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Happy dragon year!

Happy New Year! 明けましておめでとうございます

2012 is the year of the dragon, or tatsudoshi (辰年). Dragon can be written 竜, pronounced ryū; but when it refers to the fifth sign of the Chinese zodiac, it's written , pronounced tatsu. Don't complain. This is Japanese. "Japanese" and "straightforward" are mutually exclusive. 


I've read that the year of the dragon is associated with wealth, prosperity and power; but it can also be a tumultuous year.

Arbitrary dragon information

Last year was the year of the rabbit. Rabbit years are supposed to be peaceful, with those on either side of it (tiger and dragon) known for global unrest and change. Oh dear. Somebody got something wrong somewhere. Maybe there was celestial confusion and the tiger ate the rabbit or the dragon arrived a bit early?

Businessweek reports: "Five percent more babies are typically born in China in a dragon year – the last one was in 2000 – because many parents want their progeny to be associated with the icon of China’s emperors."

A seahorse is called tatsu no otoshigo (竜の落し子, the dragon's lost child) in Japanese, because it looks like a baby dragon. Cute.

If you combine the zodiac sign with the elements, 2012 is the year of the water dragon. Water is supposed to calm the dragon's fire, in other words, the tumult might be lest tempestuous. Might.

The dragon's equivalent in the Western zodiac is Aries.

My dragon photo was taken at Zuirinji (
瑞輪寺), the biggest temple in Yanaka. Zuirinji has many associations with water  – story to follow  –  so I thought it would be a good picture for this post.

That's it. Happy 2012! Honourable dragon lord, please be nice. The world needs a break. 

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