Eto Pooh drops early.

Japan celebrates New Year’s in a unique hybrid style. On the one hand, New Year’s is observed according to the solar Gregorian calendar, so the biggest celebrations take place on December 31 and January 1. On the other hand, Japan follows the Chinese zodiac custom of yearly animal representatives, making that switch a month or more before other Asian cultures that follow the lunar calendar for such purposes.

That means the Year of the Dragon will be getting a head start in Japan in just a few weeks, and if you want to get into the spirit even earlier, none other than Winnie the Pooh is here to help.

The Disney Store Japan has created a lineup of Year of the Dragon plushies in which Pooh Bear and his Hundred Acre Wood pals don dragon costumes in the kigurumi style popular with Japanese character merch. The stars of the lineup are the large-size 42-centimeter (16.5-inch) Pooh plushies, which are available in red or white, the traditional good-luck colors of Japan’s Oshogatsu (New Year’s) season.

▼ Even with horns, fangs, and claws, they’re still adorable, though the hoods can be pulled down.

If you’re looking for more compact decorations, there are also 17-centimeter versions of the dragon Poohs, as well as dragon versions of Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore, plus 23-centimeter key chain plushies of the red and white Poohs. The line is collectively called Eto Pooh 2024, eto being the Japanese word for the animals of the Chinese zodiac.

If you want something smaller still, or if your favorite Disney characters hail from outside Winnie the Pooh, the Year of the Dragon Tsum Tsum plushies from Disney’s super-deformed line are ready to be stacked up and oohed and aahed over.

Prices range from 1,300 yen (US$8.85) for the Tsum Tsum plushies to 2,600 yen for the Eto Pooh keychains, 2,800 yen for the small Eto Pooh plushies, and 4,800 yen for the large dragon Winnie the Poohs. If you’re looking to purchase the items in-store, note that the large red dragon Pooh is exclusive to the Disney Flagship Tokyo Store near Shinjuku Station in downtown Tokyo, which will also have a Daruma Capsule Toy Machine dispensing Mickey Mouse daruma wishing dolls from December 26 for 1,100 yen. Though not strictly for New Year’s, conventional daruma’s associated make-a-wish tradition, in which you paint in one eye while thinking of your earnest heart’s desire, then paint in the other when that wish comes true, makes them a popular prosperity symbol at the start of a new year.

▼ Just be careful not to toss Mickey into the annual daruma temple bonfire in Gunma Prefecture.

The plushie lineup is on sale now at the flagship store and the Tokyo Disney Resort branch of the Disney Store, as well as online here, and will be available at other Disney Store Japan branches from December 8.

Source, images: Press release
Photos © Disney. Based on the “Winnie the Pooh” works by A.A. Milne and E.H. Shepard.、© Disney、© Disney/Pixar
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