Promoting Japanese Culture and Tourism at the Ottawa Travel and Vacation Show

On Sunday, March 24th, Embassy of Japan and the Organizing Committee for the Japanese Speech Contest in Ottawa hosted the 30th Canada National Japanese Speech Contest at the Information and Culture Centre of the Embassy. This contest was held with support from Japan Foundation, Mitsui & Co. (Canada) Ltd., Prince Takamado Japan Canada Memorial Fund, Japan Expo Canada Inc., Toronto Japanese Association of Commerce & Industry, Carleton University, and H.I.S.
In his opening remarks, Ambassador Ishikane praised the contest organizers on its 30th anniversary as well as their contribution and dedication on promotion of Japanese language and culture over the years. He went on to mention that the interest the contestants have shown in the Japanese language will encourage them to seek out additional opportunities in Japan which will allow them to build bridges between Japan and Canada.
The 27 participants from regional contests held earlier in the month were invited to participate and compete in the national contest. They expressed themselves in their own words and presented well-crafted speeches. Participants demonstrated their Japanese language skills in front of a large audience including students currently studying Japanese-language, Japanese teachers, and general public who have interest in Japanese culture.
During the intermission, Ms. Ryoko Itabashi, a “Tsugaru-shamisen” musician and her two daughters played the shamisen and taiko drums. An ikebana arrangement by Ms. Marie-Eve Coupal-Place, ikebana instructor of the Ohara School, was presented on the stage. Ms. Coupal-Place gave an explanation about the art of ikebana to the audience. Furthermore, elementary school students from the Ottawa Hoshuko (Japanese Supplementary School) gave a performance with kendama (a traditional Japanese skill toy). The auditorium got very lively by their presentations and the audience had an opportunity to not only listen to Japanese speeches but also learn about Japanese culture.
The day before the contest, a reception was held at the Official Residence of Ambassador Ishikane where contest related guests and contestants were invited. In his opening remarks, Ambassador Ishikane noted that he will continue to cooperate on the development of Japanese-language education as well as the promotion of learning of Japanese. All the guests enjoyed conversing in a friendly atmosphere.
The results for the National Speech Contest are as follows:
Travel Award by The Prince Takamado Japan Canada Memorial Fund:
Yi Yang (University of Toronto) “Made in Japan”
Travel Award by Japan Expo Canada:
Cindy Xia (University of Calgary) “Loves You? Loves You Not”
The 1st prize Winners:
  • Myeongkeun Yang (Huron University) “Sinful Bystander” - Advanced Category
  • Nadia Mohammed (McMaster University) “Save a Life to Build a Future” - Open Category
The 2nd Prize Winners:
  • Heejung Kim (University of Manitoba) “The Things Change After My Mother’s Depression” - Beginners Category
  • Peifen Hsieh (University of British Columbia) “Rain” – Intermediate Category
  • Esther Lee (University of Alberta) “An Enchanting Country - Japan” – Advanced Category
  • Yuyang Chen (University of Calgary) “Hideous, yet Extraordinary” – Open Category
The 3rd Prize Winnders:
  • Yongho Choi (Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology) “How Much is Salmon Roe? Funny Japanese Puns” – Beginners Category
  • Lian Yi (University of British Columbia) “One Person is Not Lonely” – Intermediate Category
  • Yirun Wu (University of British Columbia) “Nothing yet Something” – Advanced Category
Ambassador Ishikane delivering opening remarks at the speech contest
Greetings by Dr. Yoriko Aizu, Chair of the Organizing Committee
Ms. Andrea Clements, Chief Judge giving feedback on the contest
Ms. Itabashi and her daughters performing Tsugaru-shamisen and Japanese Taiko drums
Ms. Coupal-Place giving explanation about the art of ikebana
Ms. Aizu, Chair of the Organizing Committee presenting Travel Award by The Prince Takamado Japan Canada Memorial Fund
Mr. Terry Wakasa, President of Japan Expo Canada presenting Travel Award provided by his company
Mr. Yi Yang, recipient of Travel Award
by The Prince Takamado Japan Canada Memorial Fund
Ms. Cindy Xia, recipient of Travel Award by Japan Expo Canada

Mr. Myeongkeun Yang, recipient of the first prize in the advanced category
Ms. Nadia Mohammed, recipient of the first prize in the open category
Ambassador Ishikane delivering welcome remarks at the reception Opening Ceremony of the reception at the Official Residence
Organizing Committee, judges and contestants