Breeze #76

February, 2014: Breeze Issue #76


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

Greeting From The Director

When Etsuko and Joe Price were watching TV on March 11, 2011, the endless reports of hopeless scenes from Etsuko’s native country devastated them both. 

A couple of weeks later she saw a tiny pink plum blossom blooming in the middle of an otherwise colorless and lifeless field which had been destroyed by the tsunami. Etsuko decided to bring their Edo paintings to Tohoku so that the people could be healed by the colorful screens and scrolls which illustrate the idyllic lives of animals.

Last year, the Price Collection was exhibited for 6 months in Sendai, Morioka, and Fukushima. More than 350,000 people went to see it: a record-breaking number of visitors to those three prefectures’ museums. I myself visited one of them and saw people excited to see not only the art but also the Prices themselves. Talking with those individuals in Tohoku was an incredible experience for the couple. A number of fishermen, hunters, and farmers familiar with the animals and plants offered the Prices their interpretations and insights into the paintings.  Above all, however, was Joe Price’s extraordinary encounter with one 12-year-girl. When Joe asked her why she liked Ito Jakuchu’s paintings so much, she said, “Because they don’t age…”

Now the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has started the display of the Price Collection at its Pavilion for Japanese Art.  Please do not miss this special opportunity to feel the ageless beauty  of the life depicted on colorful Edo period art.

Misako Ito, Director

Photo Exhibition: The World Heritage in Japan
Part 1: January 28th Tue. – February 22nd Sat.
Part 2: February 25th Tue. – March 22nd Sat.
Venue: JFLA Auditorium

From historical monuments to beautiful natural environments, currently, there are a total of 17 cultural and natural sites in Japan registered as UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.  Over 60 beautiful photographs of these sites were taken by renowned photographer, Kazuyoshi Miyoshi, is currently on display as a two-part exhibition at JFLA through March 22nd during normal library hours.

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JAPANEMA: Kurosawa's Transposition of Macbeth
Throne of Blood (109min., 1957)
Wednesday, February 12 at 7PM
Venue: JFLA Auditorium

A vivid, visceral Macbeth adaptation, Throne of Blood, directed by Akira Kurosawa, sets Shakespeare's definitive tale of ambition and duplicity in a ghostly, fog-enshrouded landscape in feudal Japan. As a hardened warrior who rises savagely to power, Toshiro Mifune gives a remarkable, animalistic performance, as does Isuzu Yamada as his ruthless wife. Throne of Blood fuses classical Western tragedy with formal elements taken from Noh theater to create an unforgettable cinematic experience.

JAPANEMA: Nominated for Best Documentary Oscar!
Cutie and the Boxer (82min., 2013)
Wednesday, February 26 at 7PM
Venue: JFLA Auditorium

A reflection on love, sacrifice, and the creative spirit, this candid New York documentary explores the chaotic 40-year marriage of renowned "boxing" painter Ushio Shinohara and his artist wife Noriko. As a rowdy, confrontational young artist in Tokyo, Ushio seemed destined for fame, but he is met with little commercial success after he moves to New York City in 1969, seeking international recognition. When 19-year-old Noriko moved to New York to study art, she fell in love with Ushio—abandoning her education to become the unruly artist's wife and assistant. Over the course of their marriage, their roles shifted. Now 80, Ushio still struggles to establish his artistic legacy, while Noriko is at last being recognized for her own art—a series of drawings entitled "Cutie," depicting her challenging past with Ushio. Spanning four decades, the film is a moving portrait of a couple wrestling with the eternal themes of sacrifice, disappointment and aging, against a background of lives dedicated to art.

"The Great Passage" Screening
Wednesday, March 5 at 7PM
Venue: Egyptian Theatre (6712 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028)

JFLA in collaboration with the Japan Business Association (JBA) and American Cinematheque presents the screening of "The Great Passage," which was selected as Japan's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards. Details and ticket information will be available on the JFLA website soon.

Fiscal Year 2014-2015 Japanese Language Grants

We are pleased to announce the start of our Fiscal Year 2014-2015 grant programs that we organize annually in support of Japanese-Language Education in the United States. These include the following:


  1. Japanese Language Learners Event Grant previously known as "Speech Contest Grant" (Deadlines: 3/1/2014 & 9/1/2014)
  2. Japanese Teaching Material Purchase Grant (Deadlines: 3/15/2014 & 9/15/2014)
  3. Salary Assistance Grant for Japanese Language Courses (Deadline: 4/10/2014)
  4. Japanese-Language Education Project Grant (Deadline: 2 months prior to project start date).

