  108 times to ring-out the negative passions (greed, hate, envy…) of those who hear it and cleanse all for a fresh start for 2010.   It’s a tradition that’s gone on year after year for hundreds of years at Chion-in, which was established in the early 12th Century by a disciple of Hōnen, priest and founder of the Jodo (“Pure Land”) sect of Buddhism.  “The colossal main gate, the Sanmon, was built in 1619 and is the largest surviving structure of its kind in Japan.”  Here’s a rough vid I made of an, uh, event I ran into as I walked by the Chion-in Main Gate (Sanmon) about 45 days ago (also featured in another Front Page piece just below):

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