The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles Newsletter
February, 2019: Breeze Issue #136


Another rainy day in LA... Unusual weather is being experienced almost everywhere in the country. But you do not have to feel down because here at JFLA we have so many exciting news and events for you this month.

Our brand-new lounge space has hosted a number of small unique exhibitions in the past year, but the next exhibit, MYО̄-О̄ IN THE SHELL, could arguably be the most eclectic one we have ever had. Enjoy the mystical charm of sci-fi figures and find yourself groveling before the Great Wisdom Kings they represent.

We will also be working with the Japanese garden in Glendale, CA, hosting a group of plasterers from Kyoto to demonstrate traditional mud-wall making. The local kids will be invited to inscribe their messages for peace and unity onto the wall before it dries and hardens. Unfortunately under the Californian weather, the wall can be preserved only for a month before it starts cracking, but the children's wishes for peace and unity throughout the world will surely remain in our hearts (and the timelines of our Facebook and Instagram accounts!).

For Japanese language teachers out there, our latest blog entry enlists all the online teaching resources that the Japan Foundation has made available for you. The best part is that everything is free of charge! So please take advantage of this resource and let us know how it goes with your students.

Rain or shine, LA or the rest of the world, we have ways to entertain you. Please stay tuned for even more exciting news next month!

Hideki Hara, Director

Photograph Exhibit: Novus Plants
Through February 2, 2019 

This is the last Saturday of the exhibition featuring photographs from a selection of works by Hiroki Ohara, artist and fifth-generation Headmaster of the Ohara School of Ikebana. Make sure to drop by to see this before it ends!

Art Exhibition: February 7 - March 9, 2019

Pre-Opening Event: Wednesday, February 6 @7PM
RSVP is not required but appreciated 

When Takuma Kamine first encountered the images of Buddhist guardian deities as a child, he was filled with awe and fear. As a working artist now, Kamine has crystallized those initial emotions into figures which borrow elements from Japanese animation and comics.  The exhibition will feature a selection of Kamine's sculptures including representations of the Five Great Wisdom Kings (J: Godai Myо̄о̄) and of his drawings which include the Five and add three more to round out the Eight Great Wisdom Kings (J: Hachidai Myо̄о̄) grouping.

Love at Least (109mins, 2018)
Directed by Kosai Sekine
Wednesday, February 13 @7PM
Free Admission, No RSVP Required

Romance film adaptation of the novel from Akutagawa Prize-winning author Motoya Yukiko. Moving depiction of the growing distance between a woman dealing with isolation and a vacuous guy. Feature film debut from director Sekine Kosai.
Yasuko's (Yasuko Shuri) depression-triggered sleeping disorder keeps her in bed most of the time and has turned her into a social recluse. She lives with Tsunaki (Masaki Suda), who is in charge of gossip articles at a publishing house. His former girlfriend Ando (Riisa Naka) shows up and encourages Yasuko to return to society and tries to make Tsunaki break up with her.

Watch Trailer

Demonstration and workshop of Japanese Traditional Plastering
Sunday, February 17, 2019 1pm-3pm
Shoseian "Whispering Pine" Teahouse at Brand Library Park
Admission Free

Join us as we learn about different traditional plastering methods from three master plasters from Japan. All ages are welcome. Kids will have opportunities to inscribe their messages for peace and unity on the mud wall, after the demonstration by the experts. This program is co-sponsored by the Japan Foundation.

Bilingual Yoga At Lunchtime
Wednesday, February 20
12:30PM & 1:00PM (20 Min Sessions)
Free Admission

Wellness Wednesdays: We offer Wellness programs on Wednesday at lunchtime!
February 20 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.

Read More

JFLA Lecture Series 58 @Japan House, LA
Action In Print: Visual Narrative In Edo-Period Popular Literature
Lecturer: Dr. Ellis Tinios
Wednesday, February 20 @7PM
Free Admission, RSVP Required

In this lavishly illustrated talk Dr. Ellis TINIOS will introduce illustrated popular fiction produced for a mass audience in Japan in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries-a varied body of printed material worthy of wider appreciation.

Japanese Conversation Cafe: Tea Time
Tuesday, February 26 @7-9PM
Free Admission, RSVP Required

Our popular Tea Time event is coming back again!  70-100 people get together and you will enjoy Japanese snacks and tea while you chat with native Japanese speakers. All levels welcome! Japanese language experience is not necessary-this event is open to everyone, ages 18 and up.

