The winner of the 2018 Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest visited Toyama Prefecture!

Originally written for the Vol.12-No.3 edition (October 9, 2018) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

The Toyama Cup is a Japanese speech contest held every year in Portland in cooperation with JASO (the Japan-America Society of Oregon) to recognize the fruits of Oregon students’ Japanese studies. It first began in 1996, commemorating the 5th anniversary of the sister-state relationship between Toyama and Oregon. Jack Glenn from Willamette University won the Grand Prize for this year’s 22nd Toyama Cup, held on April 22nd. His prize included a week-long trip to Toyama where he visited the many sites that make our beautiful prefecture famous.

 

Jack’s stay in Toyama lasted from July 22nd to July 29th and he visited the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, the Toyama Prefectural Museum of Art and Design, as well as the Historic Villages of Gokayama World Heritage Site.

Courtesy Call

On July 23rd, Jack visited the Prefectural Government Office and paid a courtesy visit to Mr. Kurahori, Director-General of the General Policy Bureau. We hope that he will use his experience here in Toyama to become a bridge between Toyama and Oregon, as well as between Japan and the United States. As a symbol of this hope, Director-General Kurahori conferred Jack the title of “Toyama Honorary Friendly Envoy.”

Kurobe Dam

After his stay in Toyama, Jack said that he would never forget the spectacular scenery of the Tateyama mountain range and the Kurobe Dam, and that the Toyama Bay Sushi was the best tasting seafood he had ever had in his life. According to him, Toyama has many experiences that simply cannot be had in Tokyo or Osaka, and since it is packed with all of the things that make Japan great, everyone should visit Toyama at least once in their lifetime.

Gokayama Washi

We hope that Jack’s experience will drive exchange between Toyama and Oregon, and we look forward to welcoming the next speech contest winner!

For more information, please visit http://jaso.org/toyama-cup-2/

Photo Source: Toyama Speech Contest Winners

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The 2018 Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest

Originally written for the Vol.12-No.2 edition (June 18, 2018) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

The Toyama Cup is a Japanese speech contest held every year in Portland in cooperation with JASO (the Japan-America Society of Oregon) to recognize the fruits of Oregon students’ Japanese studies. It first began in 1996, commemorating the 5th anniversary of the sister-state relationship between Toyama and Oregon. Jack Glenn from Willamette University won the Grand Prize for this year’s 22nd Toyama Cup, held on April 22nd. His prize includes a week-long trip to Toyama where he will visit the many sites that make our beautiful prefecture famous. Jack will be coming in July, and join the many other Grand Prize winners who have made the trip from Oregon to Toyama over the years, continuing to build the bridge of friendship between our two regions. We look for new participants every year so if you happen to know someone who would be interested, encourage them to apply next year! For more information, please visit the JASO website here.

These last few months in Toyama

In October 2017, the state of Oregon held a trade mission to Asia, led by Governor Kate Brown and Alexis Taylor, director of the Department of Agriculture. The trade mission’s objectives were to create and maintain precious relationships across the Pacific Ocean. During this trade mission, a “Friends of Oregon Reception” was held in Tokyo on October 11th. As Oregon’s sister-state for over 25 years, Toyama Prefecture sent Public Enterprise Administrator Hidetoshi Sunuma as well as International Affairs Division section manager Kawamura and myself to greet the Oregon mission.

Photo with the governor

Mr. Sunuma was able to have short discussions with Governor Brown, as well as Chris Harder, the director of Business Oregon, and Amanda Welker, Global Strategies Officer for Business Oregon. The reunion was warm and friendly, reflecting the relationship between the sister states. The reception featured food from Oregon, and all the participants received bottles of wine from a Willamette Valley vineyard.

 

During the reception, Mr. Sunuma had the opportunity to talk about the Toyama Museum of Art and Design that had opened on August 26th, 2017 in Toyama City, overlooking Kansui Park. Affectionately called TAD, the brand new museum features a world-class modern art collection with pieces from Picasso, Miró, and Toulouse-Lautrec,104006_05 as well as design collections, from posters to chairs. TAD is also home to the Onomatopoeia Rooftop, a collection of play equipment for children designed by Taku Satoh, inspired by the sounds used in onomatopoeias. The museum is an architectural marvel, and its wide glass windows give a panoramic view of the breathtaking Tateyama mountain range.

