A Free E-Newsletter for Friends of Japan & Teachers of Japanese
In Japan, July marks the start of the Tanabata star festival that takes place on the 7th day of the month every year. It celebrates the legend of the reunion of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively), allowed to meet only once a year while the Milky Way separates these lovers. During this festival, it is customary to write one's wishes on a piece of a colorful paper called tanzaku, and hang them on a bamboo wishing tree.
Here in Los Angeles, there have been many departures and encounters during the past month. Consul General Jun Niimi, who has always displayed his constant dedication to cultural exchange returned to Japan at the end of June. We would like to express our gratitude from the bottom of our heart for what he has done during his stay in Los Angeles as an unwavering supporter of our activities. As for the departure of the Group Tour Program, 14 U.S. educators are currently travelling throughout Japan, and this month, the JET Memorial Invitational Program will send 32 high school students to Japan. We look forward to hearing their stories upon their return.
There are two extraordinary encounters of Japanese culture that should not to be missed. The first is Japanese Design Today 100organized by the Japan Foundation at the UCLA’s Perloff Hall. The second is the Chinese Paintings from the Japanese Collections, including many important cultural properties of Japan, organized by LACMA. Both exhibitions are available for a limited time only and will end shortly (through July 19 and July 9 respectively), and in spite of their originality and uniqueness of the reconstruction of Japanese culture, they are held inconspicuously and difficult to find location. Please take your time to discover and admire them.
Japanese Design Today 100 is a travelling exhibition of the Japan Foundation’s own collection, featuring 100 of the finest examples of Japanese design with a focus on everyday products. Revealed for the first time ever right here in Los Angeles, this is its world-wide debut that will span the next 10 years. With refined techniques, a marvelous sense of beauty and accurate apprehension of the needs of users, this exhibition depicts the “Designscape” of Japan, diversity of contemporary Japanese life and culture supported by Japanese craftsmen’s spirit.
Your sight-seeing tour of Japanese design will start from Parking lot 3 on the UCLA Campus. After having traversed the sculpture garden where you can enjoy Milo, Moore and Calder, Perloff Hall is just on your left side after the coffee shop. Please don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity!
We are also organizing many activities this month to share Japanese language and culture with Angelinos here in southern California, so please take a break from the hot summer breeze and join us as we attempt to expand your horizon.
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.
Conductor and composer Mr. Hideaki Hirai transforms classic Japanese folktales into grand operas and his own acclaimed opera, “Princess from the Moon” (Kaguya-hime) has been performed more than 20 times worldwide. In this lecture, Mr. Hirai will talk about his unique fusion of Western music and Japanese language as well as the process of creating his opera “Kaguya-hime” through public participation.
More Information Coming Soon!
This film is an elegant, emotional chronicle of a teacher's unwavering commitment to her students, profession, and sense of morality. Set in a remote, rural island community and spanning decades of Japanese history, from 1928 through World War II and beyond, Kinoshita's film takes a simultaneously sober and sentimental look at the epic themes of aging, war, and death, all from the lovingly intimate perspective of Hisako Oshi (Hideko Takamine), as she watches her pupils grow and deal with life's harsh realities. Though little known in the United States, Twenty-Four Eyes is one of Japan's most popular and enduring classics.
From the visionary directory of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time and Wolf Children comes the story of an ordinary family going to extraordinary lengths to avert the impending cyber apocalypse! Kenji is your typical teenage misfit. He is good at math, bad with girls, and spends most of his time hanging out in the all-powerful, online community known as OZ. His second life is the only life he has until the girl of his dreams, Natsuki, hijacks him for a starring role as a fake fiancé at her family reunion. Things only get stranger from there. A late-night email containing a cryptic mathematic riddle leads to the unleashing of a rogue AI intent on using the virtual word of OZ to destroy the real world, literarily. As Armageddon looms on the horizon, Kenji and his new family set aside their differences and band together to save the worlds they inhabit in this near-perfect blend of social satire and science fiction.
Do you have plans to go to Japan in the near future? If so, prepare for your trip with us! You will learn helpful travel tips from a tourism specialist from the Japan National Tourism Organization and essential Japanese phrases from our Japanese language instructor. This workshop is suitable for beginners and those who have no experience at all. Seats are limited, so please register now! We also still have some seats available for Summer camp for teens so register now if you are interested.
Brush-up your Japanese for the fall term! We invite you to study at JFLA classrooms during the summer. A JF Nihongo instructor will be there to help you study! Bring your own class materials for review and prepare for the next course you would like to take. This review session will be offered exclusively to JF Nihongo students. Don't miss this opportunity! This is an open session, so you are free to come and go as you like during the session, as long as you have registered your place at least one day before.
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)
This month, we will be inviting 32 US High School Students to Japan for the JET Memorial Invitation Program. Their first stop will be in Los Angeles for the pre-departure orientation with special guest speakers including the family members of Taylor Anderson and Montgomery Dickson as well as former JET participants who were in Japan during the disaster. This year we have also invited Ms. Masako Unoura, founder of the Love to Nippon Project, as a guest speaker to talk about the current and future of the Tohoku region. The Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles was also gracious enough to organize a reception for this event. We look forward to meeting all the participants and we will be posting their stories in an eight part series in future issues of Breeze.
It’s time to upgrade JFLA’s Advocacy Kit! And Japanese language teachers in the U.S. can help.
Part of our mission is to support teachers as they advocate for their Japanese language programs. Advocacy usually involves showing the community the value of its Japanese language program through fun cultural events, PR, and professional development, all of which lead to student recruitment and high-quality, sustained Japanese programs. With that objective, the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles and the American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ) are working together to update JFLA’s current advocacy resources.
The Japan-America Society of Washington DC has announced the establishment of the Tanaka and Green Scholarships to support short-term academic study (one semester or one academic year) at colleges and universities in Japan. The application deadline for the 2014-2015 academic year is July 15, 2014.
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.
This past month included additional staff changes here at JFLA including the departure of Maiko san as she completed her three year assignment here as the coordinator for assistant Japanese language teachers across the US participating in J-LEAP as well as our Japanese language courses. Ayako san will be replacing her and we also welcome Mike san as our new receptionist. Make sure to drop by and meet them during your next visit.