It’s that time of the year again, the Speech Contest has come! This year, the 24th contest was held at my university (Université de Montréal) so it felt very comfortable performing there.
Last year, I participated in the Japanese Speech Contest for the first time in the ‘Beginner Category” (hosted by McGill University). My speech was about Katsushika Hokusai and his paintings “Kanagawa oki nami ura” and “Aka Fuji”
It was a very difficult speech and I had a lot of pressure to win (first place winners get a cash prize and are sent to the nationals to participate for a plane ticket to Japan). I needed to win this competition in order to fund my trip to Japan in the follow summer.
However, the pressure was too great and I succumbed to it all too easily. Even though I didn’t win 1st, 2nd nor 3rd place, I still placed in the special honours category and got the prize for “emotions” 感動書
This year was different. Having grown so much emotionally and intellectually since last year, and having been to Japan to study, I came to the contest with a different frame of mind. This year, I competed in the “Intermediate Category” and had more fun with my text.
I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for my speech because I had been sick for 2 weeks prior to the competition. Even so, I really wanted to participate again and try to win a prize. I decided to write about a funny incident that happened to me while in Tokyo with my friends, and explain how phonetics and pronunciation play such an important part in day-to-day understanding of a foreign language.
Despite the fact that I felt confident and wasn’t nervous like the last time, I walked away empty handed. Some teachers thought that it might have been because my subject was too simple, but honestly, I doesn’t bother me. I had a lot of fun this year preparing my speech with my teacher and I value his opinion about it more than the ones of people who don’t even know me. There were a lot of teachers and colleagues whom I respect, that told me I had perfect intonations and pronunciation. That in itself is worth more to me than any piece of paper ^_^
Onto next year! I’ll try out for Advanced Category, you never know, I might just get that one!