September, 2014: Breeze Issue #83


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

Greeting From The Director

I hope you have had a relaxing Labor Day weekend. This month, millions of students in the United States will start the new school year with the arrival of fall. It is the same in Japan and many other countries world-wide as our future generations get back to their studies to achieve the dreams they dreamed during their time off. Here at JFLA, we have also been working hard to prepare for the start of our Japanese language courses that will start later this month with our new instructors Shimura sensei and Takahashi sensei along with the familiar faces you are used to seeing. We also have nine new assistant teachers nationwide as well as 14 existing teachers continuing from last year's J-LEAP program that are eager to start sharing their knowledge and experience in Japanese language and culture. Our Japanese teaching material purchase grant applications are also due this month. These are just some of the ways we are supporting Japanese language education in the United States and I hope our efforts will benefit all those who are interested in learning Japanese.

September is also a month which signals a turning point from summer to autumn. Japanese always say “Atsusa Samusa mo Higan made”, or “Summer heat nor winter cold last after the equinox. Every bit of excess finally becomes just right.” Japan has been hit by a heat wave this summer, but now we begin to notice the delicate transition of seasons; a nip of fall in Japan. In California, the weather is much more gorgeous even in summer, but we notice the sensitive transformation of the seasons here as well. A great season for culture has begun. Let’s enjoy it together!

Naomi Takasu, Director


Shine Week's Special Movie Screening
Kamikaze Girls (下妻物語) (102mins, 2004)
Directed by Tetsuya Nakashima
Wednesday, September 10 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

Meet Momoko (Kyoko Fukada), a self-absorbed dreamer who fantasizes about fleeing her backcountry home and living life in 18th century Versailles. When she unexpectedly meets the rebellious Ichigo (Anna Tsuchiya), a rough-and-tumble biker chick, the two misfits form a unique friendship---together, nothing can stop them!
Born from the pages of favorite cult author Novala Takemoto, Kamikaze Girls is a frenetic roller-coaster ride brimming with day-glo visuals and wild hilarity that you will never forget!

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JFLA Lecture Series 22: A Cultural Comparison Between Japanese and American Superheroes
Thursday, September 11 at 7pm (JFLA Auditorium)
Free to Attend, RSVP Required

The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles invites Mr. Masaki Kaifu, Founder and CEO of Wowmax Media, LLC. to give a lecture on the interesting contrasts between the distinctive worlds of both Japanese Anime/Comic Heroes and American superheroes. What are the fundamental differences between Japanese superheroes such as GatchamanSalor Moon, and their American counterparts such as SupermanIron ManSpiderman? In his presentation, Mr. Kaifu will elaborate on how the cultures out of which these characters are born play a large role in establishing their essence and even outward appearance.

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Come and Visit Us at TARFEST
Saturday, September 20, 2014, 1:00-6:00PM
Venue: La Brea Tar Pits

TARFEST is a premiere arts and culture event in Los Angeles and the Miracle Mile District. Dozens of the nation's most distinctive emerging artists, performers, and cultural innovators come together and showcase their talents and ideas at historic and notable venues along the Miracle Mile. At the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles tent, you can enjoy Japanese cultural activities for all ages!

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JAPANEMA: Free Japanese Cinema Screening
REUNION (105mins, 2013)
Directed by Ryoichi Kimizuka
Wednesday, September 24 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

Following the Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, countless bodies began to be found and were carried to makeshift morgues. One man who appeared in the confusion was retired Tsuneo Aiba (Toshiyuki Nishida) who now served as a regional social worker. Prior to retirement, he had been in the funeral business, and was accustomed to handling the deceased and comforting the bereaved. "Treat them as if they are still alive," he said. As they watched Aiba, other city servants gradually noticed an emotional change taking over the place.


ONE-MAN KABUKI STORYTELLER
Kunitoshi Kineya U.S. Tour
October 5, 2014 (Honolulu, HI)
October 8, 2014 (Portland, OR)
October 10, 2014 (Los Angeles, CA)

Reduced Kabuki play narrated and sung by one man, with shamisen demonstration. Don’t miss this chance to experience a unique theatrical art from Japan!  (English subtitles provided)

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Save the Date!
JFLA Lecture Series 23: Artist Talk with photographer Mikiko Hara
Thursday, October 9 at 7pm (JFLA Auditorium)

Mikiko Hara, one of the photographers from the current exhibition In Focus: Tokyo at the Getty Center will give a talk at JFLA while she is visiting Los Angeles as an artist in residency at the Getty Center. More information coming soon.

