December, 2014: Breeze Issue #86
A Free E-Newsletter for Friends of Japan & Teachers of Japanese
Greeting From The Director
TERANGA - This is the first word that I learned in Sénégal that means Thanksgiving à la sénégalaise.
“If a lonely traveler, totally unknown comes to my village, I am ready to give him my own bed and I will sleep outside. This is our hospitality, our TERANGA.” My late friend Samba Tall always proudly said this, and it is true. During my stay in Sénégal for about 3 years, I felt the joy of TERANGA every day sharing something enjoyable together with others.
This Thanksgiving Day, I am reminded of this word once again. In the U.S., December marks the end of the consecutive holiday months starting with Thanksgiving, culminating in Christmas and the New Year. I love this season because people everywhere appear softer and more charitable, considering how they can share joy with their family and friends. According to Professor Hiroshi Kashiwagi, historian of modern design, Japanese contemporary design after 3/11 has drastically changed. It has become softer, rounder, more gentle, interactive and conversational so that the users feel accepted and connected with others. In these days where warmer interaction with each other is needed more and more, I feel happy that we, the Japan Foundation, are one of the catalysts of human and intercultural connection.
Here at JFLA, our year is not complete without hosting the JLPT on December 7th where hundreds of thousands of Japanese language learners worldwide come together to measure their Japanese proficiency. We will also be organizing Lecture Series 24 featuring photographs capturing Shikinen Sengu by Sanjiro Minamikawa, and one Japanema event featuring a British WW2 movie, so please come in and join us to share in a warm breeze of Japanese culture. Please note that we will be closed during the latter part of the month until early January, and we wish you all a very happy holiday season.
Naomi Takasu, Director
2014 JLPT Update
Test Date: Sunday, December 7, 2014 (Time Varies By Test Site)
We received notice that AATJ sent out all test vouchers and vital information sheets during the first week of November so you should have received it by now. If you have not received this yet, you can download the information from your account on the JLPT registration site. Make sure to get a good night's sleep before the test and we wish you the best of luck.
JFLA Lecture Series 24
Shikinen Sengu: Heart of Japan Captured by Photographer Sanjiro Minamikawa
Tuesday, December 9 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)
Free Admission, RSVP Required
Photographer Sanjiro Minamikawa documented the 62nd Jingu Shikinen Sengu (the reconstruction of the shrines at Ise Jingu in Mie Prefecture, and the transference of their respective deities to the new buildings) which was completed in 2013. In his lecture, Mr. Minamikawa will use his visual documentation of the ceremony to demonstrate how traditions are passed on from one generation to the next, as well as the coexistence of nature and humanity.
*Please note this lecture will be in Japanese with English interpretation.
JAPANEMA: Free Japanese Cinema Screening
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (123mins, 1983)
Wednesday, December 10 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)
In this captivating, skewed World War II drama from Nagisa Oshima, David Bowie regally embodies Celliers, a British officer interned by the Japanese as a POW. Musician and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (who also composed this film's hypnotic score) plays the camp commander, obsessed with the mysterious blond major, while Tom Conti is the British lieutenant colonel Lawrence, who tries to bridge the emotional and language divides between captor and prisoner. Also featuring actor-director Takeshi Kitano in his first dramatic role, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence is a multilayered, brutal, at times erotic tale of culture clash, and one of Oshima's greatest successes.
Note: We will not have a screening on Wednesday, December 24 (Christmas Eve)
Register Now! JF Nihongo Japanese Language Courses
Winter Term: 1/21 - 3/20
Learn Japanese with us this winter! 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 January 9. Ready, set, register!
Now Accepting Applications
Deadline: Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Invite a Japanese Assistant Teacher (AT) into your K-12 classroom for up to two consecutive academic years to give your students an opportunity to hear and learn Japanese from a native speaker. This program was started in 2011 with the help of the Laurasian Institute (TLI) with the goal of nurturing a new generation of highly qualified Japanese language teachers in the United States. We currently have a total of 23 ATs in 19 different states nationwide.
2015 National Japan Bowl Registration NOW OPEN!
The 2015 National Japan Bowl will be held on Thursday-Friday, April 9-10, 2015 at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The Sakura Matsuri - Japanese Street Festival, the largest Japanese cultural festival in the US, will be held on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington DC on Saturday, April 11, 2015. Early bird registration ends on December 5, 2014. If a team applies before December 5, the $55 for one teacher per school will be waived. The application deadline for the National Japan Bowl is on January 16, 2015. Make sure to apply early!
