A Free E-Newsletter for Friends of Japan & Teachers of Japanese
秋来ぬと 目にはさやかに 見えねども 風の音にぞ おどろかれぬる
(Akikinuto/meniwa sayakani/mienedomo/kazeno otonizo/odorokarenuru: Though the arrival of autumn is not yet visible anywhere, I suddenly noticed it by the sound of the fluttering breeze.)
This poem was written by Fujiwara no Toshiyuki during the 9th Century describing the subtle transition of the seasons in Japan. The hot and humid summer gradually ends, and the season of harvest (minori no aki), of culture (bunka no aki), and of appetite (shokuyoku no aki) begins. If you search online using the keywords “Aki, autumn leaves, Momiji,” you will find many beautiful photos of autumnal leaves in Japan. Here in Los Angeles, the weather is still gorgeous, but in the farmers market, we can no longer find cherries, and they have been replaced with pumpkins. I also feel that the sunshine is softer and the air clearer these days. How can we make the sound of the Breeze bring the beauty of autumn to LA?
Here at JFLA, we are promoting our regular events such as Japanema and our lecture series all month long as well as continuing our support of Japanese language education in the United States. Our JF Nihongo courses, fall term, successfully started last month and will continue through this month. There is also only a few days remaining to sign up for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, which will be held at 15 locations nation-wide on December 7, so make to sign up if you plan to take the test this year. Finally, we will be organizing the tour One-Man Kabuki Storytelling featuring Kunitoshi Kineya at three locations including Honolulu, Portland, and Los Angeles. Please come out and experience this unique theatrical art from Japan!
Naomi Takasu, Director
Kunitoshi Kineya, a one-of-a-kind Nagauta shamisen player, will come to America in October for a US tour. Nagauta, which literally means “long song” in Japanese, is a classical style of Japanese music which traditionally accompanies Kabuki Theater. Kunitoshi specializes in performing pieces from the Nagauta repertoire on the shamisen, a three-stringed fretless lute.
Two-time Grammy Award-winner smooth jazz keyboardist Bob James and Japanese renowned pop singer Seiko Matsuda performed a charity concert with local jazz band in Ofunato, Iwate, praying for recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. This documentary film portrays the scene behind the concert with a focus on the message in their new song "Put our hearts together."
JFLA has the unique opportunity to invite photographer Mikiko Hara whose works are featured in the current exhibition title In Focus: Tokyo at the Getty Center. In this lecture, she will talk about her photography shot using an old-fashioned 6 x 6 camera to create her distinctive “snapshot style” she adopted and has consistently used since early on in her career. *Please note this lecture will be in Japanese with English interpretation.
Takemura is an 8th-year college student in debt. The day before the debt is due, Fukuhara comes to Takemura with an unusual offer: walk with him from Kichijoji to Kasumigaseki, for ¥1 million, paid on successful completion. Takemura has no choice but to go along...
Kiyoto Kuge, award-winning KIRIE (Japanese traditional paper-cutting art) artist from Japan will have an exhibition at JFLA with a guest appearance on opening night when he will open the exhibition and say a few words.
Registration for the 2014 JLPT will be ending soon. If you plan to take the test this year in the US, please make sure to visit the link below to register. Late registration will NOT be accepted and the next test will be in December of 2015.
Sanrio and the Japanese American National Museum celebrates Hello Kitty’s 40th Anniversary by exploring her colorful history and influence in art and culture. The exhibition combines a product-based, historical and sociological examination of the phenomenon of Hello Kitty with an art exhibition emphasizing her influence on contemporary art.
Tokyo-based literary journal "Monkey Business," which was founded in 2008 by Motoyuki Shibata, launches their West Coast tour. They will visit six cities including San Diego, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Oakland, San Francisco, and Berkeley. Join Monkey Business founder Motoyuki Shibata, editors Ted Goossen and Roland Kelts, MONKEY contributors Hideo Furukawa, Tomoka Shibasaki, Hiromi Itoh, and many more at a stop near you!
Japan Fair will promote Japanese and Japanese American culture to the diverse community of Southern California. It will be filled with specialty vendors, amazing entertainment and an abundance of foods and sake, much of which is imported from Japan just for this event. Entertainment will include taiko performances, traditional Japanese dancing, koto musicians, and children’s choirs among the many stage shows.
San Francisco debut of the world renowned master of Taiko drumming, Eitetsu Hayashi, along with his ensemble EITETSU FU-UN no KAI. Internationally recognized and highly respected as a pioneering performer, composer, and teacher, he has toured extensively around the world to share the art of Wadaiko, which epitomizes the essence of beauty and discipline of Japanese culture.
Superposition is a performance created by sound artist Ryoji Ikeda exploring the way we understand the reality of nature on an atomic scale— inspired by the mathematical notions of quantum mechanics. Employing a spectacular combination of synchronized video screens, real-time content feeds, digital sound sculptures and—for the first time in Ikeda's work— human performers—superposition explores the thrilling conceptual world opened up by quantum theory.
For information on Japanese Language Programs, please visit Teacher Training Program at the Japanese Language Institute, Urawa, or Japanese Language Program for Specialists in Cultural and Academic Fields at the Japanese Language Institute, Kansai. There are multiple programs including long-term, short-term, advanced and graduate for the teacher program and 2-month and 6-month courses for the specialist program. Your application must ARRIVE at JFLA on or before the deadline. Please notify us of your application in advance.
We recently conducted a voluntary survey of Japanese language teachers around the country asking them why and how they promote their Japanese programs. Exactly 200 teachers completed the survey, thanks to the many teachers associations which spread the word.
In July of 2014, 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 Ishinomaki (Due to Super Typhoon Neoguri, the trip to Rikuzentakata was cancelled). 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 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.
For the 2014-2015 school year, we invited nine assistant teachers (AT) to various schools around the country as part of the Japanese Language Education Assistant Program (J-LEAP). This is the fourth year of this program where schools around the country are given the opportunity to invite an AT for up to two years to aid in strengthening their Japanese language program. This month, we will feature the reports from the following ATs detailing their experiences at American schools.
On Friday, August 29, the Consul General of Japan at Chicago, Masaharu Yoshida, presented the Japan Foundation’s “Salary Assistance Grant for Japanese Language Courses” check in the amount of $30,000 to Dr. Glen Hahn Cope, the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. We hope that our grant support will further enhance their Japanese language program which, in the recent past, started offering a BA in Modern Language with an emphasis in Japanese.
On Tuesday, September 16, Consul General Hiroshi Furusawa, from the Consular Office of Japan in Portland, visited the Sheridan Japanese School (Sheridan, OR) to present the Japan Foundation’s “2014 Salary Assistance Grant for Japanese Language Courses” check in the amount of $10,000 to the Principal, Mr. Andrew Scott. We sincerely hope that our grant support will have excellent results and will help to ensure the long-term stability of their Japanese-language program.
This month, we have several new books related to Japanese language education and the Japanese language proficiency test at our library for our patrons to study the language or prepare for the test. Make sure to drop by and apply to become a member if you haven't already done so. Our annual library membership fee is only $2 and you get a free cloth book bag.
We were notified that construction around our office to renovate the courtyard will last into late October. You will need to enter through our employee entrance to access the library. We apologize for the inconvenience and will make another announcement once our new courtyard is complete.