August, 2014: Breeze Issue #82
A Free E-Newsletter for Friends of Japan & Teachers of Japanese
Greeting From The Director
August is typically the time of year that Japanese students as well as adults take time off to enjoy the summer break. It is also a good time to create new encounters between the people of Japan and the US. This summer, we invited 14 school principals and administrators as part of the Group Tour Program for US Educators as well as 32 high school students from all over the country as part of the JET Memorial Invitation Program to visit Japan. We hope that the participants for both programs were able to enjoy their trip and that their experiences will motivate them to maintain and develop their interests in Japan and the Japanese people. Once school resumes in the following weeks, we are sure that the participants will have many stories to share with their colleagues and fellow students, which will act like a catalyst in supporting Japanese Language Education at their schools. In addition to these programs, the Japan Foundation invited nine new J-LEAP assistant teachers to the US this summer. They will be starting their activities all over the country with their Lead Teachers soon. Through these programs, we aim to continuously stimulate youth exchanges to further Japanese language education.
Have you heard of the Japanese expression “Matsuri no ato”? It means “melancholy or sentimental feelings after a festival”. Summer is a season of Matsuri (festivals) in Japan, and there are also many Japanese festivals held here in Los Angeles. For JFLA, many of our summer programs have sadly come to an end and we are now feeling bittersweet Matsuri no ato after the enjoyable reunions of youth, everyday people, as well as teachers through our programs including JET-MIP, Japan Design 100 Exhibition, Nihongo Summer Camp for Teens and the Group Tour Program for US Educators. However, in Japan, autumn is again the season of festivals! We are now in the process of organizing events for the coming fall and we hope you will continue to check our website for new and exciting events that are in the works.
Naomi Takasu, Director
Workshop: Japanese through Manga
Wednesday, August 6 @ 7PM
Japanese comic books (manga) are a rich source of living Japanese! In this workshop, you will learn Japanese as it’s used in daily life and entertainment, especially casual conversations. Using characteristic expressions and patterns, you too can become a manga hero or heroine!
JAPANEMA: Free Japanese Cinema Screening
Casting Blossoms to the Sky (160mins, 2012)
Directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi
Wednesday, August 13 @ 7PM
Venue: JFLA Auditorium
A reporter for the local paper in Amakusa, Reiko is a child of the Nagasaki Atomic Bombing. She goes to visit her former lover, Kenichi, a victim of the Niigata Chuetsu Earthquake who resides in Nagaoka, aware of its association to the Nagaoka Fireworks.
The film is Reiko's travelogue as she is captivated by the wonderland of surprises and delights in Nagaoka. All of the characters are actual people from history. Nagaoka air raid narrator Lilico, whose deceased infant is reincarnated as a presently 18-year-old Hana, among other historical elements are fictionalized with a semi-documentary touch.
Photo: © Nagaoka movie production Committee, PSC. All rights reserved.
JAPANEMA: Free Japanese Cinema Screening
Fly, Dakota Fly! (109mins, 2013)
Directed by Seiji Aburatani
Wednesday, August 27 @ 7PM
Venue: JFLA Auditorium
January 1946, a plane makes a crash landing on the beach in a small village on Sado island, Niigata prefecture. It is a British airforce Dakota plane, carrying VIPs. They have no choice but to stay put unless they can somehow dig Dakota out of sand. Local residents have mixed feelings towards them as they were enemies until half a year ago. However, the village mayor Shintaro, comes to a decision after much deliberation to keep to the local spirit to help those in need, and invite the British soldiers to stay at his family inn until the Dakota is ready to take off. The British are cautious at first but gradually open up to the warm welcome by the residents of the island.
Photo: © "FLY, DAKOTA, FLY!" partners
Announcement: 2014 JLPT Registration Period
Registration: September 1 - October 3, 2014
Test Date: Sunday, December 7, 2014
Registration for the 2014 JLPT will start on Monday, September 1, 2014 and last until Friday, October 3, 2014. This year, there are two new test sites in Boulder, CO, and Columbus, OH. The Atlanta test site will return to its regular location at Georgia State University and the Los Angeles test site has been changed to California State University Los Angeles. Please make sure to register early to ensure your seat for this year's test.
Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Japanese Language Grants
We are still accepting applications for the following grants:
1. Japanese Language Learners Event Grant previously known as "Speech Contest Grant" (Deadline: 9/1/2014)
2. Japanese Teaching Material Purchase Grant (Deadline: 9/15/2014)
3. Japanese-Language Education Project Grant (Deadline: 2 months prior to project start date)
2014 JET Memorial Invitation Program Report
In July of 2014, 32 high school students from all over the country gathered in Los Angeles for an orientation to kick off the JET Memorial Invitation Program. This program was started immediately following the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011 to commemorate the work of two JET Assistant Language Teachers who sadly lost their lives during the disaster. All the participants arrived in Los Angeles without any major delays or issues and the program started without a hitch.
Japanese Language Education Update #9: JF Invitational Group Tour Report
Last month, the Japan Foundation invited 14 American education administrators to Japan for a nine day tour of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka in the hopes that tour participants bring back a strong affinity for the country. Candidates for the tour were selected from schools and districts which have recently started, or plan to start, a Japanese language program. By taking these administrators on a fun and educational tour of Japan, the Japan Foundation hopes to establish administrative support for these fledgling programs from the very beginning.
New Library Acquisitions
We purchased some new books and DVDs in our library so make sure to drop by to check them out. The books are divided into four categories including Books in English, Books in Japanese, Japanese-language study materials, and Children's Books. Our annual library membership fee is only $2 and you get a free cloth book bag when you become a member.
Building Renovation Update: Entrance Change
As many of our guests have noticed, there is considerable construction around our office with the ongoing renovation of the courtyard. You will need to enter through our employee entrance to access the library. This will last until mid-September and we will provide additional information as the construction completes. We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to the completion of our new courtyard.
In July, we welcomed Michi Shimura sensei as our new Japanese Language Course Lecturer. She replaces Yuka Kitazono sensei who transitioned into a part time role teaching Japanese for us. Michi will now focus on developing new course materials in preparation for our fall term starting on September 20. You may have met her if you attended our workshop "Japanese for Travel" or "Summer Camp for Teens" last month and we hope you will join us for your upcoming Japanese language learning needs.