Last Saturday 3 students from Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences (HAAS) competed in the annual Japan Wizards competition held in Honolulu, an event sponsored by Japan America Society of Hawaii (JASH). JASH paid all expenses, even airfare for participants from off-island schools.
The competition is conducted in a quiz format in which teams, each made up of 3 students, compete to demonstrate mastery of Japanese language and culture. Each school is allowed up to 2 teams, or 6 students total. Contest questions were all about Japan, topics ranging from education, culture, language, social trends and politics, to sports, pop culture, art and history.
The competition was set up for 2 levels: level A for students who have been studying Japanese 2 years or less, and level B for the more advanced students. HAAS students competed in level A. This year the prize for the top 2 teams in each category was an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan.
Keep in mind that this was the first time HAAS ever sent a team to this competition. (The Japanese language program at HAAS is in its 3rd year.) But these wonderful students–whose names I won’t list for privacy reasons–really did their school proud! And while they did not win the big prize this time, they placed a very impressive 7th out of 22 teams, scoring better than many teams that have been to the competition before. Indeed HAAS is the classic, lovable underdog. Many schools are better funded and have a larger pool of students to draw from. But HAAS students proved in this competition that they could match up even with the elite schools in the islands. Yeah, our team was scary good. (They’ll be even scarier next year. :-))
Not to imply that success came easy. Some “inside information” on the team’s preparation: each student researched information listed in the competition guidelines, they all volunteered to stay after school for supplemental study, and they did it with dedication and enthusiasm. Their teacher (also known as Samurai Wife) was amazed at how much they learned and retained in such a short period of time.
I’d be remiss not to mention that these students represented HAAS and their community with class and aloha. We are so proud of them.
After the competition the students told Kurumi they had such a good time that they want to compete again next year! Can’t wait. Gambatte kudasai! 🙂
Congratulations to the winning teams!