An Online Newsletter Showcasing Our Programs For The Month Of May, 2021!
Our theme for May is progress and it feels like our region as a whole is making tremendous strides to finally ending this pandemic. With the upcoming Memorial day weekend and the transition into summer, we hope to see a rebound in activity. For the time being, we are still going strong with our online events such as Music Mondays and Wellness Wednesday series.

We will also be organizing our soybean event this month showcasing this Japanese superfood while highlighting its use in NATTO. This event will also feature a competition to see who reigns supreme using chopsticks to pickup edamame. The full moon will make an appearance on the 26th of this month and we will celebrate this special day with a night time wellness event featuring both of our meditation and yoga instructors. Make sure to mark your calendars and join us for these special events!
Friday, May 14 7:00PM PT
Free to Attend, Click Here to RSVP!
The soybean is a nutritious plant, rich with protein that has been an essential food in many Asian countries for thousands of years. In Japan, there are many soybean based superfoods that have been used for centuries such as tofu, miso, soy sauce, natto, and edamame. In this event, we will focus on “NATTO” and “EDAMAME”.

Wednesday, May 26th
6:20PM PT (30 Min Session)
Celebrating full moon Wednesday night, we will offer an evening version of “Wellness Wednesdays”. Usually, we virtually offer either Bilingual Yoga or Meditation with Japanese Singing Bowl during the lunchtime every Wednesday. On this special occasion, both instructors will join together in the evening and you will experience both yoga and meditation in one virtual session on JFLA's Facebook Live!

In the quiet relaxing setting at your home, stretch your body by Hikaru’s English & Japanese instruction while absorbing sounds by Yuki’s Japanese singing bowls. The full moon power will help to release your stress and give you energy!

No reservation is necessary. No need to have a FB account. Just visit our Facebook page!

May 3rd, 10th, 17th & 24th
12:30PM (PDT)
Our virtual concert series Music Mondays continues in May with many more amazing musicians! Bringing some cheer to your lives through music, we will be preforming LIVE via Facebook this month on Mondays.

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

Born in Tokyo and raised in New Zealand, Kat McDowell makes music with an Ocean Pop sound delivered in a blend of Japanese and English that is uniquely her own.  
Kat’s career started with a record that no 1. on the vinyl charts in Japan and her music has been placed in multiple commercials including a 2019 Xfinity and Apple commercial. Most recently her single “Outside Inside” was selected for multiple “New Music Friday” Spotify Editorial playlists around the world. Kat released her song “1000 Paper Cranes” as a tribute to her Japanese grandmother just as the pandemic hit and it sparked the idea to start zoom Origami workshops for her supporters as a way to connect and bring some comfort and therapy. The live music / origami workshops have been a hit and have been picked up by colleges, conventions, summer camps and schools all over the US. Most recently in 2021, Kat's newest song "Kokoro no Kakera (Kintsugi)" won Grand Prize in the World Section of the John Lennon Songwriting Competition and has been performing and writing songs live on Twitch three times a week. 

Born in the snow country of Niigata prefecture in Japan. Witnessing Shinnai-bushi Master Okamoto Bunya’s final years, she became fascinated by this form of storytelling, which uses song accompanied by shamisen music. She left Japan in 1996, living in Belgium, Canada and the US. After many adventures around the world (exploring sound and visual composition), in 2012 she became a disciple of Master Okamoto Miyanosuke III. Ever since, she has been learning Shinnai-bushi artistry, traveling between New York and Tokyo. In 2019, she became a Natori, a holder of a diploma of master of Okamoto school Shinnai-bushi, and received the stage name Okamoto Miya. She is passionate about introducing the world to the great achievements of the late Grand Master Okamoto Bunya and the charm of Okamoto school Shinnai-bushi. In 2020, Miya (a.k.a. Takahashi Sachiyo, Nekaa Lab) began a new series, Shinnai Meets Puppetry, inviting local and international puppeteers. Its first repertoire, One Night in Winter, is in the process of creation with the support from The Jim Henson Foundation. She is currently a resident artist at HERE Arts Centre in New York City developing a new experimental music theatre, The Emotions, in collaboration with Korean instrumentalist gamin. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. 

Taro Wayama is a Japanese born guitarist/composer. He is a winner of numerous competitions such as 1st place in the 2003 Aron Green/American String Teachers Association Guitar Competition and 2nd place in the Thailand International Guitar Competition. As a composer he received “Best Original Score” at the Los Angeles Movie Awards for an independent film, “Anne Jennings”. Taro is an active soloist and a chamber musician. He has performed in Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Canada, China, Belgium and the US. He frequently collaborates with violin, clarinet, flute, voice and dancer performing music from Renaissance through 21st Century and Folk/World music. Taro holds Masters and Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Southern California where he studied with Pepe Romero, William Kannengiser, James Smith, Brian Head and Scott Tennant. He has performed in number masterclasses by great guitarists such as Pepe Romero, David Leisner, Scott Tennant, Benjamin Verdery, Dusan Bogdanvic, Fabio Zanon, and William Kanengiser.

