(Kyou no yume Osaka no yume;
“Capital dreams; Osaka dreams”)
Dreams are mysterious and one can’t expect them to make any sense. Alternately, dreams are where one’s desires are most easily manifested; or by extension, a statement that different people wish for different things, that human desires come in infinite variety. Apparently it was also repeated as a sort of good-luck charm before talking about one’s dreams.
This is a pair of simple noun phrases, each consisting of a city name joined to the noun 夢 (yume), “dream,” by the associative particle の (no). 大阪 (oosaka), literally “big slope,” is of course Osaka, while 京 refers more generally to the imperial seat – although by the time this phrase was coined, this had long ago settled permanently in the aptly named 京都 (kyouto), “capital metropolis” Kyoto.
Perhaps ironically, this is the 京 (kyou, “capital”) entry of the Edo iroha karuta set – a sort of “plus-alpha” entry appended to the Edo and Kyoto karuta sets, but which is absent in the Osaka set. the phrase’s origins are unclear, but it is attested in the proverb dictionary 『諺苑』 (Gen’en) and a dictionary of slang, dialect, and idiom called the 『俚諺集覧』 (Rigen shuuran), although the latter seems to have used the former as a reference.
Incidentally, the stereotypical “Kyoto dream” is of rising to a high government rank and social status, while the stereotypical “Osaka dream” is to become a wealthy businessman. Compare and contrast 京の着倒れ大阪の食い倒れ, which uses a similar contrast for very different ends.
(“Uchi no kyoudai wa, kyou no yume Oosaka no yume de, hoikuen no sensei yara eiga no hihansha yara, shourai no yume ga zen’in migoto ni chigatten da.” “Fumu. Sore na no ni, otona ni natte yonin to mo romen densha no untenshu ni natta to wa, jitsu ni omoshiroi.”)
[“Everyone has their own unique dreams, and whether it be preschool teacher or movie critic, my siblings and I all had remarkably different dreams for our futures.”
“Hmh. Then it’s really interesting how, despite that, as adults you’ve all become tram conductors.”]