By: Staff Writer Deeksha Raina
Junior Anthea Xiao recently participated in the 42nd Annual Japanese Speech Contest, placing first in the middle to high school student division and winning the Attack on Titan manga series and a trophy. The Speech contest was co-hosted by the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco and Japanese American Association of Northern California.
The Smoke Signal: Can you tell us about the competition?
Anthea Xiao: It was a Japanese essay and speech competition for middle schoolers to college students and the essay topic was open; you could write about anything that inspired you. It had to be around four to seven minutes long when spoken and written in Japanese.
SS: How did you find out about the competition?
AX: It was announced in our class, and at first I didn’t really want to do it because I was busy. My Japanese teacher sent me an email asking me to participate, so then I decided I would do it.
SS: What was your speech about?
AX: I wrote about my memories from the past and how they shaped my character. I wrote about three main memories. The first memory I wrote about was my first English test, which I got a really bad score on, after I had just moved here, to Fremont, from Macau. Then I wrote about the death of my cat, and how I buried it. Third, I wrote about an ice cream stand near my old house in Macau that I hadn’t gone to in a long time. Last summer, I went back to visit and ate that ice cream which forms the last sentence of my essay. It said, “I was not eating ice cream; I was tasting my memories.”
SS: Did you have to read your essay out loud to judges or was it just submitted?
AX: You have to perform it–with gestures and expressions. I was sixth in line so I didn’t have to wait too long, but it was still nerve wrecking. I was more nervous my first year, but this is my second year so it was okay. Definitely not as difficult as it was my first year.
SS: So this is your second time in the same competition?
AX: Well, I participated in a different Japanese speech competition in my freshmen year, but this one is my second competition overall.
SS: Are you planning on participating in any more competitions?
AX: Yes, there’s one more Japanese competition this February and I’m planning on doing more next year.