Japanese Currents 2014
December 5 - 16 (Whitsell Auditorium - Portland, OR)
Like Japanese fashion and pop culture, Japanese film remains in the international vanguard, blending traditional genres and classical forms with cutting-edge technology and dazzling imagery. This year’s Japanese Currents series highlights recent noteworthy Nipponese films, ranging from anime to samurai epic, documentary to family melodrama, while exploring issues important to contemporary Japanese society. Collectively, the series offers a fresh take on Japanese culture and a showcase of the wealth of creative invention at work in Japan today.
Groundswell: Guerilla Architecture In Response To The Great East Japan Earthquake
MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House
Through January 4, 2015
This exhibition presents a selection of architects' efforts as it engages the ongoing conversation of how architecture can serve communities following a natural disaster. The exhibition features works by artist Hiroyasu Yamauchi, and architects Hitoshi Abe, Manabu Chiba, Momoyo Kaijima and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (of Atelier Bow-Wow), Senhiko Nakata, Osamu Tsukhashi, and Riken Yamamoto.
Why study Japanese? The debut of SPEAKJAPAN!
Did you know:
Japan is the world’s 3rd largest economy (GDP $4.9 trillion in 2013)?
Japan has invested over $340 billion in America through affiliated companies?
Japanese people tweet so much they once crashed Twitter worldwide?
Ten Japanese scientists have won Nobel prizes in the sciences in the past few years?
When somebody says, “Gee, I’d sure like to study a language,” don’t you wish that facts like these would flow from your mouth like sweet sweet Ramune?
When recommending Japanese to an individual in search of a new language to learn, point them to SPEAKJAPAN. It’s full to bursting with reasons to study Japanese like: Learning Japanese gives you more options in the job market; Learning Japanese inspires creativity; and Learning Japanese exposes you to fun and thoughtful ways to live life.
But don’t take my word for it: Check it out for yourself!
Don’t forget to share it, like it, and tweet it out to the world. Tell people why YOU are studying, teaching, and loving the Japanese language!
Miyuki Johnson is Selected as a Final Four Candidate for Teacher of the Year
Fulton County School System - Legacy of Excellence Awards (Georgia)
Ms. Miyuki Johnson of Elkins Point Middle School represented the Northwest Learning Community at the annual Legacy of Excellence Awards hosted by Fulton County School System. As the candidate from her school, she beat out 24 other schools including Elementary, Middle, and High school in the Northwest Learning Community, the largest of four regions in the Fulton County School System. The "Legacy of Excellence Awards" are held each fall to recognize outstanding principals, teachers and school professionals from each individual school. They are nominated by their peers and are evaluated by a committee based on achievements, commitment to excellence and dedication. We congratulate her on her selection.
JF Awards Salary Assistance Grant to University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
On Monday, October 27, 2014, Vice Consul Ayako Yamada of the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago visited the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh to attend the Opening Reception of the Provost's Summit on Teaching and Learning in order to make a formal presentation of the Japan Foundation's Salary Assistance Grant to their Japanese Language Program.
Japanese Language Education Update #13: JFLA at ACTFL 2014
To reach out to Japanese language teachers from around the country, JFLA went in force to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages Annual Convention and World Language Expo 2014. It was held in beautiful San Antonio, Texas from November 21st to the 23rd. More than 200 Japanese language teachers attended the event – we know this because we ran out of goodie bags at the booth! Every year, the Exhibit Hall features a special area for Japan-related booths called the “Japan Pavilion.” New faces and old friends dropped by to network, scope out teaching materials, and ask about resources.
Joshua Nettles Participates in the Fukuoka Japanese Cultural Exchange Program
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, with the guidance of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese selected Joshua Nettles, a Japanese Studies graduate student at California State University, Long Beach, to participate in the inaugural Fukuoka Japanese Cultural Exchange Program. Joshua along with several other participants from various countries in Asia as well as Australia participated in this week-long exchange from November 12th through the 19th, 2014. The purpose of this program is to provide an opportunity to distinguished Japanese language learners to deepen their understanding of the culture and society of Japan with a focus on Fukuoka Prefecture through visits to local universities, companies and a homestay. Click the link below to read about Joshua's adventures in Japan and his thoughts while visiting Japan for the first time through this unique program.
2014 JET Memorial Invitation Program: Participant Essays Part 4/8
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 Reports Part 3/5
For the 2014-2015 school year, we invited nine assistant teachers (AT) to various schools around the country as part of the Japanese Language Education Assistant Program (J-LEAP). This is the fourth year of this program where schools around the country are given the opportunity to invite an AT for up to two years to aid in strengthening their Japanese language program. This month, we will feature the reports from the following ATs detailing their experiences at American schools.
Holiday Library Closures
Due to the upcoming holidays, our library will be closed from Saturday, December 20, 2014 through Monday, January 5, 2015. We will reopen on Tuesday, January 6 in the new year. We appreciate all our library patrons and apologize for the inconvenience.