The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles Newsletter
March, 2018: Breeze Issue #125
Greeting From The Director


As we are coming to the end of the current Japanese fiscal year, which goes from April to March, it is time for us to reflect upon the past 12 months and plan ahead for the upcoming fiscal year. It has been a wonderful adventure for JFLA to go through our office renovation last summer and to provide a much larger number of events than before, especially during the day time (e.g. mindfulness Wednesdays) mainly for our neighbors in the Miracle Mile district. It has been a great success in terms of raising our profile in the community but we aspire to reach out more widely in the coming year. One of the most common complaints I receive is from those who are outside the greater LA region about not being able to attend all of the interesting events we host here. We have tried many different ways to share our wonderful experiences with people outside of LA through our blog, SNS, and YouTube, but obviously that was not enough.

As I mentioned in the past, each and every event we host here is a product of a very long deliberation process among the staff about the ultimate stories we should get across through our activities. Please let me know if you have any innovative ideas for getting across those stories to those who are not physically present in a very pleasant, but not boring way!

Hideki Hara, Director

Onigiri (Rice Ball) Art Workshop
Saturday, March 3rd 3pm-3:30pm
InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown

The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles will once again team up with Table For Two to organize an Onigiri (Rice ball) Art Workshop on Saturday, March 3rd at the 2018 Japanese Food Festival. Join us and have fun while creating delicious art! Click Here for tickets and details.

Note: A ticket for the Japan Food Festival is required to attend this workshop.

Bilingual Yoga at Lunchtime
Wednesday, March 7
12:30/1:00PM (2 sessions, 20min/ session)
Just Show Up! 

Wellness Wednesdays: We offer Wellness programs every 1st and 3rd Wednesday at lunchtime!

March 7 is Yoga day!  In this program, 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.

Photo Exhibition: Helen Keller and Hachiko
Curated by Yumi McDonald
March 9 - 23, 2018 (Monday-Friday: 10am-7pm, Closed on Weekends)
Admission: Free
Special Preview Nights: Wed., March 7* & Thur., March 8** @7-9pm

*Movie screening is scheduled.
**Akita dog lecture is scheduled with Curator Yumi McDonald.

Helen Keller loved the famous loyal Akita dog Hachiko. When she visited Japan in 1937 she was given an Akita puppy from people in Akita. The exhibition introduces much less-known relations between Helen Keller, Hachiko and her Akita dogs.

The exhibition is a rare opportunity to look at the pictures collected from Tokyo, Akita, New York, Boston and Westport, Connecticut where Helen Keller used to live.

Photo Exhibition Special Preview Night Screening
Dogs Without Names(犬に名前をつける日
(107mins, 2015)
Directed by Akane Yamada
Date: Wednesday, March 7 @7PM
In Japanese with English Subtitles

This film combines documentary footage on the lives of dogs collected over a four-year period with a drama about a female TV director. Direction and screenplay by Yamada Akane of All to the Sea. 
A TV director Kanami Hisano (Satomi Kobayashi) is devastated by the passing of her beloved dog Natsu to illness. Then, at the suggestion of an esteemed senior movie director, she starts filming a movie with dogs as the theme, going to adoption centers and shelters caring for dogs within the 20km "red zone" of the Fukushima nucler accident. It changes her life. Encountering people thoroughly devoted to the daily struggle of saving even one more animal life, Kanami is tremendously moved. Realizing that action speaks louder than words, Kanami resolves to do something important.

JFLA Lecture Series 49     
Akita Dog 101 (Wan Oh Wan!) w/ genuine Akitas in the House
Lecturer: Steven Takamatsu (President of Akita Inu Hozonkai, LA Branch)
Thursday, March 8 @7pm    
---Photo opportunity with Japanese Akitas!---
Free to Attend, RSVP Required

Since 2018 is the year of the dog, we would like to talk about dogs. An Akita dog, originating from Odate in the prefecture of Akita, is a quiet, strong and loyal companion. She is also very cute looking.  Helen Keller had one, Russian President Vladimir Putin loves his, and Russian Figure Skating Gold Medalist (Winter 2018) Alina Zagitova hankers for one. In this lecture, the president of Akita Inu Hozonkai, Los Angeles Branch, Steven Takamatsu explains the basic history of Akita dogs in the U.S. including their characteristics, charms, and difference between Japanese and American Akitas breeds.

