Today I had the pleasure to join a public speaking event organized almost solely by middle school kids, lead by Yuki Mitsuda and with a little help of my good friend and teacher Miho Saijo. Four boys and one girl were giving speeches, completly in English and in front of an audience of around 30-40 people. The speeches had the following topics (see the pamphlet below):

  • Japanese Culture
  • Imagination & Creativity
  • What is Performance?
  • To transform failure to success
  • Diversity

Considering the age of the speakers and their general experience, I have to say I was more than impressed by the topics and contents of the speeches. For some it was the first time speaking in English, a foreign language for them, in front of an audience but they did it with a lot of passion and confidence. What amazed me even more was how they spoke about the various topics. This was truly a great display of a diverse and open-minded thinking, already sparked in minds so young. Especially the last speech, eloquently carried out by 16 year old Yuki Mitsuda, already with a record of 1 year studying in the US, really showed how this could be a new way of thinking in a new generation in Japan. Embracing the diversity of our culturally rich world, rather learning about and accepting each other's differences than shutting yourself off from it. But there were also words of critiscm, hoping that the younger generation would not only embrace what's new and seemingly good in the foreign cultures but also remember how rich and important Japanese culture and traditions are and how they should not be exchanged or forgotten.

I also learned a very important new word today. 感動 / かんどう / kandou = impressed or deeply moved

All in all it was an impressive and amazing experience, truly in the spirit of what we at Internship Japan also want to achieve. A cultural exchange for a new generation and a brighter future together. Teaching young minds how to think out of the box and learn from an experience by studying and working abroad is an important step towards that.

Another interesting fact, the event was held in the Microsoft office in Shinagawa and a Microsoft representative was also present. I made sure to introduce Internship Japan to her and left my meishi. Let's see what happens with that :)