Akemashite Omedetou!! Since the ox is the slowest of animals in the traditional Chinese zodiac, it is said that the Year of the Ox is a year that goes by slowly. It’s an important year to get things done steadily, without rushing. It is a year to build the foundations for a bright future.
So that 2021 be full of good surprises, we have included in this box items that will bring you luck and good fortune. You can get your Year of the Ox box in our shop.
Akashiya is a true institution in Nara City, with over 380 years of history. Today, of course, the company manufactures traditional brushes for sumi (ink) calligraphy. But also more modern tools such as fude pens which are a mix between calligraphy brush and pencil. A traditional custom in Japan for the New Year is kaki zome. It is the first calligraphy of the year, the first kanji that the Japanese compose after the New Year. Your challenge? Write a character and send us a photo!
Monaka are thin crispy wafers made of glutinous rice. In this box you will find a miso monaka, a sea bream shaped monaka filled with a delicious dry miso. Sea bream is a symbol of luck and good fortune in Japanese culture. First of all, its color, red, is a symbol of luck and good auspices. Also, in Japanese, this fish is called tai. In Japanese, tai sound is found in the word omedetai meaning “auspicious” or “celebration”. It is also found in arigatai, a word for expressing gratitude.
Nengajo are the New Year cards that Japanese people send to each other to celebrate the New Year. These New Year’s cards are used to show your gratitude to all the people who have supported you during the year that is ending. In this box, you will find our take on nengajo: a beautiful handmade washi postcard with calligraphy on it. The Japanese character on the card is yume and it means dream!
This beautiful item was created only for Peko Peko Box. It is the result of a collaboration between 2 friends: Kayo, a calligraphy master who wrote one by one the characters, and Miwako, from the Kami to Wa shop, who made the washi cards.
To celebrate the year of the ox, we have included a ceramic statuette from Aichi Prefecture. The ox is numbered second among the twelve signs of the zodiac. When Buddha organized a race to choose the twelve animals, the ox, knowing that it was slow to walk, decided to start into the darkness of the previous night. The rat, clever, climbed onto the ox’s back and jumped in front of it as it crossed the finish line, becoming the first animal in the zodiac. As a result, the ox came in second.
Uragu is a tiny shop, hidden in the back streets of Miyagawacho, one of Kyoto’s geisha districts. There, you can find beautiful stationery with clean designs carefully thought out by the designer of the store. Carp fish is one of the main Japanese symbols of luck and good fortune. In Japanese, carp is called koi. Koi also means “love”. As a result, carp fish is seen as a romantic symbol. But not only. Being a fish that swims against the river flow, it also represents tenacity, perseverance in adversity, and the ability to achieve one’s goal.
For New Year in Japan, every household prepares Osechi Ryori, a traditional meal including various delicious food. One of the most popular one is black beans or kuromame. Mame means beans but also hard work. Kuromame are served to wish for a hardworking year filled with accomplishment. We could not include kuromame in our box, but we tried to keep the same spirit by including those matcha flavored peanuts. This snack comes from the shop Itohkyuemon, a famous tea maker from the city of Uji, founded in 1832.
New Year Furoshiki
On this fabric is a large number of symbols related to the Japanese New Year. First, in the foreground is the Shishi, the lion-dog, a legendary animal with the ability to scare away evil spirits. In the background you can see a pine tree, a symbol of longevity, vigor and courage. In front of the house is a kadomatsu, a typical New Year decoration, made with pine branches and bamboo. Indeed, bamboos are also a symbol of longevity and strength. Kadomatsu are found in front of houses to welcome the spirit of the ancestors that will bring happiness to the family for the New Year.