Breeze #111

January, 2017: Breeze Issue #111


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

Greeting From The Director

Happy New Year to you all!

Last year was a wonderful experiment for us. We presented the films that were co-produced by Japan and other Asian countries. We explored eroticism together with our neighbor the Goethe-Institute, LA. We changed the world with Onigiri (rice balls). We used acting as a method of learning Japanese. We painted Hollywood red with the cinema screening of One Piece Super Kabuki. Thank you all for enjoying all of our events through the year. Your feedback has always been a good source of inspiration for yet another new idea.

A new year is not a new year without Osechi, a traditional Japanese new year’s cuisine where every ingredient has its own ritual meaning for celebration. Together with NHK World, we will be holding an Osechi workshop as part of Japanese Culture Week to be held at the Echo Park Film Center. We will also be partnering with the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) in celebrating Oshogatsu (New Year) by holding yet another Hello Kitty workshop by kawaii artist Sebastian Masuda. If you missed the last one in November, this will be a good opportunity to catch up.

This year will be both challenging and exciting for us. During the months of June and July, we will be renovating our facilities, under which we have no other choice than to give up our library space for good, but we will come back stronger with a whole new array of exciting programs in August. Please be forewarned that you will see Japan as you have never seen before during the year of the Rooster!



Hideki Hara, Director

Japanese New Year's Cuisine
Saturday, January 7, 5pm-6pm (Echo Park Film Center)
Admission is free and no reservation required

In Japan, people celebrate the New Year with specially prepared foods called Osechi-ryori (お節料理), which consist of a variety of dishes. A Japanese food specialist, Yoko Issasi, will guide us through Japanese New Year dishes and explain the meaning behind each dish and what they represent for the new year.

This program is presented in conjunction with NHK World Japanese Culture Week in Los Angeles. Click here for more information.

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Workshop with Artist Sebastian Masuda
Sunday, January 8, 11am-5pm (Japanese American National Museum)
Admission: Free

Help kawaii artist Sebastian Masuda fill a gigantic Hello Kitty time capsule! Bring a cherished personal item or write a letter to your future self, which you will work on and decorate at the workshop before adding it to the capsule.

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Director Makoto Shinkai's Short Animation Double Feature Night
Wednesday, January 11 at 7pm (JFLA Auditorium)
"5 Centimeters Per Second" (63mins, 2007)
In Japanese with English subtitles

Takaki and Akari became best friends after transferring into the same elementary school. However, the two are separated following their elementary school graduation. As they placed their feelings for each other behind them, time simply passed by. Then one snowy day, Takaki is about to be reunited with Akari. As he sits on the train from Tokyo, memories of the past rush through Takaki's head, his meeting time with Akari drawing ever closer. Join Takaki on a journey into three interconnected tales of love and lost innocence that span the minutes and months of their lives.

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Wednesday, January 11 at 8:15pm (JFLA Auditorium)
"The Garden of Words" (46mins, 2013)
In Japanese with English subtitles

When Takao, a high school student dreaming of becoming a shoemaker, skips school one day in favor of sketching shoes in a rainy garden, he has no idea how much his life will change when he encounters the mysterious Yukino. Older, but perhaps not much wiser, she seems adrift in the world. The two strike up an unusual relationship through chance meetings in the same garden on each rainy day. But the rainy season is coming to a close, leaving many things left unshared between them...

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Wednesday, January 25 at 7pm (JFLA Auditorium)
"Miss Hokusai" (90mins, 2016)
In Japanese with English subtitles

From award-winning director Keiichi Hara (Colorful) and Japanese powerhouse Production I.G (creators of Ghost in the Shell) comes a remarkable story of the daughter behind one of history’s most famous artists.

As all of Edo (present day Tokyo) flocks to see the work of the revered painter Hokusai, his daughter O-Ei toils diligently inside his studio. Her masterful portraits, dragons and erotic sketches – sold under the name of her father – are coveted by upper crust Lords and journeyman print makers alike. Shy and reserved in public, in the studio O-Ei is as brash and uninhibited as her father, smoking a pipe while sketching drawings that would make contemporary Japanese ladies blush. But despite this fiercely independent spirit, O-Ei struggles under the domineering influence of her father and is ridiculed for lacking the life experience that she is attempting to portray in her art. 

