Our last guest speaker of the year was a little different from the others: our purpose had been to provide Japanese speakers of English as role models for our students. Our most recent visitor was a native English-speaker who has lived and worked as a professional entertainer in Japan for many years and speaks fluent Japanese. Rodney and I had visited him at his theatre in Osaka, and had watched one of his shows. His speciality is improvisation, and I was hoping he would perhaps use his skills to have students do a little bit of improvisation or acting games, something to get them out of their seats and doing something. Perhaps he could talk about the relationship between improvisational theatre and communication; perhaps also talk about how he learned Japanese and why.
I had given him a brief background, and I expanded on that 5 minutes before he was “on”: that judging from the responses to past speakers, students seemed a) to have no real goals or dreams, b) to be interested in tales of “real life” especially of hard times overcome.
First, he asked students if they knew why he was there, and then went around the room pointing to students and having them answer.