Two American students will have the opportunity to work in Japan this summer, courtesy of the Japanese Consulate in Boston.
Adam J. Freed '91 and Andrew P. Goldfarb '89 won the consulate's New England-wide Japanese speech contest last Saturday. In return, they received two round-trip tickets to Japan.
Because the fall of the dollar on the world market has made travel in Japan prohibitively expensive, both students will work as interns for the majority of their time abroad.
The contest, which began three years ago, is designed to encourage American students to learn Japanese. Participants presented five-minute speeches in Japanese and answered questions from the panel of five judges, which included officials from the Japanese Ministry of Education and the consulate.
Freed, a freshman from Los Angeles who has never been to Japan before, said that the spoke about the Japanese work ethos in the contest. "I have waited for 48 rings for the Harvard operators to pick up, but in Japanese firms, people are expected to answer after one or two rings."
But the diligence of Japanese workers does not always produce positive results, according to Freed. Freed, who also speaks Finnish and French, talked about a successful Japanese student on exchange in Finland who killed himself after eight months of study there. He concluded that the American worker can share with the Japanese his ability to relax, while learning from the Japanese work ethic.
Goldfarb, who comes from Allentown, Pennsylvania, worked for the Kikkoman Soy Sauce Company in Tokyo last summer and lived in Japan as an exchange student during high school.
Goldfarb said he spoke about the contrast between the push for internationalism and the remnants of isolationsim in Japan.
Harvard students, who made up about half of the 23 participants in the contest, all placed in the top three or earned a distinction in one of the two levels of competition.