Off to the Land of the Rising Sun

00:58, Jul 03 2014
Southland Japanese Speech competition winner
TOP TALKER: It was his way with words that helped Edward Popham, 17, win the Southland Japanese Speech competition.

Four years of learning Japanese has paid off for a James Hargest College pupil who has won the Southland Japanese speech competition.

Year 13 pupil Edward Popham won the competition, hosted by Southland Boys' High School, yesterday. Pupils from years 9 to 13 from Southland Boys', Southland Girls' and James Hargest College took part.

Popham, 17, said he was very happy to have won the year 13 section with his speech and power-point presentation comparing the high school club activities of Japan and New Zealand.

He began learning Japanese four years go. "I want to get to know myself more, and learn about this different culture," he said.

Popham, who is half Japanese, was born and raised in New Zealand. He spent five months in Japan in 2012 after winning an AFS scholarship where he learned a lot about the culture and improved his Japanese.

On Saturday he will fly to Chiba, near Tokyo, for a week as part of his prize for winning first place in the Shodo Haiku competition.

He is also applying for a 10-month gap-year programme in Japan for 2015, and hoped to work as a Japanese speaking guide on the Milford Track over summer.

He would like to join the air force in 2016.

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