An Online Newsletter Showcasing Our Programs For The Month Of February, 2021!
After a mild December, January brought much needed rain and cold weather for a more wintery feel to the southland!

For the month of February, we will be celebrating Setsubun based off of the old calendar with our Yokai and Buddhist Deities webinar. This is also the month of Valentine's day and maybe you can use that as your inspiration to join our Haiku workshop to come up with a special message for your significant other. We have also updated our grant programs for the upcoming 2021 - 2022 fiscal year for Japanese language teachers so make sure to check our website if you are interested in applying.

And as always, don't forget check our Facebook page on Mondays (except on 2/15) and Wednesday at 12:30PM PST for Music Mondays and Wellness Wednesday!
2021-2022 Japanese Language Grants Now Available!
Learners Event Grant
Deadlines: 3/1/2021, 9/1/2021

Teaching Material Purchase Grant
Deadlines: 3/15/2021, 9/15/2021

Salary Assistance Grant for Japanese Language Courses
Deadline: 4/10/2021

Language Education Project Grant
Deadline: Two months prior to the project start date


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
Tuesday, February 2nd
7:00PM PST
Free to View, Registration Required
In Japan, you can find YOKAI(ghosts) everywhere from folktales, traditional rituals, to popular manga and anime. The most present YOKAI in Japanese society and culture is the Oni(demon) and they are seen as guards protecting hell, and causes disasters and pandemics.

On the day of Setsubun, which is the first day of spring in the lunar calendar, people throw soybeans at the Oni to fend off the evil spirits within the home. On the same day, we will be inviting award-winning translator, writer, and folklorist, Zack Davisson as a lecturer to talk about Oni’s presence in Japanese culture. Also, he will explain how Japanese people think about Oni from folktales to Demon Slayer.

Thursday, February 11th & 25th
7:00PM PST
Free to View, Registration Required
Come take a virtual journey to the ancient cities of Kyoto and Nara!
We will present two virtual lectures focusing on Buddhist Deity sculptures in Buddhist temples in Kyoto and Nara. Michael VanHartingsveldt will present a brief history for four temples in each lecture and then highlight specific and noteworthy sculptures visitors might want to see within their precincts. Kay Allen from the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) will then suggest unique and interesting experiences that can be found in the general vicinity of each temple. We hope attendees will use these lectures to inform their visits to Kyoto and Nara, which would result in a rich and fulfilling engagement with Japanese art and culture!

Find a Season in the Words: Haiku Workshop for Beginners (Winter/Spring)
Tuesday, February 16th
7:00 - 8:30PM PST
Free to Attend, Registration Required
Haiku is a type of short poetry originated in Japan. Haiku depicts a sense of season in just three-line phrases with 5-7-5 syllables.

In this online, yet hands-on haiku writing workshop for beginners, you will learn the origin and history of haiku poetry. Also you will be taught the basics of English haiku writing technique from a veteran haiku poet, Deborah J. Kolodji.

February 1st, 8th & 22nd
12:30PM (PST)
Our virtual concert series Music Mondays continues in February with many more amazing musicians! Bringing some cheer to your lives through music, we will be preforming LIVE via Facebook this month on Mondays (except 2/15) at 12:30PM (PST).

The theme this month is "Love" and we will feature the following artists:

Critically-acclaimed Japanese-born pianist/composer/media artist Motoko Honda has created a distinctive sound through her holistic approach to music, her collaborative sensibility to multiple art forms and inspired use of innovative technologies. Portrayed as a “Keyboard Alchemist”(Chris Barton, L.A.Times) and the “Embodiment of a Muse” (Greg Burk,,Honda has fascinated critics and audiences alike with her genre-defying innovative approach to piano playing and composing: “Imagine Radiohead teaching Franz List how to rock a Kaoss Pad; or John Cage facing off with Bud Powell over prepared piano”(Matthew Duersten, With stylistic influences ranging from jazz to Indonesian music and contemporary prepared & electrified piano, Honda is a musical force of nature, bringing a unique creative sound to her solo works and wide-ranging collaborations. Her music transports audiences on sonic adventures that transcend the boundaries and conventions of traditional contemporary music concerts.