Be A Voice Actor!
Challenge Yourself with Japanese Voice-Acting
Thursday, February 21 @7PM
Free Admission, RSVP Required

Are you an anime or Japanese drama fan?   Have you ever wanted to try speaking the Japanese lines from actual scenes from the movies?  What techniques have professional Japanese voice actors used to bring out the rich emotion and personality in their on-screen characters?
Professionals will give you the chance to challenge yourself in the world of voice-acting using scenes from popular anime and drama and recording tools.  They will also tell you about the actual process of voice-acting and provide a comparative look between Japanese and American industries.  Be a voice-actor in Japanese!

Free Japanese Cinema Screening
Isle of Dogs (101 mins, 2018) 
Directed by Wes Anderson
Wednesday, February 27 @7PM
Free Admission, No RSVP Required

In this stop-motion-animated film from writer/director Wes Anderson, Isle of Dogs tells the story of ATARI KOBAYASHI, 12-year-old ward to corrupt Mayor Kobayashi. When, by Executive Decree, all the canine pets of Megasaki City are exiled to a vast garbage-dump, Atari sets off alone in a miniature Junior-Turbo Prop and flies to Trash Island in search of his bodyguard-dog, Spots. There, with the assistance of a pack of newly-found mongrel friends, he begins an epic journey that will decide the fate and future of the entire Prefecture. The voice cast includes Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Bob Balaban, Greta Gerwig, and Yoko Ono.

Watch Trailer

Encore Screening
Mirai (98 mins, 2018) 
Directed by Mamoru Hosoda
Saturday, March 2 @1PM
Free Admission, No RSVP Required

*Seating is on a first come first serve basis and subject to capacity. Please arrive early for best seating.

2019 Academy Award Nominee for Best Animated Film, and the epic capstone of director Mamoru Hosoda's career, Mirai is a sumptuous, magical, and emotionally soaring adventure about the ties that bring families together and make us who we are.

Watch Trailer


Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the third largest school district in the United States of America (USA).  With over 108,000 students learning Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin,  Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and American Sign Language in 351 schools. Together with  the Consulate General of Japan, in Chicago, we are looking to expand our Japanese Language Program.

2018-2020 J-LEAP: Participant Voices

Although the application period for 2019-2021 J-LEAP ended, we have a few more articles from participants that we will be highlighting in the next few issues of Breeze. 

This month, we would like to welcome Yu Hiroaka who is currently team teaching with Tammy Cunningham sensei at Lincoln Southwest High School in Lincoln, NE. Follow the link below to read about her experiences!


We are pleased to announce the start of our Fiscal Year 2019-20 grant programs that we organize annually to support Japanese-Language Education in the United States. 
These include the following:
  1. Japanese Language Learners Event Grant
    Deadlines:   3/1/2019,  9/1/2019
  2. Japanese Teaching Material Purchase Grant
    Deadlines:   3/15/2019,  9/15/2019
  3. Japanese Language Education Project Grant
    Deadline:  Two months prior to the project start date

Japanese Language Education Update 63: 
Resources for Teachers and Students, Part 3: Online JF resources

Teachers often have a packed schedule, and so finding new resources for students to use can be challenging.  Here are some e-learning resources that have been published for students of Japanese by the Japan Foundation!  (Parts 1 and 2 of our Resources for Teachers and Students articles can be found here and here)
Many students are interested in not only Japanese pop culture, but Japanese culture and society in general.  Indeed, it's important to also see the everyday side of Japan, or any country for that matter, and see how real people live.  This site presents twelve topics related to Japanese culture or everyday life, such as the outdoors, markets, and books/libraries.  You can watch short video clips from people talking about these topics, read articles, watch videos, and learn new kanji!
Minato is a portal site for online Japanese classes.  You can find both self-study courses as well as tutor courses.  There are also courses for reading short books, for Japanese in Anime and Manga, and even for learning the Kansai dialect!  There are classes for Spanish speakers, Chinese speakers, and more!
This is a series of apps for your smartphone for learning hiragana, katakana, and kanji.  They provide a visual mnemonic together with the character you wish to learn to help students more easily remember them.  In addition to English, these apps are also available in Indonesian and Thai, with corresponding visual mnemonics for their respective languages!
Based on the Marugoto textbooks, users can visit these sites and learn more about Japanese language and culture, structured on lessons based on "Can-Do" statements.  It provides video conversation skits, notes on life and culture, and practice.  Provides Starter, Elementary 1, and Elementary 2 levels.  Check it out!
Erin's Challenge is a fun way to learn Japanese on your smartphone and on the web.  It has a number of fun games to challenge your knowledge of Japanese in an engaging way.  Great for young learners and parents who'd like to learn Japanese with their kids!
That's just the tip of the iceberg!  There's a lot more, so be sure to check here:
We are always looking for resources to share with teachers!  If you find something, feel free to send us a note at!