 

TAD’s first opening exhibit was called “LIFE-In search of paradise,” and explored the meaning of life in 8 chapters: Innocence, Love, Daily Life, Emotions & Ideas, Dreams, Death, Primitive, and Nature. This exhibit included powerful works from around the world, and my favorite was March of the Clowns by American artist Albert Bloch.

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The second opening exhibit just came to a close and was called “Art and Design, dialogue with materials.” Focusing on art and design, this exhibit included a piece called COLOR OF TIME by French architect and designer Emmanuelle Moureaux, which became extremely popular on Instagram, with its hallway of colored digits. This event also coincided with the International Hokuriku Kogei (artisan crafts) Summit and showcased some of the works submitted to its Worlds Kogei 100 competition.

 

Kogei, which roughly corresponds to artisan crafts in Japanese, have always been a very important part of the history of Toyama. Takaoka Metalware and Inami Woodcarving are some of the more famous crafts in Toyama Prefecture, but one cannot forget Shogawa Woodturning, Ecchu Washi (traditional Japanese paper), and Takaoka Lacquerware. These time-honored traditional crafts and techniques are still alive and well, and the International Hokuriku Kogei Summit held in Toyama honored that sentiment.

 

On November 30th, 2017, the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry designated Ecchu-Fukuoka Sedge Hats as a traditional craft. These hats were made in the area centered around Fukuoka, a town in what is now Takaoka City, starting in the 15th century, and were used all over the country by farmers seeking protection from rain and sunlight. Today, 80 people still create these sedge hats but most are in their 70s and 80s, worrying about the lack of apprentices who would be able to continue the tradition.

 

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Kogei and the Ecchu-Fukuoka Sedge Hats still have a future. “This national designation as a traditional craft is not just a decoration,” asserts Ecchu-Fukuoka Sedge Hat Promotion Association Chairman Satoshi Takata. “It means that the country has endorsed this craft as deserving to thrive. I want us to use this opportunity to challenge ourselves to develop new products and find new markets. We will evolve, taking into account the times and the demand, while protecting the good things about traditional techniques.”

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Finally, on a personal note, I was able to meet officials from Oregon for the first time during the trip to Tokyo for the Friends of Oregon Reception. I hope to one day visit the state, and I am looking forward to helping relations between Toyama and Oregon in the future!

 

Source (Reference Articles and Photos): Toyama Just Now (818, 838)

 

 

Oregon Delegation Visit to Toyama

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On June 12th – June 14th, 2016, a delegation of 11 people representing the State of Oregon’s government and economic spheres visited Toyama Prefecture to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the sister-state relationship. The delegation was led by Chris Harder, the director of Business Oregon, and also included Oregon Metro Council President Tom Hughes, as well as representatives from the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Portland General Electric, the City of Beaverton Economic Development Division, and South Coast Development Council, Inc. The delegation’s visit included regional tours and meetings, with one of the highlights being a Sunday visit of Toyama’s famous Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route, where deep fields of snow remain well into summer.

On Monday, June 13th, the delegation had a full day of meetings with Toyama businesses and government officials. In the morning, I accompanied the delegation on the way to business meetings, along with Ms. Sanno from the Toyama Prefecture International Affairs Division. The first item on the agenda was to visit Hokusei Products, a Takaoka City based company which deals in aluminum and other metals, and produces pharmaceutical packages and lifestyle products. Delegation members listened intently to a presentation on the company’s latest activities, the most exciting of which include the IMG_0377recent founding of Hokusei North America, which has been partnering with Business Oregon and the State of Oregon Japan Representative Office as they work to promote Oregon products in Japan and Toyama’s local products in Oregon and across the US. President & CEO Shotaro Tomita and Hokusei staff members gave an informative and well-prepared presentation in English, and also showed their local pride by playing a video promoting the city of Takaoka.

