The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles Newsletter
Director's Greeting

The turbulent year of 2020 is about to end with only one month left.

It has been a year of trials that has fundamentally shaken the lifestyles and ways of thinking that have been taken for granted by all people around the world.

There were many challenges at JFLA as well. The adaptation to remote work, cancellation of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, postponement of J-LEAP dispatch in 2020, etc.

On the other hand, we have cultivated new styles of programs to adapt to a new reality.

All Japanese language courses and cultural events held at JFLA are now distributed online, and the various services that have been received only by those who can visit JFLA are now cross-state and sometimes cross-border. It has become enjoyable for many people and commonplace for Japanese artists to deliver their works to overseas audiences while still in Japan.

In the field of Japanese language education, we conducted online leadership training jointly with AATJ. Teachers who were suddenly forced to conduct online lessons due to Covid-19 shared various worries and ideas, encouraged each other, and learned from each other. It was nice and encouraging to see the teachers scattered all over the United States interacting more actively online than ever before.

During times of the crisis, I realized that human society can make great strides to adapt very quickly.

This month, the Japan Foundation will launch an online Japanese Film Festival to the world. It will start on December 4th and we hope that everyone who is cramped, bored and anxious at home will have the opportunity to experience the various ways of life of Japanese people at home.

There is also an online Japanese comedy lecture on December 15th. I hope it helps you to understand Japanese sense of humor.

In 2021, JFLA will continue to offer a variety of interesting attempts to introduce new perspectives to you. Please look forward to it.

With warmest season’s greeting,
Yasuko Uchida
December 4 - 13, 2020
Free Online Event, NO RSVP Required
Click Here To Watch Trailer
The Japan Foundation’s first online film festival, JFF Plus will showcase 28 Japanese films ranging from dramas, animation, and documentaries. All titles are available for free to stream. Please go to JFF Plus: Online Festival page to check out schedule and watch films.

Understanding Japanese Sense of Humor Through Media
Tuesday, December 15
6:00 - 8:00PM PST
Free Admission, RSVP Required
If you want to laugh at Japanese comedy shows like a true native, you should know the cultural context behind each story. Professionals from Japan Visualmedia Translation Academy (JVTA) in Tokyo will be introducing and analyzing some of Japan's most popular comedy shows, comedians, and entertainers on the air right now. You'll see just how much culture, planning, thought, and context goes into a single head bop and the slightest of side-eyes. When it comes to comedy, you need more than just language to laugh along with the natives!

Begins From December 1
Let’s kiss 2020 goodbye and study Japanese in 2021! This online courses uses Japan Foundation's textbook, "Marugoto" as well as original online resources instructed by our experienced language teachers. The classes are very 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.

December 7th & 14th
06:00PM PT
Our virtual concert series Music Mondays continues in November with many more amazing musicians! Bringing some cheer to your lives through music, we will be preforming LIVE via Facebook every Monday. This month's performances will both be live from Japan at 6PM PT.

The theme this month is "Gratitude" and we will feature the following Artists:

December 7 - Yogetsu Akasaka: Beatboxer/Handpan player/Japanese Zen Buddhist monk. As a human beatboxer, he started his musical journey from New York and all around the world. After his musical journey, he became a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk. He gained attention through his live performances, where he records various sounds of his voice on the spot and chants Buddhist sutras and mantras. With the success of his YouTube video, he has appeared on various events such as outdoor festivals and even events related to mindfulness.

In 2020, he uploaded “Heart Sutra Live Looping Remix” on YouTube and received over 1.9 million views. He has continued to be active during the pandemic by conducting live streaming that lasted for 108 days, holding online meditation sessions, and has gained followers from all over the world. He shows his talents as someone who can provide ‘medicine’ through his music and chants. Music x Buddhism x Technology has interconnected to establish a new kind of musical experience.

