Tag Archives: unexpected

Unexpected Hobbies

Over the years, I’ve gained new hobbies while old ones faded away. Some have stuck with me for a very long time. I still love playing computer games, watching cartoons, and although I haven’t done it in a long time, I’m still interested in model airplanes and cars. But there are some hobbies I never thought I’d get into.

About six years ago, when I started getting serious about photography, I also developed a liking for long distance walking. The longest I’ve walked is thirty-five kilometres in one day, and I usually walk around fifteen these days. I was never interested in that kind of exercise before, but I find I can relax mentally when I do it.

The next two I haven’t started, but I can see myself doing in the near future. Ten years ago, I’d have thought is never do them. The first is wine tasting. I’ve developed an interest in tasting wine, but I don’t think it’ll be serious. When I was younger, I didn’t like wine for some reason. Probably just drank the wrong wine.

The other is gardening. This kind of runs in my family, so maybe it was inevitable. I’d like to grow some vegetables and flowers, but is like to make and take care of a Japanese style garden. They would be quite the task, but I think I’d start small just to make sure I enjoy it.

Are there any hobbies you started that you would never have thought you’d do when you were younger?

Life in Japan: Surprising First Impressions

When I first came to Japan, I had some expectations. I thought I knew what I was going to see. But I was pretty surprised in many ways. This week’s question comes from moldydaisy.

What were some of the things that really surprised you when you moved there? What things stood out in your mind that you would never have thought of before your arrival?

The very first thing that surprised me was before I even landed. From the airplane, I could see the rice fields near the airport. From the air, they weren’t a uniform shape. No grid, no squares, no rectangles. They were very organic in shape.

After landing, I was on the Narita Express to Yokohama, and I saw so many houses that were different than anything I’d seen in Canada. They were small, built close together, and everything was so dense.  Yet there were pockets of green. Very dense green trees and plants on hills. And bamboo!

Around my new home, I was surprised by the smells. I could smell a lot of ramen. There were many ramen shops near my home at the time. That first night, I also went shopping at the supermarket. What surprised me was that salt was with the oil and soy sauce, not the spices. The packaging also surprised me. They used far too much packaging for everything.

But probably the biggest surprise was my apartment. It was small, and it had very poor insulation. It was April when I arrived, and the nights were still pretty cool. It was cold inside my apartment.

All of these things I’m used to now. They seem normal. Having been here for ten years, not much surprises me anymore.

If you have any questions about living in Japan, please see the original post and leave your questions in the comments.

Expect the Unexpected

It’s winter. It’s cold. The leaves are all gone.

20141228-091940-33580306.jpg
I can see frost on the ground, but the sun provides a little warmth on my back. I think back to summer, how those uncomfortably hot and humid days seemed endless. In the cold winter, I think about how I’d love to have summer back. In summer, I’d go inside a building to avoid the heat and seek an air conditioner. I’d think about winter, how the cold might be nice. Or at least that’s what you’d expect me to say. In fact, I’d prefer to stay in summer.

Everyone expects me to like winter. Why is that? Is it because I’m from Canada? Most likely. But you can’t expect every Canadian to like cold weather or winter.

The same goes for characters or plots in a book. You have to expect the unexpected. Or maybe you expect that unexpected situation? So expected the unexpected that is more unexpected than the unexpected that you expected. I think that’s a goal writers want to achieve. I certainly want to.

One thing we need to be able to do is think like our characters. Don’t put our thoughts in the characters’ minds, but put their thoughts in ours. We need to think and talk like we’ve never thought and talked before. Not just think outside the box, but think outside the polyhedron that envelops that box.

That goes for the plot, as well. Make it totally unexpected and original. But not too bizarre. That could throw off the reader so much that they can’t believe what they’re reading.

While using the unexpected is very important, we have to maintain a balance between the unexpected and realism. We need readers to feel comfortable, yet always on the edge waiting for something incredible to happen.

I may hate winter, but I love hockey. I’m sure you expected that last part.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below with your opinions.