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Asian Studies

SoonHo Park '12 wins prize in Language Contest Organized by the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston

Story posted October 24, 2012

SoonHo Park ‘12 SoonHo Park '12 in Japanese 308 won the 2nd prize in the Second Annual Japanese Language Contest for New England College Students organized by the Consulate-General of Japan in Boston.

The contest had two parts: a Speech Contest and an Essay Contest. With SoonHo’s Japanese language study history, his entry was in the Advanced Division (students who have completed two or more years of Japanese language study). For the essay contest, he had two essay topic options to choose from (“The Great East Japan Earthquake (東日本大震災について思うこと)” or “Cherry Trees (私にとって「桜」とは)”). SoonHo chose to write about “Cherry Trees” and titled his essay “A Journey of a Small Cherry Blossom Petal (小さな桜の花びらの旅).”

In the essay, SoonHo used metaphorical imagery to compare a cherry blossom petal to a human being. He argues that, like a petal, one does not know where one will be happy and how one will achieve success. As long as one believes that spring will come every year, and perseveres through difficulties, one will see the good times as well.

The beauty of sentiment and language in his essay evolved as he returned to the central, very personal, question posed by the essay contest over the course of several moths. Though he was busy with classes and senior year coursework, he rewrote his essay several times with the feedback of his teacher, to sharpen the language, structure and overall flow of the essay. The essay reflects his positive attitude as he looks ahead to his life after graduation.




花びらは想像しなかっただろう。それほど美しい公園には、一、二週間前黒いアスファルトの道を急ぎ足で歩いている人ばかりだったとは。そして、 一、二ヶ月前は、それほど華やかな公園には記録的な大雪で誰の姿もない雪ばかりだったとは。目を閉じて考えていたら、急に風が吹き花びらに何かを伝えようとするかのように、ささやきかけた。どれだけ歳月が流れたとしても、暗い冬の終わりを告げるのは静かに舞い散る桜の花のわけだ。たとえ、数年後、放射能の恐怖にさらされる惨事が起こったとしても、雪が解け、湖の水面の上にも、手を取り合う恋人たちの手のひらにも、桜の花びらが舞い散る春が必ず訪れるはずだ。