The Cooperative Friend Nippon focuses strongly on its Japanese language program. The company has established a Japanese language school in the Philippines where it conducts a four-month pre-arrival training for prospective trainees using its original learning materials.
Mr. Tomigawa, the Senior Vice President, says, "It is ideal that new trainees arrive in Japan with an ability to understand Japanese perfectly. The ability will help them to have a fruitful training and internship experience."
Once trainees arrive in Japan, full-time instructors enthusiastically teach new trainees in initial group training. Trainees and technical interns understand that instructors are eager to help them acquire the Japanese language, which not only helps them during training, but also through their lives after training when they return to their home country. Last year, over 300 trainees and interns took the Japanese Language Aptitude Test, which is organized by Japan Educational Exchanges and Services.
To serve as a source of encouragement for the trainees who continuously study Japanese, a speech contest was organized. A call for entries was published in Tayo!, the cooperative's quarterly newsletter for trainees. Almost 20 entries were submitted during the month of the application period. The wide range of topics included unique perspectives such as, "What I want to be in 3 years", and "Things that surprised me in Japan", as well as "Comparison in Japanese and Filipino lifestyles", and "Training experience in Japan".
The contest was held this year in Tokyo on January 10, the Coming-of-Age Day. Speeches were evaluated in six categories: accuracy; pronunciation and accent; facial expression and body language; creativity and personality; persuasiveness; and, likability. All speakers' Japanese skills were so close and advanced that the judges had difficulty in deciding who was the best!
Out of 14 contestants, the Grand Prix was awarded to a trainee who had only been in Japan for nine months. The trainee's hard work paid off! Five more awards were given as well. The contestants who were not awarded showed strong motivation saying, "I'll try again next year!"
Staff want to respond to the positive attitude. A staff member says, "We want to nurture the trainees' motivation to learn. We'll make the contest even better next year!"
The Cooperative Friend Nippon plans to continue the speech contest every year.
[Speakers at the speech contest]