 
From Hokusei, the delegation went to Nousaku to check out their famous tin products and tour the workshop. While inspecting the facilities, delegation members were able to see how craftsmen and women work meticulously to create Nousaku’s fine caste metal wares. The back room, with its thousands of unique molds was a sight to be seen, and almost everyone left with something to take home from the showroom. The delegation also had a chance to meet with Mr. Nousaku himself, and hear a bit about how the company has innovated on traditional metal casting techniques to create modern, artful wind chimes and uniquely artistic baskets that have made it to markets in New York and Paris.

After a delicious lunch of Toyama Bay Sushi, the delegation visited Toyama City Hall, and then came to the Prefectural Office in order to make a courtesy call to Vice-Governor Satoshi Terabayashi. During the meeting, the vice-governor welcomed the delegation, and expressed his excitement that Toyama Prefecture and the State of Oregon had reached an important milestone of 25 years of friendship.

Later that evening, a reception was held in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Toyama-Oregon friendship. The delegation joined local representatives of Toyama’s business sector, along with Toyama government officials and JET Program assistant language teachers working in local schools who hail from Oregon for delicious food and good conversation. Toyama’s Public Enterprise Administrator, Mr. Hidetoshi Sunuma began the evening by speaking about his recent trip to Oregon this past April. There was also an address by Mr. Hisayashi Ono, president of the prefectural assembly, who mentioned Toyama’s recent role in hosting the G7 Environmental Ministers’ Meeting, and called for IMG_2699further partnership between Toyama and Oregon share as leaders in environmentally-conscious policy. Afterwards, Chris Harder introduced the Oregon delegation, and Metro
Council President Tom Hughes gave a toast. It was a lovely evening, which included delicious local food and sake, as well as lively discussion and a performance of a traditional performance, the Owara Kaze-no-Bon folk dance.

After a full day and a lovely evening that brought Toyama and Oregon even closer, the delegation went back to Tokyo the next morning on the new Hokuriku Shinkansen to continue their activities. As was mentioned during the celebration, Toyama-Oregon relations have seen 25 years of fruitful exchange; we here in Toyama are looking forward to 25 years more!

 

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オレゴン訪問団の来県

2016年6月12日から14日にかけて、富山県とオレゴン州の友好提携25周年を祝うため、オレゴン州の経済界の方や政府関係者などを含む、11名の訪問団が富山県を訪れました。団長のオレゴン州政府経済開発局長クリス・ハーダー氏のほか、メトロ審議会代表のトム・ヒューズ、オレゴン州農務局、ポートランド電力、ビーバートン市、サウスコースト・デベロップメント・カウンシルなどの代表が来県しました。いまだ雪が残る立山黒部アルペンルートをはじめとする観光地や会議、レセプションなど、充実した訪問になりました。

6月13日(月)は、県内企業視察や県政府への表敬訪問など、多くの行事が盛り込まれていました。県国際課の参納さんと私が訪問団に同行し、高岡市にあるアルミ製品・各種パッケージ・デザイン製品を扱うホクセイプロダクツ株式会社を訪問しました。訪問団は、Hokusei North Americaがオレゴン州政府駐日代表部と協力し、オレゴン州の商品を日本に輸入することや、富山の工芸品などをオレゴン州と米国でマーケット開拓を行う取り組みなど、ホクセイのアメリカでのビジネス展開についての発表を興味深く聞き入りました。代表取締役の冨田昇太郎氏やスタッフの英語での素晴らしいプレゼンテーションとともに、高岡市のPR動画も流し、地域に対する誇りを伝えました。

次は、錫などの鋳物製品で人気を集めている能作の工場に行きました。施設のツアーでは、働く職人の姿や何千の鋳型が並ぶ倉庫を実際に視察し、確かな腕で作られた能作の繊細な製品がたくさん展示してあるショールームで説明を聞きました。能作代表取締役社長の能作克治氏とも会うことができ、能作の歴史やイノベーション、ビジネス展開について説明を受けました。現在は、伝統的な技術に基づいたモダンな風鈴や曲がる「KAGO」などの商品は、ニューヨークやパリでも人気を集めているそうです。

美味しい富山湾鮨の昼食のあと、富山市役所を訪問し、そして富山県の寺林副知事との表敬訪問がありました。副知事は、訪問団を歓迎するとともに、富山県とオレゴン州の友好提携25周年の重要な節目を迎えられたことについて喜ばしく思い、そして、今後両県州の交流が一層活発になることを期待すると述べました。

