Converse 2015 Chinese New Year Premium Collection

 

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Japan’s coolest New Year 2014 greeting cards

RocketNews 24:

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New Year in Japan means food, visiting temples, food, getting money, food, and, of course, New Years postcards. Like the many people all over the world, Japanese folks make a habit of sending cards to nearly everyone they know to mark the start of another year. The average card often features a family photo or some traditional illustration connected to the new year.

That’s the average card–some people, though, take the opportunity to send cards with a bit more pizzazz using everything from illustrations of Attack on Titan characters to an actual pack of Pokémon cards. Check out some of the best nengajo (Japanese New Years cards) we’ve found below!

As you probably know, this is the Year of the Horse, so there’s plenty of horse (or uma, in Japanese) jokes and puns in our round-up of the horsiest–sorry, funniest!–nengajo in Japan. It also looks like Attack on Titan was the most popular New Year’s card theme of the year, with well-wishers particularly taking a shine to Jean Kirstein, probably because of his long “horse-face.”

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Top right: Hey, hurry up and post it, you stupid ass. Who do you want this to go to?

Top right: I want you to get it to XXX by New Year’s Day.

Bottom right: Oh?

Bottom middle: Not bad.

Bottom left: We’ll get your creepy New Year’s card to them.

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Please deliver this to XXXX.

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I promised Ms. Misato. I’ll get this New Year’s card to XXX at XXX!!

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I want this delivered to XXX! This is a very important New Year’s card!

I’m begging you! (From the heart!)

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Muska, I want this New Year’s card delivered to XXX.

Pazu! Throw away that card and run!

Kneel before me! And I will wait one week!

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Here she comes!

Big brother! I’m truly sorry for this silly New Year’s card.

Get on the helicopter! We’re going to XXX’s address!

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Right card:

  • Hey, hey!
  • What?
  • Happy New Year! \(^o^)/
  • Ohhh! A Happy New Year!!
  • (゚∀゚) Oh, there it is!
  • Looking forward to this year!

Left card: “That’s enough! No more of these face-saving, stupid awful customs!” Said no one ever. Deliver this to XXX at XXX!

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A Death Note-themed New Year’s card? That doesn’t really seem very…auspicious to us…

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Chopper, there’s one thing you must remember. This is to be delivered to: Mr. Kumaya at XXX!

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Kakoubun. Please deliver this to Lord XXX.

…..Okay.

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Here we have Kumamon wishing you a Happy New Year!

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Happy new year. This year will be my year! Year of the Horse 2014.01.01. Looking forward to this year, too!

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Happy New Year! Now excuse me while I go and chop up a giant with a little help from Photoshop!

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Happy New Year from Jean Kirstein! We’re guessing this monstrosity came after someone got the wrong idea from this cosplay photo…

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Happy…wait, what the!?

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 Happy New Year! We just ruined Attack on Titan forever!

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Top right: I’m late! I’m late!

Top middle: Oh, my! Boom! Gah!

Top left: Hey! Watch where you’re going!

Bottom right (upper): Sorry. Are you hurt?

Bottom right (lower): Hunh…could it be…

Bottom left: You are my horse of destiny!

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Uma deshou! (A play on “Ima deshou!” which means “Let’s do it now!” The person depicted in the drawing is Hayashi Sensei.)

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Wishing you a…Grumpy New Year?

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Under the auspicious guidance of Comrade Kim Jong-un, we will be led to victory in our great revolutionary works with the speed of the Chollima.

New Year’s Day, 103 year of the Juche calendar (2014 in the Western calendar)

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Happy New Year! Looking forward to another great year!

1 January, 2014

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Happy New Year! Have a pack of Pokémon XY cards!

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See? We told you this meme was big in 2013!

Post man! Please deliver this New Years card! To XXX!

What the hell is with this card??

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What the hell is going on with this New Year’s card!?

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Top right:

  • If you post your New Year’s cards by December 25, you can be sure that they will be delivered on New Years day.
  • Oh, really?

Top left: You can! Just write the address XXX and post it, and the postal workers will sort it for you and deliver it on New Year’s Day!

Bottom right:

  • It’s like science!
  • Let’s go look for materials. Something close to a New Year’s post card.

Bottom left: I think a radish will work nicely!

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Happy New Year! Here’s how to say it using the Bernoulli equation.

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Happy New Year! And good luck figuring this one out.

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Happy New Year from Predator and a shishi-garashi (lion’s head used in the lion’s dance often seen on New Year’s Day).

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And a Happy New Year from Bayonetta as well!

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Happy New Year! from Ga-chan

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To all crew members: Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year! Straight from the horse’s mouth!

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And finally:

Happy New Year from Ama-chan. Oops, make that Uma-chan!

Whew! That’s a lot of cards, but we’re sure there are tons more out there. Did you get any particularly cool cards this year? Be sure to share them with us if you did!

Check out this link:

Japan’s coolest New Year 2014 greeting cards

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The meaning of the mandarin and 6 other Japanese New Year traditions explained

 

RocketNews 24:

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For people in Japan, the most important event on the calendar is the New Year festival. With its focus on family and tradition, many Japanese take the first three days of the year off work to travel back to their hometowns and take part in festivities embedded in centuries of culture and meaning.

