University of Rochester

Student Nabs Top Honors in Japanese Speech Contest

May 2, 1995

A humorous speech on the virtues of Japanese food has earned a University of Rochester senior $800 and a first-class, round- trip ticket to Japan.

Peter Yerrill, a geology major, took home first-place honors in a national Japanese speech contest for "Raw Fish and Hamburger." Speaking in Japanese, he discussed how American people should learn more about healthy Japanese eating habits than management skills or business strategies.

Judges remarked that Yerrill, who competed in Level 1, gave a polished presentation, made his speech easy for the audience to understand, and successfully expressed some very subtle points.

The contest is sponsored annually by the U.S.-Japan Culture Center, an organization of the Japanese Embassy in Washington, D.C. Contestants are chosen on the basis of speeches they submit.

Rochester students, who have been selected to compete for the last seven years, consistently come away winners. This year's representative competed against 14 students from larger Japanese programs at 13 schools, including Harvard, Yale, George Washington, and Amherst. Senior lecturer Mariko Tamate coached Yerrill. Editors: Peter Yerrill is a resident of Pelham Manor, N.Y.