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UTSA student wins round trip to Japan for language skills

By Connor McBrearty, Graduate Assistant, Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

UTSA student Adrian McIntosh placed first in the free speech division of the 24th Annual Texas Statewide Japanese Language Contest. The contest, sponsored by the Japan-America Society of Houston and held on March 9 at Rice University, features divisions at the high school, college and expert level with topics ranging from poetry to free speech.  

Adrian McIntosh
Adrian McIntosh performing during competition.
Photo courtesy of Consulate-General of Japan at Houston

For the competition, McIntosh composed and recited an original two-to-three minute speech in Japanese. Judges evaluated him for his pronunciation, grammar, enthusiasm, creativity, originality and overall mastery of the language. With his win, McIntosh was awarded a round-trip flight to Japan to explore and further pursue his interests in the country’s language and culture. 

McIntosh first discovered his interest in the Japanese language as a teenager when he learned that his high school in The Woodlands, Texas, offered it as an alternative foreign language to Spanish. The culture and history of Japan had already made a subtle impression on him through his hobbies of anime and video games. The opportunity to learn Japanese created an enthusiasm for the culture that would result in his becoming the president of his high school’s Japanese club and deciding to continue his studies in college.

UTSA’s Japanese program was still in its developmental stages when McIntosh first enrolled, but he still found it to be an ideal learning environment for his further mastery of the language. It was faculty member Makiko Fukuda who recognized McIntosh’s aptitude for the language and encouraged him to represent UTSA in the regional and state contests.  He will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages with an emphasis in Japanese. 

Teaching and translating are two career paths McIntosh is considering after graduation.

“A good translation feels natural.  I think I’m particularly gifted at word choice and capturing a person’s attitude across the barrier of two languages,” he explains.   However, the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET), through which Japanese specialists are employed to teach their native language in Japan, is also an enticing choice for McIntosh. Ideally, though, his dream job would be localizing Japanese videogames for American consumers. 

But first, McIntosh plans on using his round-trip tickets to visit Japan this summer.  “I want to see everything,” he says.