Language | WELL SAID

Taking an interest in describing hobbies

by Akemi Tanahashi and Hitomi Tashiro

Contributing Writers

Shōhin-ni tsuite go-setsumei-shitara, kyōmi-o shimeshite-kudasaimashita. (When I explained our product, they showed interest in it.)

Situation 1: Section Chief Mr. Okubo asks Ms. Gray about her visit to the TK Co. offices.

大久保:  TK社の反応はどうだった?

グレイ:  商品についてご説明したら、興味を示してください ました。

Ōkubo: TK-sha-no hannō-wa dō-datta?

Gray: Shōhin-ni tsuite go-setsumei-shitara, kyōmi-o shimeshite-kudasaimashita.

Okubo: How was the reaction at TK Co.?

Gray: When I explained our product, they showed interest in it.

Today we will introduce 興味 (きょうみ) and 趣味 (しゅみ), terms that are often confused. 興味 means “interest” and is used in these patterns: X(noun)に興味がある/ない (to be interested/not interested in X); Xに興味を持(も)つ (to begin to have interest in X); Xに興味を持っている (to have interest in X); and Xに興味を示(しめ)す (someone shows interest in X). Examples: 私(わたし)は日本(にほん)の古(ふる)い建物(たてもの)に興味を持っています (I’m interested in old Japanese buildings). 興味深(きょうみぶか)い (interesting) is an i-adjective using 興味, as in: きのうの講演会(こうえんかい)で、興味深い話(はなし)を聞(き)いた (I heard an interesting thing in yesterday’s lecture). 興味津々 (きょうみしんしん) means “very interesting.” Example: みんなはロボットの動(うご)きを興味津々で見(み)ていた (Everyone looked at the movement of the robot with immense interest).

Situation 2: Mr. Mita asks new staff member Anna a question.

三田: アナさんの趣味は何ですか。

アナ: そうですね…、音楽を聞くことです。Jポップが大好きなんです。

Mita: Ana-san-no shumi-wa nan-desu-ka?

Ana: Sō-desu-ne … Ongaku-o kiku koto-desu. J-poppu-ga daisukina-n-desu.

Mita: What’s your hobby, Anna?

Anna: Well … listening to music. I love J-pop.

趣味(しゅみ) means “hobby,” “pastime” or “interest.” In Japanese, 趣味 can refer not only to “hobbies,” which suggests positive, creative activities such as gardening, diving, etc., but also a “pastime” or recreational activity such as reading, watching movies, etc. Example: 私(わたし)の趣味(しゅみ)はゲームとジョギングです (I spend my free time playing game or jogging). 趣味 can also refer to good or bad taste — in the fashion, not food sense — and is used in the form 趣味がいい/悪(わる)い (to have good/bad taste). Example: こんな派手(はで)な服(ふく)、趣味が悪いよ (Such gaudy clothes — how tasteless!).

Bonus Dialogue: Continued from Situation 2. Ms. Tamachi and new employee Mr. Morishita join the conversation.

田町:  森下(もりした)さんの趣味(しゅみ)は何(なん)ですか。

森下:  そうですね。料理(りょうり)を作(つく)るのが好(す)きです。今(いま)、いろいろなカレーにチャレンジ しています。あとは、温泉(おんせん)めぐりですね。

三田:   いいね。ぼくも温泉でのんびりして、おいしいものを食(た)べるのが大好(だいす)きなんだ。アナさんは、今はどんなことに興味があるの?

田町:  そんなにどんどん質問(しつもん)したら、困(こま) っちゃうでしょ?

三田:  みんな新入社員(しんにゅうしゃいん)に興味津々 (きょうみしんしん)なんだよ。

アナ:  うーん、そうですね。今はとにかく仕事(しごと)を 覚(おぼ)えなくちゃいけないので、仕事です。

森下:  私(わたし)もそうです。今はAIがどんどん進歩(しんぽ)していくから、自分(じぶん)も生(い)き残(のこ)れるように、これからも新(あたら)しいことを勉強(べんきょう)しなきゃって考(かんが)えています。

三田:  …えらいなあ。自分の新人時代(しんじんじだい)とは 大違(おおちが)いだ。ぼくも見習(みなら)わなくちゃ。

Tamachi: Mr. Morishita, how do you spend your free time?

Morishita: Well, I like cooking. Now I’m trying out various kinds of curry. Also, I like going to hot springs.

Mita: That’s good. I love relaxing in a hot spring and eating delicious food too. What are you into right now, Anna?

Tamachi: If you keep bombarding them with questions, you’re going to bother them.

Mita: Everybody is very interested in the new faces.

Anna: Let’s see. Whatever else, I’ve got to remember all the stuff at work, so I guess my answer is “work.”

Morishita: Me too. Now AI is progressing so rapidly, I’ll have to learn new things just to survive.

Mita: Wow, impressive! You’re so different from how I was in my newbie days. I have to learn from you.

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