その夜、ANAクラウンプラザホテルにて、富山県・オレゴン州友好提携25周年を祝うため、レセプションが行われました。訪問団のほか、富山県の経済界の代表者や政府関係者、また県内の学校で英語を教える、オレゴン州出身のJETプログラムALTらが参加し、美味しい食べ物と楽しい会話に包まれ、会場は盛り上がりました。富山県の須沼公営企業管理者は歓迎の挨拶で、去る4月のオレゴン州訪問の際のエピソードを話しました。また、県議会の大野議長の挨拶では、5月に富山県で開催されたG7環境大臣会合に触れ、富山県とオレゴン州が環境保全の政策で世界をリードするために、さらに強いパートナシップで結ばれることを願うと述べました。その後、クリス・ハーダー局長が訪問団の皆さんを紹介し、メトロ審議会のトム・ヒューズ代表の乾杯でレセプションが始まりました。富山の料理や地酒が振る舞われ、楽しい歓談とともに、富山の伝統文化である「おわら風の盆」の披露も行われました。

この訪問によって、富山県とオレゴン州の友好関係がさらに緊密なものになりました。そして、翌日の14日朝には、新しく開業した北陸新幹線で訪問団は東京に戻り、ミッションを続けました。これまでも述べてきたように、富山県とオレゴン州はこの25年間、有意義な交流を継続してきましたが、今後の25年がいっそう楽しみになりました!

Visit to Oyabe Otani Junior High School

IMG_1350This blog entry forms part of the “Toyama-Oregon Friendship Project”, in conjunction with the series of outreach lectures conducted by Abram Leon, Coordinator for International Relations with the International Affairs Division of Toyama Prefecture. The primary goal of the lectures is to raise awareness about the Toyama-Oregon sister state relationship by introducing information about Oregon and the history of exchange to students of Toyama Prefecture.

The blog entries aim to encourage students and members of the community in Toyama and Oregon to become more personally involved in the relationship. After each school visit, I will write an entry and encourage students and other readers to leave their questions and thoughts in the comment section, as well as respond to the questions and comments of others. In this way, I hope to get a new generation interested in communication across cultures and the wonderful friendship between Toyama and Oregon.

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Visit to Oyabe Otani Junior High School

On Tuesday, November 10th, I spoke about Oregon and the Toyama-Oregon sister state relationship in front of a group of 83 Oyabe Otani JHS 1st year students. While my supervisor Ms. Sanno and I drove out to Oyabe, I revised my presentation again on my laptop. Thinking about how to communicate with my youngest audience yet, I decided to try to make the slides less wordy and focus more on the interactive sections of the lecture. As we approached the school, I was surprised by its unique architecture: my first impression was that the school looked like something out of a European fairy tale. The huge gate and clock tower stood out against the surrounding fields, sharply contrasting with the Japanese-style farm houses nearby. Ms. Sanno explained that the entire area is actually famous for this architecture, and in fact, Oyabe is nicknamed the “Märchen town”, referring to the German word for fairy tale!

We entered the school to find a quite normal interior design, and were quickly greeted by the school principal and Ms. Matsuda, the teacher in charge of the organizing the lecture. As we walked through the school, and I was impressed by how outgoing the students were, greeting me as I walked past their classrooms. When we reached the lecture hall, I was surprised to find that it was a completely empty room with no place to sit, but Matsuda sensei informed me that students would be bringing their own chairs. As I waited for the kids to arrive, I put on some music and spoke a bit with Matsuda sensei about the kids and my ideas for the blog entries. I was also able to speak to ALT Tim Chakaodza, who had nothing but good things to say about the kids and the community. Motivated by his enthusiasm, I felt ready to get started!

When the kids came in carrying their chairs and smiling, I could tell that they were an energetic and fun group. They lined up their chairs in tight rows towards the front, their faces shining with excitement and expectation. As I went into my talk, I was happy to find that they were happy to participate, raising their hands, answering questions and even laughing at my jokes! I used English in certain parts, but also explained in Japanese in difficult sections – the students were very active and friendly, even helping to finish my sentences when I forgot words in Japanese. Near the end of class, when I asked them to work together and think of questions for people living in Oregon, they asked some of the most interesting questions of any group yet. Although I tried to answer a couple of their questions, I told them to actually ask people in Oregon. They responded with puzzled looks… “How can we talk to people in Oregon?” At that point I told them about the Toyama Hot News blog, and encouraged them to use resources like Facebook and online videos to search for information they are interested in.

