トーストマスターズクラブとは、1924年に、カリフォルニア州で最初のクラブ発足以来、現在 50カ国以上に9000以上の支部を持つ長い歴史のある世界的な団体で、スピーチを通じてコミュニケーション、またリーダーシップ能力を培うことを目指す団体です。 私は 会員となっている岡山トーストマスターズクラブを代表し、コンテスタントとして、英語による Tall Tales Speech Contest (ほら吹きスピーチコンテスト)に参加し、10月2日に岡山市で開催された Area 33 Tall Tales Speech Contest では 一位を、また10月30日に京都市で開催されたDivision C Speech Contest では3位を獲得しました。
"Tall Tales Speech Contest" とは、通常のスピーチと異なり、でいかにユーモアを交えて大げさに 奇想天外なほら話で聴衆を惹きつけるかを競うものでした。 英語のコミュニケーションにおけるユーモアの大切さは日頃から理解しているつもりでも、それを相手に伝える難しさと、そして 聞き手に感動してもらうスピーチをするには、周囲に伝わるだけのエネルギーと情熱を持って 全身全霊で聴衆に語らなくてはだめだと言う事を痛感させられたコンテストでした。 この経験を次のスピーチに活かせるように、更なる精進をしてゆきたいと思います。
Fellow toastmasters, I am here to tell you that this is going to be my last meeting to attend. You have been very nice to me over the years, so I cannot tell you how sad I am to leave you. But I have no more business here. I know you don’t have a clue of what I am saying. I have fooled you pretty well, haven’t I? But I am not what you think I am. I couldn’t have told you the truth, because that would have interfered with my mission.
It all started 20 years ago when I was traveling in America all by myself. I was such an adventurous spirit with no worries in the world. I hopped on the greyhound bus one day without a destination in mind, and I got to Cheyenne, Wyoming late one Sunday night. Unfortunately, all the shops, restaurants and hotels were closed. I just gazed at the dark sky, feeling totally at a loss. Then suddenly I noticed one bright yellow light, moving quickly towards me, and it got bigger and bigger, until it became motionless right in front of my eyes. I didn’t know what was happening. I was so scared that my legs went numb. Out of the mass of the bright light, came the strangest creature I had ever seen in my life; it was lean, grey complexioned with long, slender limbs and a head as big as a watermelon, and its huge eyes were as black as coal, and seemed as if they could see right through me. “My name is Jenna and I come from a planet, far far away, called Bushton. My father, George sent me here to save the world and you are the chosen one to help me accomplish the mission.” Hardly had she said this before she possessed my body, and since then Jenna, daughter of George of Bushton, and I have been working together to bring peace to this planet.
I know sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Who would have thought the person standing in front of you is a savior of this planet earth? George always said we cannot save this planet until we have truly established democracy. So we have worked under cover for the past 20 years to topple totalitarian and communist regimes. We learned to do belly dancing to entertain Kim Jon Il. We also worked as an interpreter for Saddam Hussein and as a maid for Ayatollah Khomeini. All these efforts were to spy into their nuclear ambitions. Between our regular work as an English teacher, we have been to every corner of the world to try to save it from oppression, wars and hunger. But despite our efforts, our mission to save the earth has proved impossible to accomplish. Now Father George does not see any hope in saving you anymore. He could abandon this planet totally and let it take its due course. But instead, he has decided to invite toastmasters to our planet, Bushton. George has always valued public speaking skills, because, well, let’s just say, he is a little jealous of something he has never quite mastered. So he sent us to this club to convey this message to you. He thinks you toastmasters will make great assets to our planet. Just forget about the earth. We Bushtonians and you Earthlings will be so happy living together in perfect harmony.
Oh, our time on this planet is running out. We must leave right now. But we promise to be back for you to take you back to Bushton. Please remember to wear this toastmaster’s badge, because this is like a passport to our planet. Oh it’s time now. "Farewell, Toastmasters."
"Don’t give up your hope, earthlings. We will be back."