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Posted on September 1, 2011
Sixteen speakers vied for first prize in a Japanese Speech Contest held on July 13, 2011 at University Hall before an audience of over 150.
Dr. Akira Nakajima, Director of Saga University, offered his encouragement to the participants. The sixteen speakers, dressed in traditional costumes, gave impressive speeches dealing with differences in culture and values between Japan and their home country, their experiences in Japan, and culture and fashion in Japan.
The judges awarded first prize to Ms. Xu Xin from China; she told the story of her treasure: two Singapore coins that her uncle, a sailor who died young, gave her. Second prize went to Ms. Tsai Tsai Hsun from Taiwan; she discussed Japanese sensitivity and the depth of Japan. Ms. Le Thi Tinh from Vietnam received third prize; she recalled the time she spent in Tokyo during the earthquake on March 11th and the warmth and kindness of the people who helped her overcome her anxiety. Ms. Sanduni Kumari from Sri Lanka received a special award; she talked about how Sri Lankan women express love and use gestures.
Faculty of Economics Professor Ratnayake Piyadasa, contest organizer and head of the International Exchange Office, said the goal of the contest was to increase international awareness in the minds of local people and so to aid in the development of Saga University’s international activities. Currently more than 300 international students study at Saga University. Whether they have come to learn Japanese, do research, or study specialized subjects, all of them are faced with the sometimes troubling task of dealing with differences in culture and custom between Japan and their home country.
Creating a bond between students and the local community is essential in overcoming such difficulties. The speech contest sought to achieve this by enlisting the aid of local citizens currently taking University extension courses. They coached the students in preparation for the contest and then as audience members helped create a warm atmosphere and sense of community.