^ the above image is organically sourced (we took it ourselves), so we did not link the source this time :)
Public speaking is one of many people’s greatest fears. Just imagine yourself standing on a stage under the bright lights, onlooking hundreds of eager audiences waiting for you to begin your speech. Scary, isn’t it? Now imagine yourself doing just that, but speaking in a foreign language.
That’s what the Japanese Speech Contest 2022 required of its contestants.
For the secondary school category, we were required to write a 4 minute speech on any topic we wanted to and present it onstage to a panel of judges and 300 odd members of the audience.
There were three rounds of selection - the preliminary round, during which we submitted our script for the speech; the semi-finals, during which we submitted an audio recording of ourselves reading our script; and the finals, for the first time held live at the Japanese Association Singapore, where we presented our speeches onstage.
I was fortunate to have been chosen to be one of the 5 finalists for the Secondary Category this year - I spoke about my three year old baby brother and his daily shenanigans.
Some highlights of my speech were, in my opinion, when he did his business on the floor regardless of how loudly my mother screamed and when he tried to jump off the dinner table without any of us there to catch him. For a more detailed version of my script, you can find it where it will be linked at the bottom of my blog post!
It was certainly a nerve-wracking experience for my first try at a public speaking competition to be in Japanese, but through repeated practising the entire week before, I managed to pull myself together for the duration of a 4 minute speech. During the competition, I also made new friends who were equally enthusiastic about learning the Japanese language!
My nerves were also soothed by the excellent lunch JAS (Japanese Association Singapore) provided - there was unagi (eel), miso soup, and even sashimi, complete with a cup of green tea and steaming white rice, a wonderfully Japanese meal!
All in all, though I got a little nervous and stumbled over some parts of my script, it was a good thing I came in third, and I’m really thankful for this opportunity to attempt public speaking in a different language.
The awards were also very generous thanks to the numerous Japanese sponsors - the cake was especially good. I’ll definitely be back next year to try my hand again with a more innovative speech topic, aiming for champion this time!
Video link for the speech (I am the second person speaking in the first video!): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOP6m2SVOWtM8RxDrlBRH4SpD-1gQvitx