Reconnect With Reality: Look Around

Living in Japan, I see so many people looking down at their cell phones. In the train, in the park, in the restaurant, even while walking. Their world has been reduced to a glowing LCD screen in their hands. They aren’t living in reality.

What people need to do, especially while walking, is to look around. Reconnect with their environment. Writers can definitely benefit from this. They need to observe and take mental notes about places and things they see.

Something I like doing is going for a walk by myself to just look around. Sometimes take pictures. It clears my mind, and I often get ideas from what I see. Sometimes I don’t think about that at all, just enjoy the atmosphere and scenery. This picture is what I took while starting to write this post.


It’s a train station in Machida, Tokyo. I go through it every week. But I often go on autopilot and don’t notice everything. I like to snap myself out of that.

Are you one of those people with their eyes glued to a cell phone screen? Or do you observe your surroundings?

19 thoughts on “Reconnect With Reality: Look Around”

    1. I didn’t until I came to Japan. Absolutely required for me, because I don’t have a landline. Those are ridiculously expensive to get connected. And my iPhone was incredibly useful during the earthquake here 4 years ago. I couldn’t call, but I had access to the internet, so I could let everyone know I was okay.

    1. You’re the second to say that. I’ve seen people texting or reading while walking. I’ve even seen someone watch a video while walking.

        1. I can do it, but I’ll only do it on an empty sidewalk, otherwise I can get very surprised if someone walks toward me. Anyway, I look up about every 2 seconds. But I don’t recommend doing it!

  1. I will admit to being on my cell WAY too much, but I’m never on it when I’m walking because I’ve seen too many people do stupid stuff like walking out into the middle of a busy road that way.

    As for connecting with reality though, one of my favorite things to do at work is just sit back and listen to the conversations being had around the room. It gives me lots of ideas for personality types and how people interact with each other.

    1. Dangerous walking into the street like that.

      Sometimes I listen to people at work, too, if I’m on break. But I’ll listen while I’m on the train, although most of the time, it’s quiet.

  2. I look around. I have a cell phone but when i take it it stays in my pocket. And especially on this trip I’m looking. Looking for old memories, places, reconnecting with that which I haven’t seen for many many years. But back home, I sometimes try to see usual things in an unusual way.

    1. When I’m walking around in places I always go to, I tend to focus more on people. See how they walk and interact with each other. It gives me ideas about characters.

  3. I don’t have a smartphone, so I’m not looking at a screen when I am out and about. I do notice my surroundings unless I am talking to someone or my mind is too occupied with other thoughts to notice details.

  4. I don’t have my attention focused on my phone, but I’m always thinking about something else – something other than what I’m doing. I am by nature supremely unobservant and inattentive when I don’t consciously put effort into concentrating. I do love when I can just sit and admire the scenery, though. It’s one of my favorite things to do. Especially, but not only, to photograph.

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