48th Japanese Language Speech Contest Finals
The 48th Australian Japanese Language Speech Contest Finals was held at The Japan Foundation, Sydney on Saturday, October 7, 2017, showcased a wide range of brilliant speeches from four divisions:
- High School Senior Division
- Open Beginner Division
- Open Division
- Background Speaker Division
We congratulate all of this year’s contestants and extend a warm thank you to the families and all audience members who took the time to support and ensure the success of the event.
(Perth Modern School, WA)
When could I have realised it and been in time?
(The MacRobertson Girls High School, VIC)
Even if it’s an alien, don’t be jealous
(All Saints Anglican School, QLD)
The importance of decision making
The 48th Japanese Language Speech Contest is an excellent event for avid Japanese learners to gather and share ideas, sparking miraculous connections between people. Studying Japanese has always been one of the most fortunate opportunities for me in life, and it was truly wonderful to be able to meet with a group of people who hold the same passion for Japanese as much as I do. Listening to the speeches of the other contestants, I was absolutely amazed just by how different and interesting the ideas were. Within only a few minutes for each speech, the flourishing creativities inspired me to continue further on my journey of Japanese learning.
On the day of the contest, getting to meet new friends from other parts of Australia and New Zealand was one of the biggest highlights for me. Despite speaking as the first contestant on the day was absolutely nerve-wracking, everyone was very kind and cheerful and I actually enjoyed the experience of standing up on stage, sharing my ideas with them. The Japan Foundation is truly amazing to host such an event and is also very kind to accommodate all travel itineraries for us, and I do recommend all Japanese learners to attend. Regardless of winning an award or otherwise, the experience of going into the contest is definitely a memory of a lifetime.
I have had a wonderful experience participating the 48th Japanese Language Speech Contest. The contest was much better that I have expected, including the tasty refreshments and the kind, friendly and welcoming staff members. I have also had a great time meeting new people from all over Australia.
Through participating in this speech contest, I have gained knowledge of how to write a speech that creates resonance, and more than anything, motivation of continue to learn Japanese in the future. Nonetheless, I have understood that winning a competition was not everything, but the most important thing was to gain experiences.
I would like to thank the Japan foundation, all the guests, volunteers and everyone who paid in so much effort for the contest to run smoothly and successfully. Although preparation for the contest was tough, the most important thing is not forgetting to have fun and enjoy. This contest was a life time experience and it was an honour for me to be able to represent my school to compete in the Japanese Language Speech Contest.
If you’ve been offered the chance to participate in the Japanese language speech contest, you’ve been offered the chance of a lifetime. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to brush up on your memorisation skills though, because the competition is intense. Japanese TED talks are a wonderful place to start for the performance aspect too. Did you think you were good at Japanese? Wait until you see the people you’ll be going up against…
As Mike Tyson once said, “everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth”. And punched in the mouth I was. Entering the Japan Foundation offices for the first time, I waited for my future rivals to eat me alive and… They couldn’t have been nicer. Everyone’s speech topics were varied but that consistent attention to detail couldn’t be missed. Speeches really let you develop your language skills in a highly professional context.
By far though the highlight was leaving Sydney with so many new friends (and a new group chat). In the breaks between divisions, stop to talk to everyone. Even if you’re not a natural conversationalist it will flow like a river. Everyone in the competition is as passionate about Japanese as you are! And while you chat don’t forget to enjoy some world class catering. I’m not saying you should enter the competition for the food, but it is something to consider…
Most importantly though, everyone competing in future years, 楽しんでください！Have fun!
The chance to compete at the Australian Japanese Language Speech Contest is a wonderful opportunity that I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone studying Japanese. It is a great opportunity to improve your Japanese language and public speaking skills. You can deliver a speech to a fully engaged audience on a topic you are passionate about. Of course, it can be a very nerve-wrecking experience, but there is an immense feeling of satisfaction after delivering your speech. You should feel proud of yourself for being able to deliver a speech in front of a large audience. I had a pleasant time listening to all the interesting speeches delivered by enthusiastic contestants from across Australia and even New Zealand. These speeches were thought-provoking and inspirational. The speech contest volunteers ensured that the day ran smoothly, and they were also very welcoming. The organisers made interstate travel arrangements to Sydney easy and allowed me to fully enjoy my time in Sydney. There is a lot to do in Sydney, and you should use the opportunity provided by the Japan Foundation to fully appreciate what Sydney has to offer. The food provided at the speech contest was delicious. The main prize of a trip to Japan will surely be on your mind, but the real prize for me was all the amazing people I met at the speech contest. So even if you don’t win a prize, you will have gained a valuable lifetime experience and made lifelong connections!
