Year of the Tiger figures

As we’re approaching the end of the year, it’s time to stock up on items for the new year here in Japan.
All around me are dragon items as 2012 is the year of the dragon.
Super cute New Year cards, dragon figures and many other dragon related items are available.


My “Year of the Tiger figures”:

Japan Year of the Tiger figures

2010 was the year of the tiger and although I was able to resist most of the things that were floating around, I just couldn’t ignore those 2 “year of the tiger figures”.

I’m not sure if the colors mean anything (silver and gold), but the kanji do!
The one on the left (silver) tiger says “fuku (福)” and means “good fortune”.
The other one says “kotobuki (寿)” meaning long life.

Like many religious lucky charms in Japan they have bells inside.
I highly recommend purchasing a smaller figure of the current year when you visit Japan.
It’s a great souvenir and you’ll always remember that you visited Japan in the year of the [xyz]!

On the small wooden plate in front of the tigers you see the kanji [干支]. It’s pronounced “eto” and refers to the 12 Chinese zodiac animals.

The 12 zodiac signs are also commonly refered to as “juunishi” (十二支). There’s quite a cute legend about it, explaining why it’s those 12 animals and why there’s no cat! Just google for the “origin of the 12 zodiac signs” and you’ll bump into it! :D

I’m really happy that I purchased my set of “year of the tiger figures”!


Born in the year of the tiger?

I’m going to provide some more information about the year of the tiger which obviously is every 12 years.
“Tora” is the Japanese word for tiger. There are different kanji in use, though.
[虎] being the one used for the actual animal and [寅] is used when you talk about the zodiac sign!

If you were born in 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986 or 1998, then you were born in the year of the tiger!
People born in the year of the tiger are said to be stubborn, short-tempered, sensitive, courageous, selfish and slightly mean. They are deep thinkers and are said to have great sympathy for those they love or are close to.
Does that sound like you?

Personally I think that if you look closely enough, you’ll always find a few things that fit.
By the way I was born in the year of the monkey! I have to wait until 2016 until I can celebrate “my” year and buy (not so) cute monkey items!!

Apart from character features, the tiger is also associated with a season (spring) and a direction (east) as well as with an element (wood) – among other things.

What’s your zodiac sign? Do you care at all?

I hope you liked my cute “year of the tiger figures”.
Thanks for reading!~


  • Born in the year of the tiger! (^-^)v Wow first time hearing about tiger being associated with spring & wood. So that’s why I prefer spring, forests and wood designs.~

    actually…here in the Philippines, zodiac signs only bear importance during the new year. Like what fortune will befall people on the next year etc. Generally, I think we follow astrological signs more (Virgo, Scorpio etc).

    • It’s interesting, isn’t it?
      I’m a monkey and my direction is west (next to south) … which is really interesting because all my life (no matter in which country I am) I’ve lived in the southwestern part!!! Weird. :D

      In Japan they mix it all. Bloodtype, astrological signs, Chinese zodiac signs etc. ^-^;; …
      And at some shrines and temples you’ll find the “merchandising” of the current year’s animal throughout the whole year! :sparkling:

  • I love these little figures :heart: We used to sell them at this shop I worked at in D.C. Always popular around Christmas and New Years ;P
    I haven’t gotten any since I moved to Japan though :sweatdrop2: And I really should have invested in a rabbit this year since that’s my year..! :shock: Ah well.. next time I guess? lol
    I already have some small dragon items like.. stickers.. but I probably won’t get anything else.. Just nowhere to put things :sweatdrop:

    • Yeah, I bought stickers to decorate my “nengajo”, too!!
      I’ve had a look at some dragon figures already, but so far I didn’t see any I really liked.
      Come to think of it, I didn’t buy a rabbit figure either … at least not a big one ^-^;

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