December is the last month of the year. It means it's time to get ready for the coming year!
Japan has adopted the Chinese zodiac calendar more than a thousand years ago. Each year, the zodiac signs are different according to the twelve cycle. This year was a rabbit, and the next year will be a dragon - the symbolic legendary creature!
|Tazawako Dragon Festival in July|
The zodiac signs are very special. It is commonly believed that you can inherit some of the character traits of the zodiac signs of the year you were born. For example, the dragon (Tatsu) is a sign for people who are born on the twelve year cycle of 2012, are believed to have a healthy, energetic, honest, sensitive, brave and inspiring. Some say that they are the most peculiar people of all!
It is also believed that having an item of the zodiac sign of the current year or your birth year could bring you a good luck. That is why you see many traditional items being created in the end of year – now is the time!
Mr. Sugiyama, who is a creator of dorei (clay bells) near Lake Tazawa must be keeping himself busy as well! All his bells are so adorable that you will have a hard time deciding which one to choose!
|Seiryu (Blue Dragon)|
Many people’s favorite is a bell of dragon, most likely because of the local folktale associated with them. He says that, in the Eastern Asia, a dragon is among the four mythological animals along with a giraffe, Chinese phoenix, and turtle. Also, Seiryu (青竜; “Blue Dragon”) is among the four mythological creatures in the Chinese constellations. Therefore, also in Japan, a dragon symbolizes the god of water and god of agriculture.
|The Twelve Zodiac Creatures|
|Cute dragon with other lucky symbols|
|Each item is original and hand made.|
He has a set of twelve zodiac signs available for sale throughout the year at his studio. You can find the year’s zodiac sign such as a dragon or your own zodiac sign. Your friends are having a baby? Give them one of the new baby’s zodiac sign for good luck. You may perhaps ask Mr. Sugiyama to personally paint the baby’s name on it. It would be a perfect celebratory gift.
For more information, please contact Mr. Sugiyama or Folake (Tazawako Tourist Information Center) for additional assistance.