Vocals, Shamisen. Founder of Matsutoyo Kai based on Los Angeles ( Matsutoyo Sato studied European music and opera in Japan for 10 years as a child. At 16, she was formally exposed to Minyo, Shigin, and the Biwa. By age 20, her instructors encouraged her to apprentice under Madame Matsuko Sato, the late Iemoto, or Grand Master of the Sato school in Japan. Excelling in a variety of traditional music genres, her skill and determination allowed her talents to be recognized with performances on both local and national NHK television and radio programs, and various stage performances throughout Japan. In the United States, she has performed in films such as ” The Karate Kid 2” and various TV commercials. Disney Land’s “Japanese Festival” also “Little Tokyo Ondo” for Japanese Nisei Week Festival. Today, Matsutoyo Sato continues to teach and pass on her knowledge, passion and expertise in traditional Minyo throughout Northern and Southern California.

Marisa Kosugi was born in Berkeley, CA. She is the daughter of Minyo master, Madame Matsutoyo Sato, who established Matsutoyo Kai in 1966. At age 21, Marisa apprenticed under Japan’s renowned Minyo singer, Madame Makiko Kosugi, to study the traditional style of Minyo, the Japanese cultural arts. She lived in Tokyo for 3-years and attained her Natori, accredited name of a performing art. She learned the language and etiquette by listening and watching her senpais, upper classmen. There were many challenges, but through the support from her Minyo family in Japan, she learned discipline. The purpose of her training was to have a better understanding of her mother's experiences in the arts that requires strength, patience and deep passion. After returning to the U.S. she's been enjoying time with her mother and Matsutoyo Kai members performing in California. She hopes to share the stories of Minyo and the history as her mother's wish is for Minyo to continue another 100 years.

Shamisen player. Originally from Osaka, Japan. After moving to Los Angeles, California in the US, Yu met the Minyo shamisen/vocal legend, Matsutoyo Sato and started learning shamisen from her. Afterwhile, he received his certified name (Natori), “Matsutoyo Yu Sato”. In 2018, he performed at the National Theatre of Japan. Besides being a shamisen player, he also plays guitar for different music such as jazz, blues and R&B and toured in the US, Canada, Japan with many artists/shows such as Billy Mitchell, Barbara Morrison, Thelma Houston, The Supremes and Garrett Morris. He leads a jazzy style of Japanese folk music group, “Minyo Station”, which has performed at many festivals in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Atlanta and etc. The debut album, Cultural Twist was released in 2013. From 2020, he started creating a new style of shamisen music with the Grammy Nominee keyboardist, Kimo Cornwell, who is known as a member of HIROSHIMA. They are called, “Yu-Ki project” and performed virtually for museums and festivals. His versatile music style is very unique and his work appeared on radio, TV shows, and movies. 

To participate, please visit JFLA's Facebook page (

Wednesday, May 5th & 19th
12:30PM PT (15 Minute Session)
Bilingual Yoga will be offered this month 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, May 12th
12:30PM PT (15 Min Session)
Meditation with Japanese Singing Bowl will be offered this month 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!

Through June 18, 2021
Three years after hosting the MIGRATING DREAMSCAPES: NOBUO ANZAI exhibition here at JFLA, we are honored to showcase Anzai’s later paintings this time as we celebrate his infinite creativity and beautiful life.
2021-2022 Japanese Language Grants Now Available!
Learners Event Grant
Deadlines: 9/1/2021

Teaching Material Purchase Grant
Deadlines: 9/15/2021

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
Japanese Language Education Update 89
There may be students who are finishing off their year in May and I congratulate them for making it through this difficult year. The fact you are healthy and making it this far is a feat in itself. So I do wish for you to have a healthy summer break as well. In terms of summer, I miss experiencing Obon festivals at local Japanese American community centers and eating foods like Okonomiyaki (Japanese style vegetable pancake) and Kakigoori (shaved ice) from food stalls. Those memories reminds me of the fun times I shared with friends and family over Japanese foods and cultural events/music. What are some fun Japanese activities you have experienced over the summer? Will there be virtual events? Have you participated in virtual events last summer? I would love to hear activities that students have enjoyed over the summer. Feel free to email me at anytime and let me know! Also, these past few months and for this month, we have been updating our advocacy goods list and we have restocked our Erin posters that showcase Japanese foods and seasons. We also have original designed bandannas that have been receiving positive feedback from various Japanese language teachers! Please feel free to email us and I would love to see photos to see how our goods have been helping with school events and how our posters have been utilized in the classroom! We look forward to hearing from you!
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles