In Japan Dreams Come True
Tuesday, November 16, 2004 Posted: 11:14 AM JST
One of Japan's most successful bands of the past decade is Dreams Come True, now Japanese toy manufacturer Takara wants to literally make your dreams come true. Last August it put the Yumemi Koubou, translated as "Dream Workshop" on the market, a small machine designed to give you control over your dreams.
Although we are used to machines taking the work out of our hands, with the Yumemi Koubou you have to do a lot of the work yourself. You start by writing down how you want your dream to play out. You need to be specific says company spokesman Kennedy Gitchel. "If you say 'I want to fly in space', what does that mean? We found that many people don't even have a specific image in their mind of what it means to fly in space." Next, you record three keywords that are important to your dream and you select a photograph that represents your dream. "It may not represent the dream to others," says Kennedy, "but it needs to represent the dream to you."
Then the journey starts. The Yumemi Koubou lulls you to sleep with soft background music, mood lights, and a relaxing fragrance. The device follows a standard eight-hour sleep schedule and activates periodically during the user's REM sleep. It is at this time that the keywords are repeated and music played.
"We don't guarantee that people get the dreams they want," says Kennedy cautiously, "But our research has found that the success rate of dreams related to keywords increased four-fold compared to dreams without the device." According to research by Dr. Eiko Matsuda, Professor of Sociology researching the causes of nightmares at Edogawa University, 22 percent of the dreams dreamt after using the Yumemi Koubou were related to the keywords. Without the device the rate came to 6 percent. Kennedy stresses the word "related". "It is a fun entertainment product," says the spokesman, "rooted in scientific research done by a renowned scientist."
The company has high hopes for improved sales during the holiday season. The first dream of the year, the so called "Hatsuyume" has great symbolic meaning in Japan. Traditionally, the first dream on the night of January 2 foretells the type of year you will have. Particular important are three symbols considered to be most lucky: Mount Fuji, hawks, and the eggplant. Takara is planning an advertising blitz during December built around this concept of Hatsuyume.
If any of their customers are like me, they may have a hard time. The device is programmed for the average person so you need to sleep 8 hours in order for the machine to be able to follow your REM-sleep cycle. After three nights trying to influence my dreams with the Yumemi Koubou I ended up waking before it got to work its magic. I usually sleep only six to seven hours and was totally unable to prolong that. Unfortunately you can't adjust the number of hours on the device. A great shortcoming I would say.
Takara is Japan's second-largest toy company. Recently it has focused on developing products on the concept of "life entertainment" such as the Bow-Lingual, a device that "translates" the barks and other sounds that dogs make, and the Meowlingual, a "cat translation device". The company plans to introduce the Yumemi Koubou in the US during 2005. There are no specific plans yet for introducing it in the European market. It is priced at JPY 15,540 (USD 145).
Keywords: national_news trends_lifestyle
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