Come with us now as we take a look at some of the popular Japanese New Year traditions and reveal the spiritual symbolism and superstitions behind them.

1. The difference between ganjitsu and gantan: why are there 2 ways to write New Year’s Day in Japanese?

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Both 元日 (ganjitsu) and 元旦 (gantan) mean “New Year’s day” in Japanese. Commonly used on New Year’s cards to mark the first day of the new calendar year, there’s actually a slight variation in meaning due to the different kanji in each expression. The 日 in 元日 means day in Japanese, giving the impression of “first day“, while the 旦 in 元旦 refers to sunrise (can you see the sun peeking over the horizon?), emphasising the notion of “first sunrise“, which is quite significant, given that many Japanese will watch the sunrise with friends and family at the crack of dawn on January 1.

2. What’s with the bamboo and pine decorations at the door?

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The start of the year is a spiritual time for Japanese, when New Year’s gods are said to descend from the heavens and exist in the earthly realm. In order to guide the gods towards them, many households, businesses and sacred sites put up pine and bamboo decorations known as kadomatsu, on either side of entrance ways. The decorations, with multi-tiered bamboo shoots representing heaven, earth and humanity, are believed to attract the gods and draw the lucky spirits towards them. The gods dwell in the pine until January 7, after which time the decorations are taken to a shrine to be burnt, releasing the spirits back to their realm.

3. Why is there always a mandarin on top of New Year’s rice cakes?

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The Japanese New Year’s cake, made from two round layers of pounded rice (mochi), is commonly crowned with a bright orange Japanese mandarin called a mikan. This is actually a modern addition, as traditionally these cakes were adorned with a different citrus fruit known as daidai. Daidai are considered auspicious as the meaning of the word can be translated to “generation after generation”, representing the family’s wish for a long and prosperous bloodline. However, as the daidai fruit is large and bitter, the more palatable and proportionally pleasing mikan became widely used, while still retaining the daidai notion of health and longevity.

4. Why is it called kagami-mochi or “mirror rice cake”?

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The New Year’s mochi rice cake is another festive item said to contain the spirit of the gods. Its round shape is a homage to one of the holiest items in all of Japan, the mirror of the sun goddess Amaterasu. According to Japanese mythology, the earth went dark when Amaterasu retreated from the world and hid in a cave. The sun goddess was eventually drawn out from the cave with a mirror, ultimately bringing light back into the world. With its round, mirror-like shape, Kagami mochi symbolises the renewal of light and energy present at the start of a new year.

5. Why are festive chopsticks tapered at both ends?

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Festive chopsticks, known as iwaibashi, are made using wood from the willow tree, which has been considered sacred since ancient times. The thickness of the middle is said to represent a full straw bag, which suggests a bumper crop of rice, while the tapered ends indicate that the chopsticks can be used to eat with from either side. When using the chopsticks, however, only one end should be used for eating as the other is reserved for the gods present at the feast.

6. What’s the significance of drinking special spiced sake?

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Traditionally served on New Year’s Day, this special sake is said to expel last year’s bad luck and help with health and longevity in the new year. Known as O-toso, using the kanji 屠 (defeat) and 蘇 (evil spirit), the medicinal herbs used in this mixture are said to assist digestion and protect against colds, perfect for the winter feasts of the New Year. The sake is served from a lacquered pot and poured into three different-sized shallow drinking cups which each family member sips from, in order of smallest to largest. Guests who visit in the New Year are also offered the special sake as a way of extending the wish for their health in the new year.

7. What’s the meaning behind the traditional New Year’s holiday food?

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Osechi-ryori, the traditional New Year’s holiday food in Japan, has a long tradition stretching back to the Heian Period (794-1185). Originally, it was considered taboo to cook meals on a hearth during the first three days of the New Year, so stackable boxes filled with long-lasting food items were prepared by December 31, for consumption over the first three days of the New Year. Although there are no problems associated with cooking during the holiday period today, many families still enjoy osechi-ryori, largely due to the auspicious associations attached to its ingredients:

Prawns (ebi) = the long beard and bent back symbolises a wish for long-life.

Herring roe (kazu no ko) = a cluster of bright herring eggs represents the kind of healthy offspring that one wishes for their family.

Black soybeans (kuro mame) = mame, also meaning “health”, is for health in the New Year.

Sea Bream (tai) = tai is fortuitous as it forms part of the word medetai, which means auspicious in Japanese.

Kelp (konbu) = konbu sounds a lot like yorokobu, the Japanese word for happiness.

Lotus Root (renkon) = the lotus root has many holes, which allow us to see through it and into the New Year.

Whether you’re in Japan at the moment or thinking about visiting in the future, New Year’s is a great time to take part in some unique events and learn more about the finer aspects of Japanese culture. Wherever you are, we hope you have a good one and all the best for 2014!

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The meaning of the mandarin and 6 other Japanese New Year traditions explained