York students earn honours at Ontario Japanese Speech contest

Norio Ota

Seven York University students competed at the 30th Annual Ontario Japanese Speech contest held at the University of Toronto in March and every one of them brought home a prize.

Boram Shin Thirty-four contestants from institutions across Ontario, including the University of Western Ontario, the University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo and McMaster University attended the competition. York students, who are currently enrolled in JP1000(Elementary Modern Standard Japanese), JP 2000 (Intermediate Modern Standard Japanese) and JP3000 (Advanced Modern Standard Japanese) competed in three categories – three students in the beginners’ category, three in intermediate, and one in the open category.

Out of the 12 contestants who competed in the intermediate category, Boram Shin (right), a fourth-year student in the International BBA program at the Schulich School of Business, shared her personal story as a student, “F in the Transcript, but A+ life Experience”, and won second place.

Michael FlintIn the beginner’s category, 13 participants competed. Third place went to Michael Flint (left), a fourth-year cultural studies student in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS), who enthusiastically delivered the speech, “Welcome to Toronto, Visitors!”, based on his work experience as a multilingual tour guide.

Nelson Ouyang, a fourth-year information technology student in the LA&PS, won Ekaterina Zubkovafourth place for passionately talking about his love for a new style of Japanese music in his speech, “Doojin Music has its Charms”.

Ekaterina Zubkova (right), an International Studies student at Glendon, charmed the audience with her creative and futuristic speech, “Robots are Human’s Best Friend”, to receive fifth place.

Intermediate category’s Aarathi Shatagopam, a business and economics student at Glendon, was awarded with Special Effort Prize for her speech, “My Ideal House”. Two special prizes Nelson Ouyangwent to intermediate category’s Joo Youn Lee, an economics student in LA&PS, and open category’s Mikwi Cho, a biology student in the Faculty of Science & Engineering, for their speeches “Plastic Surgery in Korea” and “Living with Harmless Cancer”.

Left: Nelson Ouyang

Ontario Japanese Speech Contest (OJSC) celebrated its 30th competition this year. The organizing committee, which consist of volunteer members from different institutions acknowledged the works by three professors who made significant contributions to the development of the speech contest. York’s Professor Norio Ota was one of them.

Chair of the organizing committee Professor Kumiko Inutsuka of York University (front row centre) with the 2012 prize winners, including the seven from YorkRight: Chair of the organizing committee Professor Kumiko Inutsuka of York University (front row centre) with the 2012 prize winners, including the seven from York

Norio OtaLeft: Norio Ota

Ota has served as a committee member for 17 years and took the initiative to create a web page for OJSC in 1999, and has been hosting the site ever since. The committee members extended their warm appreciation presenting a bouquet of flowers.

Currently, over 300 students study in the Japanese Studies Program at York.

Submitted to YFile by Kiyoko Toratani, a professor in York’s Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics in LA&PS