Have you ever been in that situation where you’ve just met someone for the first time and you’re starting to get to know each other, you know, you’re talking about your life and stuff, and then the topic of conversation turns to hobbies, you know, all that interesting stuff that you actually enjoy doing in your life, but it can be a little difficult, in English, to talk about this stuff. So today I’m going to help you out and I’m gonna turn you into the master of talking about hobbies in English… so let’s get cracking.
All right mate! how’s it going today? I’m not too bad. Thanks for asking! If you’re new around here, my name is Dan and I’m here to help you stop being an English student and start being an English speaker. That’s why I make this podcast. That’s why I make other YouTube videos, and ebooks, and lessons and even all them silly little videos on Instagram. It’s all designed to turn you into a confident community here, so thanks for finding this podcast today, I appreciate that. This podcast is designed for intermediate and advanced English Learners that want to practice some English listening with a native speaker, as well as learning some stuff that they can use in their own English conversations. I hope you enjoy it. Wherever you’re watching or listening, don’t forget to like, or subscribe, or whatever it’s called wherever you’re listening or watching. Now, this is now on YouTube as well, so for you audio listeners, if you fancy watching along you can go to my YouTube channel and there’s a video version waiting right there for you and if you are just listening along, and you want to get the transcript for this podcast, so you can follow along with what I’m saying, it’s all available on my website totally for free. You can get the full transcript and the link is in the show notes or the description.
I’m a bit under the weather
Good stuff! So today’s podcast, we’re talking all about Hobbies, right. Hobbies, the things you do for fun. I’m going to give you some phrases and some things you can ask and basically help you talk about this kind of thing in English when you meet new people. I’ll also tell you a bit about my hobbies, you know, maybe you want to get to know me a bit more, so I’ll tell you about the stuff that I’m interested in, but before we get into all that let’s have a bit of a chat about what’s been going on recently. So you may notice, or you may hear, that my voice is a bit weird and that’s because I’m a bit under the weather at the minute. Now, under the weather, this is an expression that we use in English to mean we’re not very well. We’re a bit sick.
We don’t use it for serious illnesses, you know, we’re not using it if you’ve got a really bad disease but if you’ve got a bit of a cold, or a little bit of flu, or stomach bug, or something that, that’s just annoying not life-threatening, just annoying, we tend to say that we’re feeling a bit under the weather and that’s true for me at the minute. I’ve got a bit of a sore throat, a bit of a runny nose, a bit of a cough, you know classic cold symptoms, so it looks as though I’ve got a cold somewhere along the line, but you know it is what it is. We can’t win them all.
It’s probably because the weather’s turned a bit cold in Japan recently, and I’ve been out and about because I took a trip to Tokyo earlier this week. I’ve not been to Tokyo for ages, but I took a trip to Tokyo for two reasons. One is uh I love wrestling pro wrestling, you know, maybe when you were younger, you saw on TV, WWF, Hulk Hogan and The Rock and Stone Cold and all that kind of stuff, so I went to a really big Japanese wrestling show called “Wrestle Kingdom” in Tokyo Dome. I’ve wanted to do for years, so I went to Tokyo to watch that, but that was half the reason I went. The other half of the reason I went to Tokyo was to finally meet StewSensei and Mike uh from 212 English School. Mike, you might remember, he was on the channel a while ago as American English versus British English. We made a video about British slang that Americans can’t understand. The link will be in the show notes if you want to check that video out, uh but Stew , I’ve spoke to quite a fair bit, but just on the internet. we met online, and we’re just messaging. It were nice to meet him in real life, face to face, so that was a great, really great experience.
I went to Tokyo, watched some wrestling, met Mike and Stew, we just spent a bit of time in Tokyo, went to absolutely awesome burger place, uh called Unchained Burger I think it was called. I can’t really remember the name, but It were amazing and if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ve seen a lot of that stuff in my stories this week, but at some point during all that, probably I got sick. I don’t know, I was a little… in fact that’s not fair, I was a little sick before I went. Just a bit of a sore throat, , that’s why I’ve been eating a lot of these things. I’ll show on YouTube, , if you’re not watching on YouTube it’s called VC 3000 nodo ame. Nodo ame is Japanese for throat candy, right. So, probably like a throat lozenge as we say in English. You know, the kind of sweet that you put in your mouth, and it helps your sore throat, so, yeah, , been eating a lot of them things this week. And other than that, you know, just living life and working. I made an episode last week about New Year’s goals and New Year’s resolutions, so we’ve been working on that kind of stuff, of course nothing’s changed yet, but we’re we’re going in the right direction. Working on business things and you know trying to get things in order but good stuff, but yeah
Why is it important to talk about hobbies?
