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What I Do When I’m Not Watching Anime

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Contrary to popular belief, I have a life outside of anime.

It’s been a fairly popular topic in the blogsphere lately to discuss burnout from anime and strategies in dealing with it. (Chikorita157, Yumeka, Justin and Overlord-G have all written excellent posts on this subject.) This is natural, I think, because as a community we seem to have become steadily more hardcore about anime over the years. No one wants to fall into the deep end and stop liking the hobby altogether. That would really suck.

So I’m going to try something different for a bit here. I thought it would be nice to discuss some aspects of my life that would never otherwise get mentioned on this blog – because they have nothing to do with anime. When we’re talking to anime fans over the Internet, we tend to occasionally forget that these people often have hobbies outside of anime. Sometimes, it can be really interesting to learn about these things. Often, they’re surprising, even as they say a lot about us.

Firstly, I think it would be interesting to mention what I don’t do for a hobby. I’m not into gaming besides the odd RPG. I’ve never played LoL and I don’t watch Let’s Plays. Besides anime, I don’t have “geek” hobbies. I’m not even that much into pop culture in general, so I’m not particularly well-versed in music, television and movies. I also don’t spend much time on Youtube or on social networking sites. I personally think these are huge time sinks, especially if I dip my toes into all of them.

Besides that, my hobbies are things that can be easily inferred from: a) the fact that I like anime; b) the topics I choose to write about on this blog; and c) my general writing style. I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m into books and academia, for instance. (Proptip: the more useless the knowledge is, the more I probably know about it.) But I think it would be boring if I delved into all of that here since I wouldn’t be telling you anything new.

I do have other interests that aren’t quite as easy to work out from my personality. I have girly hobbies; I can play the violin and I can also knit and sew. I also play and watch sport, tennis in particular. I tend to go through short “fads” where I get into a hobby and learn all there is to know about it and then never look back on it again. Right now, I’m in the process of becoming a war geek. In a few months, I’ll probably be into something else altogether.

But I decided what I’d focus on here is something that makes up a bigger part of my life than I care to admit:

I’m a semi-regular gambler.

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When someone says they’re a gambler, the first thing you tend to think is that this person is a problem gambler. I’m not a problem gambler. I don’t spend more than $20 a month on it. About once every fortnight, though, I make a trip down to the Crown Casino in Melbourne and make a day of it.

Mostly, I play poker. Sometimes, I play the poker machines (the ‘slots’ in America). I watch the horse racing but I don’t bet on it. I think horses are smelly. Anyone who says he can pick the winner of a horse race is an idiot and a liar.

The perspective I have into gambling culture is both intimate and distant. My father is a gambler and so was his father before him. I guess you could say… GAMBLING HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN THE FROGGYKUN FAMILY LINE FOR GENERATIONS. I’ve had a front seat view in its potency in ruining lives, but I’m cheap, so I don’t take it seriously myself.

For someone like me, it’s more interesting walking into a casino and observing the people. Young guys on the big wheel, winning thousands of dollars in one spin and losing it all minutes later… old men and women sitting like vegetables in front of the poker machines, staring listlessly at the screen, not even smiling when they hit jackpot… men cussing in frustration when the cards don’t give them the goods… I’ve seen it all. Everyone who gambles is a loser, and while that’s something gamblers often admit to themselves and others, there’s nothing much anyone can do about it. It’s a huge part of Australian culture and also human nature.

Down in the poker room, where the people can kid themselves into thinking they’re playing a game of skill and not luck, things feel different. Play a couple of hands of poker with someone and down a couple of beers and suddenly you’re their mate for life. I’m a shit player, but I play for the social experience. Even when I lose all the hands, I’m great at getting people to buy drinks for me, so it’s a win for me either way.

Poker is fun, especially when I’m playing with casuals and not with elitists. I’m a passive-aggressive player, seemingly tight, but I do take risks. You have to in a game like this. Sometimes I idly think about how various anime characters would play the game, like so:

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Has the best hand on the flop, but will always get sucked out on at the river. Such misfortune.

