For the grand finale of Japanese class, all the students from each class prepared a speech to give in front of the rest of the students, host families, and Japanese teachers. For the most part, the level one class went first and continued in order through level five and the advanced class, but two advanced level people presented at the very beginning too. And actually, the first speech was about Japan's high suicide rate... so that was an interesting way to start. From then on, there were about as many speeches about "my time in Sapporo" as volcanoes at a science fair. There was of course some variety though, and it was cool to see the difference between each class level and how much progress everyone had made since the beginning of the semester.
My speech was about the differences between Japanese and American TV and was titled "Japanese TV is 'BS'.". That and the picture of King Leonidas I put up on the overhead projector seemed to get people's attention. As I mentioned in my post about Japanese TV, one set of channels on TV are labeled as BS, which I believe stands for Broadcasting Satellite. So I started by explaining why that and titles like "BS News" were funny to an English speaker. I was limited to four to five minutes, but the differences I covered were the big, silly, subtitles that they have on Japanese variety shows, the videos of the hosts' faces that they have in the corner of the screen on those variety shows, how cartoons in America don't typically have continuing stories like Japanese anime, and how in America there are only American dramas, unlike in Japan where Korean dramas are also very popular. At the end of each presentation, one or two people asked questions. I was asked something about Japanese commercials and I responded (or tried to respond) by saying they were mostly pretty similar to American ones and that the commercial breaks were put in at parts that make you want to keep watching. Except in Japan, sometimes what they do instead, since variety shows aren't actually that interesting, is just hide someone's face and have a big reveal of their face after the commercial break. So my reaction to that was basically "oo, we can't see their face. So what?" The other question I was asked was what my favorite drama was in Japan to which I replied that I don't really watch any but I like the fact that they exist.
(This video is missing the bit that explains BS and the questions afterwards. Now has English subtitles!)
Overall, everyone seemed to do really well with their speeches. Afterwards, we said our goodbyes to teachers and Korean students who we might not see again, got some pictures, and headed out with Mr. Nagashima and his wife to the restaurant he took us to at the beginning of the semester.
Now that classes are officially over, we're going to be leaving on our trip around Honshu (the main island of Japan) starting early Saturday morning. I'll probably be busy so don't bet on timely blog updates, but we'll see how it goes.
As of now, here's the "japlan":
Saturday (12/17) Hiroshima: Peace Memorial Park & Atomic Bomb Memorial Dome
Sunday (12/18) Itsukushima Shrine, Bullet train to Shin Kobe
Monday (12/19) Osaka, Studio Ghibli Store
Tuesday (12/20) Kyoto: Thirty-three Ken Hall, Kiyomizu Temple, Nijyo Castle, Temple of Golden Pavilion, Arashiyama, Traditional Kyoto dinner
Wednesday (12/21) Nara: Kasuga Grand Shrine, Todaiji Temple, Nara Park; Return to Sapporo
Friday (12/23) Fly home to America