リーンリーンドキドキ, Niihama Speech Contest

So for the last little while I have been preparing for a speech contest! Not in English but in Japanese. As per usual, I usually start with too high a goal. Which makes things interesting, but… also frustrating.

Back in Australia I worked with The Human Library and Working it Out, two great organizations, to tell my story about realizing I was gay and coming out as part of various programs designed to increase acceptance/sensitivity to various minority groups. It is a really good, refined polished talk that I enjoy a lot, although wouldn’t mind adding a few extra pieces. It might appear more in a written form on this blog one day.

But this talk I had been doing for several years, I had decided would be great to do in Japanese! Since Japan has such a large part to do with my coming out story, and is in part one of the reasons this country is so special to me, because it played a large part in me finally accepting this part of myself.

However, I have mentioned a little bit in the past, that while I am not closeted here as such, I am not exactly open to the degree I would like. So was unsure how well my speech would go down with my Japanese teacher at the very least. However, I also felt this would be a great way to test the waters a little with gay acceptance, something that I am still unsure about in adult life in Japan.

My teacher didn’t bat much of an eye lid really. Which is the exact response I wanted. The few times other staff saw me practicing for this and wanted to know what it was for/about, I usually handed them the speech and let them read it. Same for people at Musical. Usually all I would get back as response was “Good speech, it’s not too difficult” which, I am not counting as a win per se. But it didn’t seem to be an issue either.

Usually, I like speeches, although I feel less confident with public speaking in my second language, or public speaking to people where they are using their second language (because I overthink about what words to use and get flustered by this), so when time came to perform I basically just read from my script the whole time…

Which, if you have done any kind of public speaking ever, is… Pretty much the wrong way to do it.

So, eyes mostly affixed to my speech, I gave what would others be a pretty good speech. I got some laughs, which is good. And generally people seemed to care and I got good applause at the end with what I felt like a little more spirit than many other contestants. (most of whom performed their speeches much better I might add)

So with the speeches over, I was expecting to not get anything and go home, because looking at the speech the whole time, bad bad bad. So bad.

“And with an astounding 21 votes, Rowan is the gallery’s choice!” (and for reference, at most there were maybe 40 people at absolute best, 21 contestants, many with families or support networks there. Which I did not have there)

So, I got up, and got my prize. Along with the other winners.


It was really great. Personally, people’s choice while not being a prize of excellence in language skill itself, is a better prize for my goal. To make a good speech. I think generally people’s choice would be less concerned about the things I did wrong, and more about the content. So, yeah, I was super pleased about the victory aspect.

But also, to win people’s choice for what is ultimately a coming out story with some nice “I love this country” stuff at the end, was the most powerful thing. Up till this point, other than men I met on dating apps, I had only come up to about 4 Japanese people (plus 3 more in the lead up to the speech by letting people read it) and always hear mixed things about acceptance in Japan. Winning Gallery’s Choice with a large number is a pretty great show of support.

Although, can’t deny there is some self selection bias here, as those who attend are people interesting in hearing people learning Japanese doing speeches in Japanese probably have somewhat open minds. However, even casting that aside it gives me great confidence that if I wanted to be a little bit more open it wouldn’t be a big problem.

Although my general philosophy of don’t force it into a conversation unless you are invited to do a speech still stands.

Also, someone who recorded it was like “hey, that was great, do you mind I recorded it? Can I show it to someone who it might help?” And I was like YEAH!
Oh, here is the speech in Japanese for you, it’s called “Ring ring, doki doki” Doki doki is the sound of your heart racing.



ローアン カーマイケル(オーストラリア)


15才の時です。母は 「兄について 大事な話がある。」と言いました。「お兄さんはゲイです。」 ゲイと言えば、ドラマのキャラクー か ドラァグクイーン、 身近な人では 考えたことが  ありませんでした。その日 初めて、母が“同性愛”の意味で 使いました。でも兄はすばらしい人だから、全然 問題ありません。次の年、父が 牧師役をして、兄は 結婚式をしました。 家族が 支えるのを見て、兄のことは大丈夫だ!と思いました。

この時、私はどうなんだろう?思い始めました。 子どものころ、いつも 周りになじめませんでした。人気の音楽やスポーツは好きじゃないし、趣味も 変わっているし、太っているし…。 なじめないから、よくいじめられました。 そのころは、なじめない理由は それ以上わかりませんでした。兄の結婚を きっかけに、自分がゲイであることが、なじめないことの原因の一つでは?と思い始めました。

17才になって、日本に留学しました。高校2年生でした。 成績は ほとんど赤点。質問が読めない….英語も落ちました。髪は金色だし、身体も大きいし、日本語も上手じゃないし。。。本当になじむのは、無理だと思いました。 そこで、考え方を変えることにしました。みんなに合わせるのはやめよう!  そのままの自分を出してみよう!  すると 私の自信は 強くなり、“私はゲイ”、 自分で受け入れられました。

初めてのカミングアウトは、日本の 1番の友だち でした。そのために、静かな場所に行きました。友だちの顔を見たとたん、不安になりました。カミングアウトしたら、どうなるかな…? 怒るかな…?アクション映画みたいに、ぶっ飛ぶかな…? もう、ストレスでぷっつん寸前でした。ついに、「私はゲイです。」と言いました。友だちは、「本当に?cool!」 え~、それだけ??びっくりした。そして、本当にすっきりした!!

それからは、ありのままの自分で 生活できています。毎日の生活は 変わらないのに、私の気持ちが 変わりました。前より、もっと自信がつきました。自信を味方に、ほかの友だちにも カミングアウトしました。 あいさつ以外 話さなくなった友だちもいたけど、ほとんど問題ありませんでした。

次は両親に話す番です。親友が ためらう私に、テレフォンカードを くれました。


電話は リーン、リーン。

私は ドキドキ、ドキドキ。




ガチャン!(電話を切る gesture)

なんで、ここにクモがいる?? 半泣きで、電話を かえました。

「ローアン、大丈夫? クモの怪獣が出た?」






私の大事な子どもです。ローアンは大丈夫?困って ない?」

母の声を聞いて、不安は 一気に消えました。母に何度も何度も「大丈夫?」と聞かれましたが、「ぜったい大丈夫!」 自信を持って言えました。もし、日本に留学していなければ、今の私は どこにも いません。

日本には好きなものがたくさんあります。ゲーム、小説、アニメ、文化、日本語。何よりも 大切なのは、日本で 本当の自分に気づいたことです。日本は、本当に今の私をつくりました。だから、日本を大切にします。このスピーチが 証拠です。



2 thoughts on “リーンリーンドキドキ, Niihama Speech Contest

  1. Pingback: Year in Review (2015-16), language | Adventures in Love Princess (Ehime)

  2. Pingback: Being out, and not. | Adventures in Love Princess (Ehime)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s