Ok, so last tuesday was the speach contest I mentioned earlier. Myself and three other JET's went, we had a bit of an adventure getting there because of traffic (we were late but since we were all together it was ok, and we didn't make them delay anything, we weren't that late). There were two separate judging sections, I was assigned to the second one, meaning that I was only listening to the returnees (students who had lived abroad for more than a few months). It was kinda fun, very fast paced, we listened to 37 speaches total. All the kids had pretty good accents and delivery so it was really hard to choose winners, it came down to content of the speaches and emotional expression and it was still really close. One of the interesting things about this group of kids was that you could hear where they had lived by their accents. The first guy that this was really audible with was really shocking, he sounded like he was from london, really heave cockney accent. If he hadn't been standing in front of me I would never have thought he was japanese, I would have sworn he was british. There were some girls with british accents too but they had the polished versions. There was also a girl with a canadian influence in her speach. Most of the kids who'd been in the US had been in Ohio! Cars maybe? Anyway, there was also an american in the group, he'd been born in Japan and raised here but he had perfect unaccented engish (probably because both his parents are american). Even though he had perfect delivery and accent we didn't give him any prize. He was arrogant, he expected to win, and he only talked to the three foriegn judges, completely ignoring the japanese judges (of which there were more than three) and his speach wasn't terribly inspired. In a US speach contest it would have been average at best. That was my tuesday. THe rest of the week has been insane, getting ready for the test and with me only working one day next week it all got smushed into this week. (I have work monday, holiday tuesday, elementary school visit wed, JET conference thurs and fri.) Lots to prepare ^_^ I'll be glad when this month is over!
For the past two weeks I've been downloading and watching japanese and south korean dramas (or j-dorama and k-dorama as they are called over here in the fansubbing community). So far, I've finished "Winter Sonata", very very popular over here, the main actor Bae Yong Jun (it's korean) has major idol status. I've also been downloading "Hotelier", one of his earlier shows and "Pride" a j-dorama. Good stuff, though they are tv shows both the k-doramas are 20 episodes and Pride is 11, so they're much shorter than american shows and the story is tighter because the writers weren't trying to streatch it into a second season. The acting is also pretty good, some actors are better than others of course but overall, I think they do a very good job.