Talk: National Museum of Nature and Science

Last Friday evening, I did my first-ever talk in Japanese at the National Museum of Nature and Science, located in Ueno Park in Tokyo. My presentation was about sperm whales, and was the last in a series that accompanied a special exhibit about mammals, organised in conjunction with Asahi Shimbun and WWF Japan.

The talk was in the main exhibition hall, adjacent to a large life-size display of a sperm whale head with a giant squid in its mouth. My photo of a real sperm whale with giant squid in its mouth was located in front of the display.

Notice the sophisticated pointer I used.

A lot of people showed up (thank you!), perhaps the most for any of the talks held in conjunction with this exhibition (which says a lot about the high level of interest here in marine mammals).

Given that I had never made a public presentation in Japanese before, I was somewhat nervous, but I got into the groove fairly quickly and didn't stumble too much (I think).

I did struggle for proper word choice a few times, but fortunately, Yamada-san from the museum's Department of Zoology was on hand to help me through difficult topics like explaining the inner workings of a sperm whale's enormous head.

After the talk, I answered a few questions, said hi to friends who were kind enough to drop by and listen to me ramble, and then went out for a couple of beers + great food with Yamada-san and a few other people from the museum.

All-in-all, a terrific evening.

I'd like to extend special thanks to Tamura-san from Asahi Shimbun for inviting me to do the talk, and also to the National Museum of Nature and Science for taking a chance on my Japanese language proficiency!

The best (and only) shot of a blue whale I have