2-minute Topic Talks

topic talk topicsBelow, find an on-going list of topics — many created by students — for your 2-minute Topic Talks.

For other random topics to talk and write about, try these:


Talk (or write) about…

Pick a category and spin the wheel.

Be careful of the volume (turn your device down).

These wheels work better on a laptop or tablet with a larger screen. Sorry!

Unfortunately, they now have annoying ads on these wheels, so the topic may be hard to read on your smartphones. 

Or choose from the lists below

(these are mostly the same as the topics on the wheels)

The past

  • the most difficult travel experience of your life.
  • a risk you have taken.
  • the best decision you’ve made in your life.
  • the craziest thing you’ve done.
  • the most memorable moment from your high school days.
  • a move you made from one place to another.
  • an incident that had something to do with water.
  • an incident that had something to do with … a form of transportation (train, bike, car…).
  • a time you danced.
  • a time you attended a wedding.
  • a time you surprised someone.
  • a time you helped someone.
  • a great present you’ve given or gotten.
  • something a teacher or coach told you that really stuck with you.
  • a practical joke you played (or was played on you).
  • something you lost or forgot, or a time when you got lost.
  • one of your favorite childhood stories.
  • your first love.
  • the last time you laughed so hard you cried.
  • your earliest memory.
  • a time when you felt really, really lucky.

The future

  • who do you want to spend your next birthday with and what will you do?
  • where you think you’ll be 10 years from now.
  • what you think the world will be like 100 years from now.
  • your New Year’s resolutions.
  • when do you want to retire and what will you do?
  • something you’d like to pass on to the next generation.
  • something you’d put in a time capsule to be opened by a future generation.

Alternate realities

  • if you hadn’t entered this university, what you would be doing now.
  • if you could have been born at a different time in history, which you would choose.
  • if you could become a character in a movie or book, who you would be.
  • if you could have lunch with someone famous, who you’d choose and what you’d talk about.
  • what you wanted to be when you were a child, and if you think it’s likely to happen.
  • where you’d go if you had a free week/month and nothing else to do.
  • one modern convenience you wouldn’t want to do without.
  • if you could become a famous (dead) person for a day, who it would be and what you would do.
  • which person you would pick as a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse from history.
  • if you could go back and relive one day (week, month, year) of your life, what you would do.
  • if you could be reborn, what you’d come back as.
  • if you were God (or a god), what you’d use your power for.
  • if you’d like to live forever.

Family & Friends & Other people

  • the best way to make new friends.
  • a family tradition.
  • something you like about one of your relatives or friends.
  • an unusual story about one of your relatives or friends.
  • an unusual occupation of a friend or relative.
  • some ways you are like (or not like) your parents and siblings.
  • something you’d like to ask a grandparent or great-grandparent.
  • when you become a parent, what rules you will make for your children.
  • someone you know who has a very different background.
  • a memorable vacation with family or friends.
  • your best friend when you were a child.
  • a friend you haven’t seen recently but would like to see again.
  • road trips! — what your family/friends do to pass the time on trains/planes or in cars.
  • what you usually do when you hang out with your friends or family.
  • what you usually talk about when you have dinner with your family.
  • the most courageous person you know.
  • the kindest person you know.
  • the most inspiring public figure you can think of.
  • the most important (but not so famous) person from Japan (or a country you’re studying).
  • describe your relatives’ or friends’  personalities.
  • how your parents met.
  • a question you’d like to ask your grandparents (great-grandparents).
  • a favorite saying or quotation (from a friend, family member or someone famous).
  • your genealogy — where did you come from?
  • how you’re very much like (or not like) your parents or siblings.
  • how your values differ from the values of your parents’ (or grandparents’) generation.
  • one of the best or worst teachers or coaches you’ve ever had.

