Why Learn Japanese? 2017

Why Learn Japanese? 2015

This event is aimed to encourage students to study Japanese in senior years. This event has always been well-received, because of its inspiring speeches from guest speakers who are non-native Japanese speakers, who have lived in Japan and continued to use Japanese in Australia and worldwide and also the fascinating cultural demonstrations. Best suited for students in years 8 to 10, as they approach the end of compulsory language studies. (Please note: In 2016, there will be no film session.)

Cost: $6.60 per student (includes $0.60 GST)

Please make sure you or your school is a member of the JLTAV for 2017.

This activity is provided with funding support from the Department of Education and Training.

Event report

On Friday the 12th of May, close to 700 students from 25 different schools gathered at Monash University’s Robert Blackwood Hall for one of the JLTAV’s biggest and most successful annual events, the ‘Why Learn Japanese? Day’.

This event gave students studying Japanese a greater understanding of the life-changing opportunities studying Japanese has to offer through exciting cultural performances and inspirational talks professionals who use Japanese in their careers and everyday lives.

The day’s proceedings were once again opened with a bang with a rousing taiko performance by Melbourne’s very own Wadaiko Rindo, headed by Toshi Sakamoto and Junko Sakamoto. Consul Zilla Bailey of the Consulate-General of Japan then addressed the audience, encouraging students to have fun when learning languages, and that there are many opportunities for those who persevere. The day’s proceedings were then handed over to the energetic and comical MC for the day – Showko, who specialises in rakugo and ventriloquy.

Wadaiko Rindo was invited back to the stage for another rousing performance and to run a taiko workshop with the students, which prompted an overwhelming reponse from the audience. The lucky volunteers were taught the basics of drumming with the taiko drums and chants, which provoked amazement and laughter from the audience.

The first speaker for the day was Basil Cahusac de Caus, a current PhD student at Monash University. Basil recounted his days working and living in Japan, and how experiencing the welcoming Japanese culture first hand helped him better understand himself as a member of the global community. One of Basil’s most memorable achievements was working as a translator during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which prompted some disbelief from the students. Basil emphasised that cultural understanding is of utmost important in our globalised world, and studying a language is one of the best ways to access this information – which leads to innumerable possibilities.

Next students and teachers were presented with the winning entry for the ‘JLTAV Video Contest’ from MacKillop College. A both practical and comedic video, students showed that learning Japanese not only helps in your everyday life, but also opens doors as a professional – because you never know when Johnny Depp might try and sneak his dogs into Japan and they’ll need an interpreter!

Following the video, Nao Taketani and Sunny of Taketani Judo were welcomed to the stage to give a demonstration on the traditional martial art – Judo. With each throw and bang on the mat there was an echo of ‘oohs’, ‘aahs’, and laughter throughout the hall. Nao explained that Judo, also known as ‘the gentle way’, reflects Japanese ideologies about approaching things calmly and respecting those around you. Additionally, Nao stated that through learning about a culture you will inevitably learn about the language and vice-versa.

During the break students had the opportunity to have their name or a message written by the talent calligrapher, Miho Araki of Ebisu Design. While some students opted simply for their name, some students took home unique Mother’s Day gifts with messages of love and gratitude written in Japanese.

The second half of the day opened with a hilarious rakugo performance by the day’s MC – Showko. Rakugo are short one-man comedy stories that require the audience’s imagination. Despite never moving from her sitting position, Showko brought about roaring laughter from the audience and showed that languages do not only benefit one in a professional sense, but also provides enjoyment in one’s everyday life.

Next up was an energetic performance by Yasakoi Zen, where students learnt of the background and moves involved in Yosakoi, a very loud and stirring dance unique to Japan. Yosakoi Zen truly highlighted that language and culture go hand-in-hand, and through learning yosakoi members have not only gained new interests and friendships, but also improved on their Japanese in the process.

The final speaker for the day was Jason Jones, lecturer at Monash University, who gave perspective of the transition from high school to university when it comes to Japanese studies. The audience had a good laugh seeing Jason in his younger days and learning about what spurred his interests in Japanese and what pushed him to continue. In particular, Jason emphasised the opportunities available to those who persevere and dare to jump into the unfamiliar, having been a recipient of the Japanese MEXT Scholarship and worked as a JET member for a number of years.

The response from students and teachers on the day was overwhelming, and we thank all that attended. We are very grateful to our MC for the day and all presenters who donated their valuable time, and to Vanessa Shen and Robbie Muljana, along with volunteers from the JLTAV, for organizing an exciting and insightful day.

By Robbie Muljana

Application procedure

  1. Complete the online registration form:
  2. Before pressing submit, print the form (it is a TAX INVOICE) and organise the payment by Thursday 20th April. Late applications are not accepted.
  3. Please send the payment advice to jltav@jltav.org.au. No paper advice required. Please only register once and wait until after the closing date to receive registration confirmation from the JLTAV Office
  4. You will receive confirmation from the JLTAV office by Friday 28th April.
  5. You will receive tickets and a letter from us prior to the event.

Payment details

** EFT only **

  • Account Name: JLTAV Inc
  • EFT to BSB: 033-034 Account Number: 61-1599 *The bank details have changed.*
  • your school reference: section of Net-Banking form
  • If you are sending money from your personal account, please write the name of your school in the reference section of Net-banking form.
  • If your students are paying to attend please collect all money first and register as a class and not individually
  • It is the individual teacher’s responsibility to follow up the registration payment with the finance department of their school

Other notes

Some other things that might need to be considered…

  1. arrange a school trip form
  2. inform school admin plus students and other teachers
  3. book a bus
  4. ask other teachers to come with the group &
  5. arrange lunch

We are looking forward to seeing you and your students at the venue!


9:45Taiko performance
9:55Welcome, Nathan LaneNathan Lane
Consulate-General of Japan in MelbourneMs Zilla Bailey
10:00Taiko workshop
10:25SpeakerRichard Gruppetta
10:30JLTAV video contest winnerMacKillop College
10:40Judo performanceNao Taketani
11:10Recess, calligraphyMiho
11:40Short cultural performanceShowko
11:45Yosakoi danceYosakoi Zen
12:15Lucky draw
12:20SpeakerJason Jones

Travel subsidy form

Please click below for the travel subsidy form: