Japan Foundation mounts language festival
Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM) successfully shone the spotlight on the Japanese language Nihongo via a series of special events incorporating the neighboring Asian nation’s spoken traditions in the Nihongo Fiesta 2016.
“This year marks the 60th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Philippines, and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Japan Foundation, Manila,” announced JFM Director Hiroaki Uesugi. “We are delighted and pleased to kick off this special year with the series of colorful events and celebrate together with the Japanese learners, and Japanese arts and cultural enthusiasts.”
The festival comprised of events such as the 43rd Nihongo Speech Contest, which gathered students and professionals nationwide. Out of 11 finalists, a speech entitled “My Body Size is 100, 90, 110” by Princess Meg Perez from Davao won grand prize, earning her an all-expense-paid study tour in Japan and prizes from the sponsors.
Perez attributed her win to continuous practice and confidence, and encouraged aspiring Japanese speech contestants to do the same. She also related how her experience getting bullied in school taught her to fight back and also led her to immerse herself in anime and Nihongo.
Another awaited event was the 8th Nihongo Quiz Bee for High School Students also drew competing schools from NCR and other regions for a brain battle on Japanese language and culture. Valenzuela City School of Mathematics and Science bested 19 other schools. Securing the school’s first Grand Championship proved to be challenging for the team, as there was a tight competition and small point margin between them and first placer Marikina Science High School. Florentino Torres High School was named second placer.
Audiences were also treated to the full-house screening of the acclaimed film Sarusaberi: Miss Hokusai at the Shang Cineplex Cinema 1, as well as to the entertaining number by the local up-and-coming girl group Kawaii 5, the group who sang the theme song of the localized Japanese drama, Amachan, on TV5.
To cap off the event, J-Pop artists Diana Garnet and Joe Inoue recounted the challenges and joys of learning Nihongo outside their country.
Together with group The Beatmotors, the invited artists then enchanted the crowd with Spinning Manila: J-Pop Live! concert.
Performing their hits and popular anime songs, the artists attracted close to 300 J-Pop lovers who enthusiastically sang along their songs from nostalgic and well-loved hits anime like Naruto Shippuden.
Finally, winners of the JFM’s first ever Facebook cosplay photo contest, chosen by the featured artists themselves, were also revealed at the concert.