Another day, another new thing learned...

Good morning everyone,

Well, it's going to be a nice start to the day-it'll get up to around 14C today and be mostly sunny until the evening. Rain clouds will roll in and we can expect rain later today and overnight. Tomorrow will be a bit cooler-we might see a high of around 11C. From Wednesday, it'll be a fair bit cooler with mornings just above 0C and highs under 10C.

Most Japanese people have heard of 'Ichi Fuji, Ni Taka, San Nasubi'. These are the three best things to dream about on the first dream of the new year. The things to dream about are-#1 Mt Fuji, #2 Hawks, #3 Eggplant. And the Japanese also believe that the first dream of the new year is very important for setting the tone for the whole year. That dream is called 'hatsuyume' which translates as 'first dream'. 
hatsuyume.jpg
However, nobody knows for certain about why those three things are so important. There is a lot of speculation though...here is the best theory I could find.

Well, Mt.  Fuji is kind of obvious if you've ever been to Japan and seen it. It dominates the landscape from as far as a hundred kilometres away. It is so much higher than the surrounding countryside and people should aspire to great 'heights' so dreaming of the highest mountain in Japan is a good omen.

The hawk is a bit tougher-some people believe because it flies 'high', others say it comes from another mountain-Ashi'taka'. The one I like the most claims that hawks 'seize' what they want. You should go out and 'seize' what you want this year, like a hawk.

The eggplant is the hardest one. Some people say it's because the price of eggplants were so 'high' at that time (continuing the 'height' theory) but I prefer another theory. In Japanese eggplant is 茄子 but there is another kanji with the same pronunciation 成す and this kanji means 'to accomplish', so if you dream of 'nasu' the eggplant, you might 'nasu' (accomplish) the things you are trying to do this year.

Also, even many Japanese people don't know it, but there are three more...'yon sen', 'go tobacco', 'roku zato'. #4 Folding fan, #5 tobacco, #6 bald, blind monks (I'm not sure why they have to be blind, but they do shave their heads-which is important).

A folding fan is meant to bring 'good fortune' (not only in the first dream, but in Japanese culture in general) so naturally it's a good omen to dream about.

Tobacco flies high in the sky (another 'height' theory-why were early Japanese so obsessed with height?  Ha ha!) You have to remember that these were made before we realized how bad tobacco is for you...

Bald monks...hmmm...well, the most interesting theory I  read was that bald monks have no hair (ke ga nai) and that 'ke ga nai' can also mean 'to have no injury'. So if you dream about a bald monk, you will be healthy for the year.

一富士, 二鷹, 三茄子, 四扇, 五煙草, 六座頭

All very good theories about the importance of the first dream of the year. It was a very interesting lesson I learned yesterday. I wonder what I'll learn about today...

Have a great day!

PS In case you're wondering what to get me for Christmas...
hatsuyume pants 

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