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Nihongo Cup 2011

On June 18th the 2011 Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for secondary school students was held at the Embassy of Japan in London.

The 18 finalists, who had been selected from 279 applicants from 19 different schools across the UK, all demonstrated great creativity, thoughtfulness and outstanding ability in Japanese in performing their speeches – not to mention extraordinary courage to present their ideas in a foreign language to an audience of 150 people! 

Between each of the three categories of speeches, the audience was entertained by the haunting singing of the Japanese choir Green Chorus, and also had the opportunity to participate in Japanese culture while offering their support for victims of the Tohoku Pacific earthquake and tsunami by writing messages on cranes and tanabata (Star Festival) paper slips.

Due to the extremely high level of Japanese and the wonderful content of the speeches delivered by all finalists, the judges found deciding on the final winners of the 2011 Nihongo Cup harder than ever.  But eventually, Joe Littler (Key Stage 4and 5 Post-GCSE), Winnie Fan (Key Stage 4 and 5 Pre-GCSE) and Rebecca Young (Key Stage 3) were awarded first prize in each of their categories. After the prize giving ceremony, many of the finalists commented on how glad they were to have had this experience, and that they want to enter again next year!

Many congratulations and a big thank you to everyone who came together to make the day such a success. The full results of the contest are as follows:

Key Stage 4 and 5 Post-GCSE Category
Winner: Joe Littler (King Edward VII School) 
Speech title: “Making a Japanese Sword”
2nd Prize: Lauren du Plessis (Aylesbury High School)
Speech title: “The Culture of the Geisha”
3rd Prize: Jisu Lee (St. Helen’s School)
Speech title: “Hiroshima”
Other finalists:
Kashif Akhtar (Greenford High School)
Stuart Burrell (South Wolds Community School)
Tanya Naumenko (Wycliffe College)

Key Stage 4 and 5 Pre-GCSE Category
Winner: Winnie Fan (Wycliffe College)
Speech title: “A Trip to Bath”
2nd Prize: Fabian Fatodu (Whitgift School)
Speech title: “Japanese Music”
3rd Prize: Kristine Gante (Queen Mary’s High School)
Speech title: “My Interest in the World”
Other finalists:
Bethany Allum (Tile Hill Wood School)
Philip Bentley (Dartford Grammar School)
Areekul Bunprakob (Havering College)

Key Stage 3 Category (Speech theme: “My Favourite Place”)
Winner: Rebecca Young (South Wolds Community School
2nd Prize: Carine Valarche (Wren Academy)
3rd Prize: Angel Catacutan (Greenford High School)
Other finalists: 
Harjivan Chhokar (Campion School)
Yu Yeen Fung (St. Helen’s School)
Wesley Gaunt (Covenant Christian School)

The event was organised by the Japanese Language Committee of the Association for Language Learning, in association with the Japan Foundation London 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 Sumisho Computer Systems for their generous sponsorship and to Soho Japan for contributing to the evening reception.