Monday, October 14, 2013

Video Matsuri / ビデオまつり

G’Day! It’s Matt from Sydney here.

Spring has sprung here, and as the lorikeets and kookaburras take flight, here at the office I’ve been inundated with USB sticks, DVDs and CDs.

For the past five years we have run Video Matsuri, a short film competition for students of Japanese all over Australia and New Zealand. Students have three minutes to wow us with their language skills, their technical abilities—and most importantly, their sense of humour. Videos range from primary school classes showing off their Japanese vocabulary to high school students writing and performing their own J-Pop songs; from horror stories in the city to comedies in the far north. 

This year saw a record number of entries—more than double what we received last year. They’ve come not just from Sydney and Brisbane, but from Wangaratta, Indooroopilly and even Yarawonga! This means our team of language consultants will have an entire day of doing nothing but watching short films!

As coordinator of the competition, I have already seen many of the entries, and have been blown away by the sheer level of talent on display in so many of the videos. This year has been notable for the large number of animated videos we have received—students have been influenced by their own love of anime, and are creating their own animated videos that are nothing short of spectacular.

The standard of Japanese language is also impressive. Like many Australians, I studied Japanese in high school, but students today are much more fluent than I ever was. More and more, they are using language they have learned not just in the classroom, but language they have picked up by engaging with Japanese pop culture.

Japanese remains the most popular foreign language to learn in Australia. Video Matsuri is a great way for students of all ages to use their language skills in a fun way outside of the classroom. We also get a kick out of seeing the next generation of Australian Japanese speakers take their first steps into the big wide world of Japan.

While we judge this year’s excellent entries, why not check out some of the winning videos from last year’s competition?

Until next time!

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