habit zero #008

Drawing by Etamar Wyssocky 

the challenge


Today I decided to do something different. Instead of picking a Prism and a Seed, I played with a seempli eXperience card.

When playing with a seempli eXperience I should only do something — not create anything in most cases and then reflect on the experience. The idea behind this type of activity is that creativity is derived from experiencing things. And unfortunately, we tend to forget that in the busy lifestyle we are leading.

With that in mind, the eXperience I picked today was to watch a movie I don’t know anything about — no trailer, no screenshots, no excerpts, no reviews. Nothing.

I gave myself a minor waiver and instead watching a movie I used the opportunity to watch some episodes of an Anime series called Mononoke. Anime is not my mainstream genre, and I didn’t know anything in advance about that specific series. In fact, if it wasn’t for my son, I would never know that this series even exists. I didn’t know what to expect.

This is the first entry in the habitzero journal which is derived from an eXperience, so we are going to “struggle” together with what an Insight means in this context. My initial thought is that it shouldn’t describe anything “objective” about the subject of the experience (such as the plot of the series I watched in this case), but focus on what I felt and thought about it. And when it comes to Mononoke, there’s plenty of that! This is clearly not a review. It is a subjective report of what was going in my mind when experiencing this series.

my insight


My general feeling from the first frame of the first episode and throughout the entire watching was “what is it I’m watching?” Mononoke is a strange, enigmatic series (side note: just the way I like it). But unlike anything I saw before, this feeling did not dissolve with time — if anything, it became stronger.

Imagine landing unprepared in a foreign country. You don’t speak the language — in fact it doesn’t sound like anything you’ve heard before. Everywhere you look you see visuals with shapes and colors which you either don’t know or are completely out of context. There’s a strange soundtrack accompanying you. And people look 100% troubled 100% of the time and you are not sure exactly why. That’s how it felt to watch that first episode.

I don’t speak Japanese and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Japanese dialog for 25 minutes straight. This is an experience by itself. Combined with the enigmatic story and the extreme reactions (or lack of reactions) of practically all characters, the effect is amazing. When you add to that the non-conventional traditional-Japanese-painting-like animation, which is unique even in the context of Anime, you get a flood of new stimuli on multiple senses.

The experience was overwhelming, and that’s exactly was caused an even more overwhelming dissonance when the opening and closing songs started to play. Although they were in Japanese, they sounded like the most ordinary songs in the world. Something playing in a cozy restaurant. Nothing from the sense of mystery, the energy, and uniqueness of the rest of the episode was left when the song started. It was like turning on the lights after being in complete darkness for 25 minutes. Or the other way around.



It has been a while since I deliberately sat down to watch something I know nothing about. I was lucky with the choice (thanks to my son), because it demonstrated so vividly how powerful this experience can be.

While watching the episode I felt like my brain is working extra hard to follow all the new information it was exposed to. And it was refreshing. It is rarely that we are in a situation where nothing we know can help us digest what we see and hear. True, this was just an animated TV series — not a life changing experience. And yet, it was like nothing I saw before and I had no preparation for that — and that’s what made it so great.

mental notes


  • Try watching, reading, or listening to something you never had a chance to before.
  • Plan to be surprise — create opportunities for that.

now it is your turn… eXperience!



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