The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles Newsletter

September, 2017: Breeze Issue #119

Greeting From The Director

Thank you for all the encouraging messages we have received upon the renewal of our facility on the Miracle Mile in Los Angeles. I feel blessed to know that there are so many friends of Japan who have been patiently waiting for our reopening. Japan Week celebrating our Grand Opening will end this Saturday in Hollywood with 'Dance Dance L'Asia', an urban dance performance by world-renowned Japanese and LA-local Asian American dance groups. Only a limited number of seats are available, so make sure to grab one while they last.

My heart goes out to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey. As a pure coincident, I will be visiting San Antonio next weekend to attend a special training program that we are organizing for the Japanese language teachers in the area and a select few from around the country. While the original purpose of the program was to nurture a group of future leaders in the field of Japanese language education, I hope our support of the local teachers in Texas will provide some motivation during this new school year while the region recovers from this devastating disaster.

Once again, I would like to reiterate our commitment to bring Japan closer to your heart and your mind (with a new set of events on mindfulness!). Whether you live in LA, Texas, or anywhere in the country, I thank you again for your patience. We are excited to be back
Hideki Hara, Director

Step in Cultural Diversity Through Dance
September 2 [Sat] 4-6pm (Musicians Institute, Hollywood)
Free Admission (RSVP Required)

We will be inviting dancers from all over Asia to share their cultures through dance at this special event. Dancers include Hilty & Bosch, Ray Basa, Wizstars, Culture Shock L.A., Good Time and more!

*During the show, Hilty & Bosch will host a workshop where they will teach their exciting style of urban dance. All ages and skill levels are welcome. Don't miss out on this special opportunity!

Read More

Passage to the Future
Art from a New Generation in Japan

August 11 >> September 2
Artist talk with Miyuki Yokomizo: Sep 1 [Fri] 7pm
Arena 1 Gallery (3026 Airport Ave)

This exhibition introduces a sampling of Japanese art from the 2000s by younger artists who are recently receiving attention for their work. With a focus on elaborate attempts to create art, the exhibition features paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs and video works by eleven artists including Atsushi Fukui, Satoshi Hirose and Maywa Denki.

Winner of 2016 Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard Jury Prize Harmonium (淵に立つ)
Directed by Koji Fukuda (118mins, 2016)
Wednesday, September 13 @7PM (JFLA Auditorium)
In Japanese with English subtitle

Director, Koji Fukada's latest film uses themes of Japanese domesticity to investigate the surrounding fissures that expand to collapse a family shaken by tragedy.
With his wife Akie (Mariko Tsutsui), Toshio (Kanji Furutachi) runs a machinery workshop in the garage attached to their family home. When Toshio hires an old acquaintance, recently released inmate Yazaka (Tadanobu Asano), the couple's quiet routine is disrupted and unspoken conflicts rise to the surface. Yazaka ultimately earns favor with Akie after offering to help their daughter prepare for a harmonium recital but, as the repetition of the metronome and the discordant harmonium resound, tragedy strikes.
Fukada's measured psychological thriller elevates the genre to profound dimensions, shrewdly navigating themes of morality, guilt and atonement to illustrate the inherent solitude that separates us from those to whom we presumably feel closest. (Malin Kan)

Come and Visit Us at the 15th Annual TARFEST
Saturday, September 16 @ 2-10pm (La Brea Tar Pits)

TARFEST is a premiere arts and culture event in Los Angeles and the Miracle Mile District. Dozens of the nation's most distinctive emerging artists, performers, and cultural innovators come together and showcase their talents and ideas at historic and notable venues along the Miracle Mile. At the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles tent, you can enjoy Japanese cultural activities including uchiwa (Japanese fan) making, and learn to play the kendama. We will also be giving away a few Sanrio themed kendamas to a select few! 

Special Lecture Series: Deities in Japanese Art 
Session 1: Shinto
in Collaboration with LACMA
Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 7-8:30PM
Free Admission (RSVP Required)

Rather than a purely academic approach to Japanese religious art, the purpose of this lecture series is to help participants' locate visual clues by which the deities can be identified and differentiated. The figures will be contextualized within Japanese religious history and connected to their iconographical antecedents in the arts of India, China, and Korea. The first talk will introduce the indigenous religion of Shinto and the deities within; the following four will look at Buddhist deities from four distinct classes: buddhas, bodhisattvas, wisdom kings, and celestial beings.

