Second online photo contest unites students, staff online

The Japanese Section of the Institute for Liberal Arts (ILA) hosted the 2nd Online Photo Contest on June 10 to bring local and international students together with staff and faculty for exchange. A total of 37 students, staff, and faculty members joined the event. Six international students, three Japanese students, and guest participants introduced their photographs through entertaining virtual presentations.

Collage of shots by nine participants

Collage of shots by nine participants

The contestants, who each had roughly five minutes to present their photographs and answer questions from their audience, could choose from one of two topics this year — “life in Japan” or “hometown landscape.” Participating international students had a variety of photos and stories to offer. One student presented a wonderful shot of the Wat Arun temple in Bangkok, while another showed off a collage of the cherry blossom trees on Ookayama Campus in mid-winter and in full bloom. A third student’s photographs had all been taken with a camera made using a 3D printer. Some students impressed the audience by giving their presentations completely in Japanese despite having just started their language studies in April.

Nepalese participants explaining his photo from home

Nepalese participants explaining his photo from home

Guest participants, including Japanese students (TAs) from the Tokyo Tech Photo Club and staff and faculty members, also presented their works. These included shots of the starry sky visible only during the new moon, collages of traditional dances from the Tohoku region, and photographs of fresh homegrown vegetables, all of which fascinated the participants.

TA translating Japanese to international students using chat function

TA translating Japanese to international students using chat function

During the Q&A session, topics also varied broadly. Some participants wanted to know about shooting locations, while others were more interested in technical matters such as image resolution and shutter speed when shooting stars in the sky. Some even asked about how to best cook the photographed vegetables.

The event ended with a vote and the presentation of awards to two of the contestants. Hira Satter, a 1st-year doctoral student at the School of Environment and Society, was selected as the recipient of the Best Photograph Award for his photo “Dance with waves.” Research student Saksucha Submakudom, also from the School of Environment and Society, received the Best Presenter Award for his eternalization of “Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn).”

Comments from award winners

Hira Satter

1st-year doctoral student, Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering

Thank you for allowing me to join. All the photos in this contest were beautiful. I am grateful that my shots received an award.

Saksucha Submakudom

Research student, Transdisciplinary Science and Engineering

Thank you very much for this opportunity. I practiced hard to give my presentation in Japanese. I just started studying the language in April, and will continue to do so.

Comments from faculty members

Midori Komatsu

Lecturer, Institute for Liberal Arts

As with the inaugural photo contest last year, the 2nd Online Photo Contest included presentations by new Tokyo Tech students who had not been able to come to Japan due to COVID-19. We also had some repeating students from last year joining again this time around. This session allowed all participants to interact through both photography and language, and comments included not only expressions of appreciation for beautiful photos, but also desires to study Japanese. The Institute for Liberal Arts will continue to hold cozy events like this in the future, and we hope that staff and faculty members will also join our students in these casual exchanges.

Mika Ebara

Lecturer, Institute for Liberal Arts

This was the second photo contest of its kind after the initial one last year, and it was once again a success thanks to support from many people. This year, staff and faculty joined students in introducing some of their photographs, helping us realize exchanges that go beyond some of the traditional boundaries in academia. I hope we can encourage more international students, Japanese students, staff, and faculty to participate in future events.

A collage containing photos by all nine participants is on display in the staircase of Ookayama West Building 1 on Ookayama Campus.

NOTE: Depending on the circumstances, visitors may be asked to refrain from entering the building to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Photo contest presentation on Zoom

Photo contest presentation on Zoom

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