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このブログは、富山県国際課の国際交流員アブラム・リオンによる出前講座とともに、「富山オレゴンFriendship Project」の一部となります。講座の目的は主に、富山県とオレゴン州の友好関係についての認知度を上げるため、オレゴン州の情報や友好関係の歴史、交流に貢献している人たちを紹介することです。

また、ブログの目的は、富山県とオレゴン州の学生や一般の方を個人レベルで交流に関わるように促すことです。各出前講座の後、ブログで写真や学生・先生のコメントを含む学校の紹介を行います。そして、学生たちに質問や感想を記事のコメント欄に書いてもらい、オレゴンの学生たちや一般の人に、そのコメントに返事をしてもらいます。こうして、新しい世代が富山県とオレゴン州の素晴らしい関係をもっと深く知ることを期待しています。

小矢部市立大谷中学校へ

11月10日(火)に、小矢部市立大谷中学校一年生83人の前でオレゴン州と富山県の姉妹関係について話しました。小矢部へ向かう車中、パソコンでプレゼンテーションの内容を再度確認しました。今回は今までで最も若いグループで、コミュニケーションをよくとれるようにスライドの文字を少なくし、アクティビティ中心の内容に調整しました。学校が見えてくると、まず校舎の姿に驚きました。大きな門や時計台が周囲の田んぼや農家と対照的で目立っていました。第一印象は、ヨーロッパの民話から出てきたもののようでした。一緒に行った担当者の参納さんの説明によると、小矢部の地域は「メルヘンのまち」として知られ、独特な建築があちこちにあるそうです。

学校へ入ると、校長先生と講座を担当されている松田先生が出迎えてくださいました。廊下を歩いている、教室に座っている生徒たちが元気な挨拶で迎えてくれました。講座を行うホールへ着くと、机や椅子が何一つなく、どうなるかと少し心配しましたが、自分たちの椅子を持ってくると教えてくださいました。生徒たちが来るのを待つ間、音楽を流し、松田先生とプレゼンテーションの内容について話しました。ALTのティム先生と話す機会もあり、子供たちと地域への熱意が十分伝わってきました。そのパッションが私にもうつり、ますますやる気が出ました。

学生たちが椅子を持ち入ってくると、皆好奇心と楽しみにあふれた笑顔でした。講座が始まると、生徒たちは積極的に手をあげ、質問に答えてくれ、私の冗談にも笑ってくれたので、とても楽しかったです。講座では英語を使い、難しいところは日本語で説明しましたが、わからない日本語を生徒たちが教えてくれることもあり、そのフレンドリーな態度に感動しました。講座の最後に、オレゴン州に住んでいる人たちへの質問について、今までで一番面白い質問がいくつか出ました。私も少し答えましたが、実際にオレゴンの人たちに聞いてみたらどうかと言ったところ、どうやってオレゴンの人たちと話せるのかと皆は戸惑っていました。そこで、この富山ホットニュースブログについて説明し、Facebookやビデオでの調べ方も紹介しました。

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Opportunity for students of Japanese: Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest

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(日本語版は英語版の下にあります)

Every year, in conjunction with the Japan-America Society of Oregon, Toyama Prefecture sponsors a Japanese language speech contest for college and university students in the state of Oregon. The Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest first began in 1996, commemorating the 5th anniversary of the sister-state relationship between Toyama and Oregon. Students who compete will not only improve their Japanese and public speaking abilities, but also stand to win prizes, with the grand-prize winner getting an all-expenses-paid trip to Toyama Prefecture! The winner will spend a week enjoying the beautiful scenery and wonderful food of Toyama, as well as meeting locals and taking part in a variety of hands-on experiences. See JASO’s webpage for more details and information about how to register.

In order to give prospective participants an idea of what to expect, I am sharing the experiences of Lauren Inaba, the 2015 winner below. I hope that this serves as an inspiration and reminder; the next winner could be you!

