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Shopping and sleeping? 2009/12/5 12:34
Can anyone shed light on some culture points I've noticed among (mostly young) people in Japan:

1. "My hobby is shopping."
Why do so many people say this? Is shopping really classed as a hobby now?

2. "Sleeping"
Why is sleeping such a big thing in young people's lives. Some will say 'sleeping' in answer to questions like: "How was your weekend?" or even "How do you spend your free time?"

And of course, physically, sleeping is something you see young people do at almost any spare moment in public places.

What's it about? I'm sure young people in other countries work as hard at whatever as Japanese young people, but don't fall asleep at every opportunity, so why the almost obssessive attitude towards sleeping here?
by Dan (guest)  

.... 2009/12/5 19:55
I think they just don't want to bother answering your question. Some answers such as the ones you posted really mean, "Your question is not interesting to me. Let's move on." You'll need to become perceptive about such matters.
by Kato (guest) rate this post as useful

"hobbies" 2009/12/5 21:16
I'm guessing you are an English teacher- I think they give those answers because they are easy, and don't require much thought. Try banning your students from using the words "shopping" and "sleeping" in their answers and see what you come up with.

To be honest though, you'll find that that's what a lot of people here do on the weekends- sleep late, and then go shopping.
by Sira (guest) rate this post as useful

What else?? 2009/12/5 21:23
Thaks Sira

But I'm just worried that if I ban 'shopping' and 'sleeping' there'll be nothing else to talk about...:-)
by Dan (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2009/12/5 21:47
In Australia I think it is pretty common for young people, mostly girls, to say their hobby is shopping.
by AusEz rate this post as useful

. 2009/12/5 22:57
Is shopping really classed as a hobby now?
What is your definition of hobby?

Webster's dictionary gives it as:

: a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation.

Shopping and sleeping seems to fit that definition just fine.

Other reasons could be, they don't want to say anything embarrassing, they can be lazy students, or as japanese being homogeneous, they are just following the rest of the crowd.

Or because they really like shopping or sleeping. As for students, I can see Japanese students have it much harder then compared to American students, in terms of working harder, and academics, and their scores show that as well. So It doesn't suprise me at all sleeping is a hobby. As a student who studied in Japan thats what I liked enjoying the most too. ^_^
by ExpressTrain (guest) rate this post as useful

. 2009/12/6 14:03
It's times like these that make me realize how Japanese I am. I don't understand what's so unusual about these two things. But maybe it's just a matter translation. What if they said it like this?

1. "I don't have a specific hobby such as pottery or fishing, but I love shopping. On weekends, I would go to the mall and go through all the shops. If anything is on bargain, I'm buying it. When I buy something new, I feel great."

2. "My weekend? I just dozed around and did nothing. Call me lazy, but why bother to go out when you don't have to."
"Well, I don't have many friends who seem to be available when I'm free. So I just couch-potato or take a nap."

I think that when Japanese people say "sleep" they don't necessarily mean "asleep" but perhaps just "lay down."

And of course, physically, sleeping is something you see young people do at almost any spare moment in public places.

Not just the young, but people of any age sleep in public. Some say that other countries aren't just safe enough to let you sleep in public, or that classes in other countries are interesting enough to keep you awake, but I don't really believe that. I just don't know why people in other countries don't sleep in public. You won't be missing anything just because you slept in the subway, so why not? A 15 minutes sleep is ideal to freshen you up.

As for me, I'm not much of a shopper, but I'm certainly a sleeper.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Sleeping - really? 2009/12/6 18:18
Express Train

If you are seriously admitting sleeping can be a hobby, can we perhaps also add breathing to the list?

Personally, I can't see a difference.
by Mel (guest) rate this post as useful

My opinion 2009/12/7 06:34
Well, I find that answes strange not in term that they are lost in translation, but in terms of wondering how can young people have not one hobby at all? Not one thing that interests you besides regular school or work?! It doesn't have to be nuclear physics, but really, shopping or sleeping can merely be called a hobby.. Of course I do like shopping and sleeping especially, but these 2 things are definitely not only things that I do when work is over. Is it really that majority of Japanese youth don't pursue any interest (besides work but it's usually something you MUST do) at all?
by Ines (guest) rate this post as useful

... 2009/12/7 08:39
Um, maybe that's something you might want to discuss in class (if you are indeed an English teacher, as Sira suggested) as a topic.

Nowadays many young people simply are dead tired from work that all they can think of over the weekend may really be sleeping (and once they realize that you accept that as an answer they will stick to it), and if they are not that tired, maybe they just go out to town - and shop. If they are coming to English lessons, they don't want to say "English conversation" when they are asked what their hobby/pastimes is :)

I remember that in my university the English conversation class instructor banned the answer "Fine" when asked "How are you?" (he even threatened to give us an F) because that was the easiest answer we could give, but it did not build onto any dialogue lol. If you are talking about a class, you could try something similar, OR talk about the reason how come those became their hobbies.
by AK rate this post as useful

applying for jobs and high schools 2009/12/7 14:07
Try asking, "How would you answer the same questions if it were a job interview or a high school entrance exam interview?" I'm possitive they would give different answers even though they may not be as honest about it :)
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

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