Japanese is a part of me! Part 2

Japanese – English

This year’s Australian-Japanese Language Speech Contest is about to begin!

But before that, let’s hear what Jae Lee, the 2011 prize winner of the national open division, has to say about his experience!

When did you start learning Japanese?

I was really into this one anime called Cyber Formula, so I guess the opportunity to start studying Japanese stemmed from there. I came to Melbourne from Korea 10 years ago and there were no Korean subtitles back then. I thought I’d study Japanese so I understood what was happening.

Also, my high school had a sister-school in Gotenba City (Shizuoka Prefecture). I went on exchange for about 3 weeks and became quite interested in Japanese fashion.

How about the Japanese speech contest, why did you participate in that?

The opportunity actually arose through a university professor’s advice. When I spoke about the Korean armed forces in Japanese class, the professor found it quite interesting and urged me to talk more about it in the speech contest.

What were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

I actually struggled with the grammar, kanji and pronunciation. So before the contest, I asked my professor to look over my script. Also, some of my university friends are native Japanese so they were able to teach me the correct pronunciation.

As the winner of the national open division, you were able to visit Japan. What was your impression on Japan?

I stayed in Osaka for a few weeks. One time my friend and I went down to an izakaya (Japanese pub) and a strange guy started talking to us. It was quite exciting talking about Japan and sake in Japanese.

Also, the friends I had made in Osaka invited me along to a New Year’s party. We became good buddies with the group that sat next to us and we celebrated the New Year together. I thought that the people living in Osaka were lively, cheerful and easy to befriend. It was also interesting how the Osaka-dialect differs slightly to the one I have learnt.

The food that has left me with the greatest impression is definitely curry udon! Before visiting Japan, I always ate the two separately so I thought it was quite strange when I first saw it in Osaka. But when I tried it, the combination of the two was just awesome!

Do you have any final messages?

The speech contest was definitely an interesting experience for me. For me, winning was not that important compared to the level of accomplishment and satisfaction I received from participating in the contest. I highly urge you all to participate to experience those amazing feelings for yourself!

43rd Australian Japanese Language Speech Contest – Victorian State Final

Each year, Japanese-language students who are 17 years old + are invited to participate in the annual speech contest. It is an ideal opportunity for leaners to utilise their language skills and convey it to a Japanese audience. Even if you do not participate, we still welcome you to come and support the contestants.

Winners of each division will be able to participate in the national contest held in Sydney on Saturday 13 October 2020.

For more information about the speech contest and details including, contest guidelines and application form etc. are available through the Consulate-General of Japan (Melbourne)’s website.


Final Application Date:
Wednesday 5 September 2020

{State Final}

Date: Sunday 16 September 2020
Admission: Free
Venue: Swinburne University, ATC Auditorium, 427 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, VIC 3122

We also interviewed 2011’s Victorian State Melbourne-Osaka Sister City award recipient, Ronnen Leizerovits! You can read the interview here!


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