What better way to demonstrate your ability to speak Japanese than to participate in the annual Japanese Speech Contest! This year's contest included 33 contestants (14 in level 1, 10 in level 2, 6 in level 3, and 3 in level 4: Speech in English) from diverse backgrounds. This event was sponsored by the Office of International Programs and The Japan Foundation.
Contestant speeches were evaluated by a panel of three native speaker judges. Scoring was based on memorization, pronunciation, and fluency/delivery. More than 50 audience members, many of whom are enrolled in Japanese courses, were present to support their friends. Also in attendance were eight Japanese faculty members and Associate Chair of Languages and Culture Studies, Dr. Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau. The following students were recognized for their proficiency in Japanese:
- 1st places: Austin Smith and Nicolas Goldstein
- 3rd place: Amaya Peruccio
- 1st place: Kati Morado
- 2nd place: Anju Ring
- 3rd places: Brianna Adams and Edmond Wiegert
- 1st place: Michael Auderer
- 2nd place: Amos Avila
Level 4: Speech in English
- 1st place: Kazuyoshi Maekawa
Each participant memorized his or her speech. Students with higher levels of proficiency tended to speak about more complex and personal topics. One contestants admitted that he did not like public speaking, but he participated twice because this was his last semester. Despite his fear, his speech moved many in attendance, and hopefully inspiring some to participate next year. One of the students commented that this speech contest motivated him to study more outside of class and would like to participate in this speech contest next year.
First place winners are eligible to participate in the Regional Japanese Speech Contest held at Duke University on Saturday, March 28. Japanese faculty and the Department of Languages and Culture Studies wish all participants the best of luck. Go Niners!