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Beneath the Surface






Key words and phrases:

tip: a piece of advice

pastime: hobby

to add insult to injury: to make a bad situation worse

(7)-plus: used to indicate that it could be more

insane: crazy

steeped in: full of, surrounded by

at a glance: a first look, without careful inspection

rush to judgement: to judge something or someone without careful consideration


Hi friends.


Before going to the main theme, here’s a tip when you are giving a self-introduction. Native speakers rarely say “my hobbies are…,” instead try something like “in my free time…” or “when I am not working, I enjoy…”.


I recently had an interesting chat with a student about hobbies. He enjoys tea ceremony and I like golf. In any case, he and I were talking about hobbies and how many hobbies may seem quite different, but could actually be more similar that it would appear. Let me explain.


Golf is something that I enjoy doing in my free time. For those of you who have no interest in golf or have never played, golf is indeed a strange pastime. The object of the game is to hit a small ball around a course and put it in a little cup using various clubs. It’s frustrating most of the time and can be expensive. And, to add insult to injury, a round of golf can take 7-plus hours. Sounds insane, right?


How about tea ceremony? This is something I have never tried, but, as explained by the student, it is another hobby that may seem strange to some. It is a multi-hour event that requires people to sit in a position called seiza, or “proper sitting,” but what also might be called an uncomfortable position. Tea ceremony takes years to learn and many more years to master. However, people that study this Japanese tradition, that is steeped in history, love it immensely.


At a glance, golf and tea ceremony could not be more different, however, they do share similarities. First, both require a great deal of concentration. They allow people to escape from the usual fast-paced life and slow things down. Both require a single focus, which allows us to be mindful of the moment and appreciate the people whom we are with. Both allow us to enjoy time of self-focus and moments enjoyed among the group. These hobbies require years of study and practice and most people will never quite master them. In that sense, we can say that in golf and tea ceremony, the journey is much more important than the destination.


In any case, when talking to others about what they do in their free time, before rushing to judgement, we should ask questions about their interest. We may just find that although things appear to be different on the surface, they may share unexpected similarities. Like the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover.


Wishing you health and happiness always.


Mark Tofflemire

Tailor Made Inc.

mark-tailormade@gol.com or toffy@gol.com

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