What is there to do on a cold and drizzly night in Bozeman, Montana? Go to a Pecha Kucha Night!
Pecha Kucha is a unique presentation format. 20 slides, each slide is on the screen for 20 seconds. That’s 400 seconds. The presenters pick any subject they are passionate about. It’s not like a speech at Toastmasters, because the audience does not really look at the presenter, but rather the slides. So the presenter can read off a script. There is no need to memorize. The subject can be anything at all. Several examples of the Bozeman Pecha Kucha were:
- George Mattson: “Growing up in Yellowstone”
- Sadie Cassavaugh: “Puppets on the Verge”
- Judith Heilman: “Racism, Ignore it … And it Won’t Go Away”
Those were just three of the 10 subjects. I was very impressed with the quality of the presentations. I will seek out Pecha Kucha events again back home in San Diego.
How did this get started, and what does Pecha Kucha mean?
First, the name is not pronounced as you have been pronouncing it reading it here. I tried to record a WAV file and upload it, but WordPress does not allow it. So I can’t “play” it for you. The words are Japanese, and the first syllable of each is suppressed. So try this:
So the “p” and the “k” are just hinted, the “e” and the “u” are swallowed completely, and the accent is on CHA each time. If you want to hear it from native Japanese speakers, go to this link and click the arrows.
The words stand for “noisy room of people talking” and it’s an onomatopoeia for loud chitchat. The word pecha is an Japanese onomatopoeia for the splashing of water against a wall, and kucha is an onomatopoeia for crunching of paper.
In case you want to know: an onomatopoeia is a word that sounds like a sound. One of the most famous English onomatopoeia is “cockadoodledoo.” Another more common one is “hiss.”
Pecha Kucha started in Tokyo in 2003 as a one-time event, but quickly caught on and is now practiced all over the world. Just google Pecha Kucha in your community and you’ll find local events.
I urge you to go to one to find out for yourself.