June 11, 2019

Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest 2019

Two Lewis & Clark seniors have won first and second place in the Toyama Cup Japanese Speech Contest.

Oregon’s sister state in Japan, Toyama Prefecture presented the 23rd annual Toyama Cup Japanese speech contest last Sunday, April the 21st, at KPMG, LLC., located in downtown, Portland. Participants are divided into two divisions depending on their language level, and the winner of level 2 gets a free trip to Toyama prefecture and visits there as a Toyama Honorary Friendly Envoy.

This year, students from Lewis & Clark College, Mount Hood Community College, Pacific University, and Willamette University competed in the contest, conveying their passion for Japan and Japanese culture in their 4 minute speech, answering questions from the judges.

From Lewis & Clark College, two seniors, Jeffrey Contreras (World Languages Major with Japanese as a primary language) and Ronan Hall (East Asian Studies Major, Japanese Minor), competed in level 2 to challenge their Japanese ability as well as share their perspectives on Japanese culture and society. Jeffrey compared Japanese culture and Latin culture, explained how they both have similar linguistic characteristics and social values in common, which helped him learn Japanese language and culture. Ronan talked about her experience interviewing elderly homeless people in Tokyo and what she learned from the experience: the importance of passing on stories to future generations so they can learn from the experiences, and so that those sharing the stories can live on in our memory.

Both Jeffrey and Ronan did a splendid job, clearly articulating their ideas and beautifully expressing their emotions for their respective topics. As a result, Ronan won the first place and Jeffrey won the second place, bringing prestige to Lewis & Clark College.

Ronan will be sent to Toyama prefecture as a Friendly Envoy this summer. She will make a fantastic envoy with her excellent Japanese proficiency, intelligence, and sensitivity.