The Japanese conventional calendar system, introduced from China in ancient times, is represented by 12 symbolic/zodiac animals in a cycle of 12 years. They rotate in the order of the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, cock, dog and the boar.
The coming year 2002 (the 14th Year of Heisei) falls on the Year of the Horse in the zodiac calendar. You will find an illustration of the horse printed on a new year's greeting card you will receive.
Each year of the cycle has its own animal's symbolic character. So, people born in the year of the horse (1918,1930,1942,1954,1966,1978,1990) are said to have the characteristic traits as follows:
They are cheerful and talkative. Skillful with money. Quick in everything they cope with. Able to read the true meanings of what others are supposed to say. Good with their hands. Showy in dress and manner. Sometimes they will not listen to other's advice. Independent and hot-blooded, but they can composedly manage to fulfill their routine task.
During the first half of their life, they might have much trouble, but during the latter half, a good life is expected.
May your coming year days be peaceful, longing for the vigorous horse to kick about all the sinister things.