The lack of broadband at home has finally driven me out to an Internet cafe. I would just use our iPhone, but it’s a bit tedious when it comes to long texts, and also I needed to use Skype …although now I’m here I find that you’re not allowed to talk in this place. Oh well. I could talk via Skype on my iPhone, but need a wifi network for that.
Anyway anyway, with time ticking by I need to be brief. Not only am I paying by the hour for this connection, but also I’m starting two new jobs tomorrow, one of which requires some prep.
The Hanpane Rally 2008 (“Volume 1”) was an unforgettable experience for *Twinkle* and I. It had been organised by a group of about twenty people in their twenties looking to promote the idea of young people going into business for themselves – *Twinkle* was the main co-ordinator, reporting back to a couple of people in their 40s who took overall responsibility.
*Twinkle* first mentioned it to me a couple of months back, something about a rally at which we’d be MCing. She sounded pretty relaxed about it so I didn’t think much of it.
Fast forward to last night, 6.30pm. We’re backstage at Nakano Zero Hall, an audience of over 550 filing into their seats out front. I’m crapping myself as I try and learn my lines (in Japanese) for our introduction, lines that we’d only written a few hours beforehand but not had a chance to even glance at due to frantic last minute prep. Hair cuts, clothes shopping etc. I hadn’t quite realised just quite what an undertaking this was until the last minute when reports came in of the number of tickets sold. (I was pretty shocked when we arrived at the hall an hour beforehand -the audience were already queuing outside the front door).
Things got even more stressful when the DVD player that was being used to project our videos onto the big screen crapped out at the last minute, and calls went out for a laptop. Macbook came to the rescue – there followed an intense five-minute crash course in (English) Mac basics for my friend, whilst I simultaneously tried to think what alerts might pop-up on screen during the show (calendar reminders, backup programs etc), and rehearse my lines.
It was all pretty surreal. I made a half-conscious decision that none of it was really happening, as if I really thought about what I was going to be doing I probably wouldn’t have been able to talk at all.
But there was that part of me that also knew that everything was going to be absolutely fine.
And it was.
*Twinkle* had written a bloomin’ good script. It was very natural, very her, very me. She was the serious MC who knew everything, and I was the comedic husband who feigned ignorance. Despite the fact that we hadn’t been able to learn our lines (and thus were overly script-dependent), it (apparently) came across as being pretty natural. The audience seemed to warm to us right from the start, with*Twinkle*s professional delivery of the long narratives, and my insertions of odd bits of English and overly casual Japanese (and multiple mistakes). We got quite a lot of laughs, and a lot of people later remarked on just how well we engaged with the audience.
It’s a shame we didn’t have a chance to listen to the main speakers – we were too busy backstage learning our lines for the next section.
The two hour set flew by, and before we knew it I was telling everyone to get home safely. …The relief was immense. We’d done it.
The after party took place just down the line in Koenji, in a mad little Japanese restaurant populated by sailors. Our guest speakers served to further dismantle my old prejudices against millionaires, all being the nicest, most interesting and engaging people you could wish to meet. They were inspirational too, with stories of Scottish adventures, business challenges overcome – and books published from personal blogs.
The thing that struck me most about them was the fact that they were really no different from anyone else I know. I find this very exciting as my family are all waiting for us to become very wealthy. That’s one of our goals, not for the sake of being rich and owning ‘stuff’ or having a high status, but because we want to help as many people as possible, and another way we can do that (apart from giving our time and energy and love to friends, family and others) is to become wealthy, and then distribute that wealth.
It doesn’t really matter to us that our MCing was at times pretty unprofessional.It doesn’t matter that I stuffed up my lines and pronounced words incorrectly. We learnt so much through the experience – not just about MCing, but about each other. I respected *Twinkle* enormously beforehand, but last night found myself in awe at her ability to deal with it all in such a cool manner, and to be so confident in what she was doing.
But actually, in reality, last night’s event wasn’t really all that much of a big deal. OK, so it’s the largest group of people we’ve addressed live, …but they only numbered about 550.
It’s what the event taught me about *Twinkle* – by seeing her pull together an event like that – and us about Us as a couple that I find so exciting.
She was bloomin amazing. Co-ordinating so many people, not only on the day but over the past couple of months, and then making sure everyone knew what was going on in the hours leading up to it whilst simultaneously learning her lines. I couldn’t have done it.
This was our first professional engagement together, and it’s shown us that whilst as individuals we are pretty good at what we do, as a couple working together towards a shared goal we have enormous strength. It’s also taught me what fun it can be to work with *Twinkle*.
Today we’ve talked about our marriage quite a bit, about just how much of a blessing it has been.
We’ve been told that following last night’s performance we’ll be called upon again for future events like the Hanpane Rally. I find this very exciting as public speaking is something I enjoy a great deal, and any opportunity to further develop the necessary skills is welcome.
Anyway, I must get out of here. I’m over my hourly limit and now paying by the 15-minutes!
Start my full time job in 10 hours – Ganbarimasu!