Let’s jump into the main topic of today’s podcast and that is talking about your hobbies in English. Now this is important. When you get to meet somebody for the first time, and you start to get to know each other and build that relationship a bit, it’s inevitable you’re eventually going to talk about hobbies, right? Because it’s how you can share more details about who you really are, right. You can tell them about what you’re studying. You can tell them about your job, but that’s not really who you are, right? Who you are is the kind of stuff that you’re into. The stuff that you’re interested in.
Then you can express that, and it’s also good because if somebody else that you’re talking to has similar interests, and you’ve got something in common, that’s when you can really be like “Yes! I want to build a relationship with this person because we’re into similar things, and we’re likely to get on pretty well.” so that’s why it’s important, and it’s inevitable if you’re going to learn English, and you want to communicate with people in English, you’re eventually going to talk about Hobbies. You can’t avoid it, so you may as well learn all about it.
Stop saying hobbies (so much)
The first thing I want to say, and this is a bit of… you know those videos online, and they’re always a teacher who is like “stop saying very” or “don’t say I’m fine, thank you” you know them kind of teachers, that I hate them videos. You can say “very” you can say “I’m fine, thank you” Whatever it is, just you know, stop telling people what they can and can’t say other teachers! Anyway… but I’m going to do that, even though I’ve just said I hate it. I’m going to do it. The word hobby, especially here in Japan. If you translate the word shumi into English it comes out as hobby, right? Hobby is a word that has a bit of a negative image in England, or at least for me. For me, if somebody says hobby, I imagine that either they’re collecting stamps, or you know, playing Warhammer, or you know, something really nerdy and proper geeky, or you know, my grandma’s sat on a rocking chair knitting a sweater or something. That, to me, is a hobby.
Watching Netflix is not a hobby. Mate, that’s not a hobby, you know? Playing badminton with your brother once a week is not a hobby. These are not hobbies. Hobbies are stuff you know , in Japan collecting Gundam models, or I don’t know something that takes a lot of time, and effort, and money, and I don’t know why, in my head it’s always collecting something, like stamps, or old coins, or you know something like that.
But that’s why, when people often say “what’s your hobby” I’m like oh I haven’t really got a hobby, , but I’ve got loads of interests. That’s the thing. Now what I want you to do is, you understand this word hobby, right? I want you to stop saying it as much as you can. I mean, if you really want to say it, I’m not going to stop you. I’m going to understand, but if you want to sound more natural, stop saying it.
How to naturally talk about hobbies
I’m going to give you some other things to say instead. They’re going to make you sound a bit more natural, right. You could of course you can ask somebody “what is your hobby” that’s fine, but please listen to some alternatives.
For me, when I meet somebody, I’ll often ask them “what kind of stuff are you into?” “what kind of stuff are you into?” into… interested in… You can also ask “what kind of stuff are you interested in?” “what kind of stuff are you into?” even more simply, “what do you enjoy doing?” “what do you like doing?” uh, you can add free time, “what do you like doing in your free time?” “what do you like doing at the weekends?” that kind of stuff. , another expression that I use a lot, instead of saying “do” I’ll say “get up to” but “what do you get up to in your free time?” “what do you get up to at the weekend?” “what do you do?” “what do you get up to at the weekend?” so much more natural questions. When you meet someone for the first time, it’s going to be things like “what kind of stuff do you like doing?” “What kind of stuff are you interested in?” “What do you get up to in your free time?” Expressions like this are much much more natural than “what is your hobby?” because a lot of people, if you ask them that, will say “I haven’t really got any hobbies” They’re interested in loads of stuff, but they don’t really have a hobby so to speak.
Right, so, those are some questions I would suggest that you start using, , or whatever works for you. In English, we’ve got an expression in English, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, right? Which means as long as the goal is achieved, it doesn’t really matter which way you do it, so you choose whichever way you like and that’s absolutely fine. Now in terms of replying when somebody asks you about your hobbies, there’s loads of ways to do this. I’m going to just run through a bunch of expressions that you could use in this situation. You know, “In my free time I blah blah blah blah blah” you know “I collect Yu-Gi-Oh cards” or “I draw pictures of cats” you know, whatever you’re doing in your free time. uh “In my free time duh duh duh” “when I have some spare time I blah blah blah blah blah” or you can say things like “I relax after work by verb-ing” “I relax after work by watching Netflix” you know something like that. Listening to music, , going to the cinema, whatever. , if you really want to say “my hobbies are, I don’t know, bird watching or collecting old 18th century plates” I don’t know what people do in the free time, but , other things you’ll hear people say all the time is “I’m interested in…” then usually it’s a noun like “I’m interested in football” or it can be verb-ing “I’m interested in traveling around Europe” for example. So you could also say, same meaning, “I’m keen on…” This is kind of a, I think it’s kind of a British thing. I know Australians definitely say it too, but I don’t know about Americans, but I’m keen on something, I’m interested in it “I’m keen on football” “I’m keen on traveling around Europe” I like doing it.