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JFLA is Seeking a Part-Time Japanese-Language Lecturer

The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles (JFLA) invites applicants for our part-time lecturer position in Japanese language courses JF Nihongo. This position will be effective March/April2014, with teaching duties beginning in July or September, 2014. With our many years of experience and achievements in Japanese Language Education, we started offering Japanese language courses in Los Angeles in 2012. The courses will be based on "JF Standards," which our Tokyo Headquarters has been developing during the past few years. We seek applicants who are committed to Japanese-language education and open to "JF Standard."

The Japan Foundation Standard Familiarization Workshop
Livonia, MI: Sunday, February 9, 2014 (9:00am - 4:00pm)
Seattle, WA: Saturday, February 15, 2014 (9:00am - 4:15pm)

We will be organizing two JF Standard Familiarization Workshops at the Hinoki International School in Livonia, MI and the University of Washington in Seattle, WA. Ms. Tomoyo Shibahara, Japanese language adviser at the Japan Foundation, Sao Paulo, will speak about the JF Standard and compare it with ACTFL Standards. She has worked on many courses for Japanese language teachers and developed teaching materials including the Marugoto textbook series.

Register for Seattle, WA

2013 JLPT Results Update

Online results are now available for those who took the 2013 JLPT. Visit the AATJ website for Instructions on how to access your scores. You will need your registration number that was on your voucher and the 8 digit numerical password provided during registration. Login to your JLPT Online Account if you forgot your registration number or password to retrieve that information. Hard copies of your score report will also be mailed out by the end of February.

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Reminder: 2014 JET Memorial Invitation Program
Send a High School Student to Japan For Two Weeks This Summer

This is a friendly reminder that there is less than a week remaining to register for the National Japanese Exam (NJE), which is a requirement to apply for the JET Memorial Invitation Program. The exam is organized by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese and both members and non-members are able to register their students for the test this year. There is a new video of the NJE Webinar that features an orientation and Q&A session by the test developers covering all aspects of the exam. If you missed this on January 12, you can watch it on the AATJ Website.

Note: The NJE deadline is Saturday, February 8 at 5:00pm Eastern Time

New Information Center Acquisitions

We recently purchased some new books and DVDs in our library so make sure to drop by to check out the new materials. The books are divided into four categories including Books in English, Books in Japanese, Japanese-language study materials, and Children's Books. Our annual library membership fee is only $2 and you get a free cloth book bag when you become a member!


JFLA Lecture DVD Archive
You can watch the lecture you missed!!

Video recording of select JFLA lecture series organized in 2013 will be available on DVD to watch in our Library. If you missed a lecture or want to watch one again, please come to our information center to watch it on one of our media stations. For details, please contact our .

Japanese Language Education Update #3: Good News for Japan Bowl© and Immersion Education

Keep an eye on the National Japan Bowl© website because the due date for applications has been pushed back to February 15 due to a special announcement – the top five teams of all three levels will visit Japan through the KAKEHASHI Project. That’s a total of 45 students who will win an overseas trip this year! That’s bound to get the competitive juices flowing in Chevy Chase, Maryland in April.

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Event Report: JF Nihongo Tea Time January 18, 1PM at JFLA

On Saturday, January 18, 2014, over 30 Japanese language learners joined us here at JFLA for our extremely popular Tea Time event. Participants had the opportunity to chat with other learners and our volunteer native Japanese speakers. Our JF Nihongo Course Instructors also gave the participants a simple lesson on greetings and organized a bingo game where participants interacted with each other. The volunteers also worked with the participants to write new years resolutions in Japanese and as a group they gave a presentation promoting an aspect of Japanese culture that they enjoyed. This was the sixth Tea Time Event we organized and it officially kicked off the Winter Term of our Japanese language courses. We will have more information on Spring Term by the end of February so please check back then if you are interested in learning Japanese.

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Kakehashi Project Visits JFLA

The auditorium at the JF Library sure was lively on January 14th! Over 100 Japanese students from Odate Homei High School (Akita), Kobe City Jr. Technical College (Hyogo), Izumi High School (Osaka), and Inage High School (Chiba) visited our offices during their 2-week visit to the U.S. This group was part of the massive KAKEHASHI Project, a youth exchange program promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA) and co-organized by the Japan Foundation and the Laurasian Institution. Every year, 2,300 high schools students from America visit Japan and 2,300 Japanese students visit America. A daunting task to organize, but worth it!

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J-LEAP Report Part 5/6

For the 2013-2014 school year, we have 11 assistant teachers (AT) at 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.

2013 JET Memorial Invitation Program: Participant Essays Part 6/8

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.


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