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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm through to the final

Last week I reported on my atrocious telephone interview which, after the submission of an essay, served as the second stage of the selection process for the 3rd Japanese Speech Contest for University Students.

Today, mid-Japan Soc committee meeting, I received the following email.

Gulp indeed. According to the leaflet, I'll be one of just 6 finalists for my category here in the UK. Whilst that may make it sound like I can actually speak Japanese, I am more inclined to think that they felt sorry for me after I was turned down at stage 1 in 2005, and that they were suffering from a lack of entrants.

The date of the contest should make for an interesting few weeks. It coincides not only with the exam period, but also, Big Job Interview period.

They call this the "Christmas Holidays" - all I can say is I hope *Twinkle* enjoys listening to the same speech morning and night.

My topic, actually decided upon last Spring, is NGOs / charity organisations in Japan and their influence upon the democratisation process, a topic that happens to mirror that of my final year dissertation.

2008 sees the 10th anniversary of the NPO law, a landmark bit of legislation that came into force following the Kobe earthquake of 1995, which, in addition to leaving thousands dead, resulted in over a million volunteers flooding into the region from all over Japan to help out. None of these volunteers were covered by any kind of insurance etc as there was no established system for recognising NGOs - thus they couldn't do things like set up bank accounts, rent photocopiers or claim tax back from donations.

The NPO law changed a lot of that.

By combining my experience working with Oxfam Japan earlier this year with my dissertation research, I hope to give a presentation that is at least semi-interesting. Hopefully, I will have prepared sufficiently so I won't be quaking in my boots.

Oh, and by the way, I dedicate this speech contest effort to my sensei, without whom my university years would not have been anything like the amazing experience they have been thus far.



Anonymous Amelia said...

Congratulations again! I'm sure you'll be a fine representative, and I hope you win the whole thing. : )

19/12/07 05:40  
Blogger Jenny said...

Wow, congratulations!!!!

19/12/07 14:25  
Blogger Joseph said...

Thank you Amelia, and I'm very sorry that you won't be joining me.

Thanks Jenny :-)

19/12/07 18:47  
Anonymous Amelia said...

"Whilst that may make it sound like I can actually speak Japanese, I am more inclined to think that they felt sorry for me after I was turned down at stage 1 in 2005, and that they were suffering from a lack of entrants."

Cringe! I hope this was said in jest, because OUCH... That said, I`ve been able to enjoy a truly relaxing week with Taku and his family, and feel confident that I`ll be able to get the majority of my revision done over the next two weeks in Kanazawa, in no small part thanks to the removal of the speech from my plans. It would have been a great experience, but I think it`s worked out for the best, I`ve managed to shed bucketloads of stress I didn`t even realise was affecting me. Just another typical Christmas semester at Sheffield then! ; )

I hope you and *Twinkle* are having a wonderful time, I know Taku and I are! There are a lot of good things about me finishing up my degree, living with my family again, getting an MA before I leave the country and so on, but right now I really wish I was back for good now, or at least coming back to live this summer rather than next. I`ll just have to find some sort of summer job here to tide me over instead!

7/1/08 08:58  
Blogger Joseph said...

Yes, it was in part jest, as is most of my life.. :-)

Glad to hear you're having a good time. *Twinkle* has now returned to Japan, it was a precious time indeed.

7/1/08 19:49  

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