A Story of Sweet and Sensitive Transgender Family Close-Knit (彼らが本気で編むときは、)
Directed by Naoko Ogigami (127mins, 2017)
Wednesday, September 27 @7PM (JFLA Auditorium)
In Japanese with English subtitle

11-year-old Tomo (Rinka Kakihara) lives with mother Hiromi (Mimura), but Hiromi decides to give up on her and leaves their home. Tomo, now all alone, visits her uncle Makio's (Kenta Kiritani) home. Makio lives with his beautiful girlfriend Rinko (Toma Ikuta). Rinko was born as a man and now works as a caregiver at a home for the elderly. Tomo is a little confused by the situation, but they begin to live as a family.
Director, Naoko Ogigami has defined her own distinct voice with several maverick features centered on women (Kamome Diner, Glasses, Rent-a-Cat). Utilizing an amusingly quirky and often bittersweet mode of storytelling, she creates unique spaces that offer a respite from the irritations of daily life to both her characters and viewers. This film finds her taking things to a new level, incorporating a transgender character, presented in a decidedly objective and novel form

Bilingual Yoga at Lunchtime
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
12:30pm, 1:00pm (20min sessions)
Free Admission

De-stress and re-energize at JFLA during our 20-minute, easy-to-do yoga stretch session!  No need to change clothes or use a yoga mat; you will be seated in a chair receiving relaxing instruction from a bilingual (English and Japanese) instructor. Learn simple Japanese phrases during the instruction and stretch your mind as well as your body. There will be two free sessions beginning at 12:30pm and 1:00pm. No reservation necessary, all are welcome!

Meditation with Japanese Singing Lin Bowl
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
12:30pm, 1:00pm (20min sessions)
Free Admission 

Mid-week fatigue is a familiar foe to many of us.  Why not maximize your relaxation and join us for a Sound Bath at Lunchtime!

The Singing Lin Bowl harmoniously combines the healing qualities of the Tibetan singing bowl and its Japanese counterpart, the Lin bowl. Relax and feel your stress dissipate into thin air as the sounds of the singing-Lin bowl lead you into a meditative state.

There is no charge and no reservation required. All are welcome to come, sit, listen, and refresh!

2017 JLPT in the US
Test Date: Sunday, December 3
Registration Deadline: Friday, September 29
Test Fee: $60

The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is an internationally accredited language examination that is offered in five different levels, designed to measure a person's Japanese-language skills. In the United States, it is administered by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese and will be held at 17 cities across the country.This year, we will be offering the test at Portland State University in Oregon for the first time. For more information, please visit the site below.!

Read More

JF Nihongo Fall 2017
Sep. 9 - Nov. 9
Register Now!

Put your roots down in Nihongo and grow! Beginning this fall, JFLA will pour its energy into providing entry-level Japanese classes that will help learners develop a strong foundation in the language. People interested in learning Japanese at JFLA will have three Japanese-language courses. In each class, students will learn concepts and communication skills which are essential to having a well-rounded understanding of everyday Japanese!

Read More

AP Japanese Language and Culture
Professional Development Workshop Stipend
Deadline: Friday, October 6, 2017

The College Board's Advanced Placement Program is offering financial assistance to participate
in a full day workshop for AP Japanese Language and Culture held in conjunction with the
American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Annual Convention in
Nashville, TN. This financial assistance is possible through a generous grant from the Japan
Foundation, Los Angeles. The AP Japanese workshop is a pre-conference workshop to be held on Thursday, November 16, 2017, from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Financial assistance of an amount up
to $410.00 will be awarded to cover fees for (1) the AP Japanese workshop ($165) and (2)
registration for the ACTFL convention November 17 - 19, 2017, at the Advance Member rate
($245). To attend the workshop, participants must register for and attend the convention.

Download Application

2017 Japanese Language Grants Are Still Available!

The following Fiscal Year 2017-18 grant programs are still available to support Japanese-Language Education in the United States.
  1. Learners Event Grant previously known as "Speech Contest Grant" (Deadline: 9/1/2017)
  2. Teaching Material Purchase Grant (Deadlines: 9/15/2017)
  3. Japanese-Language Education Project Grant (Deadline: 2 months prior to project start date)

Performing Arts Japan 2018-2019
Call for Applications
Deadline: October 31, 2017

The Japan Foundation is now accepting project proposals for Performing Arts Japan (PAJ) touring and collaboratrion grants for the 2018 - 2019 fiscal year. Application deadline is  5:00 p.m. EST, October 31, 2017.

