Ladies and gentlemen, do you remember the first time you saw magic? Well, when I was a little kid, my kindergarten teacher showed me a trick. That was when I first watched magic. She did this:(performing) "Hey kids, look at this handkerchief. I push this blue handkerchief into my hand, and watch. It's gone! But if you say a magic word, 'abracadabra', you can make it reappear!" I couldn't believe my eyes. And this experience inspired me to start learning magic. Today, however, instead of taking you to the mysterious world of magic, I'd like to discuss how the fantasy of magic can create a more pleasant life.
Now, what is your response when you see a trick like this? Through my experience as a magician, I've found that there are mainly two different types of reactions when people see magic. Let me explain.
The first group of people try to enjoy the illusion. They accept the fantasy of magic, and try to believe what is going on in front of their eyes.
The second group of people don't distinguish the fantasy of magic from the world of reality. They either persist in finding out the secrets of the trick, or have no interest in magic at all. Instead they feel they are cheated by the magician, and therefore they don't enjoy the experience.
Now, which type are you, ladies and gentlemen? Of course for the magician, the first group of people makes the most desirable audience. But in today's busy society, I think the people of group 2 are at a disadvantage because I have a feeling that this attitude has something to do with one of our current problems, that is, 'stress'.
As you know, many of us are under increasing amounts of stress these days. Actually we are living in a very busy society and there are even children who suffer from stomach ulcers, which are considered to be a disease caused by stress. Many of us seek out the ways to alleviate the stress. But I think whether we suffer from stress or not depends largely on our attitude.
For example, the first group of people enjoy everything. They are cheerful, and naturally relaxed. On the other hand the second group of people never leave the world of reality and often try to find fault with everything. For instance, when recommended to try something new, they worry, "Is this going to be fun?" or "Isn't that a waste of time?" And after that, they complain, "I shouldn't have done that!", and feel stress again. Or some people are at a loss as to how to make themselves relaxed, and their free time is spent just lying in front of TV all day, mostly wasting time.
I think people of group 2 lack the spirit of having fun, and that's why they can't relax and be happy. Although they'd like to be relaxed and happy, they make their own situations worse by being critical of everything even when relaxing. They also feel uneasy on the job, always thinking they are too busy, "I need some time to unwind." In spite of this when it comes to their free time, they feel uneasy again, thinking, "Oh, it's not the time to amuse myself. I'd better devote myself to my job."
Of course, it might depend on one's character or the life situation whether you can become the perfect group 1 people. But after all everybody needs fantasy somewhere deep inside, and the essence of relaxation is the spirit of having fun. Movies are a good example. There are so many kinds of movies, and the stories in most movies would hardly ever come true in our daily life. However, do we enjoy them when we are critical of the storyline? Do we enjoy them when we have doubt in our minds? The answer is definitely "No". We enjoy them only by trying to believe the story, by trying to feel as if we are on the screen.
In Japan, working hard without taking a rest is often considered to be a great virtue. Of course, it is important to be diligent, but it's not everything. We also need some time to put everything aside, escape our routine, and just relax. If we can fully appreciate our leisure time, we are refreshed, and can concentrate on our jobs once again. So let's take the opportunity to escape with a spirit of having fun, to live a really happy life.
I myself came to realize how good it is to be a group 1 person through my magic. And as a saying goes, "Everybody loves magicians." I believe magic is one of the best ways to have fun and relax. So I'd like to finish my speech by showing you some of my favorite tricks. (I show the audience a handkerchief) Well, I'm not here today for my magic show, but I stand here just to remind you of one thing. (It immediately changes into a cane.) That is, (I make the flower appear.) "It's time to smell the flowers!" And if you totally enjoyed my speech and magic, —I'm happy to tell you— you are a group 1 person already. Congratulations!