A Free E-Newsletter for Friends of Japan & Teachers of Japanese
The month of June typically marks the beginning of summer with warmer weather and the end of school for many students around the country including our students enrolled in spring term of JF Nihongo courses. This is also one of the busiest times of year for us when we plan many large scale events such as the exhibition Japanese Design Today 100 at UCLA, the Group Tour Program for U.S. Educators, and the JET Memorial Invitation Program. At our office on the Miracle Mile, we will continue offering our biweekly JAPANEMA film screenings as well as a Zen Calligraphy workshop, despite the new construction going on around our office. With all these activities being planned, I hope you will take some time away from the hot Southern California sun and enjoy a fresh breeze of Japanese culture with us at both JFLA & UCLA.
Naomi Takasu, Director
This world premiere exhibition showcases the Designscape of contemporary Japan through 100 objects selected for their popular designs as well as what is known as high design. They are displayed in 10 different categories including Classic Japanese Design, Furniture & Housewares, Tableware & Cookware, Apparel & Accessories, Children, Stationery, Hobbies, Health Care, Disaster Relief, and Transportation. Viewers will gain a good idea of many aspects of contemporary Japanese culture through this exhibition, which can be enjoyed like a virtual tour of Japan.
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Rev. Shumyo Kojima from Zenshuji Soto Mission, Los Angeles will hold a lecture and workshop of Shakyo(写経） and Shabutsu（写仏）, Sutra and Buddha copying. In writing out the sutra and copying the Buddha painting, the participant will experience Japanese calligraphy and meditation.
Akira is based on the manga (comic book) by Katsuhiro Otomo set in the post-apocalyptic community of Neo-Tokyo. Kaneda is a bike gang leader whose close friend Tetsuo gets involved in a government secret project known as Akira. The despotic authorities, the robot-like police, and even the cycle gang pursue Tetsuo when he's bombarded with a new, insidious energy source that has rendered him telekinetic. His supernatural power leading to a bloody death, coup attempt and the final battle in Tokyo Olympiad where Akira's secrets were buried 30 years ago.
From the acclaimed screenwriter Kankuro Kudo of Ping Pong, Yaji and Kita: The Midnight Pilgrims, comes Maiko Haaaaan!!!, a slapstick comedy with an energetic twist of Kyoto humor and a colorful introduction to the undisclosed Maiko world. The film centers on a Japanese office worker named Kumihiko Onizuka (Sadao Abe) who dumps his girlfriend because he believes he can only fall in love with a Maiko (apprentice Geisha). He decides to pursue his dream of courting a real Maiko in Kyoto. The private Maiko Houses become a social barrier added to his rival who is a millionaire baseball player (Shinichi Tsutsumi), standing in his way. Meanwhile, Kumihiko's girlfriend (Kou Shibasaki) tries to win him back by leaving Tokyo to become a Maiko herself.
Through the Invitational Group Tour Program, the Japan Foundation invites 15 administrative leaders of primary and secondary educational institutions to visit Japan on a nine day trip. This program was established in 2008 to build professional networks between American and Japanese educators, thereby enhancing existing Japanese programs and expanding opportunities for students to learn the language.
After an intense selection process, we have finalized the 32 participants for the 2014 JET Memorial Invitation Program for US High School Students. This program was started in 2011 to commemorate the work of two JET participants, Taylor Anderson and Montgomery Dickson, who sadly lost their lives in the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011. Participants from all across the United States have been invited for a 2 week study tour of Japan in July with a focus on the Tohoku region. We congratulate them on this achievement and look forward to meeting them in Los Angeles next month for the pre-departure orientation.
We are excited to announce our Summer Camp for Teens: Discover Little Tokyo - our special annual program just for teens! This is a fun and interactive language day camp. Campers will learn basic characters, Katakana (ex.ア、イ、ウ), and easy expressions in Japanese through fun activities while exploring Little Tokyo. It is a wonderful opportunity for teens to be immersed in the language and the culture both inside and outside of the classroom. Register before June 15 to be eligible for the 10% early bird discount!
We are still accepting applications for the following grants:
1. Japanese Language Learners Event Grant previously known as "Speech Contest Grant" (Deadline: 9/1/2014)
2. Japanese Teaching Material Purchase Grant (Deadline: 9/15/2014)
3. Japanese-Language Education Project Grant (Deadline: 2 months prior to project start date).
Teachers advocate for foreign language programs at their schools. Teachers' associations advocate for foreign language education at the schools in their states. But who advocates for foreign language on Capitol Hill? In May, the president of the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ) Ms. Motoko Tabuse and two AATJ advocacy experts Ms. Janet Ikeda and Mr. William Matsuzaki attended the JNCL-NCLIS Delegate Assembly to do just that.
After a 9.0-magnitude earthquake devastated the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011, massive waves destroyed towns up and down the coastline of Miyagi and Iwate prefectures causing catastrophic damage to the area. At the time, Dr. Robert D. Eldridge, Political Affairs and Public Diplomacy Officer, Marine Corps Installation Pacific, was with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in Okinawa, approximately over 1,500 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter. “Even being in Okinawa, we knew how bad it was going to be,” Eldridge said. The 31st MEU immediately prepared to assist the Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF) and once Operation Tomadachi was approved by the US government in Washington DC.
We purchased some new books and DVDs in our library so make sure to drop by to check them out. 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.
It is with great sadness that we announce the departure of our receptionist Satomi-san. She has been the face of our library for the past two and a half years greeting guests in person and over the phone while assisting with the day to day activities. We appreciate her outgoing personality to connect with our patrons and wish her the best of luck on her future endeavors.
As many of our guests have noticed, there is considerable construction around our office with the ongoing renovation of the courtyard. Starting on June 10th, our guest entrance will no longer be accessible. You will need to enter through our employee entrance to access the library. This will last for approximately 3 months and we will provide additional information as the construction completes. We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to the completion of our new courtyard.