What is your hobby?

I suppose that one of the questions that Japanese Junior High School students studying English learn is...

`What is your hobby`

Along with the robotic greeting `How are you?` combined with the painful `Fine thank you, and you?` it is definitely one of the most common questions I get in Japan.

The worst thing is that I don`t really have an answer. Where I come from (and correct me if I am wrong please), adults would usually ask each other `How was your weekend?` or `What did you get up to last night?` I think that the only people who have regulated free time to partake in hobbies are kids and old people (and maybe housewives and the unemployed?)

The other thing is that when I imagine a
hobby, I imagine something like model-building, stamp-collecting, knitting etc ... and really, who has the time or money to do these kinds of things at all?

When I ask the question back, the most typical answers are as follows;

Girls: shopping, sleeping, going to este (beauty salons), eating, drinking tea/coffee with girl friends

Guys: working (huh?), watching sports, sleeping, drinking alcohol, playing pachinko

An interesting point is that in Japan there seems to be no social pressure to do anything exciting or educational (or even interesting) in one`s free time. In fact, saying that you love sleeping and eating and watching cartoons might just mean that you work very long hours (seen as a BIG positive) and thus don`t usually have time to enjoy these normal things!

Anyway, since I started hearing this question and always racing to come up with an interesting answer, I have found that friends and students respond well to is `I like baking`. And in this case, it happens to be true (although I definitely would not consider it to be a hobby).

This afternoon, due to a serious lack of food in my apartment, I scoured the internet to find recipes for muffins that contained neither butter nor eggs. I found a vegan baking website and just finished preparing a batch of vegan blueberry muffins (I did have soy milk in the fridge!).

The result was scrumptious, and I will definitely be using the internet more to find creative ways to spice up (pardon the pun) my baking in the coming weeks!


  1. The muffins look yummy!!! I wish I could try it :)

  2. I agree. Things that you like to do in your free time are not necessarily hobbies. My pet hate is when people say their hobby is "listening to music". So now if I have to ask, I ask about their free time. I was always surprised about the impressed response to baking.
    I taught some elderly people to bake ANZAC biscuits once and was shocked when they all insisted on making perfectly round biscuits instead of just dumping spoonfuls of mix on the tray... they turned out very nice looking though!


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