I was able to tour the Nanto area with Lauren and Anya, the Russian winner of the Vladivostok Japanese Speech Contest, during their stay in Toyama this past September. We had a wonderful time visiting Zuisenji Temple, making our own Japanese paper, seeing the historic villages of Gokayama, and making our own toasted rice crackers! I asked Lauren to send me a review of her experience after her trip… Here it is!

How was the speech contest?

I entered the speech contest for the second time after my study abroad. The first time I had competed in the speech contest it was in a different division and it was more about the experience of doing a speech contest. This time I was more interested in hearing everyone else’s speeches. My speech was about one of my own experiences in Japan; I knew I wanted to speak about an experience that made me laugh, and have fun with the speech – I didn’t want to be serious the entire time if I didn’t have to be. I chose to speak about my first time at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, during the beginning of my study abroad. In short, I made a cultural mistake and got scolded by an older Japanese lady, who had mistaken me for a Japanese girl from Japan. It caused me to wonder about how differently the situation might have turned out if she had instead thought of me as a foreigner, and what it would have been like if I were a male.

First impression of Toyama

IMG_8573My first impression was when I saw the Toyama station on my first day. For some reason I had expected a smaller station and figured Toyama would be more country than city. However, what stuck out most in my trip to Toyama were my interactions with everyone and the conversations we had. Sometimes it was about differences between Vladivostok, Toyama, and Oregon, other times it was about topics such as the pros and cons of having the appearance of a foreigner in Japan compared to having the appearance of a Japanese.

I was aware that Japan is full of historic and beautiful places to see, and Toyama is no exception. Tateyama was breathtakingly beautiful, and I was able to compare the giant cedar trees to the giant redwood trees in Oregon. During my visit to Gokayama, I was impressed by the uniqueness of the gassho-style houses, and that it is the only World Heritage site in Japan that is maintaining not only a historically and culturally significant place but a lifestyle – people still live within the houses in the village and have been maintaining them, changing the thatching every twenty years. I became interested in doing things one could only do in Toyama, so I tried the white shrimp, the masuzushi, and even a bit of Toyama sake.

What was the highlight of the trip?

I have a hard time picking one highlight as I felt that there was a highlight from each day of my trip. I did enjoy spending a day with the students just walking around, talking and relaxing at Kansui Park after shopping in Toyama city. I am very glad I chose to do a home-stay during the trip. I had done a home-stay before, but talking until late into the night with my host mother about anything out of the blue and watching the news in the morning with my host father when I woke up too early were priceless moments to me.

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日本語を学んでいる方:チャンス!富山カップ日本語スピーチコンテスト

毎年、オレゴン州の日米協会と協力して、富山県はオレゴン州の大学生のため日本語スピーチコンテストを主催しています。富山県とオレゴン州の姉妹関係5周年の1996年から行われています。大学生にとっては、日本語能力とパブリックスピーキングを磨く機会だけではなく、素敵な賞品も獲得できるチャンスです。優勝者は、すべての経費無料で、一週間富山県の旅を楽しんでいただけます!富山の雄大な自然や美味しい食べ物、フレンドリーな人々、面白い体験が待っているので、ぜひスピーチコンテストに挑戦してみてください!スピーチコンテストの申込み方法などの詳細は、JASOのHPにてご覧ください。

IMG_8574スピーチコンテストがどのようなものか知っていただくため、2015年の優勝者ローレン・イナバさんの経験を皆様に報告します。今年、富山へ来たのはローレンさんでしたが、来年の優勝者はあなたかもしれません!?

私はローレンさんとロシア・ウラジオストク日本語スピーチコンテストの優勝者であるアンナさんとともに一日を過ごしました。富山県の名所瑞泉寺と世界遺産の五箇山合掌造り集落、和紙すき体験とせんべい焼き体験も楽しみました!ローレンさんの旅が終わった後、スピーチコンテストや富山の印象について、聞いてみました。

スピーチコンテストは、いかがでしたか?

