December, 2013: Breeze Issue #74


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

Greeting From The Director

We can finally breathe again! The Japanese jazz concert tour is over. The annual ACTFL conference is over. The Thanksgiving holiday is over. The JLPT (3900 test takers in 13 U.S. sites) is over. Now let's get ready for the new year! We have a saying in Japanese: 来年のことを言えば鬼が笑う (The devil laughs whenever you say "Next year!" - Nobody knows what may happen), so we have to do our best to prepare for whatever comes. The new fiscal year will start in April and now's the time to plan our 2014 projects. Many surveys have convinced us that interest in Japanese arts and culture and demand for Japanese language education is on the rise here in the U.S., so every penny of the Japanese tax payers' money must be utilized in the best possible way so as to further develop US-Japan relations with our programs. Your insightful suggestions and input are very much appreciated in this planning stage. I sincerely wish you and your family Happy Holidays!

Misako Ito, Director

Register Now! Japanese Language Courses
Winter Term: Jan. - March 22

Winter term registration starts now! 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 10. Ready, set, register!

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Announcement for Japanese Teachers: 2014 JET-MIP
Send a High School Student to Japan For Two Weeks Next Summer

On March 11, 2011, two Americans participating in the JET Program as assistant English language teachers lost their lives during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Taylor Anderson, who was in Ishinomaki City and Montgomery Dickson, who was in Rikuzentakata City will be forever remembered as cultural ambassadors representing the U.S. They had a positive influence on the people and communities they served and JET-MIP was created immediately following the disaster to commemorate their work. This the fourth year of this program and we will again provide 32 high school students the opportunity to visit Japan, with a focus on the Tohoku region, and learn about Japanese language and culture first hand.

Note: To apply, applicants must take the 2014 National Japanese Exam organized by AATJ (Registration Deadline: February 8, 2014).

LA EigaFest 2013
December 6-8, 2013
Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood

The 3rd Annual LA EigaFest will open with the US premiere of UNFORGIVEN (YURUSAREZARU MONO), Lee Sang-il's remake starring Ken Watanabe, the 1992 Clint Eastwood classic. Lee Sang-il will participate in the opening ceremonies as well as a Q&A for US and Japanese audiences.

Other Films include: Hayao Miyazaki's THE WIND RISES, THE APOLOGY KING, LIBRARY WARS, THE DEVIL'S PATH, THE STORY OF YONOSUKE, SAMURAI PIRATES, LEAVING ON THE 15th OF SPRING, NOBODY'S PERFECT, JAPAN IN A DAY (by EP Ridley Scott), and the North American Premiere of the unique live action play, filmed on stage, SEVEN SOULS IN SKULL CASTLE. The feature film DEATH AND TANYA, by 2012's competition shorts winner will also be screened.

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JF Nihongo Workshop: Celebrate Japanese New Year's
Wed. December 11, 7PM at JFLA

Come celebrate with us in our traditional way! You will learn Japanese vocabulary and basic expressions related to New Year's as well as Japanese New Year's customs! Beginners and people with no experience with Japan are very welcome! We will also be offering JF Nihongo Tea Time on Saturday, January 18th at 1PM.

Free Japanese Film Screening!!
Sanjuro (96min., 1964)
Wednesday, December 11 at 7PM
Venue: JFLA Auditorium

Toshiro Mifune swaggers and snarls to brilliant comic effect in Akira Kurosawa's tightly paced, beautifully composed Sanjuro. In this sly companion piece to Yojimbo, jaded samurai Sanjuro helps an idealistic group of young warriors weed out their clan's evil influences, and in the process turns their image of a "proper" samurai on its ear. Less brazen in tone than its predecessor but equally entertaining, this classic character's return is a masterpiece in its own right.

*There is no screening on December 25 due to the Christmas Holiday.

2014 J-LEAP: Applications Currently Being Accepted
Deadline: January 21st, 2014

We are now accepting applications from schools interested in hosting an assistant teacher for up to two years through the Japanese Language Education Assistants Program (J-LEAP). If you are interested in inviting a Native Japanese Teaching Assistant to your school next year, please click below for more information!

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2013 JET Memorial Invitation Program: Participant Essays Part 4/8

In July of 2013, 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 Ishonomaki. 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, middle 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 Report Part 3/6

For the 2013-2014 school year, we invited 12 assistant teachers (AT) to various schools around the country as part of the Japanese Language Education Assistant Program (J-LEAP). This is the third year of this program where assistant teachers are invited for up to two years to aid in strengthening the Japanese language program at their respective schools. This month, we will feature the reports from the following ATs, who will describe their experiences at American high schools.

Japanese-Language Education Update 1: 2013 ACTFL Report
Report by Amanda Rollins

We had a jam-packed schedule at the ACTFL 2013 Annual Convention and World Languages Expo in Orlando, Florida from November 21-24! In addition to the JFLA booth, a speech, and two presentations, we held a Leadership Workshop for six carefully selected potential future leaders of Japanese language education in the U.S.

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Activity Report: 2013 JLPT

This year, the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ) with the support of Japan Foundation successfully organized the JLPT at 13 test sites across the United States. We again had a record number of test takers despite the test occurring at the end of Thanksgiving weekend. Score reports will be sent out by the beginning of March, 2014, so if you need to update your mailing address, please do so by January 31st. There will also be additional information on checking your scores online so please check the AATJ website in early February for more information.

Event Report: JFLA Lecture Series 14
New Visions of Japanese Studies at UCLA With Professor Katsuya Hirano and Professor Michael Emmerich
Reported by Colin Marshall

What does it mean, today, to devote an academic career to the study of Japan? This and other questions came to the fore last month when UCLA professors Katsuya Hirano and Professor Michael Emmerich gave a public talk at the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles. Both have newly joined the faculty of the school's Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, appointments enabled by a three-year $150,000 grant, totaling $450,000, from the Japan Foundation.

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Linked Verse World Premiere Concert
Saturday, December 7, 7:30PM
Sunday, December 8, 2:30PM
Venue: Stanford University

A multimedia evocation of otherness and union that builds on tensions and accords between elements of Japanese and Western cultures. Linked Verse is an evening-length concerto for cello, Japanese shõ & voice, sound, and live 3D stereoscopic visual projection by Stanford Department of Music faculty member and composer Jaroslaw Kapuscinski and OpenEndedGroup from New York City. The work explores ancient and contemporary eras and of sensory modalities, both visual and aural. A collage of photographs and videos gathered on location in Tokyo, Kyoto, New York, and San Francisco will evoke a haunting visual landscape.

Click Here for ticket & details

Holiday Library Closures

Due to the upcoming holiday season, our library will be closed from December 21, 2013 through January 6. 2014. We will reopen on Tuesday, January 7 in the new year. We appreciate all our library patrons and apologize for the inconvenience.