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Friday, 28 February 2014

TEDxFukuoka 2014 (February 22)

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Last Saturday, I went for my first ever TED talks. And before I continue, I need to say that I really meant to post this sooner, but I suddenly had a bunch of prospective students and ended up conducting lots of trial lessons this week.

So yes, TED. This is a TEDx event, which means that it's an independently organised event. But still, I was really really excited.

Now, details. TEDxFukuoka costs 8000yen (including a sandwich lunch and an after talk 'party'). It was from 11am to 5pm (after party was till 8pm) at Tenjin and was divided into 4 sessions - Persona, Moment, In/Out and Japan. There were 13 speakers.

Most of the talks were held in Japanese, with only 3 talks in English. But even if you don't know Japanese (or English), there's no need to worry - there were translation devices. Sadly, photography was not allowed during the talks itself.

I'm not sure what I was expecting from a TED talk, but it was really fun. The speakers are all very friendly, and there are quite a few intermission sessions, so that you can talk to them (I think. It's possible that these were just really long 30 minute toilet breaks).

While I can probably talk about all the speakers, the one speaker that impressed me/touched me the most was Yumika Uno (incidentally one of the last speakers). She's a first-year high school student and the founder of the Nanohana Genki Project. The Nanohana Genki Project was started when Kyudai vacated a campus (probably for Ito), leaving her town feeling empty. So, she decided to add more colour to the town by planting nanohana (rapeseed/canola). It worked and now she's expending the project into a social business so that she can help the victims of the March 11 disaster.

Time for a moment of respect.

This girl is truly amazing. And although her speech was in Japanese, she translated it into English as well, which speaks volumes about how prepared she was. I managed to talk to her after the event and she was equally friendly there. As you may or may not know, I'm helping Amberbrook, a NPO founded by my AC friends. So I tend to talk about Amberbrook to a lot of people (like the WorldShift guy), including Uno-san. With any luck, we'll be able to figure out how to have youths from Singapore help the March 11 victims by taking part in the Nanhana Genki Project.

Although TEDxFukuoka was a little expensive, I'm really glad I went. Apart from the chance to listen and talk to a bunch of interesting speakers, I also made a few acquaintances. Perhaps next time, I'll participate by volunteering.

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