2014, 1 March 2014
Theme: The kind of Japanese culture that I would like to introduce to the people of the Netherlands.
Since my last post from 2013, about the 26th Japanese Speaking contest, changed a lot! In the mean time I’m a college student and study Trade Management for Asia. This time I also wanted to participate the contest, not just as Michelle, but also as a representative of my university! This is the second time I participate, I knew what I could expect so I was quite nervous.
My speech was about the Yosakoi Festival in Sapporo. The people who followed me during 2012/2013 know how much I like Yosakoi Festival. You can read the blog post here.
However, I was not the only one who came with the idea to talk about Yosakoi. The other candidate even participated himself in Yosakoi when he studied in Japan! He wore the traditional outfit and presented him as a member of the team. Unfortunately Yosakoi wasn’t the best choice for this speech contest, we both didn’t win a prize.
On the other hand, Maarten did win a prize! He was, just like me the last year, a high school student. But unlike me, Maarten has never been to Japan for a long period and learned Japanese all by himself. He is a really kind guy from the South of the Netherlands which I will write about again in the next paragraph.
2015, 7 March 2015
Theme: What I like about Japan and don’t like so much about Japan.
2015, at this moment I’m a second year studying Trade Management for Asia. I achieved my first year certificate and it was March again, so time for the speech contest. This is the last year I could participate. Most of the candidates were from Leiden University or Hogeschool Zuyd, which is in the South of the Netherlands. To be honest, I was not very excited to participate this time. For the last two years I could hardly improve my Japanese and I forgot a lot. I’m quite frustrated about this.
This year again, I was a representative of the school together with three fellow students. We got the opportunity to practice our speech for a delegation from Japan. The lectures came from J.F. Oberlin University and Meiji University. At the moment, these universities work together with Rotterdam Business School because of the scholarship project VIBE.
Unlike the other speech contests, I decided to change my tactics. I didn’t bring my full speech but just a few cards to look at when I would forget my speech. I also learned that only a plain speech is not enough. For some variety I used some, self-made, posters.
The theme, what I like about Japan and what I don’t like so much about Japan? I like Japan because the country offers so much diversity, from snowy mountain til tropical islands. There is a season for everybody! The disadvantage of this advantage is that Japanese people don’t go to other countries and therefor can’t speak English very well. This is why a lot of people, like my parents and brother, consider Japan a closed country.
Anyway… my speech ended with the argument, what I don’t like so much about Japan, that there is 9193 kilometers between the Netherlands and Japan!
Unfortunately, again no prize for me! Nevertheless Maarten was participating again and not only Maarten but also Maarten 2.0! His name is not Maarten but Floris de Graaf. He was, just like me two years ago, a high school student with a big interest for Japan and the Japanese language. However, unlike Maarten and me, Floris has never ever been to Japan! This fact changed quickly, as he won the first prize! A return ticket to Japan and a homestay. He was incredibly good. And so was Maarten, he won the second prize: a very nice Canon (or Nikon..) camera! If he could pass his high school exams, Maarten will study in Japan for a bachelor degree. He passed his exams and lives in Japan now, you can follow him on the following link (it’s written in Dutch..).
Now it’s almost time for me to go to Japan again, and I’m very much looking forward to it. The speech contests were very good experiences, I have met a lot of wonderful people and even decided to study at Rotterdam Business School. I’m eager to improve my Japanese and who knows I might be able to participate in a speech contest in Japan!
This post is also available in: Dutch