With the coming of the 2015 new year, which happens to be the year of the sheep/goat, many Japanese classes will be focusing on the story of the Chinese Zodiac.
A wonderful Chinese zodiac cartoon I’ve found is fun to show students is below.
Chinese Zodiac Story Cartoon
Despite the story of the Chinese zodiac being Chinese, the traditional connotations that come with the different years are still practised and observed in Japan.
According to the Chinese Zodiac story, each year is named after one of the 12 animals that completed a race, and whatever year you are born in is supposed to determine some of your personal characteristics. For example, as I (Duncan Sensei) am born in 1984, the year of the rat I’m supposed to be very cunning, artistic and popular. To find what year you were born in you can consult the following chart.
Year of the Horse
Energetic, intelligent and warm-hearted, you are outgoing and enjoy the limelight. Your cheerful, talkative nature makes you popular, but you can also be impatient, quick-tempered and stubborn.
Year of the Sheep
Intuitive, gentle and compassionate, sheep have a special sensitivity for art and beauty and may be spiritually-inclined. But you can also be shy and over-sensitive to criticism, as well as tending to be pessimistic and indecisive.
Year of the Monkey
Lively, agile and quick-witted, monkeys are natural sportsmen and are often creative and good at problem-solving. But you also tend to be suspicious and jealous and can be selfish and arrogant.
Year of the Rooster
Roosters are efficient, ambitious and capable as well as being deep thinkers with a strong sense of honesty and self-respect. But you can be impatient, narrow-minded and critical of others in the belief you are always right.
Year of the Dog
Just like man’s best friend, you are straight-forward, loyal, reliable and likeable. But you can also be stubborn, judgmental and picky and have a tendency to worry.
Year of the Pig
It may not be the most flattering animal to be associated with, but pigs are honest, faithful and kind. Your trusting nature means you are sometimes naïve, however, making it easy for others to take advantage.
Year of the Rat
People born under the rat work hard for their success. You are smart, wealthy, adaptable and usually popular with others. But you can be timid and lack concentration and are often in need of responsibility.
Year of the Ox
If you’re born in this year you probably do things steadily and are known to be honest, industrious and cautious. But you can also be obstinate and a poor communicator.
Year of the Tiger
You are valiant, strong, respected and good at expressing yourself. But despite being capable of sympathy, you can be short-tempered and struggle to maintain an interest in long-term projects.
Year of the Rabbit
Just like a rabbit you are sensitive and gentle, and you have an excellent memory. But you often don’t think things through and are likely to invest money in doomed projects. Determined not to suffer a boring life you often romanticise situations.
Year of the Dragon
An iconic symbol of China, you are a lively intellectual with a lot of energy and known for being quite excitable. But you struggle to control your moods as you are often fiery, unrealistic and at times a little eccentric.
Year of the Snake
You are thought of as wise, which is probably why you’re so good with money. You’re good natured even if you don’t always say a lot, but your quiet exterior is a mask for your true intensity and passion. But that passion can lead to jealousy and you have a tendency to be suspicious which means you often rely on yourself rather than ask for help.