So, I made it through the week with all my mental faculties still intact. But allow me to explain. For about 5 weeks know I have been preparing for the Japanese Speech contest. I wrote two 3 page Japanese essays before I wrote the final speech. The final speech went through 6 drafts. It took me two weeks to memorize. Sakakibara Sensei, Takaya, Koki and Manabu all spent hours of their time helping me. I listened to the speech all night for 3 nights in an attempt to remember it. For the last 3 days, all I have done is practice this speech. Yesterday, I was able to do it from beginning to end for the first time, and today I performed it.
This was not a fun week. But it was a good experience. I learned two things about myself. The first is that, when it comes down to it, money, recognition and ranking do not matter to me. What does matter is that I not disappoint people who have invested their time and emotion in me (i.e. care for me), and that I maintain my own honor. I realized this because, at the point when it looked like my speech was not going to come together and I would be unable to remember my lines, I was not worried about the embarrassment that this would cause me or the loss of the prize, but about how sad everyone who had helped me would be. I suppose this is also why grades have never been very important to me, but I continue to do well in my classes. The second thing that I learned is that I can really pull things out of my ass if I need to. I have already had too many times in my life where I am suddenly able to summon a large amount of charisma. I have got to run out sometime. I am very worried that I rely too much on my ability to make something I do better based on a tapping of charisma. I worry that I will become lazy, and depend on this rather than doing the quality of work I want to do.
So, I went to San Francisco, found the place, and then suffered through 2 hours of the exact same nervousness that I used to feel before Cross Country races. Observe the left hand clenched in a tight fist.
Anyway, so the speech went great, I hear. You see, I remember standing up to walk up to the podium, and I remember sitting down after the speech was finished and having everyone around me say "great job", but all I remember about the speech itself was the horrible feedback that I kept getting from the microphone. Luckily Takaya took this picture, so I know that I did, in fact, do the speech.
Well, that is all I have to say about the speech contest. I didn't win, but I didn't really expect to. I realized about 3 days ago that my theme and style, while it would be very popular with the younger and less serious members of the audience, would probably not impress most of the judges. I am mostly happy that my speech didn't end in catastrophe. Besides, I took more valuable things than prizes away from this speech contest.
Well, so afterwards, Takaya, Koki, Minoru and I went to Japantown to eat Japanese food. Then, on the way back to Davis and ate Krispy Kreme doughnuts.By the way, the verdict is that Krispy Kreme is far superior to Mister Donuts, Japan's biggest doughnut franchise. All that remains now is for me to prove to my Korean friends that Krispy Kreme is better than Dunkin' Donuts, Korea's biggest franchise, and my unusual desire to prove the superiority of an American junk food which I don't even eat will be satisfied.