-･- From My Everyday Life to Japanese Culture -･- Why don't you see the real Japan, not the typical foreigners' version.
It’s the beginning of a new year!
I hope every one of you enjoy a great New Year's Day.
The first post in 2011 is about an illustration for our Nenga-jou (年賀状, New Year's greetings).
Nenga-jou is similar to the Western custom of exchanging Christmas cards. People write and send the postcards in December, to be delivered on New Year's Day. There's a saying that fewer people are exchanging them these days, but I think it’s a good custom to say hello to people we don’t see regularly.
My sister and I enjoy designing our own card every year. I usually plan, and my sister makes it.
This year’s illustration is a rabbit based on one of famous Choujuujinbutugiga (鳥獣人物戯画, caricatures of animals and humans) that had been originally handed down in Kozan Temple in Kyoto (高山寺) and now owned by Tokyo Natural Museum.
Rabbits, frogs, and monkeys are anthropomorphized in the caricature.
According to the museum, that was made in the middle of the 12th century.
2011 is the Year of the Rabbit (卯年) by Oriental Zodiac.
According to Japanese tradition, each year reflects the character of the animal, so it would be a year of progress, in which something new would start, as an image of jumping rabbit.
I do hope this year will be like that.