Reporter 448, 6 March 2000

Getting a grip on Japanese

A third-year University student has won a top prize for his skills in spoken Japanese.

A firm hold: Nick Mathys in Aikido action

Twenty-one year old Nick Mathys, who spent a year in Kyoto as part of his Japanese and Asia Pacific studies course, won a return ticket to Japan and £1,000 for his speech on the Japanese martial art Aikido.

Nick, who learned martial arts at the Kyoto Institute of Textiles and Technology, said: "Learning to speak Japanese it is not particularly difficult although the grammar is very different." Aikido interests him, he says, because "you do not respond to force with force, rather you need to resolve your thoughts to make the impossible possible."

Nick, who won the the Sir Peter Parker awards for spoken business Japanese, hopes to work in Japan when he completes his course next year. The competition is organised by the Japan External Trade Organisation.

Nick’s speech is available here. In English

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