May, 2012: Breeze Issue #55


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

Greeting From The Director

At the end of May, we will be moving from our current office in the Downtown area to our new office in the Miracle Mile District of Los Angeles. The next few months will be a period of transition for us as we move into our new location and acclimate to our new office space, which will include a library, an auditorium, and also classrooms for JF Nihongo Courses. We look forward to meeting our neighbors and the local community while sharing the beauties of Japanese language and culture. I hope you will come out to support us when our facility re-opens to the public later this summer.

Misako Ito, Director

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We Are Moving

Starting on June 4th, the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, will be relocating to 5700 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Our telephone number will also be changing and all mail sent to our current address after the end of the month will be forwarded to our new address.

Please note that our library will be closed to the public until later this summer and we will announce our grand re-opening on our website.

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LACMA and the Japan Foundation will screen a series of films that offer a raw, street-level view of Japanese urban life while also confronting such poignant, postwar themes as identity, gender, and alienation. These films, from the taut policiers of Akira Kurosawa and existentialist parables of Hiroshi Teshigahara to rarely-screened films by Susumu Hani and Toshio Matsumoto, shatter social and aesthetic taboos as they fearlessly delve into a bustling underworld of petty criminals, miscreants, outcasts, revolutionaries, and all other manner of stray dogs.

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Join our Volunteer Team!

Do you like Japanese language, culture, or arts? Do you want to gain experience working in an international environment? Then check out the exciting volunteer opportunities as part of The Japan Foundation's Volunteer Team!

Volunteer work with our organization is basic and we will give you necessary instruction, so, please join us!

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JF Nihongo: Mastering Kana June class is open for registration

Kana is the basic phonetic characters of Japanese consisting of hiragana and katakana. The introductory course Mastering Kana is an intensive course covering all hiragana and katakana in 5 meetings. Useful expressions including greetings will be introduced as well. This interactive and challenging course will start on June 2 at the JACCC in Little Tokyo. No prior experience in Japanese is needed. Seats are limited so please register early!

JF Nihongo: Special Summer Courses!

We will offer three special courses for summer term at two different locations; the JACCC in Little Tokyo, Downtown Los Angeles, and our new office in the Miracle Mile District.

JF Nihongo Summer Camp is designed for high school students who are learning Japanese and are also interested in exploring the Little Tokyo area.

Japanese for Fun will be offered at our new office for both Parents and Children, who are interested in making sushi and learning about language and culture related to food.

Introduction to JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) will be a three hour workshop for those who are interested in taking the N4 or N5 level test this year. We will cover the structure of the test and explain the format of the questions.

Detailed information will be available by the end of June so please check our website for updates.

J-LEAP Report: Part 8 (Final)

This month, we have invited Shiori Yamamoto, a teaching assistant at Aina Haina Elementary School in Honolulu, Hawaii, to share her experiences teaching at an American high school. As you may recall, we sent 15 Japanese teaching assistants to assist Japanese-language teachers at select high schools all over the country. This is the last report from the 2011 group.

Shiori Yamamoto (Aina Haina Elementary School, HI)

“Aloha!” from Honolulu!

This is Shiori Yamamoto at Aina Haina Elementary School. Our school is located in Honolulu, Hawaii, which is located on the southeast coast of the island of Oahu.

We have wonderful students, in the K-5 levels, who are challenging themselves to the “3B’s” (be safe, be kind, and be responsible). We also have awesome teachers who are professional at teaching and are very knowledgeable about school life. I seriously learn at least three things by the time I go home every day. I’m not only learning, but enjoying every day of work at this school.

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JET-MIP: Participant's Essays Part 8-2 (Final)

This is the last part of an eight part series that will highlight the experiences of 32 participants of the 2011 JET Memorial Invitational Program. Through this program, participants travelled to Japan in July of 2011 for a 10 day exchange that focused on Japanese language and culture with the purpose of fostering friendship and goodwill between the youth of both countries. This month, we will be featuring the last essay of the 2011 JET Memorial Invitation Program by Kayla Lindsey.

2012 JLPT

The 2012 JLPT will be held on December 2nd, 2012. Information including cost, test sites, and registration process will be posted on our website in July.


Event Report: ABEYA Tsugaru-Shamisen US Tour

In celebration of the Japan-US Cherry Blossom Centennial, the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles, invited ABEYA, Japan's top Tsugaru-Shamisen Performance Ensemble, for a six city West Cost tour of the United States. The event was organized in conjunction with the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.

Overall the performances were well received at every stop during the tour and we received rave reviews from everyone who was in attendance. In Los Angeles, a special workshop was also held at UCLA where the performers explained the intricacies of a shamisen performance including the history of the shamisen, a breakdown of the instrument, and also the lyrics to a tradition piece. We appreciate everyone who came out to support this event and hope you will continue to support our activities.

Staff Update

In April, we welcomed Ms. Hiroko Katsuta to the JFLA family. Katsuta sensei, as her students often call her, is the new Japanese Language Specialist, who will be teaching in our Japanese language courses offered by our office. She recently received her MA in Japanese linguistics from Portland State University and is currently teaching the Mastering Kana class on Saturday mornings. She hopes to have an enriching experience teaching Japanese and learning from her students during her time here in Los Angeles and looks forward to inspiring her students to realize the exciting journey that is involved with studying Japanese.