Japanese Language Education Update #46:
Starting Strong for the New School Year
By Derek Chin, Japanese Language Program / Advocacy Coordinator

As the new school year begins and many schools are coming back in session, let's think of ways that we can start strong and continue to strengthen our Japanese and foreign language programs!
First, it is always helpful to have a quick go-to resource for reasons on why Japanese matters. You can head over to for that resource. (Or, perhaps you may be interested in getting your whole class involved, such as researching the role of Japanese in the world today!) Our Speak Japan blog also updates every week with resources for teachers and those involved in Japanese language education.
We recommend checking out the article below for ideas on how to maintain your Japanese program if it is in peril. Even if your program is not in peril at the moment, it is very useful to keep in mind these tips you can take to prevent it from happening, as one of the most important steps is preventative. Let's stay proactive!
Are you planning a Japanese contest and are looking for giveaways for participants? Got an event where you want to draw in more students to your program? Contact us to request a JFLA Goods List and Order Form!
In light of the latest trends in foreign language education, it is also important to put our heads together with Japanese and other language teachers, administrators, parents, and the community to advocate for foreign language education as a whole. Feel free to share these advocacy resources and more with others as you exchange more ideas with those around you.
As you already know, learning a foreign language does not only mean learning how to speak another language. The great thing about world language teaching is that it also means building up students' global competence, and giving them the tools to work in an ever-changing, globally interconnected world; this includes understanding where people from different backgrounds are coming from, thinking about issues from multiple perspectives, appreciating complexity, and encouraging the curiosity and drive to dig deeper. Therefore, the language teacher's role in international education is an absolutely crucial and ever-appreciated one, especially in today's world. Let's all work together to keep our programs strong!
Good luck, and we wish you all a wonderful start to a new school year!

Report From Participants of the Japanese Language Program for Specialists in Cultural and Academic Fields (Short Term) 

This program provides specialists (Researchers, Postgraduate Students, Librarians, Museum Curators, etc.) who need a good command of Japanese language to conduct field work and research through an intensive residential training course on the Japanese language. This year we had two participants in the short-term program and you can read about their experiences below. There will also two participant that will be attending the long-term program that will start in October and we will post their experiences once the program concludes next year.

Gina Kim (University of California, San Diego
Karen Tsai (University of California, Santa Barbara

Consulate General of Japan in Denver Presents Japan Foundation's Grant Check to Colorado State University  

On August 31, Consul General Hirakoba from the Consulate-General of Japan in Denver visited Colorado State University and presented the Japan Foundation's grant check to Dr. Mary Gogl (Chair of Dept. of Languages, Literatures & Cultures). Our grant support will be used to enhance their Japanese language program during the 2017-18 academic year. Thank you, Beecken-sensei, for your 30 years as the program leader & welcome Xu-sensei as a new tenure-track professor in Asian languages.

J-LEAP (Japanese Language Education Assistant Program)
2017-19 Cycle:
EIGHT Young Native Japanese Language Teachers to be Dispatched to the United States 

The Japan Foundation has dispatched eight native Japanese Assistant Teachers (ATs) to K-12 institutions in cities across the United States which offer Japanese language courses. The Japanese Language Education Assistant Program (J-LEAP) program will allow these ATs to reside and teach in their respective cities for two years until the end of July, 2019.

J-LEAP, now in its seventh year, is a program that was launched by the Japan Foundation in 2011 as part of an initiative to strengthen U.S.-Japan exchange programs for young people. ATs are brought to the U.S. to "team teach" in Japanese language classrooms with Lead Teachers (LTs) for a maximum of two years. J-LEAP was proposed during the Japan-U.S. summit in November 2010 between former Prime Minister Naoto Kan and President Barack Obama.

Upon arriving in Seattle, WA on July 26th, the eight ATs participated in a five-day orientation and training session until July 30th after which they departed for their respective host institutions.  During the orientation, the ATs were joined by their respective LTs as well as the twelve AT/LT pairs from the previous year.

Starting in October, we will be publishing reports from two ATs every month in Breeze so please be sure to check back and read about these J-LEAPers' experiences!

Participant List