The Sixth “Online Youth Forum” meeting

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On February 24 (Alaska time), the 6th "Online Youth Forum" was held, and it was attended by 17 high school / university students, 7 observers, and 3 Consular Office staff members (Mr. Aniya, Ms. Suzuki-Hovey, and Mr. Holayter).
At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Aniya welcomed the participants, introduced office staff members, and an interpreter (Ms. Megumi Morikawa Beams) and then introduced the speaker, Ms. Alana Baxter. Ms. Baxter is an American from Seattle and a speech-language pathologist. She is also a former JET Program participant (Assistant Language Teacher, Gunma Prefecture) and has also worked as an Executive Assistant to the Consul General of Japan in Seattle.
In her story, Ms. Baxter said she felt very lonely after she arrived as an ALT in Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture, but one day she mustered up her courage, visited a dance studio, and started taking ballroom dance classes. She then learned about Japanese karaoke. At first, she tried anime songs, but after she discovered the deep feelings present in enka songs, she focused on that style. She also started going to the enka club for retirees at her neighborhood community center, expanding her circle of friends. Thanks to her friends' encouragement, she participated in the “Gunma TV New Karaoke Taisho" program, winning it with the support of many friends, teachers, and students. She also participated in NHK's "Nodo Jiman" contest program, singing "Tsugaru Kaikyo Fuyugeshiki" in front of Ms. Sayuri Ishikawa, the professional singer who debuted that song. Finally, Ms. Baxter said, “When trying to learn a foreign language, the most efficient way is to learn through what you love. You can make friends with people who have the same interest, even when you don’t speak the same language well. Don’t wait to be perfect; start making friends now!''
Attendees asked Ms. Baxter questions on details of speech-language pathology, good ways to find friends, and if it was possible to find video clips of Ms. Baxter singing enka on the Internet.
After that, two videos were introduced as examples of presentations at "The Presentations" to be held on March 3, 2023.