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.
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:
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)