I wasn't scared of being laughed at: I'm used to being laughed at - my Japanese is so bad even people who don't know a word of it somehow find me funny (even me, occasionally) - but, could I actually make a room full of super serious, hardworking to the point of I don't know what, Japanese company workers, actually laugh...at an actual joke? Told by me? It seemed unlikely. But of course, I tried anyway.
At first, I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself
But I got bored of that quite quickly, so I started talking
No-one seemed to mind. Phew! Then came the next part - the Storytelling. In Japanese.
As a warm up (or, erm, to prolong the inevitable shame and humiliation) I read my greatest hit, Harapeko Aomushi
Which went fine. But. No-one except me knew I was stalling, but now, for me, it was time for the show to start. Jack had to make an appearance. So, I gritted my teeth a bit, took a deep breath, and out came:
'Mukashi mukashi, aro tokoro ni, JACK to okaasan wa mori no ie ni sundeimashita'.
And so on. Thankfully, by the time Jack's none-too-pleased mother asks Jack why he thought it was a good idea to come home with one bean instead of either cash or groceries - which went something like this
MAME O HITOTSU DAKE?!?!?!
I got what I always wanted. A laugh - at the story!
Well, I think it was the story - I didn't look any funnier than I had looked for the past month - my Japanese was no worse, my flies weren't undone (I did check afterwards).
A good day's work. And an extremely kind audience! Both, possibly, the best things in the world.