The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles Newsletter
August, 2018: Breeze Issue #130


It looks like the northern hemisphere world-wide is experiencing extremely hot weather this summer. I pray for a cool summer in Tokyo when they host the Olympic Games in 2020. Speaking of Tokyo, JFLA will host a traveling photo exhibition this month that contrasts the past and present of this diverse mega-city. Indeed, downtown Tokyo is currently home to many non-Japanese residents (a little over 10% of the total population), and with the ever growing number of foreign tourists wandering the streets, Tokyo seems to have become a genuine cosmopolitan city. "Really?" I am questioning myself as I write this passage. Having a diverse neighborhood may help brand the city as international, but it does not automatically make the residents cosmopolitan. It will take a lot more interactions between Japanese people and their non-Japanese neighbors than simply exchanging hellos in hallways to be savvy, or at least understanding each other's culture. That is exactly what we are trying to accomplish here in LA - encourage as much interaction in this diverse city and beyond in order to instill a deeper sense of cross-cultural understanding among its people.

No relationship, whether person-to-person or nation-to-nation, can be taken for granted. It has to be maintained by constantly inspiring each other. When was the last time you were truly inspired by someone?

Hideki Hara, Director

Japanese Conversation Cafe: Tea Time
Saturday, August 4, 2018 @12 - 2PM 
Admission Free,  Reservation Required

Take a break from the summer heat and chat in Japanese! Come join us in your Japanese summer attire (such as Yukata, if you have one) for refreshing Japanese tea and snacks while getting a chance to chat with native Japanese speakers. All levels are welcome. Japanese learning experience is not necessary. We are open to everyone, ages 18 and up.

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Manga Lounge IKKAN
Saturday, August 4, 2018 @2 - 4PM 
Admission Free, No RSVP Required

Manga is a great tool to learn Japanese as well as Japanese culture!  Based on this concept we named "Manga Edutainment (Education Entertainment)", we introduce a variety of manga books to you (See the link).  In order to give you a chance to browse these manga, we are exhibiting more than 100 titles and their first volumes (first volume= ikkan in Japanese).  We will open the manga lounge on Saturday August 4 from 2 to 4pm (after Tea Time event), so please come and flip through the first episodes and explore the world of manga!

Free Japanese Cinema Screening
Bittersweet - にがくてあまい (96mins, 2016)
Directed by Shogo Kusano
Wednesday, August 8 @7PM
In Japanese with English subtitles

The live-action adaptation of Yumio Kobayashi's romance about a straight woman who doesn't like vegetables falling in love with a gay vegetarian. The vegetable dishes meticulously presented in every volume are incorporated into the visuals.

Exhibit: Bamboo
Through September 9, 2018
Craft and Folk Art Museum
$7 | free for members

BAMBOO explores the evolution of Japanese bamboo basketry from a purely functional art form into complicated, distinctly Japanese sculptural forms of variable scale. A major selection of historical and contemporary works from the Los Angeles-based Cotsen Collection are central to the exhibition, as well as a large-scale, interactive bamboo installation by Japan-based artist Akio Hizume.

This exhibition is supported by The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles 国際交流基金ロサンゼルス日本文化センター, with additional support from the Pasadena Art Alliance.

Photography Exhibition: Tokyo Before/After
Thursday, August 30 - Saturday, September 29, 2018
Pre-opening Reception: Wednesday, August 29 @7PM
Admission Free

"TOKYO Before/After" features a selection of approximately 80 works, in which works by photographers who had captured images of Tokyo in the 1930-40s are presented in juxtaposition with those taken after 2010.

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JF Nihongo Fall 2018
September 8 - November 15
Register Now!

Study Japanese this fall!  The registration period for our JF Nihongo Fall term has started!
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 August 24 and get a 10% early bird discount!

Performing Arts Japan 2019 - 2020
Call For Applications
Deadline: October 31, 2018

The Japan Foundation is now accepting project proposals for Performing Arts Japan (PAJ) touring and collaboratrion grants for the 2019 - 2020 fiscal year. Application deadline is 5:00 p.m. EST, October 31, 2018.

2018 JLPT in the US
Test Date: Sunday, December 2
Registration Period: Monday, August 27 - Monday, October 1
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 18 cities across the country.This year, we will be offering the test at Seton Hall University in Newark, New Jersey, for the first time. For more information, please visit the site below! 


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 (Deadline: 9/15/2018)
  3. Japanese-Language Education Project Grant (Deadline: 2 months prior to project start date)
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Japanese Language Education Update #57:
Resources for Teachers and Students, Part 2: Diversity

Learning Japanese as a foreign language allows students to appreciate cultural diversity in their lives. Japanese teachers have long played a vital role in imparting this opportunity, and many have also worked hard at specifically incorporating themes of social justice and diversity into their lessons. In this way, teaching about diversity within Japan itself, too, has benefited students by giving them something to relate to. Whether in the Japanese classroom or beyond, here are some resources that can help bring diversity into the classroom:

Words and Actions, by the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
-Published by ACTFL, this book provides activities for incorporating themes of social justice and diversity in the language classroom. This book is a great toolbox for teachers of all disciplines to teach about other perspectives.

The National Human Rights Essay Contest for Junior High School Student
-Japan's Ministry of Justice has released a series of videos about discrimination and human rights. The first of these is a wonderfully thoughtful essay from a Japanese junior high school student about encountering discrimination, great for introducing to students.
Statistics on Foreigners in Japan
-Because it is always best to have official numbers.
-Supported by the Japan Foundation and the Center for Asian American Media, this documentary follows the lives of several mixed-roots individuals in Japan, and shows of the diversification in Japanese society. Subtitles in both Japanese and English.
Bonus: Check out these manga that have diversity as a major theme in their story:
Whether you are teaching Japanese or want to incorporate a Japanese theme into your diversity curriculum, these are just a small sample of resources for enriching one's learning experience. Let us know if you have any resources yourself at; we'd love to hear from you!