Spring, 2011: Breeze Issue #44

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


Greeting From The Director

Director Ito


As a cultural exchange institute affiliated with the Government of Japan, the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, aims to further deepen the understanding of Japanese language and culture among the people of the United States. Our ultimate goal is to enhance not only the friendship shared by our two great nations but also to promote world peace by working together on a common global agenda. We have been engaged in this path of cooperation for many decades now and hope to continue working together for many decades to come.

I was in Tokyo on March 11, 2011. That day will be remembered by everyone all over the world. When I came to Los Angeles at the end of March to begin my tenure here, I had countless occasions to hear many kind words and meet the brave individuals who extended their hands to help Japan and those affected by the disaster. I truly felt the strong bond, Kizuna as we call it in Japanese, shared between Japan and the United States. That connection has never been stronger during our long history together than it is now. For that, I want to say Arigato Gozaimasu! 

Now, Japan is once again in a position to recover and rebuild after a major disaster just like the previous generation did after the Second World War. This time, the youth of the current generation has the burden of rebuilding the affected areas and it is up to them to work with our friends from the United States to further strengthen our relationship as we look towards the future. Gambarimasho!

The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, has been receiving many inquiries and interests about Japan including questions such as: “Why are the Japanese people so resilient?” and “What are the secrets behind America’s fascination with Japanese language and culture?” Through our activities we would like to explore this path with you in order to find the answers to these questions. This will be our new journey as we expand our activities.
Yoroshiku Onegai Shimasu!

Misako Ito, Director


An Exciting New Year

The Japan Foundation's 2011 fiscal year started a little over 2 months ago on April 1st, 2011, and the new year brings many new opportunities to further our mission of introducing Japanese language and culture to Americans all over the country. The Los Angeles office has been tasked with many new projects for the upcoming year, many of which are being implemented for the first time in the United States. These include the JET Memorial Program, J-LEAP, and Japanese language courses, in select cities. We will also continue our annual core programs including the leadership workshop, group tour program, and grant programs to support Japanese language education in the United States. Finally, we hope you are able to join us during this time of change and hope you enjoy this issue of Breeze.


2011 JET Memorial Program

On March 11, 2011, a massive 9.0 earthquake shook the Tohoku region of Japan followed by massive tsunamis that caused unimaginable damage to those living in cities near the coast of northeastern Japan. In the midst of all the destruction and horror, two Americans who were participating in the JET Programme lost their lives while serving as cultural ambassadors, who represented the United States.

To commemorate the work of Ms. Taylor Anderson, who was in Ishinomaki City, and Mr. Montgomery Dickson, who was in Rikuzen Takada City, during the Great East Earthquake, the Japan Foundation will invite 32 American high school students to participate in a 10 day language and culture immersion program in Japan. The purpose of this program is threefold: first, to motive Japanese language learners to continue learning Japanese and to promote Japanese language education in general; second, to encourage future generations to participate in JET or similar exchange programs; third, to promote networking opportunities among participants in this program who will act as ambassadors in future relations between Japan and the United States.

Participants will spend 10 days mainly at the Japan Foundation Japanese Language Institute in Kansai, which is located near Osaka and Kyoto, in the southern part of Japan. While there, they will take part in activities designed to deepen their understanding of Japanese language, society, and culture. They will also have opportunities to attend exchanges with the local community and also with current JET participants in Japan. It is our hope that this experience will have a positive effect on the lives of these students and they will use what they learn from this opportunity to dedicate themselves on enhancing and strengthening the cooperation between our two great countries.

The application period for this program ended on Friday, May 13th, 2011, and we received well over 250 applications for the 32 spots available. We were very excited to receive so many applications from motivated learners of the Japanese language. Unfortunately, we were unable to accept everyone who applied; however, this program is slated to return for four addition years at least so we encourage everyone is interested and eligible to try again next year. We look forward to hearing from the participants upon their return and will include participant essays in a future issue of Breeze.


Full-time Lecturer in Japanese-Language

The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles (JFLA) will open the new Japanese-language courses in January 2012, operated by JFLA.
With our many years of experience and achievements in Japanese Language Education, the courses will be based on “JF Standards” which our Headquarters in Japan have developed during the past few years. We invite applicants for a Full-time Lecturer in Japanese-Language effective late August 2011 in Los Angeles to work for the new challenge with us!

2011 JLPT Information

The 2011 JLPT will be administered on Sunday, December 4th, 2011. We will not be offering the July (mid-year) test in the United States nor will any test sites in North or South America be offering the July test. Furthermore, the registration deadline for those countries offering the July JLPT has passed, so it is too late to register at this point.

If you are interested in the December test in the United States, please check back on our website in late July for additional information. At that time, we will have more information regarding the cost, test sites, and the registration process.

