Time travel, an African safari and Antarctic exploration were just some of the exciting topics dreamed up by participants at this year's Nihongo Cup. Nineteen UK secondary school students gathered together at the Japanese Embassy to deliver their speeches, entirely in Japanese, to the attentive audience.
The finalists had already come a long way, having been selected from an initial 124 applicants from 19 different schools. Creativity, poise and accuracy were all needed in equal measure as students battled it out in three different categories, depending on their Key Stage, in an attempt to win an array of fantastic prizes.
The judges had an extremely difficult decision and after much deliberation awarded first prize in each category to Rhiannon Griffiths, Edmund Rhind-Tutt and Harriet Smailes. Many congratulations must go to those three students, and indeed to all the other finalists, for contributing to such an excellent competition.
Attendees were not only treated to nineteen impressive speeches, but also entertainment in the form of a koto performance, judo demonstration and a very unusual and inventive 'exercise dance' for everyone to try. As the routine began, the performers were greeted with looks of surprise and confusion, and yet, in the space of just a few minutes, the entire auditorium was having fun twisting, crouching and gesticulating in time with their movements!
The full results are as follows:
Key Stage 5:
Winner - Rhiannon Griffiths, King Edward VII School
Speech title: For the Sake of Beauty
2nd Place - Ollie Capehorn, Wycliffe College
Speech title: Technology
3rd Place - Lawson Lancaster, Greenford High School
Speech title: My Study of Japanese
Rory Faulkner, Campion School
Tom Kilford, Whitgift School
Joshua Scott-Fawcett, Gresham's School
James Spencer, Whitgift School
Key Stage 4: (all speeches entitled 'My Perfect Journey')
Winner - Edmund Rhind-Tutt, Millfield School
2nd Place - Rowland Goodbody, St. Gregory's Catholic College
3rd Place - Jenny Mulvihill, South Wolds School
Charlotte Handford, Stratford upon Avon Grammar School for Girls
Katherine Miller, Queen Mary's High School
Matthew Oldroyd, Christ College, Cheltenham
Key Stage 3: (all speeches entitled 'My Perfect Journey')
Winner - Harriet Smailes, South Wolds School
2nd Place - Paulina Ogar, Dame Alice Owen's School
3rd Place - Luke Austin, Tavistock College
Emma Curati-Alasonatti, Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls
Layke Smith, Katharine Lady Berkeley's School
Roshana Wickremasinghe, Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls
The event was organised by the Japanese Language Committee of the Association for Language Learning, in association with the Japan Foundation London Language Centre and Embassy of Japan in the UK. We are very grateful to Toshiba of Europe Ltd, JSA (the Japanese Speech Awards), Ricoh UK Ltd, JP-Books (JPT Europe Ltd) and the Japan Centre for sponsoring the event and donating prizes, and also to JRI Europe Ltd for their generous sponsorship and to Soho Japan for contributing to the evening reception.