|The Year of the Rat|
"Eto (formally called Jikkan Junishi)" refers to the Chinese zodiac symbols. Unlike the Western Zodiac, which is divided into 12 months, the Asian Zodiac is divided into 12 years. Each year is named after an animal: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and boar. It is said to have been adopted in Japan in 604, during the reign of Empress Suiko.
People whose zodiacal sign corresponds to the year's sign (which means their age is a multiple of 12) are called "toshi-otoko (men)" or "toshi-onna (women)."
Like the astrological zodiac there are all sorts of things which influence individual people. The Japanese believe that people who are born in the same animal year share similar personality and character. People born in the year of the rat are charming, honest and ambitious. Click here to check what year you were born in and what kind of personality your animal sign has.
The Japanese word for a rat is "nezumi （鼠）." The dark gray color is described as "nezumi-iro." The onomatopoeia for a mouse squeak is chuu-chuu.
|Taizan meidou shite
|The mountain has labored and brought forth a mouse.|
|Fukuro no nezumi
|A mouse in a trap.|
|Atama no kuroi nezumi
"a black-headed rat.")
|A snitcher, a thief in the family, an unfaithful servant|
|Kyuuso neko o kamu
"A cornered rat bites the cat.")
|A stag at bay is a dangerous foe. A baited cat may grow as fierce as a lion.
When left with no option, even someone weak can fight. Or, even a coward is capable of bravery.
|Tada no nezumi dewa nai
|Somebody who can't be off your guard, somebody who is not common|
|Nezumi ni hikareru
|Being at home alone.|
|Nezumi kabe o wasuru
Kabe nezumi o wasurezu
|The victim can not forget their grudge against the harm done.|
|Nezumi ga shio o hiku
|A big task can be completed in small pieces.|
|Ie ni nezumi
kuni ni nusutto
|Bad people exist everywhere.|
(multiplying like rats)