As a complete side note, we will also use this when somebody invites us to something. Somebody says “oh Dan, uh do you fancy coming for a pint after work on Friday?” “yeah, I’m keen” “yeah I want to do that” “I’m keen” so yeah, you could do that and we also use it when somebody’s trying to, , tell their mates that they like someone. Maybe a new girl is just joining your class, and you’re like “I am pretty keen on that girl” right? “I like that girl” that kind of thing. , so, I’m interested in = I’m keen on – , shorter version, I’m into “I’m really into football” “I’m really into traveling around Europe” uh or simply I enjoy “I enjoy traveling around Europe” “I enjoy football” they’re pretty easy ways. British people especially, you’ll find that we often include words like really or proper or quite when we’re kind of emphasising how much we like something. , you know, “I’m pretty into football” a little bit uh “I’m really keen on, I don’t know, baking cakes” I should have written down a list of hobbies before I started this but I’m just thinking off the top of my head and that’s why it’s not going very well. but you know. so “I’m really keen on” “I’m really into” “I’m proper into” “I’m quite into” you know all these kind of things you can kind of emphasise how much you like something because maybe you like football a bit but you’re not a mega fan “I’m quite into football” I like it quite a lot but I’m not you know obsessed by it or anything so that’s good they’re basic ways to introduce your hobbies.
Give a bit of detail
Something that I would say at this point is, if somebody’s asking you about your hobby, right, they are trying to learn more about you and what you like, right? So don’t just be like “Oh I’m into football” finished… Give them some more details man because they’re first thought is “I like football” “why? why do you like football? more information por favor” which I think is Spanish for please by the way. So , if you say, “I like football because…” you know “I enjoy collecting 18th century plates because…” why? why do you do it? a lot of people, they they go to the gym right? They’re like going to the gym and working out and you know becoming Arnold Schwarzenegger and that. “I like going to the gym because…” you know there’s loads of reasons you might like going to the gym. Maybe you know it keeps you fit. Maybe you go there because it’s just nice to get out of the house for a while. Maybe it’s because you meet other people while you’re there and it’s a good way to make new friends. Maybe you’re really interested in the science behind building muscles and nutrition and all that stuff, or maybe you just really enjoy looking at girls in tight Lycra. I don’t know, everybody’s got their own thing right?
So give that extra information when you’re talking to someone. Don’t just be like “I like football” end of conversation… let’s talk about it “I like football because I used to go with my dad when I was young and I follow Sheffield Wednesday” or whatever you know tell them a little bit more information because there’s nothing worse when you’re talking to someone and you ask a really open question “what kind of stuff are you into?” really open question. They can express anything they want and they hit you up with four words “I’m really into fishing” and then nothing… well what a waste of a chance to get to know each other that is! So yeah, be very very careful about that.
Make sure you give them extra details and same is true the other way. If you ask a question to someone… if you ask somebody “what are you into?” and they give you some information, use a follow-up question “when did you get into that?” “oh that’s interesting. what does that what does that involve?” you know “oh is it something that you’d recommend to somebody else?” follow-up questions show a deeper interest in what they’re saying, you’re going to have a better relationship. I’m going to do a whole other podcast about follow-up questions at some point in the future but you can’t just be like “oh what are you into?” “oh I’m really into fishing” “that’s nice” now what? conversation finished? so you know be careful with stuff like that.
Another thing that you could be aware of with this… I’m just thinking about it now… is there’s a common mistake when we’re talking about hobbies. When it comes to “I like doing” or “I enjoy doing” versus “I like to do” or “I enjoy to do” enjoy… it doesn’t work… but like… so rewind “like doing” versus “like to do” right so, like is always plus verb-ing you know? “I like fishing” “I like bowling” “I like swimming” “I like shopping” whatever it is, but it’s always like plus verb-ing. However, some people “like to go fishing” or “like to buy expensive artwork” whatever it is. So just be careful with “like verb-ing” or “like to verb” Kinda don’t mix them up “I like to fishing” no, no you don’t. “I like to fish” or “I like to go fishing” or “I like fishing” so yeah be careful with that.
What am I into?
But in terms of the the language for today, that’s probably about it. You’ve got everything you need there to be able to talk about hobbies in English and let’s switch it up and do a bit of listening practice. I’m going to tell you a bit about my hobbies and my interests. Now, like I say, most people don’t have any hobbies right? For me, I’m a bit of a geek. I’m a bit of a nerd. So, I kind of do have traditional hobbies. I like collecting retro video games. If you’re watching on YouTube, you can probably see over here there’s a bunch of retro video games, you know, Super Nintendo and stuff like that. So I like collecting old video games. I also really like Pokemon, so I collect Pokemon stuff… Pokemon cards and sometimes I play Pokemon cards here in Japan. That’s kind of a bit geeky, but you know, that’s me. That’s who I am. So I spend a bit of time doing that kind of stuff.
