Japanese Club partcipates in speech contest
Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 15:04
Over the Easter weekend, four students from UTM participated in the 5th Annual Tennessee Area Japanese Speech Contest.
“This year marks the 100th anniversary of the gift of cherry trees the Mayor of Tokyo donated to Washington, D.C. This contest was one event marking this important anniversary,” UTM professor Kyoko Hammond said.
UTM has participated in this contest for five years. This year, the students from the Japanese classes taught by Hammond were Kibon Lee, Joel Sissman, David Verissimo and GaHyun Berry. These students, including the other participants, totaled over 50 from nine different schools. Hammond said that they had to give a speech in Japanese without any notes. The students were put into different levels, and the levels depend on the amount of hours of Japanese classes the students had taken, 150 hours or less, 300 hours or less or more than 300 hours.
Lee was in the first level with “Dreaming: How I Decided My Major.” Sissman and Verissimo were in the second with “Blogging: The Use of Media to Improve My Understanding” and “Another Month of Work.” Berry was in the third level with her speech “Difference and Problems of “Freeter” and “Neet.” The grand prize winner was Seth Graves from MTSU with his speech, “The Unfellable Country”.
Even though UTM students didn’t win grand prize, Berry took first place in the highest level.
This was Berry’s second time competing, and he is a sophomore majoring in international business and minoring in Japanese.
“If chances allow me to, I would like to participate again, but it seems like I won’t be able to,” Berry said.
When asked how she had prepared for her speech, she said that she thought of what the judges would be interested in and then wrote her speech.
“Once the speech was written, all I had to do was read, read and read, and memorize,” Berry said.
She said that it was really hard giving a speech in Japanese without any notes. Her native language is Korean, and she emphasized how difficult it is to speak in a language that isn’t your native one. However, once she practiced, she mastered it.
“Once I related what I wanted to say in Japanese to the language that I know and understand, it [was] almost the same as just telling a story in a language I know,” Berry said.