Tries to bluff every hand but ultimately has shit

Tries to bluff every hand but ultimately has shit

Can beat Phil Ivy in his sleep

Can beat Phil Ivy in his sleep

A pussy who folds every hand

A pussy who folds every hand

Calls with shit, believing in the heart of the cards

Calls with shit, believing in the heart of the cards

So even when I’m not watching anime, I’m still somehow associating it with everything I see and do, lol.

On the flipside, I also associate a lot of my outside influences from all my various hobbies with anime, which probably accounts for why I have such broad taste in anime.

I don’t want this blog to feel like a diary, so I’ll just end the post here. Hope it touches on an interesting way of thinking about how your other hobbies help build your appreciation for anime. That’s the way I choose to think about it, at least.

(Actually I think I just wanted an excuse to talk about poker on an anime blog but shhhh)

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Posted on August 15, 2013, in Editorials and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. I don’t know about poker, but I play Japanese (reach) mahjong online. It’s the perfect game for otaku, as it’ll exercise one’s Japanese skills (Tenhou, the main reach mahjong service, is in Japanese), and let’s you appreciate quality works like Akagi, Saki, and The Legend of Koizumi.

    • I’ve always thought mahjong looks really hard to get into if you don’t have some kind of Asian background. Is that true? I mean, I’ve never tried playing it myself because it just looks extremely elaborate.

      • It’s always hard. Asians (more specifically, East Asians) have a slight advantage of being taught to them when growing up, but it’s still a fairly complex game.

        On top of that, Japanese mahjong has more rules and a different nuance than Chinese mahjong, but it’s worth it!

  2. When I’m not watching anime, I play freeware video games, write my stories and think about lots of random things (but thanks to my anime watching they tends to be related to anime in a way or another). I used to gamble a few times back when I was a teenager, but that was it. My parents are not getting along well is (to the point that my mom did throw ineffectual divorce threats on him) precisely because of my father’s addiction to gambling and I vowed that I will never gamble again.

    I do associate my life with anime as well to the point that I use events in anime to predict what will happen with my life, but this can backfire. Then again, I am an intellectual person to begin with so being intellectual with anime is something that I expect out of myself. Speaking of that, I found myself is quite similar to Ange of Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince: Skilled with work, but horrible with human relationship with tendency of going berserk. In an actual workplace, this is very bad and will cause problems in the long run. I hope that I can minimize the damage done later on.

    In simple words, anime and other hobbies are somehow in a state of mutual synchronization that makes me appreciate them better. Another good post from you. :-)

  3. Hobbies outside of anime… do I have those??

    Gambling is something that runs in my family too, but I’m not particularly into it myself. Eh, I like sports though I’m shit at them and continuously out of shape, I always like trying a new one. Currently I’m an archer, though I did Judo two years ago. I like gaming though I never seem to have the time for it, I play the guitar and sing (which I’m also shit at), I spend time with my friends and significant other… uh I read? Or did before college made me stress at the sight of a book. Oh and I sleep. Like a log.

    Being Kairi is fun, trust me.

  4. Thanks for the mention. Since I pretty much said everything in my post, it’s just interesting to see what other fans do with their free time when they aren’t watching Anime and talking about it and focus on their hobbies. Aside my video game and technology hobbies, I used to play Piano and Clarinet during grade school. Since I’m in college, I no longer have the time since practicing and learning new music takes a good amount of time. One day, I’ll touch it once again. :p

  5. It’s interesting to know you like gambling. I’ve never gambled myself, though I have played very casual poker with friends. A big vacation destination around here is of course Las Vegas in neighboring Nevada, but I’ve never cared to go since gambling and crowded late-night city life just isn’t my thing =P (and I don’t drink either) I don’t hear much about horse racing around here besides on TV, though I would never give money to an industry that so blatantly exploits animals for people’s entertainment (and money of course). The most I’ve gambled ever is I bought a lottery ticket once and didn’t win anything XD But I’m probably more likely to buy another lottery ticket than gamble…unless for some strange reason I find myself in a casino one day and am feeling lucky.

    • Me being into gambling is something even my IRL friends get surprised about. Guess I don’t come off as the risk-taking type.

