According to Japanese zodiacs this year it's the year of the cow (ushi). I think in English we usually say Year of the Ox or perhaps Bull but cows are kind of cuter I guess.
Last week we popped into the small shrine near where Mr. Mee a Bee grew up to send up a prayer for the coming year. As always I headed straight for the gift shop where you can purchase good luck charms and trinkets. I found the little guy on the left and Mr. brought the other one home last night. They are both made of delicate porcelain.
The wooden plaque is also a good luck charm for my friends in New Zealand (when I get around to sending it!).
My neighbor gave the boys some lovely early blooming flowers yesterday. They smell divine. I think they are a kind of daffodil.