Although I was extremely nervous about my performance, the speech contest was such a fun and amazing experience. Everyone was extremely friendly – so friendly, that while I was panicking before my turn to speak, those sitting around me gave me words of comfort and wished that I do my best (even though they were my competitors!).
No matter what happens, whether you win a prize or not, the contest will become an extremely memorable experience that you will not forget. You will make plenty of new friends and your connections to Japanese will grow stronger because of it. So in the end, everyone wins.
My family was not able to come with me to Sydney, but because of the livestream Japan Foundation prepared, they were able to watch it at home in Melbourne! I found that very supportive and I am glad that they decided to start doing so during my first speech contest.
My advice for those thinking about participating in the Australia National Japanese Speech Contest is to sleep well the night before, remember to breathe and to have fun while you are doing your speech. It may be nerve-wracking when you walk to the front and take your bow, but trust your practise and enjoy it!
The 48th language speech contest was an eye-opener. This contest wasn’t just about winning; I found that through this contest I was able to make a lot of new friends from other states, immerse myself in a new culture and I feel like I learnt a lot about Japan that day. I’m not going to lie; it was really scary being up on stage with all the eyes on you, especially the judges’. But I feel like I became a lot more confident, I was able to share my speech, my opinion and people truly valued it. Although the nerves of being u on stage don’t go away, I would do this again and again. Lunch was also delicious, with authentic Japanese sushi and other mini dishes. Along with the food, you could talk to your newly made friends and find out about other states. As an introverted person, I don’t make friends easily but I never once felt like I didn’t belong here. Everyone was so welcoming and it was a wonderful experience. The most you can get out this contest is a great experience and I think you should just enjoy it.
Initially, I was very nervous to participate in the speech contest, and didn’t expect to place. However, even just being involved greatly improved my Japanese pronunciation and speaking skills. After the state wide competition, I realised just how fun the competition could be, and was thrilled to attend the finals. All the contestants were instantly made to feel comfortable before the competition, which eliminated many of the nerves and created an environment of friendly, light hearted competition. Everyone became keen to share their love of Japan and the language; I believe we have all made some valuable friends through doing so. It is truly motivating to meet with so many people who are highly interested in Japanese, and listening to their interesting and amusing speeches only gave more inspiration to study harder. Talking to some of the older contestants, and other Japan Foundation members provided a great idea of how Japanese can be used in the future. By taking part in this contest, my Japanese language, etiquette and public speaking skills improved greatly, fuelled by the desire to do well and maximise my enjoyment of the event. I would recommend for anyone studying Japanese to take part in the contest, it is certainly a fun and beneficial event for anyone!
The speech contest was an invaluable experience and wonderful opportunity for me to utilise Japanese in a way that I wouldn’t normally get to at school. It provided me with a platform to freely express my ideas and thoughts in a friendly, well-organised setting together with people who share a similar interest and love for the Japanese language, which is what I think makes this contest really unique. I learnt a lot from listening to the other speeches, met so many wonderful people and made new friends through the competition which really helped ease my nerves. Preparing for the speech took lots of time and practice. I found that having a passion for the language and a belief in the message I was trying to convey in my speech really helped and motivated me to keep practicing. As a not-so-confident public speaker, the contest allowed me to challenge myself and it has reinforced my desire to continue Japanese studies and to work harder to improve more and more. I am incredibly blessed and grateful to my Japanese teacher, family and friends for all the support and encouragement they have given me. I would also like to say a big thank you to everyone who makes this contest possible – the organisers, volunteers, judges and sponsors. It truly was an amazing experience and I definitely encourage everyone learning Japanese to just give it a go – you won’t regret it. The best part is that you get to speak Japanese 😉 All the best!!
Open Beginner Division
(University of Canberra, ACT)
Spice up your Japanese!
(University of New South Wales, NSW)
Can you eat spicy food?