I also love music. I’m a big music fan. I like to spend a bit of time listening to music every day, as much as I can. When I was younger I was well into music. I wanted to be a musician. I wanted to be involved in the music industry, so when I was about 14 or around 15 maybe, my mum bought me a guitar for Christmas, I remember, and I learned how to play that guitar. I basically taught myself how to play guitar because I wanted to write the songs that I listened to… you know? When I was about 14, I was listening to bands like Green Day, and The Offspring, and Blink 182, and these kind of bands and I wanted to write music like them, so I learned how to play those songs and eventually did start my own band. We played around and I’ve been in a few bands in my life. Some of them are still on Spotify and stuff like that… but yeah basically punk rock music, and metal music, and Ska music, and stuff like that. I was really into going to music festivals and often, in my free time, go to record shops and look for old vinyl records and stuff like that. And of course playing music and recording music. When I was younger I went to University to study Sound Engineering so, you know, I can record bands in a music studio and all that kind of good stuff. Music is a big interest in my life. It takes up quite a lot of my time and I love it a lot.
What else am I into? Wrestling. I mentioned earlier I love wrestling… not doing it… I don’t think I’d be very good at doing it, but I love watching it and the first thing that people always say is “you know it’s fake, right?” Yeah! but Marvel’s fake, all films are fake and you know, why does that stop you enjoying it? it doesn’t! But I’ve always loved wrestling. I remember when I was about eight years old, my dad took me to watch wrestling at the big arena in my home city and I’ve loved it ever since. so I’ve always watched it. You’ll often see, in other videos, if you you watch, most of the t-shirts I’m wearing are either a punk band or some wrestling t-shirt. There you go, a bit of behind the scenes knowledge for you there, but yeah, I like wrestling, especially watching wrestling.
Music, collecting stuff, old stuff, I quite enjoy and of course you know making content. You wouldn’t think it’s a hobby, but it is a hobby that’s becoming a business, you know, making podcasts, making videos, making content, it’s something I enjoy doing and for most of you guys, you probably don’t know, but I actually have a completely separate YouTube channel, where I make videos about life in Japan and I’ve been doing that for six years. I enjoy doing it and editing and stuff like that so that’s what I like to get up to in my free time. I consider myself a creative person. I like to create things. Whether it’s music, or whether it’s content, or whatever it is, I do enjoy creating things so I would say I’m a creative person and that probably comes through in the hobbies and the stuff that I do.
It’d be good to know what your guys kind of hobbies are so that leads me on to today’s question. If you’re watching this on YouTube, I want you to head to the comments below… if you’re listening to this podcast, you can send me an email, send me a message on whatever platform and let me know, but today’s question is “what do you like to do in your free time?” “what kind of stuff are you into?” let me know! I’d love to hear all about it! That’s basically everything to do with hobbies in today’s podcast.
I do want to take a couple of minutes to just, first of all, say thank you to everyone that’s reached out since the last episode, in terms of you know, me trying to start my own business and stuff like that. Thank you very much for the kind and positive thoughts. I want to plug a few things. First of all, patreon is now up and running. It’s waiting there for you. So if you want to join my patreon, and get access to the the Discord Channel, which is like a text channel or an audio channel where you can talk to other patreons and other English learners and practice actually speaking. It’s a group of people that you can get together and be part of. The links are in the show notes. You can also join my conversation club, which is once a week, we’ll get together on zoom and we’ll have a chat and we’ll talk together and it’s a good way for us all to practice English together. All that stuff’s available on patreon.com/DanSensei The link is in the description or the show notes or whatever. Please check it out if you’re interested and it’ll help support what I’m doing… so lovely stuff!
I have also opened up some new slots for private lessons, so if you’re interested in taking private lessons with me, I’ve got slots available. You can send me an email, which is [email protected] or you can hit me up on Instagram, or whatever, and we’ll talk about it. I’ll help you improve your English and we’ll do some lessons together. I’ve got about four or five slots left, so might have to be quick, but it’s coming. And also, a bit of a preview of what’s coming up next. I’ve just finished writing a new book about communicating in English and it’s going to be available very, very soon and I’m going to give it away for free! so keep your eye on social media. I would imagine by the end of January it’ll be out and you can download it and it’s full of cool stuff that I can’t wait to share with you. Be sure to get that when it comes out. It’s coming very, very soon. I think that’s basically everything from me today. Thank you so much for listening. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you learned something new. Do me a favour, leave a rating if you’re listening to this audio podcast on Apple, or Google, or Spotify. If you’re watching on YouTube, thumbs up, subscribe, all that good stuff and thank you very much for your time today. I hope you enjoyed it and I’ll catch you next week in the next episode see ya!
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