15 Creative Hobbies to Bring More Balance Into Your Life

With people’s social distancing or practicing shelter-in-place during the coronavirus outbreak, many are wondering how to pass the time until businesses reopen and order is restored in the world. Whether it’s catching up on TV or reading that novel never explored, many people are turning toward hobbies as a way to pass the time and entertained during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, taking on a new hobby is always a great idea to bring more creativity into your life. Today we’ve prepared you a list of 15 creative hobbies which you can easily start – a whole 9 of them is of Japanese origin. Enjoy!

1. 🇯🇵 Ikebana – Flower Arranging 

ikebana japanese art of flower composition
ikebana by Tel Qel

A single stem never dies – goes the message from the Japanese floral philosophy of Ikebana. This isn’t a new concept In fact, Japanese Shinto priests – Japan’s indigenous religion – offered evergreen branches to the spirits for centuries to try to capture natural beauty. Then when buddhism came along in the sixth Century, Buddhist monks evolved these Shinto offerings into beautiful arrangements: the art of ikebana was born. But flower arrangement is not reserved only to Japan. If you like plants, flower arranging to express yourself is a very unique and rewarding hobby. Many local flower shops offer classes for beginners, and there are many books and websites that offer tutorials. Floristry is something anyone can get into, and you can use the things you make to brighten up your home or create a very unique, personalised gift to your loved ones.

2. Bullet journaling

Bullet journaling is one of the best creative hobbies you can possibly choose since writing is a skill that affects all spheres of your life. It is a technique that you can use to record the events of your day, stay organised, and plan for future goals. When you write down your thoughts it’s easier to create actionable goals. All you need to start bullet journaling is a blank notebook and a pen. You don’t need to spend money on a pre-bought planner, rather, you create one yourself that only includes the things you need. To keep things organised, you should focus on three main things you’ll write down each day – the tasks you need to get done, notes about things you don’t want to forget, and noteworthy events that you want to remember. Bullet journaling is the simplest way to express yourself without putting your actions in some strict boundaries. That makes it a a fantastic and diverse hobby. It’s up to you to set the tone, complexity and seriousness of the things you’ll write on. Some bullet journalists use different colours and layouts, some keep it very simple.

3. 🇯🇵 Kintsugi

Kintsugi Repair is a form of Japanese art, not just a DIY repair method. Kintsugi (also known as Kintsukuroi) literally translates as “golden joinery”. Kintsugi repair has a long history which was practiced by our ancestors from Edo era (year 1603–). To repair broken ceramics easy and fast, we recommend to use epoxy adhesives instead. You will repair in a traditional method using real Urushi lacquers, without using an artificial glue.

The technique used a strong lacquer resin that has been sprinkled with powered gold. With our kit, you will repair in a traditional method using real Urushi lacquers without any artificial materials. The resulting repaired pottery will be both visually appealing and durable as well. The Japanese have been using lacquering techniques for approximately 9,000 years, and this skill and art form is still valued to this day. To learn more, check our article dedicated entirely to kintsugi. 



Kintsugi inspired dinnerware set by Japana, available in our store. 

4. Woodworking

woodworking how to carpeting hobby

Woodworking is truly one of the most rewarding and fulfilling creative hobbies you could ever take on. From multiple schools of thought to thousands of woodworking projects to keep you busy and creative, woodworking is just waiting for you to get started. Ever since man learned how to craft tools from rocks, bones and eventually iron and steel, he has been using the resources available to him to make life easier for himself and his community. Working with wood is something man has been doing for centuries, and wood is still one of our more precious resources. Woodworking can be taken as a hobby and enjoyed by just about anyone with the desire and time to devote to it. When you start  essentially passing down and furthering the legacy of an age-old pursuit that will probably last for years to come.

5. 🇯🇵 Mizuhiki Decorations

mizuhiki art japanese as hobbyIt may not be so well known in the West, but Mizuhiki is one of Japan’s most ancient crafts and creative hobbies enjoyed by many. A special kind of decorative cord made from rice paper, Mizuhiki is used to decorate things like gifts, cards and envelopes. It is twisted and knotted to create flowers and animals, as well as elaborate designs similar to the bows that are made using ribbons in western culture. Various kinds of Mizuhiki exist, and they come in a range of knots and colours. When the gift is money, it is customary to present it in a folded paper envelope and tied with Mizuhiki.

6. Writing

There is no special secret technique to writing. No methodologies that you must follow, no “right way”. The best ways to learn about writing are reading and writing. When you read, you are exposed both to ideas and to how those ideas are expressed. Take note of how things are done, try to understand what the author tries to convey as a message. This can refer to how characters are introduced, how a scene is set, how an event is foreshadowed, etc. When you write, read what you’ve written, see what doesn’t work, change it until it does. To start writing you don’t need anything more than a pen and a paper. You can start by writing few sentences in a journal every day, or even just brainstorming a short story you want to write. That’s why writing is one of a few creative hobbies that will improve your life quality on many levels.

7. Photography

Japanese fish seller cleaning and filleting fish with a deba knifePhotography is a great way to express your creative side. You don’t need to drop a couple thousand dollars on a professional-grade camera. You can even start with just your cell phone. Consistency is key when trying to pick up this creative hobby. People start doing photography (versus taking snaps or selfies) for many reasons. It might be a major life event coming up – new baby, wedding, special birthday – or that overseas trip saved up for over many years. There are many different reasons why photography is always a perfect hobby to have; it helps you remember events and capture memories. It’s fun, helps you develop a personal style and most importantly – helps you make new connections with other people. As they say – a picture is worth a 1000 words.

