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The Nihongo Cup 2012

The Nihongo Cup Japanese Speech Contest for secondary school students was held at the Embassy of Japan in London on June 16th 2012.

The 18 finalists, who had been selected from 162 applicants from 21 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 140 people!

Between each of the three categories of speeches, the audience was entertained by the beautiful sounds of Melissa Holding’s koto performance as well as the gorgeous voices of the choir from Greenford High school as they regaled the audience with songs in Japanese.

Due to the extremely high level of Japanese and the thought-provoking content of the speeches delivered by all finalists, the judges had extremely difficult decisions to make when choosing the final winners of the 2012 Nihongo Cup. In the end, Tom Rodriguez (Key Stage 4and 5 Post-GCSE), Nicholas Hendy (Key Stage 4 and 5 Pre-GCSE) and Samantha Nead (Key Stage 3) were awarded first prize in each of their categories. One member of the audience, Michelle Taylor, said the highlight was “seeing the finalists relax and really ‘get into’ their speeches.” Tyra Brown, who is a student from Greenford High school mentioned that “hearing the post GCSE students talk so fast was exceptionally breath-taking.” Several of the younger students also mentioned that they enjoyed listening to the post GCSE speeches; so we hope they will all continue to study hard and come back to try 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: Tom Rodriguez (Aquinas College) 
Speech title: “The importance of Foreign Languages”
2nd Prize: Vivian Truong (Bexley Grammar School)
Speech title: “My image of Japan”
3rd Prize: Omar Shah Hakim (Wycliffe College)
Speech title: “Male Jobs”

Other finalists:
Winnie Fan (Wycliffe College)
William Miller (Blythe Hall)
Azfar Rashman (Whitgift School) 

Key Stage 4 and 5 Pre-GCSE Category
Winner: Nicholas Hendy (Aylesbury Grammer School)
Speech title: “My Future Dream”
2nd Prize: Kirsten Bergfors (St Helen’s School)
Speech title: “Story of Kappa”
3rd Prize: Jenny Robinson (Queen Mary’s High School)
Speech title: “Riding”

Other finalists:
Serena Coid (Queen’s College)
Eilis Hafey (Newstead Wood School)
Sorin Muraru (Hockerhill Anglo-European College) 

Key Stage 3 Category (Speech theme: “Inspired by London 2012”)
Winner: Samantha Nead (Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls)
2nd Prize: Kendra Rabbitts (South Wolds Community School and Sixth Form) 
3rd Prize: Anna Whitehead (Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls)

Other finalists:
Maisey Hodges (Campion School and Languages College)
Annie Moohan (King Edward VII School and Language College)
Emma Newman (South Wolds Community School and Sixth Form) 

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), the Japan Centre and Lingualift 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.