August, 2012: Breeze Issue #58


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

Greeting From The Director

This month marks the official opening of our information center on the miracle mile. We had our open house on Thursday, August 30th and it was a great hit with many guests in attendance including students from a local school. They were able to enjoy Japanese snacks, shamisen music, Japanese calligraphy lessons, and short film screenings. A big thank you to everyone who came out to support us. The other big news this month is the start of JLPT registration, which will last till October 2nd. If you are interested in taking the test, please look over the information below.

Misako Ito, Director

Click here for full image

JFLA Grand Re-Opening

Come join us for our grand re-opening on Thursday, August 30th, 2012, starting at noon. Be the first to view our new office, which has our information center; multipurpose room with AV equipment; rooms for workshops, JF Nihongo courses, as well as cultural events. Our inaugural exhibit is a photography show "Nippon Through My Eyes." We will also provide hands on experience in calligraphy, short-film screenings and musical entertainment. Japanese snacks and drinks will also be served and gift bags will be handed out to the first 50 guests. Don't miss out on this opportunity.

Japanese Language Grants Application Deadline: September 1st

We offer several types of grants to promote Japanese-language education in the US and the following two grants have September 1st deadlines. If you are interested in applying for either grants, please make sure you send your applications so they arrive on or before September 1st.

  • Grant Program for Contests Designed for Japanese-Language Learners
  • Japanese-Language Teaching Materials Purchase Grant

Read More

Check out JF Nihongo Classes this Fall!

Registration for JF Nihongo classes opens August 13th for the Fall Semester. We offer beginner to advanced Japanese classes at two locations, Miracle Mile and Little Tokyo. For more information on the JF Nihongo classes we offer, please visit us at

We hope to see you soon!

Also, there are still two summer workshops that are still available this month so please check the summer course listings for more info.

2012 Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)

The 2012 JLPT registration will start on Tuesday, September 4th and last through Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012. You will be able to register online through our registration site or through the mail with the downloadable PDF application. We have documents detailing general information about the test, this year's rules/policies, and the special arrangement documents so you can get started on that early. For more information, please visit the JLPT section of our website.

Click here for full image

2012 JET Memorial Invitation Program Report Part 1

In July of 2012, I took 32 high school students from all across the United States for a two week study tour in the Tohoku region, which focused on the two cities of Rikuzentakata and Ishinomaki. These were the cities that Montgomery Dickson and Taylor Anderson were assigned to during their tenure as JET Assistant Language Teachers. This program is dedicated to these two aspiring individuals who worked hard to promote exchanges between Japan and the United States and built lasting friendship between people of both countries. Sadly, both Monty and Taylor lost their lives during the March 11 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami and the JET Memorial Invitation Program was started to continue their work by nurturing future generations to build networks with their counterparts in Japan. Building bridges is the theme of the program as the participants sought to discover their passion as it relates to Japan and consider a future in international diplomacy through programs such as JET.

In the following issues, I will document their journey from their first meeting in Los Angeles, to the eye opening journey through the Tohoku region, and finally to the tearful good-byes as they departed home after the program.

Read More

JF Nihongo Summer Camp for Teens: Discover Little Tokyo Report

We successfully completed the first ever special program, summer camp for teens in Little Tokyo. The students made many new discoveries while touring the many stores and cultural landmarks in Little Tokyo as well as participate in a scavenger hunt in the area. They especially enjoyed partaking in conversations, in Japanese, with people in the local community. This course would not be possible without the support of everyone involved including JANM, Koban, and the shop owners.

JFNY Events

The arts and cultural events in the United States is organized by both JFLA and JFNY. We are in charge of events for the 13 states west of the Rocky Mountains and the New York office is in charge for the remaining 37 states. If you live in the eastern half of the US, make sure to visit the JFNY website to learn about the type of events that they are offering.

