During last night's snowstorm, I had no internet access, and this morning I don't have the time to try to search the web trying to identify these symbols. But even as I made the earrings, I realized that it really didn't matter.
Pearl Harbor thrust Japan into the consciousness of American citizens, and tens of thousands of Americans headed into combat in the South Pacific. During that war, China was our ally. But now, Japan is our ally and China's growing influence looms large.
Nonetheless, few Americans can tell Japanese from Chinese. Clearly, I cannot. But I am glad that the world is growing smaller, that people from across the globe are communicating with each other in new ways, through new media. I'm hopeful that mutual concerns will lead to common solutions.
But I worry, too, about news stories like this, http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20111202000048&cid=1101 which suggest that China is investing heavily in nuclear proliferation. The Chinese Year of the Rabbit is drawing to an end.
Next up? The year of the dragon! I copied this passage online: http://www.stanssewingsupplies.com/catalogs/store.asp?pid=254835
In ancient China, the celestial Dragon represents an emperor and power. Today, it is the ultimate auspicious symbol signifying success and happiness. May the celestial Dragon bring great good luck to everyone.
In Sung Dynasty (a Chinese imperial dynasty lasting from AD 960 - 1279) texts, the dragon is described as having the head of an ox, muzzle of a donkey, eyes of a shrimp, horns of a deer, body of a serpent covered with fish scales, and feet of a phoenix. The dragon usually clutches a pearl symbolic of its super-natural powers. Invariably accompanied by thunder and rain, dragons move like lightning and whirlwinds - - all powerful yet totally unpredictable.
Time for me to get a dragon pin!