Places & Moving

  • what you miss most about your hometown.
  • a place that inspires you.
  • a place you liked to play as a child.
  • something you really like about where you live now.
  • which place you have the most vivid memory of.
  • something unusual that happened in your neighborhood.
  • where your parents or grandparents are from.
  • an unusual form of transportation you’ve used.
  • a time when you slept outdoors.
  • the farthest place you’ve been from home.
  • if you’d like to travel to the moon, Mars, or anywhere else in outer space.

Language & Communication

  • your favorite/least favorite word or phrase in English, Japanese, or another language you’re studying.
  • if you could speak the language of one animal, which you would choose.
  • LINE or Twitter?
  • the most effective way you’ve found to learn a language.
  • which country you think will be (or should be) the next lingua franca in the world.
  • a time when you successfully communicated something important in another language.

Culture & Entertainment & Fashion

  • a fad from the decade you were born.
  • the most impressive or inspiring movie or book  you’ve seen/read.
  • the book you’re reading right now / the most recent movie you’ve seen.
  • a book or movie that made you laugh or cry out loud.
  • your top 5 smart phone apps.
  • what ads/commercials affect you.
  • a fashion trend you really liked or disliked.
  • a TV show that you think is/was educational.
  • how long you use your smart phone every day and for what.
  • what kind of art intrigues you.
  • your favorite anime, cartoon or comic.

Society & Community

  • what you’d change about your university.
  • why club activities are great (or not so great).
  • which local festivals you’d like to advertise.
  • how you read or watch the news.
  • a current event or issue that really concerns you.
  • why people should vote.
  • a way that you have served your community or would like to (charity, community service).
  • an experience that made you feel close to your community or to nature.
  • a way your lifestyle has changed to help the environment.

Health / Sports / Food

  • how your exercise patterns have changed throughout your life.
  • what you do to relax.
  • what you do when it’s incredibly hot/cold/wet outside.
  • your favorite food from another country.
  • how to cook something, step by step.
  • a restaurant you ate in recently / a restaurant where you’re a “regular”.
  • explain a Japanese food you think someone from another country has never eaten.
  • the most unusual food you’ve ever eaten.
  • dieting or health advice you’d give to a friend or family member.
  • an unusual home remedy for the cold or other common illness.
  • who influenced you to start the sports you’re involved in.
  • why you follow the professional sports teams you follow.

More about YOU

  • something we don’t already know about you.
  • the origin of your name or nickname.
  • if you could change your name, what you’d change it to, or what you’d like to name your kids.
  • your favorite sound or smell.
  • your favorite way to spend a free day.
  • your favorite time of day and your favorite time of year.
  • a special talent you have and how we can get good at it, too.
  • your greatest success.
  • your pet-peeve.
  • one of your habits (good or bad).
  • describe yourself when you were 14 years old.
  • a possession you would like to keep if you had to give up everything else.
  • a cause that’s very important to you.
  • how you wake up.
  • whether or not you’re a “plan for today” or “plan for tomorrow” person.
  • whether or not you’re a “live to eat” or “eat to live” person.
  • you’re an X or Y person (cat/dog, summer/winter, city/country, horror movies/comedies).
  • why you chose your current phone/PC wallpaper or background.

Advice / Reflecting on the year

  • the biggest change in your life in the past year.
  • what advice you’d give next year’s students / incoming freshmen.
  • something surprising you’ve learned this year.
  • something very satisfying about your work (job, school, club…).
  • if someone from another country asks you, “What’s so great about Japan?” how you would respond.
  • a part-time job you would (or wouldn’t) recommend.
  • advice about your school festival.

And finally, a very original topic:

  • “If bears are so scary, why are there so many bear toys?” (from a GLIP student a couple of years ago)

Here’s another way to do the roulette wheel, using Wheel of Names. But there’s no way to save your list, except on your own device. OTOH, this site works much better on smart phones. :

Wheel of Names template

You just need to have a list of topics and copy-paste into the “Enter your names here” area, like this:

Wheel of Names revised

The topic appears much bigger and clearer than the other roulette wheel:

Wheel of Names topic

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