(University of Western Australia, WA)
The thinking organ: The Brain
The Japanese Speech Contest was a really wonderful experience for me. When I first know about the contest, I thought I would just have a try, and have a practice for my presenting skill, so I didn’t expect too much about my result. But after the state contest and the final contest, I think this was a really valuable experience for me. The speech contest was not only an opportunity to present the speech to others, but you can learn lots of things through listening to others’ speech, such as new vocabularies, the way that other contestants present their topics, how they make their contents more interesting, and more importantly the ideas and the different point of views of Japan. These are very unique and helpful things for you to have more interests in studying Japanese and Japanese culture from the speech contest. Also you can meet lots of friends here, you can share experiences of Japanese study, or maybe you can find some friends which have same interests.
There were many interesting and fantastic speeches in the contest, and I believe there will be more in the future. So if you have a chance to participate in this contest, don’t be afraid. Practice more so you won’t be nervous when presenting the speech. You will gain experiences much more than you expect!
This Japanese Speech Competition was an amazing experience for me. Thanks to all the teachers who helped me, not only was I able to learn more Japanese but I was also able to learn public speaking skills. The competition was a good opportunity for me to be aware of my intonation and pitch when speaking Japanese and has encouraged me to continue my studies. Additionally, through the competition I was able to meet various contestants who I learnt a lot from and became my friends. Despite public speaking seeming to be an extremely daunting task, this speech competition has pushed me to step out of my comfort zone. Delivering my speech at the competition has allowed me to tell others about my thoughts and experiences and was a fun way to express my emotions that I had at those times. For those that are unsure whether they should enter the competition or not, I really encourage you to just give it a go and try your best, because regardless of the outcome, it is an extremely memorable and fun experience. I promise you that not only will you learn more Japanese, but through hearing other contestant’s speeches, you can also learn about other people’s opinions and beliefs. I am really grateful that I was able to partake in this competition and it has taught me so much about both Japanese language and myself.
I had an unforgettable experience participating in the Japanese Language Speech Contest. The experience goes further than just the competition itself, the process as a whole including the process prior and post competition has been extraordinary for me. Writing and practicing the speech have helped improved my Japanese significantly. I was also lucky enough to win first place this year so I could not have been more satisfied with the result and the prizes. I am very excited as this will be my first time to go to Japan. This will be a valuable experience for my Japanese learning journey.
The contest also help me better recognise my own capability. I am not naturally good at public speaking and was very nervous during the speech. However, when I was up there, words just naturally came out and I thought I did much better than I normally do during practice. The competition has now given me more confidence in public speaking as well as in speaking Japanese.
Although this is my second time participating in the contest, the quality of the speeches and the amount of effort that each contestant put into their speech have always amazed me and I am very lucky to be a part of this experience. For future contestant, I highly recommend you to give it go. You may surprise yourself at what you are capable of.
It was a great experience learning from other contestants and being able to present your speech before the great, supportive audience. The contestants were super friendly and were supportive with each other that it does not even seem like we are competing against each other. It was a wonderful experience overall.
In the beginning, I wasn’t too keen on participating in the Japanese Language Speech Contest. I gave excuses like being busy with university work, too shy, I can’t do a good job, etc.
Had it ended that way, I would have missed out on an immeasurable and wonderful experience.
What I gained from this contest were three things:
- The experience itself. Catching an interstate flight after a week of lectures, standing behind the podium and sharing my speech while feeling the stares of the audience, then catching a flight back for another week of lectures. Fairly rushed, and at times I felt clueless, but nevertheless it was an enjoyable adventure for me!
- The chance to make new friends. And on top of that, friends who have the same interest in studying Japanese too! Meeting so many others who are also learning Japanese really motivates me to work harder to improve my Japanese as well.
- A sense of acknowledgement and confidence. Sometimes I wonder if taking up Japanese was the right choice, and I become very uncertain. But being out there and having my words heard and my efforts recognised by the judges, audience and fellow participants, I feel like I’ve gained more confident and assurance in myself as a learner of Japanese and as an individual.
Thus I want to thank JPF for giving me the chance to participate in such a wonderful event, and also to my friends, family and teachers who have supported me.
So if you are hesitating just like I was, what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out this wonderful opportunity to step out, be heard, and be acknowledged.