It is now just under six months before the next test will be administered here in the United States and a good time to start studying if you haven't already done so. If you are looking for study materials, please click the JLPT icon above for a list of JLPT books and also a list of Japanese bookstores in the United States where you can purchase them from. Most of these stores can accept orders over the phone if you do not live near one. If you still have any other questions regarding the 2011 JLPT, please feel free to contact us at noryoku@jflalc.org.


Struggling Cities:
From Japanese Urban Projects in the 1960s
Saturday, 06.11.11 - Sunday, 07.31.11
Venue: JACCC, George J. Doizaki Gallery, Los Angeles

The U.S. Premier of Struggling Cities, an important traveling exhibition commissioned by The Japan Foundation, will canvas the unique social and physical structure of post-war and post-occupation cities of Japan in the 1960s.



Summer Institute for Teachers of Japanese Language in U.S.
Sponsored by the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
Date: August 1st - August 4th, 2011
Application Deadline: June 15th, 2011

The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, in collaboration with DePaul University will conduct a four-day Summer Institute in Arlington Heights, Illinois, during summer 2011.


The Japan Foundation Advocacy Kit
Supplemental DVDs

During the 2009 fiscal year, the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, developed the Advocacy Kit 3rd Edition to promote Japanese language education and foreign language education in the United States. At that time, many school districts were cutting what were deemed unnecessary programs due to budget deficits facing many states. This has continued through 2011 and is again a polarizing topic in many school districts nationwide. The original kit included the Advocacy Brochure along with two leaflets for school administrators and parents. We also had some informative PowerPoint presentations developed by various teachers in the Japanese language and foreign language teaching community. These materials were available only from our website and to broaden the appeal of these presentations, we decided to convert them to DVDs so teachers can benefit from the content.

During the 2010 fiscal year, we initiated the Advocacy DVD project to convert the PowerPoint presentation to video for DVD distribution through the mail. There are a total of five movie chapters spread across two discs and they come in an environmentally friendly eco-wallet made from premium recycled stock. The first DVD includes three movies developed for Japanese language teachers in mind. The second DVD includes two movies, one developed for school administrators and the other developed for parents of Japanese language learners.

If you would like to receive a copy of the kit or if you would like to receive multiple copies of the kit for an event where advocacy is a key topic, please contact jflapublication@jflalc.org. The supplemental DVD will be included with the Advocacy Kit; however, you can request only the DVD if you already have the folder and brochures. We look forward to receiving your requests and hearing about your advocacy efforts.


Upcoming Japanese Language Grants

Grant Program for Contests Designed for Japanese-language Learners
(Application Deadlines: 9/1/2011)

Japanese-Language Teaching Materials Purchase Grant
(Application Deadlines: 9/1/2011)

Japanese-language Education Grant
(Application Deadline: 2 months before the project start date)


Japanese Language Education Assistants Partnership (J-LEAP)

is a new program developed by the Japan Foundation in partnership with the The Laurasian Institution to provide Japanese language teaching assistants to schools all over the United States that have signed up for this program. The Japan Foundation will recruit and send 15 teaching assistants to K-12 educational institutions to enhance students’ understanding of Japanese language and culture. Our goal is to nurture a new generation of highly effective Japanese language teachers who will develop strong lasting programs, whose graduates will be interested in promoting future exchanges between the United States and Japan. The 15 TAs will arrive in the U.S. in August, 2011. Please help us in welcome our new NAKAMAs!!!
For more information, please visit http://www.laurasian.org/Programs.htm











New Library Acquisitions

We have received the following books in our Nihongo library. First is the highly popular, 2nd edition, to the Genki series (textbook and workbook), which is used by students all over the world to learn Japanese. This new version comes with an MP3 CD-ROM featuring 6 hours of audio content. The workbook also includes a link to information on the Genki website with additional materials and useful information. This new edition will be very beneficial to beginning Japanese language learners. The second series of books is from the Nihongo Kyôjuhô series produced by the Japan Foundation. This is a series of teaching materials (total 14 issues) compiled by the Japan Foundation, which provides training courses for Japanese-language teachers, and is based on the classes provided for the training at the Japanese-Language Institute, Urawa. The new releases including Teaching Vocabulary Volume 3(文字・語彙を教える), Teaching Intermediate and Advanced Volume 10 (中・上級を教える), and Evaluating Learning Volume 12(学習を評価する). If you are interested in these books, please visit our Nihongo library.


Staff Changes

During the new fiscal year, we received two new members to our staff. There was a change at the Director position with the end of former Director Kohki Kanno's tenure here in Los Angeles. Ms. Misako Ito replaces him as the new Director of the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles. She was previously the Director of the Japan Information and Culture Center of the Embassy of Japan in Washington D.C.

Our other new staff member is Ms. Kyoko Tanaka who will serve as the Program Officer for our new Japanese Language Course Program. She will also be coordinating the new J-LEAP program detailed in the story below. Kyoko previously worked for The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) here in Los Angeles.

We hope you will welcome them help us welcome them to our family here in Los Angeles and they look forward to representing the Japan Foundation at our future events.