Hobbies – The Untapped Source

How many of you out there have hobbies? I bet a lot of you do, in fact, I’ve never met but maybe two or three sad souls who didn’t have anything they had a particular liking too. I myself have a whole bunch I could pull from, music being one of the biggest.

Often times when trying to find a new conversational partner, even in English, you might get stuck on what exactly to talk about. This is where having the ability to talk about your hobbies in-depth really come in handy. I really recommend you find friends (speaking partners in your  new language that is) who share your hobby outright, since not only will they want to talk about it, but that opens the door to many other conversational topics to spin-off from it.

When I discussed how to find sentences before I mentioned using hobbies to find sentences to learn Japanese. Not only should you use your love of your hobby to find useful phrases, you should use Japanese to learn more about your hobby! I also assume at this point that you can read both kanji and kana (and maybe know a little about structure and such), as its hard to read Japanese when you don’t know how to read kanji.

There is never an end to learning about your hobby, and who knows, in Japan your hobby could be taking a different form, and have lots of vocabulary that doesn’t even fit in English. So lets take my favorite hobby now and use it as an example:

So music is a vague concept, lets get specific.

The point is, if you say to someone that you like music, they might ask who your favorite artists are, or composers. They might even ask if you like singing or play an instrument. For me, my hobby with music is primarily on the voice and instrumental side. I don’t have that much  joy towards specific artists and I really don’t care about what they’re doing or wearing. For me, talking to a music groupie like person would be a little hard because I wouldn’t be able to keep the conversation alive and thriving. In the same respect, me talking to a groupie about playing the piano and how I like the newest models being made might get lost on them or simply bore them to death.

Since I do have knowledge about piano construction, but would like to use that knowledge to work through Japanese, it’s certainly not a waste of time. However I don’t always remember all the information out there about techniques using pedals. So rather than necessarily learning what I know, I could put myself in a position where I have to use Japanese to learn more about something I don’t. I think this would make an even greater impact on my ability to mingle with Japanese.

So if you’re a person who cares about the band you’re listening to, you could always use Japanese to learn more about them. You would learn a lot of fun stuff that way too, such as food preferences and weird quirky habits of your favorite star. Just don’t cheat and look the information up in English.

Once you’ve armed yourself up with information, go talk to your friend about it. Even if its common knowledge, I’m sure they’d love to talk about it more because they also love the topic. How many times have you caught yourself talking about the same things just because they excite you so much? That’s the ultimate goal of using your hobbies to further your Japanese, since these topics will be talked about most commonly anyways because it’s what interests you.

If you still wondering about what to do to get started ask yourself some simple questions like these:

  • What don’t I know about my hobby?
  • Who are the prominent figures in Japan that talk about my hobby?
  • Does my hobby have parts involved in it that aren’t necessarily related? (for instance, if you make guitars, you could learn about wood cutting/carving/designing on its own, not related to guitar making specifically)
  • Break apart what makes up the hobby and learn about those parts. (Knitting uses yarn. Do you know how yarn is made? How do they dye yarn?)
  • Use/do/perform your hobby using Japanese references. (cookbooks in Japanese rather than English, instructions on how to make a specific type of bowl using your potter’s will, ect.)

For those of you who feel that your hobby just isn’t usable, give me a buzz in the comments section and I’ll try to help you out. When it really boils down to it, no one knows everything about even a single subject. While a person can gain a significant amount of knowledge on a subject, there is always something there to learn. Whether it is stepping back in history to learn about its origins, or read about the newest and craziest methods and inventions dealing with your hobby, there is always something there waiting to be learned. So go get ’em tiger, but most of all, Go Get ‘Em in Japanese!

5 Responses to “Hobbies – The Untapped Source”
  1. readmod says:

    Very good advice. I was thinking about something like this last night!

  2. Hashiriya says:

    Hi Mikoto,
    Remember me? Your smart.fm friend from a year or so ago hah! I stumbled upon your blog while I was searching for Japanese stuff the other day. Glad to see that you are still staying motivated. I recently have transferred colleges and I am now a 3rd year Japanese major. (Yay all that hardcore studying got me advanced placed!!) Speaking of hobbies, gaming is my main one and I always check http://www.4gamer.net for all the latest Japanese gaming news. Hope you are doing well!

    • mikotoneko says:

      Hiya Hashiriya! I remember you very much. Its good to see you around and grats on your transfer and good luck! How is your wife doing these days? I also love gaming. Its one of my favorite hobbies. I’ve been playing Star Ocean, the latest for ps3 in Japanese and its been fun so far. Any games you’ve been playing? Thanks for the link and I’ll check it out!

      • Hashiriya says:

        Glad you remembered me! 🙂
        The PS3 is awesome for learning Japanese. If you haven’t already, I suggest creating a Japanese PS3 account and downloading all their free demos. You may not be aware of it but that game “Home” that is included on the PS3 is available in Japanese too. My favorite games to play are the “Tales” series. I own Tales of Vesperia in Japanese and want to get Tales of Graces sometime in the future. They are both like Star Ocean/Final Fantasy games. Tons of voice-overs inside them so that are super easy to comprehend.

        My wife is doing great thanks 🙂 She has now become a game addict as well 🙂

  3. Daniel says:

    Another good idea! It reminded me about how my favorite guitar brand (Fender) has a particular following in Japan too…

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  • Read More or Die! 2011

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