Miss Hokusai‘s bustling Edo is filled with yokai spirits, dragons, and conniving tradesmen, while O-Ei’s relationships with her demanding father and blind younger sister provide a powerful emotional underpinning to this sumptuously-animated coming-of-age tale.

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Oshogatsu Family Festival
Sunday, January 8, 11am-5pm (Japanese American National Museum)
Admission: Free

Welcome the Year of the Rooster with crafts, food, cultural activities, and performances!

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2017-2018 J-LEAP: Now Accepting Applications
Deadline: January 10, 2017   

Are you interested in inviting a Japanese Assistant Teacher (AT) to your K-12 classroom for up to two consecutive school years? Do you want to give your students an opportunity to learn and hear Japanese from a native speaker or an additional native speakers for some variation? If so, make sure you apply for J-LEAP, which was started in 2011 with the help of the Laurasian Institute (TLI).

Program Information


Japanese Language Courses
Winter 2017 Term: Jan. 14 - April 4
Register Now!   

Winter is nearly here, and the registration period for our JF Nihongo Winter Term has begun!  We are now accepting registrations for our popular Japanese courses which will begin on January 14th.  Our courses are designed for new Japanese-language learners, as well as those who are interested in improving their existing language skills.

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Introduction to Polite Japanese
Winter 2017 Term: Jan. 21 - Feb. 4
Register Now!   

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).  Course of three meetings.  All applicants are eligible for a 10% Early Bird Discount if you register by January 9, 2017!

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2017 National Japan Bowl Registration Extended!
Deadline: Tuesday, January 31, 2017   

The 2017 National Japan Bowl® will be held Thursday-Friday, April 6-7, 2017 at the National 4-H Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The Sakura Matsuri, the nation’s largest one-day Japanese cultural event, will be held on Saturday, April 8, 2017, the day after the National Japan Bowl. Please visit the link below for the Study Guide for the 2017 National Japan Bowl, the Administrative Guide, which contains a link to the online registration forms, and the Application Checklist, which must be included in your application.

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2017-18 Japanese Language Grants (Coming Soon!)

The application materials for our Fiscal Year 2017-18 grant programs (Learners Event Grant, Teaching Material Purchase Grant, Salary Assistance Grant, etc.) will be available by the end of January, 2017. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Japanese Language Education Update 38:
Social Justice in the Japanese Classroom

Last month at the 2016 ACTFL Annual Convention and World Languages Expo in Boston, 2012 Teacher of the Year Mr. Yo Azama (North Salinas High School) and AATJ President Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott (California State University Monterey Bay), presented a session titled “Social Justice in the Language Classroom: Impact on Global Citizenship.” The room was absolutely packed with language teachers of all kinds.

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New JFLA Twitter Handle @JF_LosAngeles

JFLA has a new twitter handle to make it easier to search for us. Make sure to follow us @JF_LosAngeles!


2016-2017 J-LEAP Reports

For the 2016-2017 school year, we invited twelve native assistant teachers (AT) to various schools around the country as part of the Japanese Language Education Assistant Program (J-LEAP). This is the sixth year of this program where schools around the country are given the opportunity to invite an AT for up to two years with the goal of strengthening their Japanese language program. This month, we will feature the reports from the following ATs detailing their experiences at American schools.



Sayonara JFLA Library

We are very sad to announce that the JFLA library will be closing at the end of January. The last day to return books will be on the 28th. This spring, we will be renovating and downsizing our office and the Nihongo Library, which was established in 1992, will not be part of our offerings going forward. We will still be open for our usual movie screenings. cultural events/workshops, and Japanese language classes until the completion of the current fiscal year ending on March 31. We hope to re-open with a new look this fall and hope you will continue to support us in the new evolution of JFLA.

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