The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles Newsletter
Acting Director's Greeting

Summer holidays look different this year. Through the past several years, I would go on summer trips domestically and internationally. But this year, I dismiss that idea as it’s simply unfeasible. Instead, I decided to use this spare time to deal with ‘tsundoku’ books in my apartment.

In Japanese, tsundoku is a combined word made of ‘pile up’ and ‘reading’, which means to leave a book unread after buying it and to pile it up with other such unread books. Since the act of tsundoku is universally observed, all around the world, it is now becoming a loan word in the English vocabulary. Actually, you can find it on Wikipedia and on Urban Dictionary. BBC also wrote an article about it couple of years ago. I am quite sure it will follow the path of ‘emoji’ and ‘konmari.’

Anyway, lowering the height of tsundoku pile is my plan to explore the new world when my freedom of travel is limited. What are your plans? What are you going to do when you have an unprecedented difficulty to engage in Japanese culture and having to socially distance despite your strong interest and curiosity? That is a question I recently ask myself every day. We are now very curious about the ways we can create an organic interaction between you and Japan. Our ever-improving online programs may be just a part of the answer. We will keep thinking and your voice is always welcome. 
Shimpei Ishii
Deputy Director
August 3 - August 31
12:30PM PT* (*6PM on August 3rd)
Our virtual concert series Music Mondays in August will present more amazing musicians! Bringing some cheer to your lives through music, we will be presenting LIVE performances via Facebook every Monday at 12:30pm (August 3 at 6pm).

This month, we will feature Ryo Natoyama (Live from Japan, 8/3 at 6pm). Kyle Abbott & Su Bunjamin (8/10), MASUMI (8/17), Kozue Matsumoto (8/24) and Toshi Yanagi (8/31).

To participate, please visit JFLA's Facebook page (

Thursdays, August 13, 27
7:00PM PT (30 Min Session)
Admission Free, Registration Required
Did you know that the famous Laughing Buddha is actually not a Buddha at all or that the meditative Buddha is only one type among a multitude? This digital lecture series will serve as an introduction not only to the categories of Buddhist deity, but to the iconography that will allow laypeople to identify specific figures.

Each lecture will run for 30 minutes with a five minute Q&A session at the end. There will also be a short poll-based quiz to test your knowledge and site recommendations for notable depictions of the highlighted deities. There are four lectures in this series; Lecture 3 (August 13) will be about Bodhisattvas, and Lecture 4 (August 27) Buddhas. The videos of Lecture 1 (July 16) Celestial Beings and Lecture 2 (July 30) Wisdom Kings are available on our YouTube channel.

Wednesday, August 12 & 26
12:30PM PT (15 Min Session)
We would like to help during these trying times. Meditation with Japanese Singing Bowl will be offered via JFLA Facebook LIVE!

The singing bowl used for this program harmoniously combines the healing qualities of the Tibetan singing bowl and its Japanese traditional singing bowl. Relax and feel your stress dissipate into thin air as the sounds of the singing bowl lead you into a meditative state.

There will be one session starting at 12:30pm. Just go to JFLA's Facebook page ( Stretch and refresh yourself with us at home!

Wednesday, August 5 & 19
12:30PM PT (15 Minute Session)
Bilingual Yoga will be offered via JFLA Facebook LIVE!

No need to change clothes or use a yoga mat; you will be seated in a chair at home and receive an instruction from our instructor in bilingual (English and Japanese). Easy and relaxed!

There will be one session starting at 12:30pm. Just go to JFLA's Facebook page ( Refresh and recharge yourself with us at home!

Fall 2020 Online Japanese Course
Online Registration 
Begins From August 5
Let’s study Japanese this upcoming fall! This online courses uses Japan Foundation's textbook, "Marugoto" as well as original online resources instructed provided by our experienced language teachers. The classes are very It's interactive, informative, and fun! For this special course, the tuition price is discounted 20% off of our regular tuition, which takes place in a in classroom setting.

