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Chinese zodiac

24 Comments

An employee of the Sunshine International Aquarium in Tokyo holds a hamster close to a Holstein calf at an event marking the upcoming changeover from the year of the rat to the year of the ox in the Chinese zodiac.

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The cow is not an ox and the hamster is not a rat. But I guess you can't really expect aquarium employees to be up on their mammals.

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The cow is not an ox and the hamster is not a rat. But I guess you can't really expect aquarium employees to be up on their mammals.

This represents "small anmie-world" in Japan.

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small anime world...sorry

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"The cow is not an ox and the hamster is not a rat"

Hey, close enough! The question is why are these animals at the Sunshine Aquarium?

The Sunshine Aquarium employee is cute!

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This year is year of mouse. Next year is year of bull/cow whatever. So what?

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"Next year is year of bull/cow"

Kind of ironic since it sure won't be a bull market year.

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the Sunshine International Aquarium

why do they have cows and rats there? They are not aquatic animals.

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Kind of ironic since it sure won't be a bull market year

It will be a bull market at a point next year its just that the real economy will be quietly suffering. Year of cow will bring good returns on stocks.

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In fact there's just one Chinese character to represent cattle (牛) and rodents (鼠) respectively. It's modified for different species such as hamster or water buffalo.

Chinese really don't distinguish between mice and rats in every day life. Hamsters are too new on the scene to have made much of a dent in their thinking. But they are a lot cuddlier.

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Chinese really don't distinguish between mice and rats in every day life.

You must be looking at a different menu from mine.

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What are these animals doing at an aquarium?

Chum?

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Nessie,

Chum?

hilarious!

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Hamsters are too new on the scene to have made much of a dent in their thinking. But they are a lot cuddlier.

Hamsters are vicious little monsters. When we lived in a flat and couldn't have a dog, we got the kids a hamster apiece. Within a month we had 9 hamsters. First we had to separate the males because the females were tearing them to bits, then we had to put every female in a separate cage to prevent them ripping limbs off each other.

If you buy your kids a hamster, better to buy only one. And make sure that one isn't a pregnant female.

The twelve Chinese zodiac animals tend to be interpreted pretty loosely. In previous years I've seen the Rat represented by everything from a pygmy hamster to a capybara. The year of the dragon brings out seahorses, called tatsunoko (literally, dragon-child), and in the year of the monkey they have a field-day, with everything from tiny spider-monkeys through Japanese macaques to gorillas and orangutans.

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In northern China oxen are used to plow dry earth whereas in southern China water buffalo are required to cultivate irrigated rice paddies so even in China the actual animal associated with the year will vary.

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Cleo, hamsters are solitary creatures, sorry you had to learn that the hard way. My niece has a female she bred with a classmate's male. I wondered if "pick of the litter" was appropriate compensation for his services.

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Loud screeching voice -- KAWAII!

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Nice pic, also makes me hungry for a little lunch action.

Think I'll make me as they say it in Japanese a'Ham-moo sandwitchie'.

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Betzee -

The moral of the tale being, Always research before you buy a pet!

(Especially if the purpose of the pet is to teach little kids how cute and cuddly little furry animals are.)

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Cleo - Hamsters are just furry rats, aren't they?

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Sarge -

Errr..I thought rats were furry rats?

Never kept rats, but as a kid I used to have white mice. They used to tear each other to pieces too, and eat their own babies.

You can't beat a dog as a kid's Best Friend.

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My vet is terrified of hamsters, apparently they are the animals that bite them the most LOL

Rats are much more sociable than hamsters and mice and are great pets for kids and adults alike. Just don't ever watch Willard.

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The previous year of the rat (1996) was a pretty good year for stock markets and economies around the world but 2008 was a totally different picture altogether. I hope we won't have to work like an ox in the coming year.

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I hope we won't have to work like an ox in the coming year.

Nope. Another year of working like a monkey -- for peanuts.

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When I became acquainted with the Chinese zodiac I realized I had been born in a "Year of the Pig." Needless to say, I was not pleased. To us, pigs are associated with fat ("pig out"). For Chinese, however, they are associated with wealth.

Though this was the year of the rat, in fact a pig won the coveted title of most inspirational animal of the year in an online Chinese survey. This owed to its surviving 36 days buried beneath the rubble of the devastating Sichuan earthquake.

So, if you don't like your sign, do a little research and see how it is perceived by those who invented the calendar.

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