8. 🇯🇵 Origami
how to do origami

Origami (ori meaning “folding” and kami being a translation of “paper”) is a traditional Japanese folk art of paper folding. It is another hobby that is both creative and relaxing. Its was created in the 17th century and has evolved into the modern art it is today. It consists of transforming a flat sheet of material – typically paper – into a sculpture. Making beautiful plants, animals, and other nature-inspired folds is a great way to show your creative side. There are thousands of different designs to learn, and practicing helps with hand-eye coordination. The only material needed for origami is paper. It should be thin, able to hold a crease, and not tear easily when folded a number of times. Some origami paper is coloured on one side, with white on the other. Paper should always be folded on a hard, flat surface, and the folds should be as straight and precise as possible, with all corners and edges meeting evenly.

9. Baking and Cake Decorating

Baking and cake decorating is a type of cooking, a hobby devoured by many. Creating delectable treats is a creative hobby that comes with a truly sweet reward at the end. Not only is baking very satisfying, but it will also endear you to your friends and family, who will enjoy your cakes and other creations.

10. Soap making
how to make soap

Many people like to try soap making using glycerin as it is easier to find and can make some really pretty bars. You can get creative and use goat’s milk as a base for your soap. You can add colours and fragrances to create soap as pretty as you would find in any sore. But you don’t have to stop at just colours and fragrances. There are many additives you can add to your soap to be for function or beauty such as oatmeal, herbs or flowers. The list is endless. A quick search on Pinterest results in hundreds of tutorials—from invigorating lemon soap to deliciously smelling vanilla lotion bars.

11. 🇯🇵 DIY Shibori fabrics

shibori diy how to

The idea of recreating an ancient Japanese dyeing technique is very inspiring. Shibori is often done on natural fabrics, such as silk, hemp, or cotton. It is a Japanese dyeing technique that typically involves folding, twisting or bunching cloth and binding it, then dyeing it (often) in indigo. And to answer your question before it even arises – no, Shibori is not always blue. You can find examples of Shibori in almost every conceivable colour from neon pink to the deepest of blacks. People often think of Japanese Shibori as being blue because many of the Edo period workwear kimono are dyed with indigo and decorated with Shibori patterns.

Whatever is used to bind the fabric will resist the dye, resulting in areas of the cloth that take the distinctive blue dye in patterns created by the resistance, and other areas of the cloth that remain white. Shibori is a very vast technique and there are tons of ways to do it (and a truly infinite number of patterns you can create) and the two most popular methods are: using wood blocks and rubber bands to bind and resist the dye.

12. 🇯🇵 Shodo – The Japanese Calligraphy

japanese calligraphy shodo art hobby

Shodo, or Japanese calligraphy, is a traditional art rooted in history. And like Go, it came from ancient China, where the Japanese writing script of kanji originated. If you’re learning Japanese, Shodo is a fun way to help brush up on your kanji. If not, you’re also learning to create beautiful works of art with a deep meaning and history attached. You need three things to get started: a brush, calligraphy ink, and calligraphy paper. Alternatively, you can also get just a calligraphy pen (or brush pen) and practice on normal paper. All these tools can usually be found online, or, if you’re living in Japan, 100 yen stores can help you get your new hobby started on the cheap.

13. 🇯🇵 Creating cute creatures of Kyara-Bento

Kyara-Bento how to

If you’ve been to Japan, you probably seen lunch boxes depicting cute characters, and more meaningfully, a symbol of love from mothers across Japan. If you’re looking for a cook hobby that all family can enjoy, you can try learning kyara-bento with your children to turn your and their meals into little boxes of art. Kyara-bento are a fun way to unleash your creativity by shaping food into your favourite animals or cartoon characters.

14. 🇯🇵 Furoshiki – Gift Wrapping

furoshiki gift wrapping japanese how to

Many of the most revered Japanese arts have emerged from something that was first intended for practical uses. Such is the case with Japanese calligraphy, the solution to a growing need for a uniform script in the administrative process, and Kintsugi, which originated as an elegant way to repair broken pottery. Furoshiki follows this trend. The term, which literally translates to “bath (furo) spread (shiki),” was first used in the Nara period (710–794) as a means to protect valuable goods. Since then, the Japanese have mastered the art of doling fabric to transport and wrap items. This has evolved into a popular practice in cultures around the world as a versatile, environmentally-friendly way to carry bottles, food, and everyday necessities, and has also become a modern alternative to holiday gift-wrapping. Nowadays people around the world can enjoy item wrapping in a beautiful fabrics as one of creative hobbies, transforming the art of gift-giving.

15. 🇯🇵 Home Organising (KonMari method)

The KonMari Method
Source: Smart Nora

For some people home organising is a transformative experience, raising to the level of a creative hobby. The KonMari Method is pro organiser Marie Kondo’s minimalism-inspired approach to tackling your stuff category-by-category rather than room-by-room. The goal of the KonMari Method is to have a house full of items that spark joy, helping you declutter your both physical and mental world. For the full article on home decluttering check here.

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