Saturday, 2 September 2023

2023 FSFA Japanese Speech Contest

The Frankston Susono Friendship Association held its annual Japanese Speech Contest at Monash Peninsula Campus on Friday 1st September. The Association is a group of volunteer citizens who administer Frankston’s sister city relationship with Susono, Shizuoka in Japan on behalf of the Frankston City Council. FSFA have worked to promote Japanese culture, the study of Japanese language plus student and cultural exchanges since the sister city relationship was established in February 1982.

The Association invited students from local primary and secondary schools to this year’s contest and 53 entries were received. Contestants were required to recite a short self-introduction followed by a set piece based on the folktale story of Kasajizō (Straw Hats for the Jizō) and were judged by a panel of Japanese speakers. Contestants competed in Lower Primary, Upper Primary, Japanese Environment (Primary), Junior Secondary, Intermediate Secondary and Senior Secondary divisions.

FSFA Chairperson Julie D’Arcy welcomed all contestants, their parents and teachers before explaining the work undertaken by the Association and the importance of the annual contest in promoting the teaching of Japanese language in our local schools.

The evening’s program started with the 3 primary divisions and 34 excited and nervous contestants presenting before the judging panel. Individual trophies were awarded to the top three students in each division, with the top contestant in each division also awarded a perpetual trophy which is displayed with pride at their school for the next 12 months.


Lower Primary (Prep to Year 3):

1st           Charlotte S (Derinya Primary School)

2nd          Hannah R (Overport Primary School)

3rd           Grace M (Derinya Primary School)

Commendation Award: Max W (Derinya Primary School)


Upper Primary (Years 4 to 6):

1st           Zara T (Haileybury)

2nd          Lucy S (Derinya Primary School)

3rd           Lucy U (Derinya Primary School)


Japanese Environment (Primary):

1st           Mae F (Overport Primary School)

2nd          Hannah F (Overport Primary School)

3rd           Leah (Overport Primary School)

Commendation Award: Lydia T (Bayside Christian College)


Primary Division Trophy Winners with FSFA Chairperson Julie D'Arcy

The secondary schools followed with students presenting a more detailed self-introduction and set piece or Japanese themed topic in each of the 3 divisions. At the conclusion of these speeches Committee member, former exchange student to Susono and judge Sam Warrington commented on the impressive standard of all contestants and recognized the enormous challenge of memorizing and presenting a speech in the Japanese language, especially given that the senior division students are required to write, memorize and present a 3-to-5-minute speech on a topic of their choice.


Junior (Years 7 & 8):

1st           Lakeesha H (Hillcrest Christian College)

2nd          Evette P (Hillcrest Christian College)

3rd           Thehan K (Haileybury)

Commendation Award: Christopher T (Haileybury)


Intermediate (Years 9 & 10):

1st           Rhitt C (Nossal High School)

2nd          Kimberley I (Nossal High School)

3rd           Alyssa L (Frankston High School)


Senior (Years 11 & 12):

1st           Jorden L (Frankston High School)

2nd          Oscar M (Frankston High School)

Secondary Division Trophy Winners with FSFA Chairperson Julie D'Arcy

A special thank you to our panel of judges for assisting at this year’s contest; the teachers for their hours of hard work preparing their students; and the parents and families for their attendance, encouragement and support. Finally, our appreciation to Monash Peninsula Campus for making such a wonderful venue available to our Association and the hard-working members of the FSFA Committee for organising and running another successful Japanese Speech Contest.

Judges with Senior Division Contestants Jorden and Oscar

Sunday, 21 May 2023

Box Hill Japan Festival, Frankston Delegation and Taiko Drumming Updates

Box Hill Japan Festival - Sunday 21st May 2023

It was a fantastic day promoting the Frankston Susono Friendship Association and Frankston's sister city relationship with Susono at the 21st Box Hill Japan Festival on Sunday! After a 3 year break the festival was back bigger than ever with massive crowds attending - the entry queue and lines of people in front of the many food stalls seemed to stretch forever! There were big numbers inside the Main Hall all day and similar crowds on all levels and every display room. Despite the less than ideal weather, I'm sure the organisers were thrilled with the turnout and the wonderful performances and displays.