The 2017 Japanese speech competition opened my eyes to the level of Japanese fluency one can achieve through time, dedication and a passion for language learning. Having only studied Japanese for less than a year, I didn’t have any expectations of victory. However, watching my fellow participants utilise their language skills to express their individual worldviews, ideas and feelings was an inspiring experience on it’s own. To be able to articulate a vision or belief that is important you to a room full of people in the language of a culture you admire is truly a remarkable feat in my eyes. As someone who feels that they had reached a plateau in their learning, hearing the other participants’ journeys with their language learning gives me confidence that I can continue improving and hopefully reach that same level of fluency that I encountered.
As for anyone thinking about participating in the competition: Why not? As difficult as it was for me to step out of my comfort zone, looking back on it, it was nothing but a positive learning experience for me. Admittedly, I was pretty ill prepared compared to the other participants so my advice would be to pick a topic that you are passionate about and dedicate yourself to learning and understanding your speech. The time and effort you put in will be reflected in the end. Thank you to the Japan Foundation for a fun experience, I hope to be part of it again.
Background Speaker Division
(MLC School, NSW)
(Methodist Ladies’ College, VIC)
(Queensland Academy for Health Sciences, QLD)
Musical instruments and the human brain
Participating in the 2017 Japanese Language Contest was a great experience to learn many valuable skills.
When I found out that I was going to Sydney for the finals, I was scared as I had no idea what kind of place I was going to deliver my speech, the people I was going to participate with, and biggest of all, the atmosphere of the whole event. However, when I first stepped into the contest hall on the day of the rehearsal, all of these worries were gone. Every staff and contestants were enthusiastic and very friendly, even though we met each other for the very first time.
It was also very valuable experience to listen to the other speeches as well. Listening to these speeches was very inspiring.
For me personally, participating in this speech contest was a very challenging shell to break, being this competition the first final speech contest I participated in. But knowing that I was giving my speech to like-minded people, people who were passionate about learning Japanese, helped me deliver my speech.
I believe that this speech competition not only helped me extend my knowledge and meet new people, but also gave me an opportunity to professionally deliver my own speech in front of an audience.
I am glad to have been given the chance to participate in this contest, and therefore encourage anyone who is learning Japanese to be future participants of this contest.
If you are determined to improve your Japanese – most definitely enter this contest.
Participating in the 48th Japanese Language Speech Contest allowed me to not only gain experience in public speaking, but improve my Japanese vocabulary, intonation and grammar. The contest itself was organised beautifully by Japan Foundation, and I believe it was a lovely experience for all the contests because of the great organisation, friendly staff, amazing food and the rare experience we were provided in which we were all able to grow and expand our Japanese skills, as well as make many new friends interstate/overseas. To be honest, I was reluctant in entering as I didn’t have any confidence in public speaking and writing a speech especially in Japanese in front of fluent and highly skilled Japanese speakers. However, not only are all the competitors feeling the same way, but the environment is so open and accepting of anyone who is passionate about learning Japanese. I felt that my growth in Japanese had been at a still for a very long time, and entering this competition honestly challenged me into not only being able to improve, but also voice my opinion and share my perspective to many people. It was very inspiring and captivating to listen to what all of the contestants had to say and I have huge respect for the insane effort put in and the high level of skill. Thank you all so much for the opportunity you gave us!
Participating in the 48th Japanese Language Speech Contest was an absolutely incredible experience. During this competition, I had the chance to meet many new people from a range of academic and cultural backgrounds. Listening to all the speeches being presented on the day was truly intriguing, as the topics were so diverse and unique. As a background speaker, I was amazed by the level of difficulty in the language and content of all the speeches – open beginner, high school, and open division. As for my background Japanese speaker division, the topics presented were all very relatable because we were from the same backgrounds – Australian born with Japanese parents. All the state representatives shared a passion of learning Japanese and the Japanese culture. Although I only had a short stay in Sydney, I was able to make many new connections with people from all over Australia and New Zealand! To have competed at a national level with other state representatives is a valuable experience that I can be proud of and I strongly urge you, no matter how nervous, busy, shy or hesitant, to be part of the 49th Japanese Language Speech Contest! Good luck to all future participants! 頑張ってください！
The Japanese Language Speech Contest was everything that I had imagined and so much more. I expected the nervousness on the day, the mix of different people I could potentially meet and the general passion of Japanese from everyone. However, what I didn’t expect was the immense encouragement and support shown to one another, such insightful, interesting and emotional speeches and most importantly… the amazing food! J But honestly, it was an incredible experience and I am so grateful that I was part of this.