An Anime Adaptation of Mary Stewart's Fantasy Novel "The Little Broomstick"
Mary and The Witch's Flower (102mins, 2017)
Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Date: Wednesday, March 14 @7PM
In Japanese with English subtitles

From Academy Award®-nominated Hiromasa Yonebayashi - animator on Studio Ghibli masterpieces Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, and Ponyo, and director of When Marnie Was There and The Secret World of Arrietty - comes a dazzling new adventure about a young girl named Mary, who discovers a flower that grants magical powers, but only for one night.

Mary is an ordinary young girl stuck in the country with her Great-Aunt Charlotte and seemingly no adventures or friends in sight. She follows a mysterious cat into the nearby forest, where she discovers an old broomstick and the strange Fly-by-Night flower, a rare plant that blossoms only once every seven years and only in that forest. Together the flower and the broomstick whisk Mary above the clouds, and far away to Endor College - a school of magic run by headmistress Madam Mumblechook and the brilliant Doctor Dee. But there are terrible things happening at the school, and when Mary tells a lie, she must risk her life to try to set things right.

Based on Mary Stewart's 1971 classic children's book The Little Broomstick, Mary and The Witch's Flower is an action-packed film full of jaw-dropping imaginative worlds, ingenious characters, and the simple, heartfelt story of a young girl trying to find a place in the world.


Meditation With Japanese Singing Lin Bowl
Relax With Sound During Lunch
Wednesday, March 21
12:30/1:00PM (2 Sessions, 20 Min/ Session)
Just Show Up! 

Wellness Wednesdays: We offer Wellness programs 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!

JF Nihongo Classes - Spring Term
April 28 - July 7
Register Now!

Your potential blooms this spring!  The registration period for our JF Nihongo Spring term will start in a few days!

People interested in learning Japanese at JFLA will have three beginner-level 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!  Register by April 13th and get a 10% early bird discount!


We still have grant programs available during our Fiscal Year 2018-19 to support Japanese-Language Education in the United States.

They include the following:
  1. Learners Event Grant previously known as "Speech Contest Grant" (Deadline: 9/1/2018)
  2. Teaching Material Purchase Grant (Deadlines: 3/15/2018 & 9/15/2018)
  3. Salary Assistance Grant for Japanese Language Courses (Deadline: 4/10/2018)
  4. Japanese-Language Education Project Grant (Deadline: 2 months prior to project start date)
Read More

Japanese Language Education Update #52:
Report from USC and UCLA's Extensive Reading Workshops

Over the weekend of Feb. 17 and 18, we attended USC and UCLA's Extensive Reading Workshops, held on their respective campuses. There, we had the pleasure to learn about the current state of extensive reading from teachers around the country and how they have incorporated it into their Japanese language program.
We had introduced extensive reading, or tadoku, in a previous issue of Breeze, but to summarize, the gist is that learners read widely from books that are of interest to them. A crucial point to take away is that although there are certain guidelines to follow, what is most important is reader-centeredness. That is, the reader reads what he or she wants, and enjoyment is key.
While it sounds simple, there are in fact a number of considerations to keep in mind in order to provide the most impactful tadoku program.
One is the setting for readers to have this opportunity. Depending on your specific conditions such as budget and administrative support, you may prefer to have a tadoku component in to your class, have it separately as a club or extracurricular activity, or have it as a course in itself. Assess your resources to see what would be more effective.
Another common concern is the process of acquiring materials. Collaboration is key. Some teachers have worked closely with their campus library or other staff members to acquire Japanese books. One school, for instance, collaborated with their campus library to add an extensive reading collection, from which over time the library's collection grew not only for Japanese books, but also prompted additional collections for Chinese, Korean, and other languages! And don't forget that we also offer grants that can be used to help build tadoku collections, through our Teaching Material Purchase Grants (deadlines are generally mid-March and mid-September, so if you do not make this upcoming deadline, keep us in mind for September's deadline!).
Other considerations include, but are not limited to the dividing of collections. Should books be grouped by reading level, type, or should no division be used? What specific genres would students find most interest and what is the best way to evaluate tadoku classes or activities? How do you manage reading logs?
And so setting the environment is important. But it is rewarding. With a good setup, you will be rewarded to see students being engrossed in what they are reading and finding books that resonate with them deeply. Through that, the source for inspiration is limitless.