First Dream / by Jim Hathaway

Hatsuyume (初夢) The first dream, in Japan was supposed to be of great portent.  Your first dream of the new year was supposed to give you an idea of what was to come.

Like everything in the great bureaucracy that was Edo it was quantified, discussed, listed, and written down.

It goes like this, the most auspicious dream was Fuji-san, after that a hawk, after that an eggplant.

Sitting with in-laws eating osetchi, traditional New Years food, on New Year's Day there is a great requirement for subjects of conversation. I realized that partly is why such lists are made, something to talk about, for example, "Why an eggplant?“

Over the years I have heard a dozen different explinations. 

Miya said, “That's why it is bullshit. It is just talk and has no meaning.“

I take another view. People's communication, the origin of such things, and the talk that goes on around them are infinitely more valuable than the bullshit at passes for entertainment on Japanese new year TV.

OK, I set the bar a little low.  But still I value people talking, and origin myths. They tell us about ourselves and our cultures.

Tonight I wish you dreams of Fujis, hawks and eggplants. Drawn today by my brand new sisters ram's plucked winter hair fresh made brush.

A technical note, your first dream is the dream you have at the finish of your first day, between January first and second.