My hobby is sleeping.
My hobby is sleeping.
OK, imagine you’re at a dinner party and everyone is speaking English. At some point, someone during conversation says
"Hey everyone! I’ve got this really great hobby. It’s called sleeping."
Now I can guarantee you that everyone is going to have kind of a puzzled look on their face.
"Your hobby is sleeping? Mmm OK.. That’s nice"
It’s going to feel kind of awkward. To feel awkward means to feel uncomfortable - it’s not a particularly nice feeling.
Why would people have that kind of reaction? Let’s look at the reasons in more detail.
OK straight off the bat, we have to understand the meaning of the word 'hobby.' Once you understand that, it will all make sense.
Now my personal opinion is that the word hobby is not a very accurate translation of the Japanese word 趣味.
In English, a hobby means something kind of special. An activity that only I or certain people can enjoy.
The word 'hobby' is not used for everyday activities.
For example, these are not hobbies:
Going shopping ❌
Taking a trip ❌
Watching TV ❌
Reading books ❌
So what do we call these things?
These are 'my interests' or 'things I do in my free time.'
Anybody can do them. They are not special, like breathing or going to the toilet. They don’t need any special knowledge, training or passion.
So what’s an example of a hobby?
Collecting in-flight sick bags
Making models out of matchsticks
In most cases, English speakers would probably not ask you the famous question
“What’s your hobby?
Instead they would ask something else. Let’s find out in the next section.
So what’s the solution to this problem?
Well, if you are at a party people might ask you a question like this
If you really don’t have anything special you can say
However, if you DO have something which could be classified as a ‘hobby’
then you can say:
I’m crazy about growing Bonsai trees.
Whenever I have time, I love visiting old record shops.
I go scuba diving every Saturday.
So these are all pretty unique. They need knowledge. Not just anyone can do these activities. That’s the true meaning of a HOBBY!
Let's take a look at 5 example sentences
(1) I’ve been down in the dumps since I broke up with my boyfriend. Maybe I need a hobby or something.
To be 'down in the dumps' means to feel sad and maybe depressed.
(2) What do you do for fun, Scott?
I’m a huge fan of hostas. I’ve got about 20 different kinds in my garden.
Hosta is a beautiful plant that comes back every Spring.
(3) There are some great hobby shops in Tokyo. They have loads of models and things for collectors.
A hobby shop is a place you can find models, radio controlled cars and maybe some character figurines.
(4) I’ve heard that you’re looking for a new hobby? How about dirt polishing?
I guess this has kind of been popular with kids (and some adults) over the past few years.
(5) I’ve got so many interests and not enough free time. I’m gonna be so busy when I retire!
In this case we used the word 'interests' instead of 'hobby.'
The next time you go to say 'my hobby is sleeping,' think again about whether or not it can actually be classified as a 'hobby' in English. Please watch the VIDEO LESSON on YouTube!
Thanks for reading!
straight/right off the bat
(to be) down in the dumps
dirt polishing/polished dirt ball