Online Events Are Eligible For
Mini Grant for Japanese Arts & Culture
Since COVID-19 has struck the U.S., many all events have been canceled. Many organizations and institutions are shifting from live events to virtual events held online. JFLA’s mini grant will also change to support such events. Examples of eligible online events include lectures, workshops, performing art concerts, exhibitions, and screenings, related to Japanese arts & culture. Expenses such as video recording & editing fees, AV equipment rentals, and studio rentals are covered by this grant. Successful candidates may be granted up to $5,000. Application and guidelines are available to download HERE.
If you have question regarding this grant, please contact
JFLA Support in Response to COVID-19
1. Advocacy Support Letter 
If your Japanese language program is in danger of being cut due to COVID-19, we will send a support letter to stakeholders (Superintendent, Principal, Dean, etc.).

Please contact for details.

(September 15th Deadline)
Grant Amount: up to $1,000
We understand that many schools will be continuing distance learning (or blended learning) for the 2020-21 academic year. If you need to purchase new teaching materials (digital learning software, etc.) for the new teaching environment, your school will be eligible to apply. Please contact for details.


Application Period: Now through September 30, 2020, or until funding is exhausted (whichever comes first)
In response to the financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak, we have launched a COVID-19 Relief Grant (up to $10,000) for non-profit Japanese language programs in the U.S. which are facing temporary financial difficulty during the 2020-21 academic year. To be eligible, applying institutions need to submit a commitment letter, besides Application Form, regarding the continuation of their Japanese language program on a long-term basis after the grant support ends and BEYOND. The stronger the commitment is, the better chance of your receiving the grant.(Our one-year grant support should be beneficial to Japanese programs not only while they are receiving our grant support but also BEYOND the grant period.) Please contact for details.


We are also accepting applications for the following grant programs.
Grants for Nationwide/Statewide/Regional-level Events and Projects
(NOT for individual single institutional project)
Non-profit online/virtual events are eligible!
Deadlines:  September 1, 2020
Deadline:  Two months prior to the project start date
Japanese Language Education Update 81
Although I have not fully enjoyed my summer break due to the Coronavirus, I’ve enjoyed my time with various senseis (teachers) in the US who learned Japanese as a second language! Through Zoom, we did interviews with them to find out what started their interest in Japanese and why they decided to become Japanese teachers. All of the stories that the teachers provided were fascinating and heartwarming. It’s great to hear how learning Japanese became their passion that they decided to take an extra step and make teaching Japanese a part of their career. As a Japanese language learner myself, hearing stories and understanding others experiences was very important as it expanded my own view point. It made me also think that there are so many paths to reaching your goal and getting to wherever you need to get in order to make that goal possible. I hope these videos will encourage you as a Japanese language learner and encourage others on how teaching Japanese is such a rewarding experience. Please check out the videos at the following link:! Also, AATJ and JFLA will be holding the next webinar for professional development on Promoting Social Justice and Antiracism in Japanese Language Learning by Ryuko Kubota, Ph.D. on Saturday, August 8th. We will be sharing our resources after the webinar presentation so don’t miss out!
On the evening of July 23, JFLA live streamed a contemporary dance performance HIT! PARADE by Yo Nakamura from Kagurazaka Session House in Tokyo. This program was a part of dance performance series called Tokyo Dance Express which is a collaboration of JFLA and Yo Nakamura, a prominent contemporary dancer/choreographer in Japan, to deliver “brand new dance creation” to audiences in the U.S. and beyond during this challenging time. Please visit following links to watch recorded live performance and Q&A.

2020 JLPT Has Been Cancelled at All US Test Sites
In coordination with the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ), the 2020 JLPT at all US test sites have been cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19. The next test in the United States will be tentatively scheduled for the first Sunday in December, 2021. We understand that this is over a year away, but we hope you will use the extra time to study hard and set your sights on a higher level. Until then, stay safe and we look forward to seeing you all next year!