Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hatsuyume (First Dream of the New Year)

[Image: Zombie Flash Mob, Grant Neufeld, 2005, Public Domain]

In the traditional Japanese calendar, 2nd January is known as Hatsuyume, or "first dream". Apparently, the first dream you have in a new year is supposed to be indicative of how well the year will go for you.

I dreamt about zombies.

I was in some sort of school, and there was an outbreak of zombies. I managed to bludgeon away most of the poor fools, but one or two somehow developed speech. I felt very much like the protagonist in Richard Matheson's I Am Legend - the last man on Earth surrounded by horrors.

But the zombies kept asking me not to bludgeon them and promising in return not to eat my brains. It was an impossible situation - because how could I possibly trust them? Also, the zombies kept wanting to embrace in order to show their friendship, which made me very paranoid that they would take the opportunity to suck my brains out through my nose.

The problem was that I, as a human, was such an obvious outsider in this new world of zombies. The only way I could be sure they would stop trying to eat my brains would be, in a Catch-22 sort of way, if they first ate my brains and I became a zombie. Obviously, I didn't feel like having my brains eaten.

Right at the end of the dream I came up with a solution. In a bit of a deus ex machina, I stumbled upon a magical spell which would either turn me into a zombie or grant my new friends the intelligence they needed not to eat my brains. A happy ending.

Now, I have two interpretations. Firstly, that 2009 will pose many problems which I will spend a great deal of effort on despite, actually, a novel and unexpected solution existing. If I can discover that solution then my life will be that much easier. The alternative interpretation is that I feel a sense of displacement in Italy, surrounded by Italians, and that I am looking for a way to better blend into my surroundings.

Either way, I avoided having my brains eaten - which is a good sign.

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