January, 2012: Breeze Issue #51

A Free E-Newsletter for Friends of Japan & Teachers of Japanese

Greeting From The Director

Happy New Year!

The start of a new year is an exciting time for us as we prepare for one of the most significant new programs organized by the Los Angeles office. Later this month, we will start the first ever JF Nihongo Courses in Los Angeles with a corresponding program in New York. There will be three courses offered in the inaugural program and the program may expand to include more classes and more cities in the future. To mark the occasion, we will host an opening reception for friends of the Japan Foundation and registered students of the course at the Japanese American Community and Culture on Saturday, January 14th, 2012. Another big surprise we have for our readers is the completion of our new website. We hope you will check out the redesigned site and find useful information related to Japanese language and culture. I appreciate your continued interest in our publication and look forward to your continued support during the new year.

Misako Ito, Director

Click here for full image

JF Nihongo Courses Starting Soon

There is less than two weeks left to register for the upcoming JF Nihongo Courses, which will be held in Little Tokyo. One of the courses, Mastering Kana, has already reached the class limit and is closed for registration, but we have added an additional class that will begin in February. Other classes that are still open include Everyday Japanese and Business Japanese. If you are interested in learning Japanese or know someone who is, please make sure to visit the URL below. The first class starts on Thursday, January 19th, 2012, so make sure to sign up by then. We look forward to seeing you all.

For more information, please visit Courses.

2012 JET Memorial Invitation Program: Application Process Beings!

JET-MIP was created in 2011 to honor two beloved American English teachers who lost their lives during the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan. In 2012, we will continue this program, which provides 32 high school students the opportunity to visit Japan and learn about Japanese language and culture. Our hope is that this opportunity will motivate American youth to eventually participate in programs such as the JET program to enhance relationships between Japan and the United States and build bridges of friendship for our future generations. There are some new requirements for the registration process this year including the National Japanese Exam that has a registration deadline of January 31st, 2012.

For more information, please Click Here.

2012 J-LEAP Application Starts

The J-LEAP program began in 2011 to strengthen Japanese language programs in the US in the K-12 levels by inviting Japanese Language teaching assistants to American classrooms. Currently, we have 15 teaching assistants in 13 different states to support existing Japanese language teachers with fresh and updated information from Japan! By participating, host organizations can benefit from the addition of a teaching assistant and develop stronger programs and classes to promote international exchange between the United States and Japan. The application for host organizations began in December and will end on January 24th.

For more information, please visit The Laurasian Institution, and apply by downloading the application form.

New Japan Foundation, Los Angeles Website

Welcome to the New Website of the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles. We have been working on this for the past several months to provide our users with a more interactive experience. It also makes it easy for our content developers to more easily upload information so our visitors have the latest information. The site features an all new design with a calendar so you can easily find events relating to Japanese language and culture. A new online registration system is also in the works for the next Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Please feel free to look around and let us know if you have any questions or comments regarding our new site.

New Downloadable Content on Erin Website

The Erin website received a power up boost over the holidays and now includes downloadable content in the form of a kana chart and quarterly calendar in PDF format. To access the new materials, users will have to create an account if they do not have one already and login to access the download section. The calendars will be updated every three months so please check back often and don't forget to checkout the existing media on the site.

Click Here to visit the Erin Website

J-LEAP Report: Part 4

This month, we have invited Shota Kinjo, a teaching assistant at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, and Sayaka Hanami, a teaching assistant at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper, Wyoming, to share their experiences at American high schools. As you may recall, we sent 15 Japanese teaching assistants to assist Japanese-language teachers at select high schools all over the country. Each month, two participants will report on their experiences.

Shota Kinjo (Walt Whitman High School, MD)

Before starting off my story, I want to wish everyone— “A Happy New Year!” Looking back, 2011 was definitely an unforgettable year and was a turning point for the game, which is my life. I was blessed to be able to meet many wonderful people prior to receiving this position as well as after and my success would not have been possible without their support. Read More

Sayaka Hanami (Kelly Walsh High School, WY)

“What are you doing in Wyoming?” When I say I’m living in Wyoming, most people have the same reaction. And I answer “I am teaching Japanese Language”, they also ask me, “Does Wyoming have any students who want to study Japanese?” My answer is of course “yes.” Read More

New Books for the New Year

This month, we have five new books in the Nihongo Library and one DVD, which are listed below.

Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion
Akiko Fukai, Barbara Vinken, Susannah Frankel, and Hirofumi Kurino

Fiber Futures: Japan's Textile Pioneers
Published By Japan Society New York

Education Nation: Six Leading Edge of Innovation in our Schools
Milton Chen, Forword by George Lucas

アート戦略都市 EU・日本のクリエイティブシティ
Supervised by: 吉本 光宏 (Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto)

政治と秋刀魚 日本と暮らして四五年
Gerald L. Curtis


Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo
Featuring: Dr. Takeshi Yoro, Naohiro Kazaoka, Yu Miyasaka, Takumi Nakamura, Akito Kawahara, and Takeshi Sugimoto


JET Memorial Invitation Program - Participant's Essays Part 5

This is the fifth part of an eight part series that will highlight the experiences of 32 participants of the 2011 JET Memorial Invitational Program. Through this program, participants travelled to Japan in July of 2011 for a 10 day exchange that focused on Japanese language and culture with the purpose of fostering friendship and goodwill between the youth of both countries. This month, we will be featuring the essays of Emily Friedensohn, Kaleialoha Nishimura, Tom Cude, and Dominik Mikulcik.

Event Report: 2011 JLPT

The 2011 JLPT was administered on Sunday, December 4th, 2011 at 11 test sites across the United States. JFLA was responsible for administering the test in Los Angeles at the USC test site. Results should be send out in mid to late February so please be on the lookout for your results around that time. If you have recently moved and would like to update your mailing address, you can reply to your email confirmation or contact us directly at noryoku@jflalc.org. The 2012 JLPT will be in December of 2012 and we will have additional information on our website in July so please check back if you are interested in taking the test next year.

Staff Update

With the new year comes additional staff members to help us with our growing office. This month, we would like to welcome Yuka Kitazono and Satomi Williams. Kitazono sensei will be the new Lecturer for the upcoming JF Nihongo Courses, which will start later this month at the JACCC. Satomi Williams will be replacing Maiko Ota Muranaka in the library and also helping us with various tasks around the office. We are very excited about the new programs starting this year and hope you can be apart of it too.