Also, I would really like to thank the competition for giving me an opportunity and platform to talk about a topic that I’m passionate about. Although I speak Japanese at home, it is so different when you stand in front of other students, parents and teachers, hoping that your message will reach them. This made me realise the power of speaking another language and how it enables us to reach out to so many more people. That’s why… KEEP LEARNING JAPANESE!!!
So to conclude, thank you so much to the Japan Foundation for giving me this opportunity to be part of the 48th Japanese Language Speech Contest. I also give my best wishes to all future participants of this competition! Trust me in saying that regardless of whether you place in the end or not, you will walk away gaining something – unforgettable memories, new friends or just an overall amazing experience!
(Monash University, VIC)
The meaning of becoming a ‘Shakaijin’
(The Australian National University, ACT)
(University of Technology Sydney, NSW)
Analysis of the past and present through animation
This year in particular has seen an exponential increase of my involvement in the study of the Japanese language. I went on my first exchange program, started studying it in university and participated in the Japanese and Australian Student Society (JASS). This years speech contest is also proof of my engaged participation in my Japanese language education.
I encourage everyone no matter how long you’ve studied Japanese for to enter the speech competition. I went in with no expectations and came out with a rich and fulfilling experience. I was able to work even more closely with my Japanese teachers and saw how passionate they were about my education; I was able to see the extent of the support around me; and through the power of the internet I was able to share this experience with not only my Australian friends and family but the people I’ve met all over the world. And finally, I was able to meet like minded people; people who reminded me of when I first started studying Japanese and people who gave me a glimpse of what I could achieve in the future with my Japanese. The most important thing that matters to me is that I’ve clearly told my message; being NSW’s representative was an unexpected albeit happy surprise. It warmed my heart to see that my message was delivered into everyone’s heart. As a creator, that is the one wish I have.
The Japan Foundation and the competition sponsors are extremely generous to give so many language learners the opportunity to participate in the Japanese language speech contest finals. They cover costs of flights and hotels for interstate participants, and the staff and volunteers work very hard to ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day, making for a great event. As a learner of Japanese the event is a wonderful opportunity to use Japanese in a challenging context. My favourite part of the competition was having the chance to meet and make friends with so many like-minded people, and listen to their amazing speeches. There is a lot of talent in the Japanese learning community and this event showcases that really well. I left the competition feeling inspired and motivated to persevere in my Japanese studies and to aim to improve my language skills even further. I was also thankful to have received a special prize and feel that the competition improved my confidence in my own abilities. I definitely encourage anybody who is studying Japanese to give this competition a go, and my advice is to speak about something that you’re passionate about and want to share with the audience, and to enjoy the experience.
Participating in the 48th Annual Japanese Speech Contest was a rewarding experience for me. It was a good opportunity to consolidate my Japanese studies so far and to deliver on a topic that I feel special about. I felt it was not just a speech delivery but also a conversation between me and the audience – it was very encouraging to see the supportive audiences and to receive recognition for your commitment. I would also like to humbly thank the sponsors for the special prize recognition.
The speech contest is also an great opportunity to meet many talented people who share the same interest in Japanese. By engaging with a wide range of participants from different academic and cultural backgrounds, not only have I been inspired by their language abilities and topics, I also learnt from their personal experiences and unique perspectives.
I would like to thank the Japan Foundation for this incredible opportunity and for their great organisation of the contest. They are extremely friendly and supportive. I would high recommend any Japanese learner to participate in the competition. Step out of your comfort zone, make new friends, work hard and have fun!
I was a participant in the open division of the 48th Japanese Language Speech Contest Finals in 2017. After winning my division in Queensland, the Japan Foundation took me and all the other winners to Sydney to compete. This was a crazy experience full of new friends, new experiences, and new challenges. I spoke about untranslatable Japanese words and although I did not win, I had the most amazing time. I felt that this experience really aided my Japanese studies and I could understand a lot of new vocabulary and grammar patterns after the time spend preparing for this contest. I would highly recommend participating in this competition to Japanese speakers of all levels as there is always room for improvement and this competition provides a great environment to improve.