December 14 - Shigeru Ishikawa: Solo Principal Doublebass (Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra), Visiting Professor (Senzoku Gakuen College of Music), Faculty (Toho Gakuen School of Music). Born in Tokyo. Graduated from Keio University with a degree in Economics. While attending Keio University, he was also enrolled in Toho Gakuen School of Music’s Diploma Course and studied the Contrabass under Composer, Shunsaku Tsutsumi. In 1988, he move to the States to enroll in Yale University Department of Music and studied under Gary Karr, and also studied under Eugene Levinson at The Julliard School. He became the part lead for New World Symphony, part lead for Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, became solo lead for Berner Symphonie-Orchesterin in Switzerland, and from 2013, he’s the Solo Principal Doublebass at Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. He continues to search for possibilities for Doublebass to become a solo instrument. He considers J.S. Bach: Solosuiten für Violoncello an integral part of who he is and received attention when he released J.S. Bach: Solosuiten für Violoncello Nr. 1, 2, &3 (2011), J.S. Bach: Solosuiten für Violoncello Nr. 4,5 (2013). In 2015, Composer, Joe Hisaishi conducted “Contrabass Concerto” and he was one of the members performing in Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra. This world premiere performance was shown on Japanese TV program, “Yomikyo Symphonic Live”. He currently is also Visiting Professor of Senzoku Gakuen College of Music.

To participate, please visit JFLA's Facebook page (

Wednesday, December 2 & 16
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, December 9
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!

Special Relief Grant for Japanese Teaching Materials
Application Deadline: January 31, 2021
JFLA is launching a special short-term grant program to assist Japanese-language programs in the U.S. dealing with unprecedented circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Special COVID-19 Relief Grant for Japanese Teaching Materials provides special financial support of up to $2,000 for the purchasing of teaching materials including hardware/equipment (laptops, tablets, etc.) for the purposes of Japanese-language education.

Due to the teaching difficulties posed by the pandemic, many teachers across the country are in need of financial assistance for materials as well as hardware and electronic equipment such as laptops, tablets, etc.

While our regular annual Teaching Material Purchase Grant prohibits the purchasing of electronic equipment, JFLA is making an exception with this special grant program in order to meet the needs of teachers during this challenging time.

In step with making electronic equipment eligible for our grant support, we are also doubling the amount of the grant from $1,000 to $2,000.

This is a limited-time offer only, and recipients of this grant will be expected to complete all purchasing and submit all final grant paperwork by the end of the 2020-21 fiscal year (3/31/2021).
JFLA Support in Response to COVID-19
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.

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!
Deadline:  Two months prior to the project start date
Japanese Language Education Update 85
I hope everyone has been staying healthy during this time of changing restrictions and situations. As Los Angeles is buckling down to handle COVID-19, it has halted my life even further in many ways. But with the month of November, there has been positive things that has happened during this month. I was able to be a part of JFLA/AATJ Leadership meeting with Japanese teachers all over the United States. Usually, the training takes place in certain regions so we spend time with smaller groups of Japanese teachers. But through ZOOM, although for only a few hours, we have created connections with Japanese teachers who may have not met each other otherwise. So being a part of that was a great experience and I learned a lot from the Japanese teachers and how they themselves have been handling the Pandemic through teaching. Also, ACTFL convention ( that took place virtually frpm November 20th through 22nd, instead of the original plan in San Antonio, TX. Next year will hopefully be held in San Diego, CA so it’ll be close to our LA office. The great things about ACTFL this year is that all the sessions were held virtually and can be viewed on the website until the end of December, 2020. We were able to also secure meetings virtually, which allowed us to connect with certain exhibitors. But still, the difficulties of not being able to quickly say “hi” and greet the exhibitors have added challenges in maintaining relationships. We do hope that next year, we will be able to say hi directly and meet many other wonderful exhibitors as well. Although there are challenges, I am amazed with the amount of effort, passion, and resilience that the teachers have and that they have continued to hone their skills through various means. Although it’s already December and time for the holidays, I hope everyone continues to be safe, healthy, and refreshed for the brand new year. If you ever need assistance, we are an email away at!