The 18th annual International Students Speech Contest will be held at Fuchinobe International House on Wednesday, July 10, sponsored by J. F. Oberlin University’s Institute for Japanese Language and Culture. Sixteen students, hailing from such countries as China, South Korea, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Mongolia, have registered to compete. The titles of their speeches range from “My Dream” and “Traditional Arts” to “My Most Moving Recent Experience” and even “Ultraman.”
In the Beginning Japanese II class, all 18 students are required to prepare a speech and deliver it in front of their classmates. Those who are selected to participate in the contest practice their pronunciation, accents, and delivery after each class with one of four Japanese teachers.
Since coming to Japan in March this year, Shi Ying has lost his wallet three times. He says that having grown up in China, where cashless payments are the norm, he’s not used to carrying a wallet. Drawing on this experience, he put together a speech about cashless payments in Japan. His teacher recorded it for him into his smartphone, and now he listens over and over to his teacher’s pronunciation and practices. His classmate, Ma Mingzheng, plans to talk about the appeal of the comedy routines in her hometown, Tianjin. “Japanese is difficult,” she says, “but I really want people to know how funny Tianjin’s comedians are, so I’m going to try hard in the contest.”
At the contest, judges will evaluate the students in six categories: preparation, content, composition, pronunciation and intonation, attitude, and delivery, but Professor Mie Ishizuka says, “What’s more important than the results is how they get to those results.”
“For students from overseas, working hard to prepare for the speech contest and learning Japanese phrases is a meaningful experience,” Professor Ishizuka continues. “The speeches cover a wide range of topics, and they’re quite interesting. Personally, I learn something new every year. I hope that not just international students but also Japanese students will take this opportunity to come and watch the contest and learn what these students are doing and thinking about.
Date and time: Wednesday, July 10, starting at 1:30 p.m.
Place: Second-floor hall of Fuchinobe International House
Admission is free, and advance registration is not required.
J. F. Oberlin University Institute for Japanese Language and Culture (042-704-7041)