Hatsuyume

Well, here we are. December 45th, 2020 in the year that never ends.

Today, kiddies, we will be talking about the Japanese cultural tradition of “Hatsuyume.” Stop your day drinking, put down that glass of Gallo, and listen up.

Hatsuyume refers to the first dream that a person has in the New Year. It’s a very big deal to Japanese because it is said to foretell the luck of the dreamer in the coming year.

Hatsuyume occurs on the night of January 1st to 2nd. Many years ago it was the considered the first dream on New Year’s Eve but everybody in Japan was usually so drunk that night that no one could remember anything the next day so they changed the date.

“Tell me more of this strange Japanese wizardry.”

An auspicious hatsuyume predicts that things are looking fine for the next 12 months; a bad hatsuyume and you may get another 2020, complete with “peaceful” protests, a pandemic and even more Cardi B songs.

For a Japanese person, a really tip-top hatsuyume will contain imagery of Mount Fuji, a hawk, or an eggplant.

Yes, I said eggplant. Look, I’m working to educate you guys. I don’t make this stuff up.

Hatsuyume drawing by Utamaro, around 1800. Library of Congress photo.

Mount Fuji is the best, absolutely super-duper hatsuyume symbol that you can dream. As Japan’s sacred mountain and national symbol, it represents all good things, especially safety and security.

The hawk is second after Mt. Fuji in terms of auspicious dream symbols. It is a strong bird that soars the highest and possesses far-ranging vision. Good bird.

OK, then there’s the eggplant. This one is a little trickier. The esteemed eggplant represents “achievement.”

That’s not due to any historical eggplant accomplishments. In point of fact, eggplants pretty much just hang around and don’t do anything remarkable. But I digress.

No, the reason the eggplant is elevated in the hatsuyume pantheon is because the Japanese word for eggplant sounds almost like the word for “greatness.” Bit of a let down, eh?

The mountain – hawk – eggplant story is the one most Japanese peddle when asked about hatsuyume. The reality may be less stirring.

In the New Year, Max wants to be called “Sia.”

There’s a school of thought – backed up by facts – that suggests the real reason these images were adopted as epitomizing ideal hatsuyume symbols was because they were favorites of Japan’s first shogun. Hence the whole cultural thing about preferred hatsuyume images may have originated as a political suck-up to Ieyasu Tokogawa.

Glad that kind of thing could never happen now, eh?

The list of auspicious symbols continues. Number 4 on the Propitious Hit Parade is a fan; Number 5 is tobacco and bringing up the rear is Number 6 – a blind masseur.

I already told you – I don’t make this stuff up. It is what it is.

Anyway, this was intended as my New Year’s post. It was meant to complement my New Year’s resolution which is to avoid procrastination. Don’t be judgey.

This happened on January 5th. It seemed pretty auspicious to me. Apparently I haven’t dusted the mighty Mazda for a while.

Actually, I didn’t have a hatsuyume to remember although I didn’t get up at 3AM to pee, which augurs well for my prostate for the coming year. If you’d like to see other interesting posts about prostates, click here.

I asked if the Alpha Japanese Female had an auspicious hatsuyume and she mumbled something about a premonition involving a cute little Lexus and a few pairs of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes. Obviously a fantasy with zero prophetic value.

Max spent the night chasing squirrels and vocalizing “pip! pip! pip!” We don’t know if squirrels are lucky or not but his little legs were going a mile a minute.

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Anyway, Belated Happy New Year to all of you and here’s hoping your 2020-1 is chock full of eggplants.

50 replies

    • Hawk dreams are good! Not as good as Mt. Fuji but I am at a loss as to why you would ever dream of Mt. Fuji. Mid-year hawks are a bonus to be sure. Only problem: hawks are big predators for mice and Jacques may not be happy to lose his position as master rodent remover.

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      • If owls could flock, flock, I say, my owls would. And when it comes to my back yard they have home court advantage. Even the hawks stand back in awe. Plus maybe they do a little poaching now and then. Jacques, nah, out there in his natty blue coat, strictly a recreational rodent remover.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Funny you mention owls. Our daughter just noticed a mating pair of great horned (and presumably horny) owls had taken residence in her jacaranda tree. I went over to see and they wee absolutely massive! No rodent or even squirrel worries for her! It’s actually smart of Jacques (of course!) to have taken a supervisory position in the rodent elimination operations. Too dirty by far for little white dogs.

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  1. Hahaha! Tom, we need to get you outside into sunshine and fresh air. Wait! You’re in California, you have no fresh air!

