An Online Newsletter Showcasing Our Programs For The Month Of January, 2021!
Happy New Year from all of us here at the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles!

After a tumultuous year, we are eager to get back to normalcy while also dealing with COVID-19. With the new vaccines, we hope that life will start returning to normal later this year. For the time being, we have many online programs scheduled for this month as well as our Special Relief Grant to support Japanese language teachers. We look forward to your continued support in 2021.
Mask Up 2020
US - Japan Design Contest
Deadline: January 22, 2021 (6pm EST)
Let's create a design representing the U.S.-Japan connection!

Calling all creative amateur artists, kids to adults, to design an original design for a face mask, long a staple in everyday life in Japan. These masks will be good for everyone’s health and wellbeing, environmentally friendly, and pleasing on the eye. MASK UP 2020 winning designs will be announced in an online event.

January 11th & 25th
12:30PM (PST)
Our virtual concert series Music Mondays continues in the new year with many more amazing musicians! Bringing some cheer to your lives through music, we will be preforming LIVE via Facebook twice this month on Mondays at 12:30PM (PST).

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

Kozue Matsumoto, koto, and Rachel Rudich, shakuhachi, meld their love of traditional Japanese music with their expertise in contemporary and experimental forms. Their fusion of traditional, modern, and improvisational music creates an incredibly vibrant and exciting showcase for Japanese culture through music.

Brought up in Hawai’i embraced by the beauty from the mountains to the sea, Honoka has grown an admiration for the nature that surrounds her. This connection to nature, in all of its diverse vibrancy, is what inspires her as a person and a musician – to live every second of life brimming with passion, integrity, and harmony. As an ‘ukulele musician, Honoka brings a virtuosic competency to her work – spanning across a wide range of
genres and eras. Honoka’s music is expressive, poignant, but always rooted in authenticity. Honoka hopes to live a life that is inspired, and with music has her voice, inspire others along the way.

To participate, please visit JFLA's Facebook page (

Wednesday, January 6 & 20
12:30PM PT (15 Minute Session)
Bilingual Yoga will still be offered in the new year 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!

Wednesday, January 13 & 27
12:30PM PT (15 Min Session)
Meditation with Japanese Singing Bowl will still be offered in 2021 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!

A few spots are still available only for EJ2 and EJ3. ALL EJ1 courses have been full. This online course 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! 

Special Relief Grant for Japanese Teaching Materials
Application Deadline: January 31, 2021
JFLA is still accepting applications for 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. While normally we only offer this grant twice per fiscal year (application deadlines: 3/15 & 9/15), we are adding a third grant period in order to help Japanese-language programs during this difficult time!
This special grant for Japanese Teaching Materials provides financial support of up to $1,000 for the purchasing of teaching materials and cultural items such as calligraphy supplies, origami, etc., for the purposes of Japanese-language education.

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 know 2020 was such a challenge for everyone and has been an eye opening experience in so many ways. The holidays were quiet compared to years paste, but was able to focus on taking care of my own environment and self instead. This year, many of the conferences are going to continue virtually and we will continue finding ways to connect with everyone virtually as well. It’s still a long way ahead of us but 一緒に頑張りましょう! (let’s keep on at it together!) We will also continue to support various Japanese language projects and recently, one of the books we have supported has just been published! It’s called Itadakimasu! The Food Culture of Japan by Becky A. Brown. The author themselves went to Japan for the field research/photos and the preview is available via the link above. As language continues to change and how we consume language also changes, it’s great to see new resources available for learners. I have also tried to brush up my language skills during the winter and practiced through text but also visual and audio apps. What are some ways you have kept your language skills alive during winter break? Feel free to let me know at for any suggestions/ideas!
Staff Update
Happy New Year!

I finished my assignment at the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, and will be back in Japan by the time you read this. I never imagined before the pandemic that I would have to leave like this without seeing any people who supported me throughout the last three years. While it is regrettable not to be able to meet anyone at the last moment, I am very grateful that there are so many people to whom I want to convey my appreciation, especially given how I knew nobody in this country when I first arrived.

I learned a lot through all the wonderful projects I worked on during my time in the US and I owe everything to you all. While it is my job to deliver something nice to your life, you have brought more to me in every case. It has been a blessing to work with so many prominent artists, scholars and last but not least, the language teachers!

Although I do not want to focus too much on the craziness that was 2020, I have to admit that I thought and worked harder last year than ever before. If any of our attempts at organizing new programs proved successful, it was all thanks to the support we received from you. I just can't thank you enough!

Ryo Takehara (left) has already taken over my position. I believe that he will do a better job than me nurturing friendship with all of you with his fresh outlook. I look forward to hearing about the bright future of the new JFLA team and community.

Thank you for having me here. Stay safe and see you again soon!


Shimpei Ishii (right)
Former Deputy Director
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles