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Blog:Feb, 2015

3rd Place Finish in the "Hong Kong Cup"

Name: Sae Aoki
Nationality: Japanese
Status at Waseda University: 4th year at the School of Law

4th year undergraduate law student Sae Aoki recently participated in and won third prize in the “Hong Kong Cup All Japan University Student Ambassador’s English Programme”, a contest held by the Hong Kong government and supported jointly by Japan’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science  and Technology (MEXT). Through both her pending Hong Kong study tour and her future endeavors, Ms. Aoki is poised to become a vital link between Japan and Hong Kong contributing to the promotion of mutual understanding between the two.


What are the reasons for applying?
When I was in middle school, my father was posted to a job in Hong Kong; and since then I have visited the city many times and have even studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong as an exchange student. Based on all my experiences there I grew to really love Hong Kong, so when I heard about this contest from the Center for International Education I decided to apply. The encouragement I received from my friends both in Hong Kong and here in Japan also contributed to my decision.
 

中文.jpg

The Main gate of the Chinese University of Hong Kong where I studied as an
exchange student, the academic gown was borrowed from a friend


Please tell us about your speech.
Five presentation topics were offered in this contest, and I ended up choosing the topic, "Introduce the magic of Hong Kong to your friends and family." The title I chose for my speech was the ‘Never Ending Story of Hong Kong’, and in my speech I tried to show that since Hong Kong has so many different interesting sides, no matter how many times you visit you can always make new discoveries there. I think that, in general, Japanese think of Hong Kong as a financial center, or as the home of dim sum; or else they might know it for its night views.
 

夜景.jpg 飲茶.jpg

Hong Kong’s famous “Million Dollar Night View” / Dim Sum for 15

I think that most tourists, Japanese included, come to Hong Kong largely for the above reasons. But these aspects are only a small part of what makes Hong Kong so special. As I came to know more about Hong Kong’s history, its unique culture and about the kindness and warmth of the people living there, I realized just how multifaceted a place it really is. In my speech I felt it was important to tell people about some of the more overlooked sides of life in Hong Kong that I personally got to see and experience.
 

memo.jpg

For example, the first time I came to Hong Kong I had the impression that everyone down to even the waiters and waitresses was rather gruff and unfriendly. But as I adjusted myself to the culture there and communicated more with the local people, I realized that Hongkongers are really very warm and friendly. I remember one time I went into a small cafeteria called “Cha can teng” that served mostly locals. I had heard that this restaurant was very popular and that you were expected to order within 10 seconds of being seated at your table. At that time I couldn’t speak Cantonese (the official language of Hong Kong) so I wrote down my order on a piece of paper and showed it to them instead. When I showed my order to the waiter he frowned, and I thought he might be angry at having to serve a clueless foreigner like me at such a busy time; but then he took the paper, wrote something down on it and gave it back to me. When I took it back I saw he had drawn a cute little drawing on it.

I have had many experiences like this in Hong Kong. While my first impression of Hong Kong was that the people were loud and service was bad compared to Japan, When I approached Hong Kong with a more open mind, I began to see just how warm and friendly the people there are. I came to realize that Hong Kong is truly a place that can give you endless opportunities for discovery.

Tell us about the day of the presentation.
After passing through the preliminary round, each of the fifteen finalists gave a power point presentation of about 6 minutes. Each presentation was followed by a three minute question and answer session conducted by a panel of two foreign and two Japanese judges. I enjoyed listening to the other student’s speeches very much as well. During the first round of the contest, we were only allowed to show 5 slides while playing a three-minute recording of our speech, but for the final round we were allowed to use the entire stage and use gestures for emphasis while we spoke. After the contest there was a thirty minute reception where we could chat with friends and family and meet not only the judges but also the representatives of the various groups supporting the event.

プレゼン1.jpg プレゼン2.jpg

 
How did you feel to win?
I was honestly quite surprised, since I felt my Q&A session hadn’t gone very well. I didn’t enter this contest in order to win a prize, but rather to share my love of Hong Kong with everyone. Still, I was thrilled to think that the prize I received was proof that I was able to convey how I felt about Hong Kong. Part of my prize is a study tour of Hong Kong, and I am very much looking forward to taking classes again at my old university. I’ve always considered my connection with Hong Kong and Hongkongers to be very important to me, and as a "student ambassador" to Hong Kong I would like to create new connections in the future. After graduation, I hope that I can continue to be a bridge linking Japan and Hong Kong.

受賞2.jpg

Receiving the prize

red-gown.jpg

Participating as a guide at The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s 50 anniversary forum

 

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