Thursday, January 29, 2015

Carpe Diem #658, First Dream (Hatsuyume)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

For every new year there are first things (following the ancient ideas of Japan) there is a first meal, a first calligraphy and there is, as is our prompt for today, a first dream or Hatsuyume. The first dream of the New Year was, as the ancient Japanese thought, a dream in which you could see what the new year would bring you. So the Japanese people were sometimes anxious to have their first dream of the new yera, because of the fortunetelling idea behind it.

Dreams are sometimes telling you the future, but they are sometimes just a kind of lesson to show you what you have to deal with or have to change. Sometimes dreams can be very lively, that kind of dreams are called lucid dreams. Lucid dreaming was the first thing which came in mind as I was preparing this episode so I love to tell you a little bit more about this phenomena which is called "lucid dreaming".

Credits: Dreams are natural
A lucid dream is any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. In relation to this phenomenon, Greek philosopher Aristotle observed: "often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream". One of the earliest references to personal experiences with lucid dreaming was by Marie-Jean-Léon, Marquis d'Hervey de Saint Denys.
The person most widely acknowledged as having coined the term is Dutch psychiatrist and writer Frederik (Willem) van Eeden (1860–1932). In a lucid dream, the dreamer has greater chances to exert some degree of control over their participation within the dream or be able to manipulate their imaginary experiences in the dream environment. Lucid dreams can be realistic and vivid. It is shown that there are higher amounts of beta-1 frequency band (13–19 Hz) brain wave activity experienced by lucid dreamers, hence there is an increased amount of activity in the parietal lobes making lucid dreaming a conscious process.
Skeptics of the phenomenon suggest that it is not a state of sleep, but of brief wakefulness. Others point out that there is no way to prove the truth of lucid dreaming other than to ask the dreamer. Lucid dreaming has been researched scientifically, with participants performing pre-determined physical responses while experiencing a lucid dream.

Did I experience this? I don't know it for sure. The only thing I know is that I am not aware of my dreams and I never can tell about the dreams I had simply because I forget them. Is there another way of dreaming? For sure there will be another kind of dreaming. I once experienced what I call an "astral trip" and I love to tell you something about that experience.
As you all know I am a big fan of Basho and once I thought "I would love to meet him in life". Of course that isn't possible, but in that "astral trip" I really met him and I could have a conversation with him. It brought me more insight in his life, but he also learned me more about how to write haiku. I recall a haiku which I wrote that time ... a strong one and in tune with his teaching

Ah! that fragrance
delicate cherry blossoms
in the spring rain

© Chèvrefeuille 

In this one really can feel the influence of Basho, my haiku master, and I am so proud that he is my haiku master.
Cherry Blossoms (woodblock) (couldn't retrieve the credits)

Was the above mentioned experience an "astral trip" or was it a kind of "lucid dream". I don't know, but it was an awesome experience.

Back to our prompt for today. Hatsuyume is the Japanese word for the first dream had in the new year. Traditionally, the contents of the dream would foretell the luck of the dreamer in the ensuing year. In Japan, the night of December 31 was often passed without sleeping, thus the hatsuyume was often the dream seen the night of January 1. This explains why January 2 (the day after the night of the "first dream") is known as Hatsuyume in the traditional Japanese calendar.
It is considered to be particularly good luck to dream of Mount Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant. This belief has been in place since the early Edo period but there are various theories regarding the origins as to why this particular combination was considered to be auspicious.
One theory suggests that this combination is lucky because Mount Fuji is Japan's highest mountain, the hawk is a clever and strong bird, and the word for eggplant (nasu or nasubi) suggests achieving something great (nasu). Another theory suggests that this combination arose because Mount Fuji, falconry, and early eggplants were favorites of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Although this superstition is well known in Japan, often memorized in the form Ichi-Fuji, Ni-Taka, San-Nasubi (1. Fuji, 2. Hawk, 3. Eggplant), the continuation of the list is not as well known. The continuation is as follows: Yon-Sen, Go-Tabako, Roku-Zatō (4. Fan, 5. Tobacco, 6. Blind Musician). The origins of this trio are less well known and it is unclear whether they were added after the original three or whether the list of six originated at the same time.

I found a nice haiku written by my haiku master, Basho at the age of 34, which I love to share here with you:

Fuji no yuki Rosei ga yume o tsukasetari

snow on Mount Fuji -
Rosei creates the world
in his dream

© Basho (age 34)

He compares the fresh white snow of mount Fuji to the mountain of silver which the young Rosei saw in his dream.

Mount Fuji
And I found a nice one composed by Issa in which the positive first dream is scattered:

nanno sono jô hatsu yume mo naku karasu

you've wrecked
my year's first dream!
cawing crow

© Issa

Well .... a lot to think about ... dream your dream with Carpe Diem Haiku Kai and share your "first dreams" with us all. Here is my haiku inspired on this prompt:

fly like an eagle
as free as a bird in the sky
living my dream

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 1st at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode, Servant's Day (Yabuiri), later on. For now, have fun!


  1. Somehow, the dark humor of Issa's haiku is intriguing.. thank you for a great post.

  2. Very good post, and what a haiku - pure

  3. I love Issa. Always so funny.


  5. Apologies for being late!