Since 2001 Naomi Ozawa has lived in the Los Angeles area and has been active as a solo, chamber, and orchestral musician on the Oboe and English Horn. Originally from Hamamatsu (Shizuoka) Japan, she now lives in Torrance California. Over the last few decades, Naomi has performed throughout Japan, Europe and the United States. Naomi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from the Vienna University of Music and she holds a Performing Arts and a Masters degree from Mannes College of Music, New York. Naomi teaches music at her Los Angeles home studio “Visionary Music Entertainment”. Additionally she coaches local youth orchestras, chorus groups and chamber groups. Naomi also performs in local Symphony Orchestras including the Huntington Beach Orchestra. Naomi is a Board Member of the Music Teachers Association of California and is one of the cofounders of the nonprofit group “Tulips in Harmony”--which, since 2011, after the North Eastern Japan Earthquake disaster, has raised money and improved awareness to support the Miyako Junior Strings Ensemble in Iwate Prefecture. In 2019 Naomi started rock band experience with UMAMIX, and she performs with the band on alto saxophone. Naomi’s hobbies include playing various musical instruments and composing music in the style of new age jazz. Most recently, composing jazz and new-age folk-style music has become the center of her musical growth and development.

Ten is an instrumental world music band based in Los Angeles that blends the ancient sound of the Japanese koto with contemporary music instruments like the bass and drums. The name of the band means "Heaven" in Japanese.
Ten was founded in Tokyo, Japan in 2005 by husband and wife Ash (Bass) and Yuki (13-string koto & 17-string koto). They moved to New York in 2009, and finally Los Angeles in 2014. They invited Haru (Drums) to the band in 2020. 

To participate, please visit JFLA's Facebook page (

Wednesday, February 3rd & 17th
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, February 10th & 24th
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!

Japanese Language Education Update 86
How has the first month of 2021 been treating you so far? With the pandemic looming over us for about a year, we have had to adjust our ways of operating. This month, we will have webinars to attend every week and it’s been exciting to connect to various affiliates! We are also going to reach out to Japanese teachers all around the United States to understand how COVID-19 has impacted their classrooms. Our first COVID-19 survey took place in fall and we were able to report the results through AATJ (American Association of Teachers of Japanese) webinar in October: There were various panelists that provided different perspective in terms of Japanese language education. It was interesting to hear how people in business thought about Japanese language learners and listening to heritage learners and their perceptions and motivations when it comes to language learning. As a heritage learner, my motivation to learn Japanese was through entertainment and being able to communicate with my relatives in Japan. But it was also important for me to learn Japanese in a learning environment, as well as use Japanese in a professional environment. That helped me further my Japanese and be able to use Japanese in various situations. Another challenge I face as a heritage learner is not feeling enough/feeling far from perfect. But working at JFLA as an Advocacy coordinator has really challenged my perspective about being a Japanese speaker/learner and now feel comfortable with my skills. I hope I could help other heritage speakers as well as Japanese language learners feel that way as well. Feel free to contact me at for any questions or concerns! I look forward to hearing from you.
New Staff Introduction

My name is Ryo Takehara. I am proud to be the new deputy director of JFLA, particularly during this difficult time.

I am just wrapping up my first two months here, and I have already learned so much about the numerous cultural programs JFLA provides, and the many wonderful Japanese language programs here in the states which JFLA supports through its various grant and outreach programs. It is my goal to not only continue, but enhance what we do here and to deepen mutual understanding and friendship between our cultures. I am very excited to work with my staff members and our partners to create new projects and offer new perspectives in the new year.

Stay safe and healthy, and I look forward to seeing you in person in the not-too-distant future.


Ryo Takehara
Deputy Director
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles