皆さん、あけましておめでとうございます！ (Everyone, Happy New Year)! I hope you are having a wonderful New Year’s Day. Before you call it a night and fall asleep, I’d like to briefly teach you a funny Japanese tradition about 初夢 (hatsuyume, “New Year’s First Dream”).
Meaning and Interpretation of 初夢 (Hatsuyume)
In Japan, it is widely believed that “hatsuyume” – the first dream you have at the night of 1st January – foretells your luck thought the new year. According to the tradition, there are three things that bring you good luck if you have a dream of them on the day. Can you guess what they are? Four-leaf clovers? Number 7? Gold coins? No, not such banal things. The answer is, of course, “Mt. Fuji”, “a hawk”, and “an eggplant”. Why? Actually, there are several theories about this tradition, one of which says that they represent three favourite things of 徳川家康 (Tokugawa Ieyasu), the first shōgun of the Edo Period (1603-1867). When we remember this superstition, we usually memorise the line “一富士 (いちふじ)、二鷹 (にたか)、三茄子 (さんなすび)”, meaning “First Mt. Fuji, Second hawk, and Third eggplant”.
So, when you go to bed tonight, don’t forget to think about Mt. Fuji, hawks, and/or eggplants. If you have a dream of watching a hawk holding an eggplant in its mouth and flying over Mt. Fuji, surely the world is your oyster in the new year!