The Process to Become a TED Speaker

Great connections start with lunch. At least how I make lunch. In Japan, there are many varieties of rice.

“Soness, you can’t eat this rice with a stir fry! It’s sushi rice.” Another cultural faux pas. I’ve made more than a few in my 15 years in Japan. I’m beginning to realize they’ll never end.

Rice is rice, right? I mean, maybe I can see not wanting to eat jasmine rice with miso soup. I recognize the consistency issue. When so many people are starving around the world, including obese American literally nutritionally starving themselves fat, what’s the big deal about one type of Japanese rice versus another?

Everything has a specific purpose here. The wonderful thing about Japan is they create tailored goods. It’s very niche. But I’ve got a problem: No time to cook. Apparently people all across Japan have this problem. Metabolic Syndrome (Metabo) is literally a crime. Companies get fined if their employees’ waistlines are too big. What is big? Males over 33 inches or females over 35 inches. Hardly big compared to most countries.

Over the years, I’ve noticed stores carrying my size. I’m not big compared to American standards. I’m proportionately balanced with a small waist. When I first came to Japan, I was told to go on a diet first when I asked to try on a dress. Now, I can buy an American size 6, 8 or 10, thanks to American retailers demonstrating the growing, no pun intended, need for larger clothes.

After discovering a health issue, I found the solution. I cook meals with 3 minutes prep in my rice cooker. Different than a slow cooker, I can cook some meals by leaving it in for 20 minutes, overnight, or up to all day.

“Looks delicious!” my Japanese friends say.
“Thanks, try a bite, I made it in my rice cooker.” I grin.
“What?! Can you do that?” they are puzzled while asking for recipes.

Patrick Newell asked about my cooking methods over lunch at the TEDx NHK Super Presentations Event in March. I had tried to pitch another TED talk idea. He loved my food. My heart raced.

What if you had the chance to sit down with people who could grace you with an opportunity? Would you shy away, or would take up on it?

It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure book from here on. Before continuing on, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Stay tuned for how the selection process works!