Japanese Prayer Wall

Japanese Prayer Wall

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Reversal of Roles

Imagine giving a speech to over a thousand people.  Everyone is watching your every move and listening intently to each word.  Now imagine doing it in a foreign language.  Soon I will be giving farewell speeches to my students, co-workers, and church members.  To say that I am nervous is an understatement because Japanese has always been very difficult for me. 

I want to do my best because I think of my farewell speeches as goodbye presents to the people who I’ve grown to care about most.  My Japanese teacher helped me prepare the speeches, so I want to give a big “Arigatougozaimasu” to Fukuoka Sensei. 

Recently, I had an idea that could help with the speech-making process.  I had the privilege of coaching two of my students for an English speech recitation contest this year, and they were amazing!  They worked really hard and improved a lot.  English was a foreign language for them, so they understand the difficulties of the task ahead of me.  I laid down my pride and insecurities and asked them to become my speech coaches.
Hanako and Ren, my speech coaches
With our busy schedules, we could only practice together a couple times, but they taught me a lot.  Apparently, in Japan, when people are nervous about giving speeches, they imagine the audience as vegetables.  There’s nothing scary about vegetables, right?  As Ren put it, “We are potatoes.  Relax!”  Every time I remember her advice, it makes me smile.  Thank you for the memories, Ren and Hanako.  I’m so glad that I could teach you and that you could teach me too.

Please pray for peace and ease for me as I give speeches in Japanese.  I pray that I can be a blessing to those listening to my speeches, just like they have been blessings to me.  On a side note, I am trying to avoid thinking about the fact that farewell speeches actually mean that I'm leaving and saying goodbye.  If I think about that part of the situation too much, I might cry during my speeches.  So, I'm also praying for strength during an emotionally difficult time.

1 comment:

  1. Many blessings and a gambate for your upcoming farewells. You are in my prayers!