Read More

A Traveling Exhibition of the Japan Foundation
"Gazing at the Contemporary World: Japanese Photography from the 1970s to the Present"
PART I : Saturday, June, 23 - Sunday, July, 29, 2012
PART II : Saturday, August, 25 - Sunday, September, 16, 2012

The new traveling exhibition of the Japan Foundation curated by Rei Masuda, curator at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, “Gazing at the Contemporary World: Japanese Photography from the 1970s to the Present” is an overview of the diverse photographic expression that has emerged in Japan since the 1970s. In its final form, the exhibition includes 76 photographs by 23 photographers.

*Daido Moriyama, Kanagawa, 1969

Click here for full image


Back by popular demand, the Bowers is proud to once again host Yukiko Matsuyama performing World Pop featuring the Japanese Koto. This Grammy winning musician began studying the traditional koto, the national instrument of Japan, at the age of 9. Southern California in 1993 and exposure to L.A.’s diverse cultures and rhythms has been eloquently fused into Yukiko’s music today. Just back from Japan, her band features Hirotaka Ogawa, with whom she recorded her CD Beyond the Space. This show marks the official release of the CD in the U.S. and is not to be missed! The instrumentation for the concert will be koto, electric and acoustic guitar, vocals, keyboards, bass and drums.

Friday, August 17, 2012 (Bowers After-Hours 5 - 7 PM; Performance: 7 - 8 PM)
Fee: Member $25/Non-member $35 (does not include dinner)

Click here for full image

Yayoi Kusama
July 12–September 30, 2012

Well known for her use of dense patterns of polka dots and nets, as well as her intense, large-scale environments, Yayoi Kusama works in a variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film, performance, and immersive installation. Born in Japan in 1929, Kusama came to the United States in 1957 and quickly found herself at the epicenter of the New York avant-garde. After achieving fame through ground breaking exhibitions and art “happenings,” she returned to her native country in 1973 and is now one of Japan’s most prominent contemporary artists. This retrospective features works spanning Kusama’s career.

Kusama’s Fireflies on the Water is being shown in the Museum’s Lobby Gallery in conjunction with the Yayoi Kusama retrospective. Timed tickets are required to view Fireflies on the Water and can only be reserved on the day of your visit at the admission desk.

Read More

KYLEE at JPOP Summit Festival
August 25 & 26, 2012 from 11AM to 6PM
San Francisco Japantown

Kylee is an upbeat 18 year-old pop singer/songwriter born to an American father and Japanese mother. She is currently signed to Sony Music Japan and has become a fast-rising multi-cultural star that is developing a major following in both the U.S. and Japan. Kylee has been featured in the U.S. on the Today Show, and her second single, “missing/IT’S YOU,” released in 2010, was featured heavily in a commercial for online apparel retailer NISSEN. In 2011 she performed for an audience of more than 50,000 people at an official Major League Baseball game and also sang for President Barack Obama during a visit to her home state of Arizona earlier this year.

Read More

The 72nd Annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival
Celebrating Our Culture and Community
August 11 to 19, 2012
Little Tokyo, Los Angeles

Read More

Fourth Annual Los Angeles Tanabata (Summer Stars) Festival!
August 10 - August 13

The L.A. Tanabata Festival (LATF) is a most unique and “colorful addition” to the Nisei Week Festivities in Little Tokyo. The fantastic displays are made by individuals, families, groups, organizations, businesses, churches, temples, government offices, and etc.

Nikkatsu at 100: Visions and Voices
Friday, October 26 to Sunday, October 28
University of Southern California, University Park Campus
Norris Cinema Theatre/Frank Sinatra Hall

On September 10, 2012, Japan’s Nikkatsu Film Studio will celebrate its 100th anniversary. One of Japan’s oldest and most acclaimed film studios, the Nikkatsu libraries contain approximately 3,300 film titles, including some of the most important Japanese films from the silent era to the classical period, from the postwar era to the new wave, and up to the current renaissance of Japanese cinema. Nikkatsu’s collection includes period pieces, samurai films, melodramas, youth films, gangster films, “pink” movies, horror films and contemporary blockbusters, with major critical and box-office successes in each of those areas. This three-day event will draw from Nikkatsu’s library to celebrate 100 years of Japanese cinema, and will include screenings and discussions with filmmakers, scholars and critics on Nikkatsu’s enduring legacy in Japan and its historical place in the film world.