Posts Tagged speech contest

October 1, 2006 – Speech contest

Today I attended the annual English / Japanese speech contest at Numazu library. The event was hosted by NICE – Numazu Association for International Communication and Exchanges. The Penpal is a member of NICE, so I went along to check it out.

When I learned about the contest a few months ago, I had given some thought to entering. The demand was much greater than the supply – 24 people tried to enter but only 10 Japanese speeches were presented. There were also 10 English speeches by Japanese residents. My favourite speeches were about the differences in communication styles between Japanese and American housewives, and an elderly Japanese man’s scorching rant about those annoying teens in sweatpants who hang out in front of convenience stores.

I really admire the courage shown by everyone who made a speech: public speaking makes a lot of people nervous, nevermind public speaking in your second language.

I overslept before the contest and didn’t have any time to eat before I got there. By the end of 20 speeches I was STARVING. On my way home I stopped at the new donair food truck in front of Don Kihote. If you’ve never eaten a donair, you are truly missing out on one of life’s great pleasures.

When I got home I received an invite from the Penpal to come over for dinner. I was still full from my late lunch, but I never, EVER refuse homemade curry. Yum!

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October 16, 2005 – Speech contest

Today I went to the English / Japanese speech contest at Numazu library. The event was hosted by NICE – Numazu association for International Communications and Exchanges (shouldn’t that be NAICE?)

There were two hosts to the event – one speaking English and one speaking Japanese. The Penpal was the English speaking host for the day. To add a bit of class to the event, the hosts were dressed nicely, with The Penpal wearing a kimono.

A common mistake that non-Japanese people make is to confuse a kimono with a yukata. A kimono refers to a formal and elaborate garment that can cost thousands of dollars, where a yukata is a lighter, less formal robe. In order to get properly dressed in her kimono, she went to a special shop before the event where trained staff spent almost 90 minutes getting her dressed.

This was my first time to see The Penpal in her kimono, and she looked fantastic!

The speeches were interesting, covering a wide range of topics. My favourite speech of the day was in English, given by a retired older woman who studies English as a hobby. When she started her speech she was so nervous that she was visibly shaking. As she got into her speech and got more comfortable, her confidence grew, and by the end she finished strong and looked very happy.

I truly admire the courage of anyone who gets up in front of a crowd to speak, especially in a foreign language. If I am still in Japan at the same time next year, I would like to test my Japanese skills and enter the contest myself.

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