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新年明けましておめでとうございます！Happy New Year! This is ALC’s first New Year.
2014, or Heisei 26 as it will be called in Japan, promises to be a busy one. We have many carefully designed programs scheduled, including a few new options such as the JLPT Preparation Courses and extended Summer Program for High School Students.
Although the western calendar is used fairly extensively in Japan, most official documents, newspapers etc will use Heisei 26 (平成26年) to refer to 2014. The name refers to this year being the 26th year of the current Emperor’s reign. (More info here). The current Emperor is only the 4th since the capital of Japan was moved from Kyoto to Edo (now Tokyo), nearly one and a half centuries ago, after a bloody civil war brought about the collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
Using the old 12 year cycle of the Zodiac, 2014 is also to be known as the Year of the Horse. Most of the New Year festivities at the many temples and shrines in Aichi will feature a Horse motif.
The photo above was spotted during one of our regularly scheduled field trips. The artwork was designed to be read in a mirror. 仲間 can be translated literally as Fellow, Friend, Colleague, Supporter. The phrase “仲間がいれば、どんな夢も実現しちゃう!!” translates as “With friends, any dream can be realized”. We wish all of you a happy, safe and prosperous 2014, and thank you for for the constant support and encouragement received. 新年明けましておめでとうございます！