141 Students Show off Knowledge about Japan
at 4th Illinois Japan Bowl
New Trier Team to Head for National Competition
• The National Japan Bowl was created in 1992 by the Japan America Society of Washington, D.C., and Illinois is one of the states that have participated in the competition recently. This year, the Illinois Japan Bowl added the entry level (Level 2) to the existing Level 3 (mid-level) and Level 4 (advanced), inviting more participants. Up to three teams for each level, nine teams in total, per school can complete in the event.
• Each team is required to answer questions asked in either Japanese or English – for example: In accordance with Buddhist custom, Japanese often visit their family graves around the time of the spring and autumn equinox. What is this special time called?” The answer must be written in the Japanese “hiragana” characters in 30 seconds. It requires a high level of concentration, so no one is allowed to get in or out of the room during the quiz, other than the participating students, administrators and timekeepers.
• In his opening remarks, David Johnson of the JASC stressed
it is the JASC’s mission to promote friendship and understanding between
the people of Japan and the U.S. The Japan Bowl is an excellent opportunity
for young students who learn Japanese to test what they have learned,
• Also present was Naoki Ito, Consul-General of Japan
in Chicago, who noted that the first “America Bowl” will take place in
Tokyo later this year to test Japanese students’ knowledge about the U.S.,
as well as the Japan Bowl for international college students in Japan.
“Maybe you will study in Japan and compete in the Japan Bowl someday,”
• A team from Steinmetz College Prep, a high school located on Chicago’s North Side, has a two-year experience of learning Japanese. “I studied Japanese city names online and made some abbreviations out of them,” one of the members said. “I studied primarily Kanji,” “I watched a lot of videos [about Japan] last night, so I’ll do well today,” others said.
• Elaina Young from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
in Chicago took advantage of the school’s Japan program and visited Tokyo
and Yokohama last summer. She enjoyed it very much and “definitely” wants
to go back.
• After the tense competition, which consisted of two rounds of 50 questions, the attendees enjoyed a Japanese lunch box and the Japanese “kaiju” monster drum performance.
• A team of students from New Trier High School of Winnetka won the first place in Level 4, securing the right to participate in the National Japan Bowl for the third year in a row. The team will complete in the National Japan Bowl in Washington, D.C. later this month. The JASC provides financial support to the team, with assistance from several sponsors.
• North Central College has been the venue for the Illinois
Japan Bowl ever since it started, and, according to the President of the
college Troy D. Hammond, it’s not “by accident.”
• Before he became the president of North Central College,
Hammond was engaged in business involving Japanese companies such as Sumitomo
Chemical Co., Ltd. He said it helped him get to know Japan and Japanese
corporations, to which he feels close.
The participants of Illinois Japan Bowl are relaxed and enjoy performance of the Kaiju Taiko after the competition.
A team of students from New Trier High School, winner of Illinois Japan Bowl, poses for a photo
with their teacher (R) and David Jonson (L).
Elaina Young from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
John Ortega-Rios from from Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
From left: Monica Laddaran, Dayna Dayson, and Briana Raper from Steinmetz College Prep.