I promised myself I’d learn that speech before I turned 30.

I’ve done it, with 52 minutes to spare.

Now I have twenty days to perfect it.

Whilst the learning of the actual words is of course vital, I also need to put some thought into how I’m going to deal with the psychological side of things. If it was an English event, I wouldn’t be that nervous at all, in fact I’d positively enjoy the experience. But Japanese? That freaks me out, makes me sweat. Wipes my memory clean.

Clearly, I need to adjust my thinking, and rid myself of whatever negative associations I am making with a Japanese-public-speaking environment.

So, at the moment, what I’m trying hard to do, is to visualise being in that great lecture hall, and loving it. I’m at the front of the room with a captive audience. I’m talking about Trailwalker; everyone is fully engaged with what I’m saying, picturing the scene as I describe how I emerged from that final forest and started to cry (that’s the middle bit of the speech. After that I talk about how NGOs can work with the bureaucracy and business to democratise Japan. Nothing like a bit of variety).

I’ve also been thinking about what I’m going to say in my acceptance speech.

This is not due to some groundless faith in my own abilities, but rather, use of an imaginary scenario to encourage my subconscious to believe that it’s going to go sooooo well that I don’t need to worry about it at all.

There are times when I’m halfway through the speech (I was practicing it constantly today whilst clearing out the stream in the garden), when suddenly I feel that belly-wobbling fear. In those instances I’m careful to stop, and start laughing, I dance and jump around. Make frog noises. This immediately does away with the fear, and hopefully is also training my subconscious to believe that Speech = Fun.

I’m also hoping that this mind work will impact upon my performance in my speaking exam (which takes the form of a mock job interview), and if I get an interview for the CIR job, that too. (My friend today told me that he’s just received a letter inviting him for interview for the post of ALT – on the 28th – the same day as my Population and Environment in China exam. Let’s hope they don’t choose that day for the CIRs!).

Ho hum. So that’s it for Joseph in his twenties. byeeeeeee!