    At least Max wasn’t embarrassed having to wear another cockamamie costume fitting this auspicious occasion. Hmmmm, wonder what he dreamt that brought him such good luck.

    Let’s hope the luck of our whole country changes for the better on the 20th. And the world finds out that eggplants kill the corona virus, and all its variants, instantly and permanently!

    Think positive. Test negative.
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup, I hope this is an eggplant kind of year. So far, I haven’t seen that but hey, it’s still early in the year. No costumes for New Years but Max did stay up until midnight with us. He was totally wiped out the next day. Didn’t get his Maltese beauty sleep!

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  2. ‘Procrastination…?’ It took you 14 days to post the New Years post!
    Max, I am beginning to wonder if moving in to this Jap lifestyle is good for you.
    I mean, they can’t even spell ‘aubergine’ for goodness sake.

    Now, this blind massuesse woman, er, does she have a number…?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. As a person who is still nursing a dream hangover from waking up in the middle of the weirdest dream which of course, I can’t put into words eloquently, your post hit home. We can’t dream on January 1st or 2nd because of the idiots shooting off illegal fireworks until 3 AM. I blame the country that invented them. Which is not the Japanese. We did eat an eggplant parmesan on the first or second day of the new year, so I feel pretty stoked about that. When you said Shogun, I had a flashback to the 1980 TV movie that was playing in the evening when I was trying to swim at our local pool, but the Lifeguard, who looked like Bo Derek, wanted to watch the movie instead of the swimmers. I still feel neglected. As for max, if he keeps saying pip pip pip, he may be turning British. Red Coat. This political strife is getting to him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think eggplant parmesan counts as an auspicious omen for the year. Especially if it’s consumed with a nice chianti which you can’t have right now but maybe later. It’s moderately ironic that fireworks are shot for good luck but they burn down the places where they land. We’ve got plenty of those idiots here, too, and they all like those monstrous M-80s and such that sound like artillery. Whoah…Bo Derek…haven’t thought about her her in a long time. I mean, not that I used to thin about her…I mean…not like…I quit.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ha ha! I think she even had a macrame swimsuit. On another note, I DID have two Blue Moons pre-dinner last week, and no headache. But no joy either. I tried a mimosa (despite loathing champagne) with our mandatory Tex-Mex on Saturday, and it was so good, I had another. I won’t press my luck with chianti just yet. And btw, ours all sound like artillery as well. Should be outlawed. I can feel it in my chest and it makes my body shake. And nobody ever gets fined.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I suppose Max only escaped seasonal headgear as even you could not find or make a hat made from aubergine.

    You could have told me earlier about these dreams…I know I had one…and it was pleasant – until interrupted by an avalanche of dogs demanding that I join them in the garden at 4.30 a.m. in search of intruders. By which time I had forgotten the dream.

    If you pass that address to Tynecastle warn the poor lady that he actually wants her to do the ironing…

    .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Another “aubergine?” It’s eggplant, eggplant, eggplant! Aubergine is reserved for those dress designers who can’t spell “purple.” Too bad about the lost dream, it might have been the one that would change your life much like the next lottery ticket will do for mine. Tynecastle’s dream masseuse and the reality of said lady may vary considerably but I’ll send her over anyway. He needs some tough love, er, massage.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s like former next door neighbors who had two dachshunds named Lexus and Mercedes. When asked why the dogs were so named, the answer was “that’s the only way I can have a Lexus or Mercedes”. I guess so, their house got forclosed on in 2008.

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    • Yeah, you got a point. Those images may be relatively harmless of themselves (maybe not Robert) but when combined it’s definitely something pretty grim. I find it telling that nobody in this comment section can think of any culinary use of an eggplant other than parmigiana. Branch out people – try Panda Express’ tofu and eggplant stir fry. It won’t kill ya. (PS for once, I thank Spellcheck for “parmigiana.”)

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve have very involved, l-o-n-g, wild dreams…but nary an eggplant in them.
    So, come on 2021 dreams…bring on the eggplants! 😉
    I am sure you didn’t make any of this up….if you did, it would’ve been even stranger. 😮 😛
    HUGS to you and AJF!!!
    PATS and RUBS to Sia!!!
    PS…Robert could have given me the $500…I know some things that would have helped him shed a few pounds…and there would’ve no tea involved. 😀

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  7. While not the first dream of the year, the first remembered dream was of overhearing a woman say not to worry about things that haven’t happened yet; don’t borrow trouble. Would that be considered auspicious?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same woman was in the grocery line ahead of me yesterday. I had to listen to her philosophy while she fumbled endlessly to extract her debit card after which she forgot her PIN. That wasn’t auspicious at all.

      Liked by 1 person

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