Photo credit: Untitled (Primary Speaking), 1999 (print, about 2007), Mikiko Hara, chromogenic print. © Mikiko Hara


JF Nihongo Tea Time: Let's Chat in Japanese
Saturday, September 13 @ 1PM (JFLA Auditorium)

Come join our casual and informative conversation café that starts off the new term of our language courses. You'll enjoy fun games and Japanese tea & snacks while chatting with native Japanese speakers - all levels are welcome! Japanese language experience is not necessary, but participants should be 18 and up. If you are interested in our JF Nihongo language courses, this is a good opportunity to visit our information center, see our classroom, and meet our staff.

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Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Japanese Language Grants

We are still accepting applications for the following grants:
1. Japanese Teaching Material Purchase Grant (Deadline: 9/15/2014)
2. Japanese-Language Education Project Grant (Deadline: 2 months prior to project start date)

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Register Now! Japanese Language Courses
Fall Term: September 20 - November 25, 2014

Fall term will be starting soon so register now to learn Japanese with us! JF Nihongo (Nihongo=Japanese) features fun and unique language courses for both new Japanese-language learners as well as those who are interested in improving their existing language skills. Get 10% off with the early bird discount when you register by September 5. Ready, set, register!

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Announcement: 2014 JLPT Registration Starts
Registration: Through October 3, 2014
Test Date: Sunday, December 7, 2014

Registration for the 2014 JLPT started on Monday, September 1, 2014 and will 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.

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Performing Arts Japan 2015-2016

The Japan Foundation is now accepting project proposals for Performing Arts Japan (PAJ) touring and collaboration grants for the 2015-2016 Japanese fiscal year. The application deadline is October 27, 2014.

For further details, including guidelines and application, please visit here.


Japanese Language Education Update #10: Three pieces of good news for JLE

This month’s JLE Update comes to you in three parts: an award-winning teacher, an advocacy video project, and a free advanced online Japanese textbook.

This year, the U.S.-Japan Foundation chose to honor Tomokazu Morikawa with the 2014 Elgin Heinz Teacher Award (Japanese Language Category), given annually to a pre-college Japanese language teacher who significantly contributes to mutual understanding between Japan and America. Morikawa-sensei stands out as a teacher who develops projects which get his students out of the classroom and into the real world.

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2014 JET Memorial Invitation Program: Participant Essays Part 1/8

In July of 2014, 32 US high school students participated in the JET Memorial Invitational Program (JET-MIP). They travelled to Japan for a two week study tour of the Tohoku region, focusing on the cities of Rikuzentakata and Ishinomaki (Due to Super Typhoon Neoguri, the trip to Rikuzentakata was cancelled). These were the cities that Montgomery Dickson and Taylor Anderson were assigned during their tenure as JET Assistant Language Teachers. Sadly, they lost their lives during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in March, 2011 and JET-MIP was created to commemorate their work. Participants took part in exchanges with local elementary and high school students as well as local community groups with the purpose of fostering friendship and goodwill between both countries. Each month, we will feature four essays written by the participants describing their experiences in Japan. Click below to read about their unforgettable journey.


J-LEAP: A Program Born of the Japan-U.S. Summit
Nine Young Native Japanese Language Teachers Dispatched to the US

The Japan Foundation dispatched nine additional native Japanese assistant teachers (ATs) to K-12 institutions offering Japanese language courses in eight cities across the United States. They will be assigned there for two years on the Japanese Language Education Assistant Program (J-LEAP) until the end of July 2016. Now in its fourth year, J-LEAP is a program which was launched by the Japan Foundation in 2011 as part of an initiative to strengthen US-Japan exchange programs for young people.

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Update on Japan Foundation's Training and Language Program for Teachers and Specialists

The following training programs will start in September at the Japan Foundation’s Japanese Language Institutes in Urawa and Kansai, Japan. The program participants from the U.S. are Mr. Travis Matsuda (Japanese-language teacher, Kalani High School, HI) and three postgraduate students (Ms. Xiaofei Gao from University of California, Santa Cruz, Ms. Vivian Shaw from University of Texas at Austin, and Ms. Yanfei Yin from Ohio State University).

  1. 2014 Long-term Training Program for Teachers of Japanese-Language
    Duration: September 9, 2014 ~ March 6, 2015
    http://www.jpf.go.jp/e/urawa/e_about/programs.html
  2. 2014 Japanese Language Program for Specialists in Academic and Cultural Fields (6-month course)
    Duration: September 17, 2014 ~ March 18, 2015
    http://www.jfkc.jp/en/training/culture-science.html

The next fiscal year (2015)’s program guidelines and application materials will be available on our website by early October, 2014. Thank you for your patience.


Building Renovation Update: Entrance Change

There is still considerable construction around our office with the renovation of the courtyard. You will need to enter through our employee entrance to access the library. September should be the last month of disruption and we will make another announcement once construction is complete. We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to the completion of our new courtyard.

New Entrance Map