A taste of Japan | Daily News

A taste of Japan

Ravindu  Ishadh  Wickramasinghe
Ravindu Ishadh Wickramasinghe

Japanese may not be the first topic that comes to mind when you think of studying a foreign language. However Ravindu Ishadh Wickramasinghe has proven that there are a great many reasons to master the language. The 17 year old has won a two year scholarship to engage in further studies in Japan. He has gotten this unique opportunity after winning first place at the 7th Kake International Speech Contest which was held at Okayama University, Okayama, Japan on November 17.

Ravindu competed against 14 competitors from 10 different countries like Australia, China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia etc. Ravindu had to make a speech on the topic “If my one dream come true”. The speech needed to be five minutes long. Competitors between 15 to 21 years took part in the event.

For Ravindu the Japanese language is his forte. A student of Trinity College, Kandy, Ravindu has started learning the language around five years ago when he was a grade seven student.

“I have always been fascinated in foreign languages. The Japanese language particularly interested me because I wish to engage in higher education in Japan,” Ravindu said.

He notes that Japanese is not easy to master. This is because there are three alphabets and around 2000 letters to grasp.

“However Japanese grammar is similar to that of the Sinhala language. The written language ‘kanji’ is inherited from Chinese,” Ravindu explained.

The ability to communicate in another language has long been regarded as an essential element of a well rounded education. Language and communication are at the heart of the human experience. Therefore more and more youth are keen to learn one or two more languages other than their mother tongue.

Before venturing to Japan for the international competition Ravindu had to take part in the 7th Kake Trophy Speech Contest held at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo. The event was organized by the Sputnik International Education Centre, Kurunegala, together with the Japanese Embassy in Sri Lanka. Around 50 competitors from schools across the island took part in the event. This is not the first time the youth had taken part in the event. He had been a contestant in the 6th Kake Trophy Speech Contest held in Sri Lanka last year.

Speaking about his experience at the 7th Kake International Speech Contest Ravindu noted that he did have a few butterflies in his stomach when he had stepped up in front of the audience to make his speech.

“However I had a feeling that I would win. That premonition came true when they announced the winners. I was simply elated,” he enthused adding that it is one memory that would stay with him forever in his life.

Apart from displaying his skills Ravindu has been able to interact with his competitors and learn about their countries and cultures. Going along with the age-old wisdom that to even begin to understand a culture, you need to understand the language, Ravindu has already built a link with Japan through speaking their language fluently. He has also gotten an insight into Japan and its culture – a place he would call his home during the next couple of years, through his visit.

Language is not only a means of contact with other human beings, but it also develops more individuals with strong skills.

Ravindu says that a person needs to be passionate about learning Japanese, have knowledge about the Japanese lifestyle and have good guidance to master the language.

“My ambition is to become a doctor someday and I believe that learning Japanese is advantageous for the profession,” he mused adding that sometimes certain things are just expressed better when they’re not in English. You’ll find there are words in Japanese with a totally different flavour than their English counterparts.

Ravindu is also passionate about making handicrafts. Japanese calligraphy too captivates him. He is a gifted Kandyan dancer and has had his Ves Ceremony in 2015. He has toured the Philippines and Indonesia with the school dance troupe.

Ravindu’s parents, Ananda Wickramasinghe and Rasanjali Dassanayake are both retired teachers. He has two brothers and one sister. He is currently getting ready for his G C E Advanced Level examination in BioScience. He wishes to thank the Trinity College Japanese teacher V R Kumari and Sputnik International Education Centre for helping him attain this victory.

“If you try, you can do anything. Set your goal and reach for the stars,” is his message for other youth who wish to pursue their hidden talents.


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