The artwork on the next three pages are the winning entries in the annual nengajö, or New Year’s card, design contest, sponsored by the Hawai‘i Association of Teachers of Japanese. It is a statewide competition for students learning Japanese language and is open to elementary, middle and high school students whose teachers are HATJ members.
Awards are presented in the categories of most artistic, most original, most comical and “New Year’s in Hawai‘i” for each school level. The entries are judged for their artistic value, the correct “spelling” of the Japanese words that appear on the card and the form of the Japanese characters.
If you were born in 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 or 2008, you were born in the “Year of the Rat,” according to the Japanese, Chinese and Tibetan zodiacs.
According to chinesenewyear.net, “Optimistic and energetic, people born in the Rat year are likable by all. They are sensitive to other’s emotions but are also stubborn. Their personality is kind, but due to weak communication skills, their words may seem impolite and rude.
“On the financial side, they like saving and can be stingy. However, their love for hoarding, sometimes cause them to waste money on unnecessary things.”