留学をする前にも一度参加しましたが、留学を経てレベルの高い部門に再度応募しました。一度目はいい経験として、今回はほかの参加者のスピーチを聞くことにより興味を持ちました。私のスピーチは日本での経験話でしたが、重いテーマではなく、面白いものと決め、スピーチを楽しむことにしました。結果として、北野天満宮へ初めて行ったときの話をしました。要約すると、私は文化的に礼儀正しくないことを思わずやってしまい、日本人のおばさんに叱られたのです。そのおばさんは私が日本人と勘違いしていたようだったが、もし私が外国人だと分かっていたら、もし、私が男の人だったら、叱られなかったのではないかと、考えさせられました。

9.16写真②(j表敬後、北日本新聞社に依頼され提供)富山の初印象

私の初めての印象は富山駅でした。
富山はもっと田舎だと思っていたので、大きく、そして新しい駅に少しびっくりしました。また、富山でもっとも印象深かったのは、出会った人とその人との会話です。富山やオレゴン州、ウラジオストクの違いなど、色々と話し合いました。また、日本で生活すると、日系やアジア系の人は外国人と思われないこともあるようですが、そのメリットとデメリットについても、興味深い話を色々と行いました。

日本では歴史的で自然が豊富なところが多くあることは知っていましたが、富山も負けていません。立山は本当に綺麗で、大きな杉がオレゴン州の大きなレッドウッドを思い出させてくれました。五箇山では、独特な合掌造り集落に感動しました。人がまだこの世界遺産で生活を営み、屋根のかやを新しくする等、その歴史や文化を守り続けているのです。富山でしか味わえないものも食べたいと思い、白エビやますずし、富山の日本酒も堪能しました。


旅のハイライトは?

毎日ハイライトがあったので、一つに選ぶことはできません。富山の高校・大学生との買い物、散策、環水公園で話したことは楽しかったです。ホームステイもとてもよかったです。ホームステイは初めてではなかったのですが、ホストマザーと夜遅くまでお話ししたり、ホストファザーと朝のニュースを見たりするのは、素敵な経験でした。

Sister State Updates: Speech Contest, Oregon Visit Recap, and Welcoming Back Our Exchange Teacher

Originally written for the Vol.8-No.1 edition (April 15, 2014) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

2014 Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest

The 18th annual Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest will be held on April 27 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the World Trade Center in Portland. Toyama Prefecture works with the Japan-America Society of Oregon (JASO) for this event ever year. College and university students studying Japanese in Oregon will be challenging themselves to give speeches in Japanese. The grand prize winner will be awarded a trip to Toyama!

The Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest is open to the public to watch free of charge. Please come and support local students in their journey toward mastering the Japanese language!

 For more information, please contact the Japan-American Society of Oregon (http://jaso.org/).

2013 Speech Contest

Oregon Visit, March 9 – 14

From Sunday, March 9 to Friday, March 14, Mr. Koichi Aoyama, Assistant Director of the International Affairs & Japan Sea Region Policy Division, along with Ms. Taeko Yamamoto and I were in Oregon primarily to affirm contacts and promote the Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest.

 In addition to visiting Oregon colleges and universities (Lewis & Clark College, Willamette University, Oregon State University, Linfield College, Pacific University, Portland State University) and speaking with professors, instructors, and students there regarding the speech contest, we also paid visits to Business Oregon, the Japanese Consular Office, Travel Portland, the Oregon Department of Education, Sheridan Japanese School (see below), and the Japan-America Society of Oregon.

 Even with this busy schedule, we also had the opportunity to reconnect and share a meal with some of you who have ties to Toyama Prefecture, in a more casual setting. It was wonderful to see you!

 Thank you to everyone we met in Oregon, and we hope that you will continue to be actively involved in the sister state relationship.

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Ms. Akiko Nakano Returns to Toyama

Just a couple of weeks after we visited Sheridan Japanese School, where Ms. Nakano –  the exchange teacher from Toyama Prefecture – was teaching Japanese language and culture, she completed her time there and returned to Toyama. In Ms. Nakano’s one and a half years in Oregon, she was able to visit many places in Oregon, experience American culture with her host family, act as an ambassador of Toyama in Oregon, make good friends, and inspire many students.

 While we are not able to send another exchange teacher to Oregon, we hope to stay in touch with the Oregon Department of Education to continue having sister state exchange opportunities in the education field.