How daunting would it be to be far from home and stand up in front of an audience to deliver a speech in a language you’re only just coming to grips with? Rotary youth exchange student Tsumiki Katsuragawa handled the challenge with aplomb when she addressed the assembly of Tenterfield Rotarians at a special dinner on Tuesday, October 9 attended by District Governor Terry Brown.
Tsumiki is attending Tenterfield High School but during the school holidays was hosted by James and Rebekah Kelly and their family. She shared her impressions of a trip to the coast which took in the Big Banana and multiple birthday celebrations, which really impressed her.
The excursion started off with a birthday party in Ballina, and she said such parties are generally small affairs in Japan but this one involved six families.
“So I love Australian birthdays,” she said.
Another birthday was celebrated in Wooli and time was spent canoeing, swimming, shopping and going to the movies, although Tsumiki had to make out the storyline from the visuals.
“When I watched the movie I couldn’t understand,” she said, “but I was moved by the last scene.”
The trip concluded with the Big Banana and its activities: slides, lasertag and tobogganing.
Tsumiki apologised for her English, although others noted how much it had improved since her arrival. It’s also a fair bet that her English surpasses the Japanese language skills of anyone else in the room.
Tsumiki took the opportunity to thank the club for hosting her.
“Thank you for accepting me,” she said.
“I love Tenterfield and Australia.”