Participating in the 48th Japanese Language Speech Contest was a meaningful and challenging experience. Initially, I wasn’t sure what to speak about, but eventually I settled on a topic that was close to my experience, and therefore that I could speak engagingly about, relating to the time I spent working in Japan. As a unique and perhaps obscure topic, I had doubts about whether it would be interesting and engaging for an audience, but this risk paid off in the end. Indeed, those I competed against at the National Final all gave fascinating and unique speeches. As such, I highly recommend anyone considering entering the Speech Contest to think outside the box – bring our own story and perspective, and bring a thought or an observation that people haven’t heard about before. After giving my speech in Melbourne, I was elated to become the Victorian representative to compete in the National Final in Sydney. The Japan Foundation was wonderful and coordinated everything very smoothly and kindly, and this went a long way towards making participants feel welcomed and settled, ready to do their best on the day. The contest was a great opportunity to meet new people with the same interest in Japanese language learning, and it was wonderful to hear so many different stories, told by so many amazing speakers of the language. This experience has increased my motivation to continue studying Japanese, and I am very grateful to the Japan Foundation and its sponsors for this opportunity.
Having the opportunity to participate in the Japan Foundation Speech Competition was a truly unforgettable experience. From sponsoring our flights from our respective cities to accommodation in Sydney, the Japan Foundation was nothing short of generous in ensuring that we were able to perform at our best in the competition. As a result, this allowed everyone to present at a very high level and provided a lot of stimulation in terms of the content of the speeches, with fresh perspectives on the Japanese society and culture.
Through the competition, I was able to meet many fellow Japanese students from all around Australia and interact with like-minded contestants, making many new friends in the process. This was a unique experience I would not have had if I did not participate in the speech competition and I am extremely glad I did! Although nerves were running high in the room, I was able to enjoy every moment from start to finish as the event was well coordinated and ran smoothly.
Although preparation for the speech may be hard work, I would like to encourage everyone to take up this opportunity and participate in the competition as there are many things to be gained, whether that be improving your confidence in the Japanese language or going to Sydney for the first time!
Temple University Japan Campus
|Nafi Mazid (Darwin High School, NT) in High School Senior Division||過労死
|Rio Horiuchi (Narrabundah College, ACT) in Background Speaker Division||自分の殻を破る勇気（日本の中学校で学んだ事）
The courage to break your own shell (What I learnt from Junior High School in Japan)
|Emma Simmons (SA) in Open Division||ペラペラになりたい
I want to be fluent
|Jerry Jiang (University of Adelaide, SA) in Open Beginner Division||音楽から流れる気持ち
The feelings flowed from the music
|Cynthia Tan (The Australian National University, ACT) in Open Division||自分の居場所
|Date||Saturday | October 7, 2017|
|Time||9:30am – 3:45pm|
|Venue||The Japan Foundation, Sydney
Level 4, Central Park
28 Broadway, Chippendale NSW 2008
Opening Address by Mr Takashi Yokoyama
Embassy of Japan in Australia
|9:45am||High School Senior Division|
|10:45am||Open Beginner Division|
|11:15am||Background Speaker Division|
|12:50pm||Presentation by Mr Daniel Tukiri
(The 1st Prize winner of High School Senior Division in 2016)
Followed by Closing Address by Mr Yoshihiro Wada
Director, The Japan Foundation, Sydney
Followed by Afternoon Tea
Middle and right images: © Kyoto Tourism Council
Return air ticket to Japan courtesy of Japan Airlines
Kyoto Bullet Train Open Ticket Package & Kyoto Sightseeing One-day Pass courtesy of Central Japan Railway Company
One night accommodation of Twin Room in Tokyo or Kyoto courtesy of Prince Hotels & Resorts
|2nd Prize||Sport shoes valued at $260 and sports bag courtesy of ASICS|
|3rd Prize||$150 voucher courtesy of Kinokuniya Bookstore of Australia|
|Special Prize (×4)||$100 pre-paid Visa Card courtesy of Temple University Japan Campus|
|Special Prize (×1)||Overnight accommodation for two in Australia or New Zealand courtesy of TFE Hotels, valued at $500
* Non-prize winning participants will receive a T-shirt courtesy of ASICS