Portland, OR – Making a sentence using sara sara, identifying the relay race known as ekiden, remembering that sumo wrestlers eat chankonabe, or listing the four main islands of Japan from north to south in order. These were just a few of the questions that high school students from around the state and beyond wrestled with during the first ever Pacific Northwest Japan Bowl at PSU’s Native American Center on Saturday March 11.
The event, hosted by the Japan-America Society of Oregon, was billed as a language and culture quiz in the style of Jeopardy, with questions ranging from kanji to historical figures, listening comprehension to pop culture. Eleven teams of two or three entered in two divisions, with schools from Eugene and Couer d’Alene joining several Portland area high schools.
Teams tackled 50 questions with pen and paper in the morning, followed by lunch and an hour of calligraphy, origami, and other cultural activities with members of the Japanese Student Society at PSU.
Then, the top three finalists in each division – for juniors and seniors – were announced. Finalists vied against each other in a buzzer round, an individual round, and a final team round. Celebrity judges added to the fun by holding up signs with a maru or a batsu, according to how they judged the student’s answer.
Winners from the top level have won a trip to Washington DC in early April to take part in the National Japan Bowl as representatives of the Pacific Northwest. In this contest, Lake Oswego squeaked out a victory over Sunset by just one point!
Students, teachers, parents and volunteers all had a great day, bringing Japanese out of the classroom and into real life. Can’t wait to do it again next year!
Event pictures here.
Level 3 Results
1st Coeur d’Alene HS
2nd Westview HS
3rd Lake Oswego HS
Level 4 Results
1st Lake Oswego HS
2nd Sunset HS
3rd Lakeridge HS