sheep bannerBy ELLEN ENDO, Rafu Contributing Writer

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs may have taken different roads toward computer domination, but they shared something with inventor Thomas Alva Edison: All three were born in the Year of the Sheep.

Gates’ and Jobs’ enormous success comes as no surprise to Japanese astrologers, who maintain that Sheep people are perfectionists and clever intellectuals that often become clever business entrepreneurs. Similarly, Akira Toriyama, a Sheep person best known for creating Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump, is a dominant figure in the world of manga and anime.

The Sheep is the eighth sign of the Asian astrological calendar, which is represented 12 animals in the same way Western zodiac precepts are divided into 12 signs. In Asian cultures, the number “8” is associated with prosperity and peace.

Sheep years often bring long-awaited conclusions to troublesome events. For example, the previous Sheep year (2003) saw the fall of Baghdad and capture of Saddam Hussein. It was also the year that paved the way for gay rights when the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that banned consensual sex between adults of the same sex.

In 1991, also a Sheep year, four white Los Angeles Police Department officers were caught on tape beating motorist Rodney King and were indicted. It was the year the Gulf War was telecast live, and Jay Leno succeeded Johnny Carson as host of “The Tonight Show.”

As 2015 dawns, zodiac experts say Sheep people may be in for a satisfying year. This bodes well for United States Secretary of State John Kerry, a Sheep, as he continues to tackle complex international challenges. Anyone born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, or 1991 is a Sheep.

While Sheep often do not plan for the future, they generally have charming personalities and can be adept at seeming to “go with the flow” when the unexpected occurs, good or bad. Broadcast journalists Maria Shriver, Anderson Cooper, Dan Rather, and Barbara Walters were born in the Year of the Sheep.

Artistic and elegant, artists Michelangelo and Leonardo daVinci, fashion designer Donatella Versace, actresses Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts, actors Robert DeNiro and Kevin Costner, and cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma are examples of Sheep-year people along with Star Trek pioneers Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner.

Sheep years have also spawned music stars Mick Jagger, Adam Levine, Keith Richards, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, David Lee Roth, Randy Newman, and Billy Idol. Emotionally strong and physical fit, Sheep can also be found among great athletes like Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays, and Mickey Mantle.

Although Sheep are loyal, especially when it comes to their families, they can also be pessimistic, over-anxious worriers. They are prone to be moody and do not easily reveal their emotions, preferring to keep their feelings bottle up.

Sheep prefer a peaceful, harmonious environment and are most compatible with those born in the Year of the Rabbit or Pig and least compatible with Ox people.

For those born under other animal signs, here are forecasts for 2015 from astrological pundits:

Rat (1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924, 1912)

Socially, Rats are good talkers and love to bring people together. 2015 may start out a little rocky for Rats, who will be challenged to make changes and get rid of old habits. However, Rats are advised to embrace the change and prepare for a fresh start and new beginning by early spring.

Ox (1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, 1937, 1925, 1913)

The loyal, dependable, kind-hearted Ox prefers an orderly life and enjoys security. At the same time, the Ox can stubbornly hold grudges and be judgmental. In 2015, Ox people are encouraged to avoid taking on heavy workloads and should try to get away for a relaxing vacation.

Tiger (1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926, 1914, 1902)

Tigers are passionate, energetic, charming, and outgoing. They are also prone to be vain and can anger easily if they feel disrespected. Occasionally, Tigers may feel confused or in need to support this year. If that happens, they are advised to consult a trusted friend and bring a new perspective to the situation.

Rabbit (1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927, 1915, 1903)

Rabbits appreciate beauty and quality. They can be good friends, and their advice is often valuable. There is also a manipulative side to Rabbits, who may occasionally put their own interests first. This could be a lucky year for Rabbits, say the astrological experts, who also suggest that Rabbits exercise patience. Around the time of the solar eclipse on March 20, things could become somewhat stressful.

Dragon (2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928, 1916)

Powerful and charismatic, Dragons are the warriors of the zodiac who will face a challenge forthrightly until a solution is found. They are happiest when a situation is resolved. Dragons can also be arrogant and critical. 2015 may bring a windfall of money, so Dragons are advised to be careful. Create a budget and stick to it.

Snake (2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, 1941, 1929, 1917)

Snakes have a well-honed sense of their personal style. They appreciate the finer things of life—gourmet food, books, music, and art. On the other hand, Snakes can be very possessive and suspicious. If they feel betrayed, they are likely to seek revenge. During 2015, Snakes may find themselves pulled in two directions. They are advised to work as a team member and avoid taking leadership roles, which may add stress unnecessarily.

Horse (2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918)

Horse people are often attractive and witty. They enjoy being the center of attention and their gift of gab makes them excellent salespeople. They can also be rude and impatient. The Sheep year will bring new reserves of energy and opportunities to cultivate patience and a new perspective. Don’t forget to take time to occasionally withdraw and relax.

Sheep – Goat or Ram – (2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919)

Sheep have a peaceful nature and are generally quite lucky. Money somehow always comes to the Sheep. They are also very compassionate despite their seemingly shy, quiet demeanor. On the negative side, they avoid making decision and tend to leave the decision-making to others. In 2015, Sheep would do well to get involved in the community and cultivate friendships.

Monkey (2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, 1944, 1932, 1920)

Monkeys are full of confidence and mentally alert to the point of being brilliant. They are creative at finding solutions and good with money. Unfortunately, Monkey people are not above bending the rules or cutting corners. Expect change in 2015. Monkeys will be challenged in unexpected ways but there will also be opportunities for growth. Monkeys are reminded to use their quick wit and humor.

Rooster (2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, 1933, 1921)

Roosters have complex personalities and are often misunderstood   Outwardly, they appear confident, ranging from aggressively chatty to mysterious and silent. Beneath the exterior are a solid work ethic and a persistent desire to succeed. Roosters also love to argue and can be brutally honest to the point of being rude. For 2015, Rooster people are advised to work on their confidence and make an extra effort to look good.

Dog (2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, 1934, 1922)

Those born in the Year of the Dog have a strong sense of fair play and justice. Their charm appears to be effortless, and they are loyal friends. However, they do not make friends quickly and are naturally suspicious when encountering new people. The energy of the Sheep year will harmonize with your reliable nature. Although there will be challenges, especially around the time of the Solar Eclipse on March 20, you will learn to appreciate your self-worth.

Pig – or Boar – (2007, 1995, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, 1923)

With their trusting disposition and hard work, those born in the Year of the Pig have the ability to succeed in any area they choose. Pigs make excellent friends, are very passionate, and do not hold hard feelings. On the negative side, they are gullible and trusting, which can make them vulnerable to fast-talking opportunists. They are also generous to a fault. During 2015, expect an easy-going year. There will be plenty of time for fun and indulgence, but don’t overdo it.

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