April, 2017: Breeze Issue #114
A Free E-Newsletter for Friends of Japan & Teachers of Japanese
Greeting From The Director
Two years have passed since I arrived in LA, and I have been fascinated, and often overwhelmed by people’s enthusiasm for learning about Japan, not only in Los Angeles, but also everywhere I go in the US. This is a strikingly different situation from 25 years ago when I joined the Foundation and was assigned to a department of American affairs. Back then, Japan was on every politician’s and journalist’s lips. They said that the country’s thriving economy was posing a “threat” to US industries. On the other hand, the ordinary people’s level of interest toward Japan was far less than what we see today. Sushi and Ramen were still delicacies for inquisitive minds. Anime and Manga were there, but had not quite yet become something you openly talk about with your classmates.
Since then, the number of Japanese language learners has more than quadrupled. Anime conventions are drawing so many fans everywhere. Hollywood stars are often spotted at Ramen joints with gluten-free noodles. What should we make of this? In a way, this is exactly what we have been looking for. Japan is no longer a threat or a problem; it is now deeply embedded in our everyday life. But it also means that the old marketing scheme of selling exoticism will no longer work. People want to see real people behind the curtain. They want to know the real stories of chefs, craftsmen, or anime creators, in order to feel more connected with them and the Japanese culture overall. That is exactly why students want to learn Japanese language. As I start my third year here in Los Angeles, I am more determined to bring you the stories that ordinary people can relate to – and there are still countless numbers of untold ones – that ultimately make the audience care less about Japan as a country, and more about its people.
Hideki Hara, Director
Osaka-Style English Rakugo
(Japanese Sit-Down Comedy) in Las Vegas
Wednesday, April 5; 6-8PM (Las Vegas Academy of the Arts)
The renowned English Rakugo performer, Kaishi KATSURA will humor audiences in Las Vegas with his Kamigata (Osaka-style) English Rakugo at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts’ Lowden Theater.
Japanese Sit-Down Comedy
"Osaka-Style English Rakugo" in San Francisco
Saturday, April 8 & Sunday, April 9; 4-5:30PM
(San Francisco Japantown JCCCNC Stage)
Direct from Osaka, a special traditional Japanese kamigata (Osaka-style) rakugo comedy and variety entertainment show during the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, to bring a little Osaka flavor to San Francisco.
One of the Pioneering Films in Anime History
"Ghost in the Shell" (82mins, 1995)
Wednesday, April 12 @7PM (JFLA Auditorium)
In Japanese with English subtitles
In the year 2029, cybernetic government agent, Major Motoko Kusanagi and the Internal Bureau of Investigations are hot on the trail of "The Puppet Master"—a mysterious and threatening computer virus is capable of infiltrating human hosts. Working closely with her fellow agents from Section 9, the Major embarks on a high-tech race against time to capture the omnipresent entity.
Special Program for Japanese Teachers Only
Professor Emeritus of Japanese and Linguistics, Princeton University
Dr. Seiichi Makino
Sunday, April 23 @4:30PM (JFLA Auditorium)
Admission Free, RSVP Required
Co-organized by TJSC (Teachers of Japanese in Southern California) and the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, Dr. Seiichi Makino will give a special lecture for Japanese language teachers. The lecture is for Japanese language teachers and will be given in Japanese only. English translation will not be available.
Love Blooms on the Island of Okinawa
"My Korean Teacher" (98mins, 2016)
Wednesday, April 26 @7PM (JFLA Auditorium)
In Japanese with English subtitles
After losing both job and girlfriend, things aren’t looking too great for Yong Woon (Yesung), a Korean expat in Japan. A chance meeting in Okinawa catapults him into a teaching role at a Korean language school. There he meets Sakura (Nozomi Sasaki), a single mother who is desperate to improve her language skills in order to keep her job at a travel agency. Sympathizing with her struggles, Yong Woon helps her and falls in love with her in the process.Featuring Korean popstar Yesung from Super Junior in his first Japanese movie role, this film is an entertaining watch that will put a smile on your face and brighten your day. Filmed in Okinawa, the story is set against the backdrop of beautiful castles, stunning beaches and small city life.
Japanese Language Courses
JF Nihongo Spring Term
Your potential blooms this spring! The registration period for our JF Nihongo Spring term has begun! We are now accepting registrations for our popular Japanese courses which will begin on April 20th. Our courses are designed for new Japanese-language learners, as well as those who are interested in improving their existing language skills. Early bird 10% discount will end on April 11.
Japanese Language Special Course
Introduction to Polite Japanese
5/6 - 5/20
Politeness in Japanese is essential for smooth communication in social settings. In this course, you will be familiarized with the system of honorifics (“keigo” in Japanese). You will learn how to use basic honorifics at various levels depending on different situations. Course of three meetings.
2017 Japanese Language Grants Are Now Available!
We are pleased to announce our Fiscal Year 2017-18 grant programs that we organize annually in support of Japanese-Language Education in the United States. These include the following:
- Learners Event Grant previously known as "Speech Contest Grant" (Deadline: 9/1/2017)
- Teaching Material Purchase Grant (Deadlines: 9/15/2017)
- Salary Assistance Grant for Japanese Language Courses (Deadline: 4/10/2017)
- Japanese-Language Education Project Grant (Deadline: 2 months prior to project start date)
Japanese Language Education Update 41:
Why Do I Advocate for Japanese? (Hint: I Don’t Advocate for Japanese.)
It’s my job to support people who study or teach Japanese language. One day, my great uncle said to me, “Don’t you realize that the Japanese government is using you?”
It took me a while to come up with my honest answer: "Actually, you could say that I'm using the Japanese government."
SPEAKJAPAN.org Japanese Advocacy Semi-Annual Newsletter Launch
This week, JFLA will launch a new newsletter for teachers and stakeholders interested in supporting Japanese language in the US. Click here and add your email to the number 6 mailing list!
Who’s Hiring? Jobs that use Japanese
Real Advocacy Story
Social Media Shares
Grants and Scholarships