      And yeah, horse racing is pretty awful from an animal rights angle. It’s gotten more humane over the years, but a lot of horses still get killed over it.

      I hate the lottery. I never win at it either :)

  6. I like a whole bunch of the generic geek stuff: Anime, Manga, Novels, Video Games and Visual Novels. I enjoy experiencing all those things and sharing them with other people, and I also like the culture surrounding them all. I went through a period where I also collected Warhammer (which I enjoyed painting rather than playing with), but that was expensive and my interest died out more or less because of that.

    There’s a different me outside of the internet, but not overly different. I’m not into watching sport (though i’ll play if i’m asked), I don’t go out drinking and i’m not in any clubs. I just do my geeky stuff and hang out with mates who also enjoy it (and some who don’t =) )

    • The interesting thing about geek culture is that from the outside, people tend to assume it’s so insular and every hardcore geek is the same, but it’s really not like that it all. It’s like a whole different world when you get into it.

      And you collected Warhammer? That’s really interesting, but yeah a huge money sink too. Still, props for the unique hobby!

  7. Who knew some bloggers provided you the opportunity to go right ahead and not talk about anime on your blog? Then again, I wasn’t expecting a follow up article from OG, so you lucked out…unless you decided to respond after mine haha =p Also, I lol’d at your selections at how some anime characters would play Poker.

    Yeah, outside of anime/manga, I’d like to think I’m a huge sports fan. I pretty much keep up with all the major sports (in America at least, and sorry hockey), and even keep up with college sports as well. The most fun comes around Olympic time, where I try and watch as many sports as I can (or those that maintain my interest), and root for my country to do well. That’s probably why I sometimes become jaded on certain aspects of anime (especially sports anime). I think.

    • Ha, I was planning to do a post like this for a while, but seeing everyone discuss the same thing made me think “lol why not?” And so I jumped right in.

      An avid sports fan, are you? Don’t see one of those in the animesphere too often! I only follow the sports popular in Australia, and when the Olympics come on, I get way too overwhelmed to keep up with everything. I don’t know how some people manage to do it.

  8. I thought you could either have anime or have a life? XD
    I’m a massive music fan, even more than anime, so I try and take the opportunity to listen to as much as I can. Currently I’m doing singing and I also played guitar through high school but gave up after I graduated past year cos I’m lazy lol.
    I like some sports, and played cricket for quite a few years before I couldn’t be bothered any more, and sometimes play tennis and golf casually. More into playing sports with my mates than watching though. Never really been into video games though, which probably makes me an oddity inthe animesphere. I really like reading, but I don’t have much time now I’ve started uni, which really sucks. Unfortunately too much time goes into homework :-(.
    I wouldn’t describe myself as overly sociable, but I try to make sure I catch up with friends at parties and such now and then.
    Anyway, great post!

  9. You have a favorite type/style of poker, or does anything go for you? My family (at least on my dad’s side) is also quite big into the poker scene, and although I’m a little bit removed, I still play several games with them whenever I go up to visit.

    Unfortunately (or maybe not, since I like the quiet life), most of my hobbies are not nearly as interesting, and I tend to fall into the typical nerd/geek label, with most of my free time spent watching anime, going out to movies, playing video games, reading books, etc. So of course I’m lime-green jelly about your kewl lyf3 bro. :D

    • Eh, I only really know how to play Texas Hold’em. I’m not hardcore or anything.

      And hey, nerd hobbies are great. I identify mostly as a nerd and I would say most of my hobbies fall under that category too. Huzzah!

      I get the feeling a lot of bloggers would tend to be on the nerdy side somehow, heh heh.

  10. I particularly loved this post.

  11. I’ve visited Las Vegas several times when I was very young, so I saw a bunch of the glamorous casinos. But despite that, the thought of learning how to gamble never occurred to me.

    One of my hobbies outside of anime would be freestyle dancing. I like being in the center of attention so I like playing with crowds. Just like you, I incorporate anime into my non-anime hobbies as well. I sometimes dance to anime OSTs.

  12. “What do I do when I’m not watching anime?… I blog about it T^T”

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