This was the winning speech in The 21st Annual All-Tokyo Junior College English Oratorical Contest held in Tokyo in November, 1995. At that time, Megumi Aoshima was a second-year student at Sanno Junior College, Jiyugaoka, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo.

Mickey Mouse


Megumi Aoshima

Imagine a world with nothing to worry about... a peaceful place with no war, no crime, nothing bad at all. It's clean and beautiful and everyone can relax there. We can just enjoy ourselves...

Isn't that what Disneyland is?

It's called an amusement park, but in fact, it's really something different. It was made so that we can never get a view of anything outside. No matter how high a place we may look from, we can only see Disneyland. Inside, it's a world with no clocks, no time. We can forget everything real, and just play. So, of course it's a place that everyone loves.

When I first got a job as a salesgirl there, it was like a dream come true, a great adventure. From the beginning I was happy. I wore a pretty uniform like a princess, I was in a fairy tale world, and I could communicate with people from all over. The work was sometimes hard, but I enjoyed it. Then, somehow, something in me began to change. Everything there was always the same. I started to get a little bored. We had to smile all the time, and never break the good Disney image. I wondered about it. Haven't you ever noticed that Mickey Mouse is always smiling?

When you hear that word "Mickey Mouse" you probably picture the cute cartoon character with the big ears. But I was surprised to learn that this word has another meaning for Americans. They sometimes say things like, "a Mickey Mouse college course", or "a Mickey Mouse car". And they mean it's something childish, too simple, not related to the real world. It doesn't mean "cute" at all. I began to think that in fact, Disney's World itself is Mickey Mouse!

If we lived in the Disney dream world, would we be happy? I think it would be like my Disneyland job, great at first, but gradually getting boring. In the real world, the news isn't always good. We get angry, or laugh or cry about it. We see things with our own eyes, and feel and think directly. We fight, and sometimes we get hurt... In life there's both good and bad, but it's only ours, not made by someone else. We can create the life we want.

I couldn't find anything new at Disneyland. In the end it was always a world made by Disney, where nothing would ever change. But we have to follow our own dreams, our own special fantasies and great adventures. The important thing, rather than being satisfied with a ready-made world, is to create a wonderful new one through our own efforts. As for me, I want to live something better than a Mickey Mouse life!