Results of the 28th Japanese Public Speaking Contest (7 March)
On Saturday 7 March 2015, the 28th Japanese Public Speaking Contest was held at the Bel Air Hotel in The Hague. Ambassador Tsuji addressed everyone first and emphasised his gratitude towards the supporting companies that again provided fantastic prizes. The ambassador also encouraged the participants and expressed his expectations for them to be able to sufficiently display their Japanese abilities, for which they work so hard, in this Speaking Contest.
This year, 18 persons in their twenties and three high school students participated and they fluently spoke about their life experiences in their Japan and the results of their research about Japan.
This year’s theme was ‘things I like about Japan and things I do not like so much about Japan’. As there is usually not a lot of opportunity to hear from young people what they do not like so much about Japan, it was an interesting theme.
The content of the speeches varied greatly from honne and tatemae (‘one’s true feelings’ vs. ‘appearances’) to ties between people, lifetime employment, dialects, omotenashi (hospitality), control of emotions, the climate, haiku (Japanese poems), music, the education system, misunderstandings in the Japanese language, gender, the declining birth-rate and aging population, keigo (Japanese honorific language) and modesty. The participants captured Japanese customs and culture in great detail as viewed from a Dutch perspective, and they clearly stated their own opinions and impressions. Particularly impressive were the top three winners, who were all students that learned the Japanese language through self-study. The fact that two high school students won the top prizes not only surprised the entire panel of judges, but also gave the strong impression that a change can be perceived in the way of studying a language.
The results of the 28th Japanese Public Speaking Contest