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There were several lessons for me at the 40th St. Gallen Symposium.  One was the reminder for me to practice speaking English loud (not literally) right before I do the session.  I usually practice reading out loud something in English (and I suggest people to do so) before the  occasion I speak in English. Whether it is the class, presentation, discussion or debate, I need to make sure that my brain and mouths? realize that I am to speak in English (and not Japanese), as I feel that the movement required for speaking  English and for Japanese is different. (I have no scientific evidence, though.) So I need to speak out loud so that I can express English words smoothly.    Often times I rehears what I say at the introduction several times in my room.

I did not do so right before the Work session I moderated.  I had assumed that my brain/mouth would know as I have been in the English context.  I had a clear idea of how I  wanted to start the session. But I did not rehearse several times!   I struggled at the first 5 minutes or so, as the words in English did not come out as smoothly as I had wanted and it seemed that my mouth could not function well. So the first lesson was that you need to rehearse every time and never take it for granted that you can get away without it. After the first few minutes, it became rather smooth and I managed to moderate the session OK.  However, it was a good lesson for me to be always prepared 100% and rehearse!

Another lesson was the video taped interview. I was suddenly asked by the students for the interview on video.  My comment could have been much clearer, to the point and more relevant to the topic.  There is always room for improvement!

Now let me move on to the fun part of attending St. Gallen Symposium. One of them was to see Patrouille Suisse and the interaction with various new people.   I was very much looking forward to the acrobatic flight by Patroille Suisse  which was supposed to take place during lunch time on both days.

I had been quite worried about the weather, as  I had heard that if the clouds were too low, they would not be able to fly, and so would be the fog.  But the weather worked for us and I was able to see them do incredible acrobatic flight on the first day.  I remember the TV show called Blue Angels which I loved as a kid.

Actual performance was breath-taking.  They were so close together while they were flying at such high speed.  I understand this is the 100th jubilee of Swiss Air Force (thus 100 years of Aviation dinner on the first night), and the 45th birthday of Patroille Suisse. What a lucky year!

The other part of fun at St. Gallen for me was the encounter and the conversation I had with people  I met there.  During lunch, we sit/stand with our drinks and food and the conversation often starts with the people who happen to be eating right next to you.  On the second day, I had a chance to meet with CEOs of the Swiss operation of well known high tech companies and we started talking about my reaction to St. Gallen Symposium, economy in Europe and that in Japan.  It is always nice to hear comments from the people who live there.  As you are asked about the status of Japan so many times, you become prepared to discuss the matter at home.

I also met with quite a few students, as they approached me to say Hi and gave me their cards.  As I moderated the Work Session, some came up on the second day and told me about their impression of the session.  During the symposium, I  start talking with the people who happen to sit next to me, and find out more about their background, their impressions etc.  It is this type of interaction that makes Symposium exciting, stimulating and also fun.

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  1. Dear Ishikura san,
    it was a pleasure to meet you at the Symposium. I also enjoyed it very much and I particularly enjoyed the session you moderated. Mikitani san’s business model for Rakuten is incredibly interesting and I felt you asked very relevant questions. Regrettably I could not talk to you and Mikitani san after it but it was extremely inspiring for a student such as me so I wanted to thank you.
    Best regards,

    • yishikura
    • May 18th, 2010

    Dear Mathilde, this is Yoko Ishikura. Thank YOU very much for your kind words. My apology for such a late response. I am delighted that you found our session interesting and inspiring. I was very inspired by interacting with young generation like you. Remember, you can create the future.

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