Eat My Dreams!

What’s the best way to get rid of bad dreams and nightmares? Eat them.

There’s one strange and helpful creature known as a “baku” in Japanese Shinto mythology that does exactly that: it eats dreams.

Traditionally the baku was represented with tigerlike claws, an elephant’s head and tusks and a cow’s tail. A bit fearsome.

But over time it has become a lot more gentle and nowdays is thought of as like a kind of tapir. They are pleasant creatures always willing to help human beings, and wander around in groups grazing with their long snouts.

“yume wo taberu!” *

If you have a bad dream, you simply call the tapir and it will come and eat the dream for you. Such a cool idea!

* yume = “dream”, taberu = “eat”

It’s great for children who are reassured by their parents at bedtime that the baku are there looking after them while they sleep.
Sometimes pictures are used, or even fluffy tapir stuffed toys.

In an endearing twist, apparently sometimes if you’re having a good dream a gentle tapir might just come along and eat that too, leaving you without any dream at all!

Oyasumi…sleep well.


~ by JapanGasm on 4 June, 2012.

3 Responses to “Eat My Dreams!”

  1. Sorry to bother you, but I’m actually heading to Tokyo come the new year and I’ve always wanted a stuffed toy Baku (like the one for children). You don’t know any toy stores in Tokyo that might stock them? I mean I’ll be heading for Kiddyland in Ginza (I have a problem when it comes to soft toys).
    Thanks very much for your time! 🙂

    • Not sure about Kiddyland, Louise, but I’d suggest you try Hakuhinkan (near Shinbashi, but walkable from Ginza):

      Hakuhinkan is bigger than Kiddyland.

      • Wow thank you so much for your swift reply. That looks like a fantastic toy store I will definitely check it out. I’m assuming something like a toy Baku would come under Baby toys etc.

        I’m trying to get together a schedule of all the places I want to visit in just six days in Tokyo and its a bit of a squeeze, so many things I want to see! Last time was only five days and at least this time around I have a better vocabulary! I only knew three words in Japanese, but having studied Japanese since last year June (and continuing) I can read Hiragana and Katakana and at least communicate in basic sentences.

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