19 December 2014
As we awaited the arrival of our Japanese guests, I couldn’t help but feel nervous. It’s been a year and a half since I started learning Japanese, but yet I could barely string a complete sentence in Japanese. For this visit, our lecturer had arranged for 2 translators to help with the translation. However, none of them were assigned to my group.
Although the Nihon Manga Geiyutsu Gakuin Voice Acting School had been visiting our school for the past few years, this was my first time helping out with the tour as a volunteer. I felt anxious as I was not very proficient in Japanese. Luckily for me, one of the Japanese teachers spoke English. My group had to bring 28 Japanese students around the Hilltop to showcase our studios, including the Music Studios, the Cyber Wargame Centre and the Media, Art and Design (M.A.D.) Studios. The Japanese students, in turn, prepared a dance showcase for us. It was an exhilarating experience as they performed energetically and with confidence.
We then had 2 segments of voice acting. One was performing a dubbed version from One Piece, and the other was their graduation project. Voice acting came naturally to them and they played their respective characters with conviction. We were struck with awe as we had never seen voice acting up close. It was interesting to see how a voice actor/actress makes use of different voices to play a diverse range of characters. It was also an eye-opening experience to see how they immerse into their roles and become a totally different person.
Our last activity of the day was a portrait drawing session with the Japanese students. I was feeling nervous as I had to show my drawing skills and converse one-on-one with the students. I was grouped with three female students who turned out to be extremely friendly and patient even though we struggled to communicate in broken Japanese. In the end, we used Google Translate and hand signals to help us communicate. The day ended before we knew it and we decided to exchange contacts and take group photos.
This article was written by Goh Xiao Xuan Winnie
I still keep in touch with my friends from Japan using Google Translate and emoji. It was a wonderful experience and I wouldn’t mind volunteering again next year if they are coming back to visit our school.