Through Our Eyes

A letter to my past self

2021.03.19 16:59 Mariko Tsuji

When I was in junior high school, I hated presenting in front of others. To me, school was a place where I would have to stand in front of all my classmates or be made to present something.

In art class, there was a unit where each person would pose for the class and the others would sketch them. We had to pose on the little stage at the front of the room, where everybody could see. Of course, this was torture for me.

I dreaded the day my turn would come, and I wished with all my heart that a typhoon would cancel school. In desperation, I went to bed the night before without any covers, hoping I would get sick. However, the next day never failed to arrive, and I stood on the podium — embarrassed.

Years later, I stood in front of a crowd for 15 minutes as I explained the process and difficulties of creating Tansa’s Money for Docs Database at a symposium on Aug. 8, 2020. I still get nervous speaking in front of a crowd, but I no longer dislike it. I guess I can thank Tansa for that: I have been speaking in front of people for our events and symposiums for the past two years.

I’ve also presented at investigative journalism conferences: the 2018 conference in Seoul and the 2019 conference in Hamburg. After my presentation, journalists from other countries asked me various questions. These lively interactions taught me the joy of presenting. I feel like I am transforming into a better version of myself through Tansa’s activities. I want to tell my younger self that I now have something I can speak about with pride.

(Originally published in Japanese on Aug. 18, 2020. Translation by Ayaka Ono.)

Through Our Eyes: All articles