another great day in Japan- DOUBLE SPEECH CONTEST OWNAGE!!!

Posted on Saturday, October 27th, 2007 at 5:00 am.

Edit: Added Pictures for Dan. -K

I have to say that I’m quite proud of myself today. If I accomplish nothing else in Japan from this day forward (I hope this is not the case, but hey, who knows), I can say that I had at least one great victory as a teacher. For the past several weeks, I have been staying after school (and after official working hours) to work on English speech and roleplaying contest entries with my kids at Tomisuhara Junior High School.

Today we went to the competition. Me, the Japanese teacher, the one student entering the speech category and the two students doing the roleplay all went by train to the competition site and I watched the kids compete. I was probably just as nervous as the kids if not more so, as I put in a lot of hours editing and directing their speeches, and I wanted to see how well they’d do. A lot of the time I was more of an acting coach than an English coach, as I had to tell the students gestures and intonation and pacing as well as correcting their English.

So, when Tomisuhara’s speech contestant and its roleplaying duo took first prize in the competition, I have to say I was pretty damn proud of myself… Obviously, it’s not like I did everything. The stuents were very talented, and their Japanese teacher had great English was excellent at giving them advice. Still, you can’t help but give yourself a pat on the back when your students take both first prizes in a two-category English competition. You don’t get much more verification of your teaching ability than that.

I was particularly nervous for the boy who won the speech segment. He had lost the previous year despite his great English (he had lived in England for a good period of time) and the Japanese teacher told me right from the start of preparation “This is his revenge on last year.” This time, he not only won, but in my opinion he absolutely kicked ass, delivering a level of pace, gestures, intonation and pronunciation that was clearly the best at the competition. The judges even told him afterward (some of the judges were young American teachers like myself) that they were awestruck by his timing and delivery.

The girls doing the roleplay did great too, and they were the only roleplaying entry that made the audience laugh just by talking and delivering a great presentation. All the other entries had tons of props and costumes and elaborate settings, but the two girls just went up in their uniforms and did their skit, pantomiming any objects and settings. When an audience is laughing along to a foreign language skit, you know you’re doing well.

Anyway, I’ll attach a picture of this once I get a copy sent to me by my Japanese teacher. I just wanted to post this story because it’s another great moment during this job which is turning out to be an absolutely awesome experience.

4 comments to “another great day in Japan- DOUBLE SPEECH CONTEST OWNAGE!!!”

  1. Comment by Kevin:

    What kind of skit was it? And I assume they were speaking English the entire time?

  2. Comment by Dan:

    it was a comedy skit about being afraid of manju (a Japanese pastry), and yes, in an English speech contest, you speak English. They wouldn’t consult me if they were using Japanese.

  3. Comment by Kevin:

    Shut up.

    So where are the pictures?

  4. Comment by Tim:

    Hey Dan, since you’re in japan, I was wondering if you could do a favor for me. I was wondering if you could stop over to a record store, and look for X-Japan “On Guitar” or “Guitar Solo Collection” (I believe they are the same thing). The cover looks like this:

    I am willing to pay handsomely for this album if you can find it~

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