The FSFA table was located at the back of the Main Hall in the best possible location - just inside the entrance! We were able to offer our many visitors a FSFA promotional flyer, a range of travel and tourism booklets and pamphlets, and Mount Fuji postcards plus we had maps on display with Susono's location and key sites within Susono City and the surrounding area.

Many visitors wanted to know more about our sister city, our relationship and what activities we run during the year. Of course we were promoting our Frankston Delegation to Susono in October and the opportunity for people to join us on our first visit since 2018, plus our Japanese Festivals, Japanese speech contest, Hanami Party and Frankston Taiko Drumming group. It was exciting to hear about many people's relationship with Susono - born there, grandfather lives there, have previously live within or near the city - were some of the stories we heard. We also spoke to many people who either wanted to travel to Japan, were planning their Japan holiday, or had already booked and were excited about going to Japan.

We also had some very special visitors including Japan Consul-General Junji Shimada and his wife Kaoru, and Whitehorse City Mayor Cr. Mark Lane.

It was a great team effort and a huge thanks to Bev, Vic, Sam, Therese, Anne, Julie, Fiona, Nicole, Anita, David and Simon for helping to organise and attending the festival throughout the day.

Frankston Delegation to Susono - 5th to 9th October 2023

We are excited to be travelling to our sister city Susono in October this year. Community members are invited to join the delegation which will arrive in Susono on Thursday 5th and depart on Monday 9th October.

The busy schedule typically includes a Welcome Party on arrival where delegates will meet their host family for the next 4 nights; a tour of Susono and local area followed by a formal dinner on Friday; Saturday morning spent with your host family followed by Festival set-up in the afternoon; Sunday Australian Festival - it's all hands on deck helping with our displays and activities plus on-stage activities which often includes official introductions, a chance to play taiko drums or dancing; a Farewell Party follows the Festival pack-up; departure on Monday morning. A key feature, apart from all the planned activities, is the unique opportunity to stay with a Japanese family in their home!

Outside of committing to the above schedule, delegates are able to organise their own Japanese holiday - either before and/or after our Susono visit.

If you are interested in joining our Frankston Delegation to Susono or would like more information, please send an email to or contact Bev on 0413 777 313.

Frankston Taiko Drumming

FSFA are starting a Frankston Taiko Drumming group. A workshop was held in March when local citizens and families joined with committee members to complete the construction of 16 gomi daiko (practice drums) and the bachi (drumming sticks). Practice lessons and sessions are the next step in our taiko journey. We are awaiting venue confirmation and instructor arrangements. Community members are invited to join us to experience the power, passion and energy that is Japanese taiko drumming!

If you are interested in joining our Frankston Taiko Drumming group or would like more information, please send an email to or contact Bev on 0413 777 313.

Sunday, 2 April 2023

Japanese Garden - April Autumn Update

Our Sunday morning Japanese Garden working bee - excellent autumn weather and an extra hour's sleep after daylight saving ended earlier today.

Our tasks included removing the many cobwebs from the classroom windows facing the garden, some trimming of the cherry trees encroaching on the bamboo at the eastern end of the garden, attending to the many azalea shrubs, and general tidying & raking before the noisy blower vac was started.

Plenty of leaves to vacuum up (mostly gum leaves!) and a final watering before snapping a few shots to end a great morning's work by those attending.

Thanks to Therese, Bev & Vic (who came with a delicious morning tea of coffees, hot cross buns and a selection of Choco Pies) and our mighty little helpers who did a great job picking up leaves and branches with lots of encouragement! Our small crew did a fantastic job on a glorious autumn morning.

Photo credit: Vic Webster