2019: the Chinese (and Japanese, by default) year of the pig
Sure, if you go by the Chinese new year starting in early Feb, we’re not there yet. But Japan started with all this stuff way before January, so let’s catch up. It’s 2019, the year of the pig!
Don’t get pig-headed this year
To get technical, 2019’s the year of the ‘Earth Pig/Boar’. That’s what happens when you mix 12 zodiac signs with 5 elements. This combo won’t come around again for 60 years.
As far as their image goes, pigs… aren’t all that smart. Oh well. They don’t scheme, or make loads of effort. They just lie back, in their warm, comforting mud puddle, and let stuff come to them.
There’s a reason we use piggy banks, and not ‘monkey banks’ or ‘rooster banks’. Pigs are said to bring good fortune, to both their years and their signs.
Born in a pig year? (1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007) Your 2019’s set to be a good one – as long as you make careful choices about your cash.
Some other Chinese zodiac signs… aren’t gonna be so lucky. If you’re a Dragon, Rabbit, Rat, or Dog, the muddy Earth Pig’s in danger of messing up your 12-month plan.
Have a cautious, safe and uneventful 2019, everyone.
Nengajo (New Year’s greeting cards)
Sending a postcard that doesn’t have next year’s animal on the front is basically a crime here.
‘Nengajo’ (年賀状) are traditional postcards for the end/start of the year. They’re given to family and friends, and by businesses as a courtesy thing.
For 2019’s nengajo posting season, Japan Post advised people to send theirs by Christmas Day 2018. That’s so they’ll arrive on time: Jan 1st, New Year’s Day.
Post your New Year cards in time (inside Japan), and it’s free! No stamps to buy. Do it too late – after Jan 7th this year – or even too early, and you’re paying full price.
Writing out names and addresses on nengajo cards is a great way to practice your kanji. Top tip from the DEJAPAN team: do it in pencil first…
Food and drink (pig out)
We’re not just talking about pork products. If it looks (kinda) like a pig, or the box is covered in boar snouts, or there’s a pig dusted in icing sugar on the top, it counts.
Starbucks Japan got in early, putting out their pig-covered caramel macchiato conbini drink on Christmas Day.
And Krispy Kreme always makes at least 1 new year’s themed doughnut. Their 2019 pig (out from the 26th) has a super kawaii pretzel snout.
It doesn’t matter so much what it is. Hell, it could be vegetarian or vegan. Slap a pig on it, and we’re all good.
Lucky pig items (oink oink)
A new year’s also a great time for gift-giving. (come on, it’s Japan, we’ll take any excuse for presents.)
On Japanese shopping websites, the word to search for is ‘inoshishi’ (イノシシ or 猪), meaning ‘wild boar’. You can also try looking for ‘eto’ (干支), the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle.
Be warned: in with the traditional stuff, you’re about to find wild boar face masks, dog and baby cosplay outfits, and weird-looking plushies.
It’s super common to see little statues, trinkets, and displays for home decoration on sale. If you like pigs as a lounge decor theme, go for it.
The pig’s lucky colours are yellow, gold, brown, and grey. So… mud and money. Makes sense to us.
Let’s bring home the bacon in 2019!
Not that we wish this year’d be over already, but uh, we heard 2020’s gonna be the year of the ‘Metal Rat’.
All the best for 2019 and beyond, from everyone at DEJAPAN.