It was an exciting moment in my life when I was standing in front of a big audience and waiting to listen to the final big comment by the judges: the winner of the Annual Japanese Speech Competition 2017. I had enough confidence in me to think that I delivered my speech well without any mistakes. However, amidst thousands of heartbeats of every competitor, my name was announced as the 1st place winner of Category B in the competition. My happiness at the very moment, yet, cannot be explained in words. It was a lot for me and there were many more reasons behind that.
It was the 29th Japanese Speech Contest in Sri Lanka and I had been trying to win this competition for five years. This was the sixth time that I had applied for the competition and I tried my best to win the semi-finals and go to the final round. Since the day that I was called and asked to participate in the competition in front of the judges, I practiced each and every day. It was the time that I was doing my final research of the university as well, and it was not that easy to allocate time for practicing the speech. However, with my determined thoughts to win the competition along with the support provided by my family made me come to the finals and win the first place.
For my studies, I had been specializing English at my university, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. To be honest, I was a bit scared thinking whether my knowledge which had not specialized in Japanese will be enough to win the first place of this competition, but I was quite sure that my dedication towards practice could bring me forward among other competitors. However, even though I spent my time amidst different English writers and linguists, I did not forget Japanese which I could not continue in the university after I finished my higher studies at Devi Balika Vidyalaya where I learnt the first letter of the Japanese alphabet. I am really thankful to my school and my Japanese teacher; that it was because of them I could get As for both O/L and A/L Japanese without attending any extra class. I am also thankful to my university where I could learn Japanese more even for the first two years with the aid of the Japanese Unit. As a university student of J’pura, I think that it will be really useful if the students can have the opportunity to learn languages like Japanese; that then I’m quite sure there will be many more winners from our university in future.
Finally, I would like to say that I’m grateful to everyone who organized this competition: all the officers of JLEA, the Embassy of Japan, the Japan Foundation, JASTECA, JAGAAS and everyone who assisted to make it a success. I would also like to mention that the lecturers at Sasakawa Cultural Centre helped the students very much in correcting their mistakes and making the speech into a standard level. I can remember very well how the Japanese lecturer who made the mistakes in my speech correct, dedicated her time and efforts to make the speech avoid even a little mistake, and I really appreciate her kindness and dedication. Finally, I should say that I could not have stepped on this success if my family was not there with me. They encouraged me all the time and even at the very final moment. I’m really thankful to them for strengthening me throughout the competition. With this victory, I feel that I should do something greater in future related to Japanese language studies as well along with my main field, English language, and hope that it will too be a success.
B. S. Dilrukshi
1st Place Winner (Category B)