What's new

JREF Essay Contest 2012

Maria's story

Hello to everybody again :)

So now I am back from Japan for a while and its still kind of unbelievable that I have been there. I've made so many experiences in just these 4 weeks! I never thought that my Japanese would improve that much in this short period of time, but it did and I even managed to finish the first Genki book and took the test for the second one. Made it with 82% on the test, but simply didn’t have more time to start the second book, so now I have to study all by myself again.

The mix with going to school for some hours and still having plenty of time to explore your surrounding was great. Almost every day I was somewhere with the new friends I made at school. And of course I made tons of pictures :D

I just started to sort them out, because I want to make an album out of them. For me some of the best things to visit were the cats cafe (love cats), Osaka (made it there on a weekend) and of course all the good places to eat sushi.

All the teachers were great and really giving their best to make you feel good and learn a lot. On vacation days the school always made plans for a trip or something special (like a Halloween party) and its always worth it to go there. I've met two little girl at one trip and it just felt great to be able to talk to them a little bit.

If you like shopping you have plenty of possibilities and I loved the hyaku-en stores. But you better bring the biggest suitcase you have or send some stuff beforehand back home, because I definitely didn’t have enough space for all the stuff and souvenirs that i bought and wanted to bring home.

All in one it was really really great and I am looking forward for the next time I can go to Japan, because there are just so many places I have not seen yet. Next time definitely want to explore Tokyo!

Oh, and by the way, getting lost is a great way to improve your speaking ability ;)

Everybody was always really really nice and helped me find my way back.

Greetings, Maria

And the winner is...

... Maria Puschkaschow. Maria, congratulations on behalf of Genki JACS and Japan Reference (JREF)!

And here she is:

Maria Puschkaschow

Hello everybody ;)

My Name is Maria Puschkaschow and I am 24 years old. And right now I am probably the happiest person alive.

I was born in Russia and moved to Germany when I was six years old and have been living here ever since. I have always been interested in other cultures, but my fascination for Japan started with Sailormoon. I loved watching it and still do. I even have all the Sailormoon Magazines I was able to buy when I was younger. When I finished school I started my training as a kindergarten teacher. That took four years. Afterwards I wanted to go to Japan and stay there for a year, but I couldn't find a way, since I was not able to speak even the tiniest bit of Japanese. I went to the USA instead and had a really nice year, but always wished I would have found a way to stay in Japan. I started out teaching myself Japanese (hiragana, katakana, some grammar), but of course the book wouldn't answer any question I had.

When I came back I finally started a Japanese course with a friend of mine and could ask all my questions. This was two years ago, and I still have my Japanese course once a week. Besides that I am working full time as a kindergarten teacher. I really like my job, even though some times are really stressful. I have 24 children in the age from 3 till 6 to watch over. ;)

I like reading a lot and made a lot of puzzles the last weeks (it's really relaxing). I also do all kind of things: drawing, animals beads, sometimes cosplay, and so on. I am more the creative kind of person. Besides that I am pretty normal. I like going out, see a movie, do some karaoke, adore my two cats.

And I cannot await my journey to Japan.

Greetings, Maria

Update January 9, 2013

After long deliberations, our jurors have finally named the winner of the JREF Essay Contest. They would like to thank all the entrants for their contributions and point out how difficult it was to select the winning entry. We congratulate the lucky winner who has already been notified by email and thank everyone for participating in the contest!

We will update this page shortly.

Update January 7, 2013

We know that many of you have been eagerly waiting for updates, some of you have already enquired by email. We are sorry to state that due to the Japanese New Year holidays the announcement of the winning entry will be delayed, as we have not heard back yet from all the jurors. We will therefore have to extend the deadline to Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 23:59 JST. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and understanding.

Update December 30, 2012

We thank all the entrants for their submissions and wish you a Happy New Year! We are aiming at announcing the winner on January 5, 2013, but might be a bit delayed due to the Japanese New Year holidays. Thanks for your understanding!

JREF Essay Contest

JREF Essay Contest

Japan Reference (JREF), in collaboration with Genki Japanese Language School, is proud to announce an Essay Contest on the following topic:

Why are you interested in Japanese culture?

Your essay: should be in English language and must be no fewer than 600 and no more than 1,200 words in length, one entry per entrant and solely your work. Try to convey your fascination about Japanese culture and why you are interested in studying the Japanese language. By submitting your entry, you agree to the publication of your essay on the JREF website.

The prize: four weeks of free intensive classes, or six months of Skype lessons (26 lessons at one per week) at Genki Japanese Language School!

You choose EITHER

- to study at Genki JACS in Fukuoka

-- 4 weeks of classes, 20 hours of classes per week (Standard Japanese course)
-- all expenses paid, including textbook
-- any level of learner accepted
-- prize is valid for 1 year from selection of winner
-- start any Monday (exception: beginner students start first Monday of each month)
-- extra costs: student must pay for flight to Japan, accommodation, travel expenses, living expenses


- to take Online Skype lessons

-- 26 weeks of classes, one 50-minute lesson per week
-- any level of learner accepted
-- classes can start any time within one year from selection of winner
-- student must purchase own textbook
-- no other costs

- Submission and deadline: please submit your essay to the following email address (by replacing "at" and "dot" with their respective symbols):

Contest Contact

All entries should be submitted by December 29, 2012, 23:59:59 Japan Standard Time. We reserve the right to provide contest deadline extensions when deemed appropriate.

- The jury: consists of four eminent members of the Japan Forum. Their decision is final and shall be announced on January 5, 2013, on the Japan Forum.


Genki Japanese Language School

Genki Japanese Language School is an accredited and award-winning Japanese school teaching communicational study abroad courses, learning the Japanese language and culture in a relaxed and friendly environment. It is located in the center of the biggest city in South Japan, Fukuoka. Classes are small, and focused on Western students' needs.

GenkiJACS was nominated by popular vote as one of the world's star language schools (not just Japanese language school) every year from 2009 to 2012. It is one of only two Japanese language schools in the world that are accredited by IALC, the International Association of Language Centres.

GenkiJACS is the most popular Japanese language school for Western students in Western Japan!


Top Bottom