June, 2015: Breeze Issue #92


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

Greeting From The Director

June is the month of rain in Japan. The rainy season usually starts in the middle of June and lasts for a month in most areas except Hokkaido. In pre-war Japan, ‘June Bride’ had been commonly avoided in order to avoid damaging kimonos worn by the marrying couple as well as the guests, and only became popular in the 1970s when this western concept was imported and utilized by the wedding industry to stimulate sales during the traditionally quiet month. So let us pretend for a moment that it is raining outside during the entire month of June in LA, so you can ‘chill out’ on the comfy chairs in our hall to watch Japanese cinema, engage in inspiring conversations with lecturers on Japanese culture, or get your hands dirty with all things Japanese in our workshops.

June is also the beginning of summer and we will be organizing another Japanese Language Summer Camp for Teens this year! If you are one of those parents who complain that the kids are only playing Pokemon games all day, why not give them what they want, an authentic encounter with the culture that bred Pokemon and hundreds of thousands of other cultural expressions, traditional and modern.

Our staff members here have many, many more ideas up their sleeves for future events. We will keep you posted. Meanwhile, your comments or input for future programming are always welcome and appreciated. Our ultimate goal is to make Japan and LA ‘a match made in heaven.’

Hideki Hara, Director


Photo Exhibition: Metamorphosis of Japan After the War
June 12 - July 19, 2015 (Free Admission)
*Preview Party on Thursday, June 11 @ 7:30pm
West Los Angeles College Art Gallery

In 1945, Japan made a new start as a defeated and devastated country after WW2. However, after only 20 or so years, the nation's society, economy, and culture underwent dramatic transformations. It is difficult to specify precisely when the postwar period ended, but for the purposes of this exhibition, we define the "postwar" era as the period from the end of the war in 1945 to the year of the Tokyo Olympics, 1964. The 11 photographers introduced here were each active in this period of dramatic upheaval. Their work records the transformation of society, and many of the photographs that they took are significant from an artistic perspective in addition to being important records.

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Lecture Series 28
Delicious Devotion:
Soulful Vegetarian Cooking for the Body & Mind
Tuesday, June 9 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

On June 9, the Reverend Masami Asao, Dietician and Head of Akasaka Teran, a Buddhist vegetarian cooking school located within Jokokuji Temple in Tokyo, will give a lecture regarding the origin, ingredients, and philosophy of Buddhism-based cooking. What is there to be learned or gained from shojin ryori,and how has it evolved over the many centuries it has been in existence? What ingredients are used in this cuisine and how are they prepared to provide simple sustenance without skimping on flavor? She will answer these questions and more in her lecture which is sure to stimulate both mind and palette.

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JAPANEMA: Free Japanese Cinema Screening
Based on the Best-selling Novel by Haruki Murakami
"Norwegian Wood " (133mins, 2010)
Directed by Tran Anh Hung
Monday, June 10 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

Tokyo, the late 1960s. Students around the world are uniting to overthrow the establishment and Toru Watanabe’s (Kenichi Matsuyama) personal life is similarly in turmoil. At heart, he is deeply devoted to his first love, Naoko (Rinko Kikuchi), a beautiful and introspective young woman. But their complex bound has been forged by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Watanabe lives with the influence of death everywhere. That is, until Midori (Kiko Mizuhara), a girl who is everything that Naoko is not -- outgoing, vivacious, self-confident -- marches into his life and Watanabe must choose between his past and his future.


JAPANEMA: Free Japanese Cinema Screening
Comedic Road Movie about a Clash of Cultures
"SAKE-BOMB" (82mins, 2013)
Directed by Junya Sakino
Wednesday, June 24 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

A ʻʻSake-Bombʼʼ is a cocktail created by dropping a shot of sake into a pint of beer. It’s also a comedic road movie about a sarcastic Asian American and his Japanese cousin. Sebastian (Eugene Kim) is a bitter, self-deprecating wannabe Internet star from Los Angeles. He has recently been dumped by his girlfriend and on the look-out for someone new. When his cousin Naoto (Gaku Hamada), a naive sake maker from Japan, shows up to find his own ex-girlfriend, Sebastian takes him to Northern California to find her. They are a clash of cultures waiting to happen. Someone has to break first. Together they meet a colorful group of characters as they come to grips with who they are and the true nature of the girlfriends they are pursuing.

*This film may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements.

Official Trailer


Lecture Series 29
Brewing a community: A sake maker's journey to her roots and beyond
Thursday, June 25 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

Rumiko Obata, sake brewery owner in Sado Island, Japan, will visit JFLA to talk about carrying on the tradition of her family’s sake making business going back five generations. Obata wishes to share her passion for the age-old tradition of sake brewing.

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Raku: The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl
Through June 7 , 2015
Pavilion for Japanese Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Japan Foundation and the Raku Museum are very pleased to announce Raku: The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl, an exhibition presenting 450 years of Raku ware to be held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Raku ware, a type of Japanese ceramics first made in the 16th century by founding father Chōjirō, has continued to be made by 15 successive generations of heads of the Raku family, and with its distinctive aesthetic, holds an unparalleled place among Japanese pottery. Featuring work by past Raku masters and by the brilliant Honami Kōetsu, a close associate, as well as the wide-ranging activities (not limited to ceramics) of the current master Raku Kichizaemon XV and pieces by his son Atsundo, the future family head, this exhibition is a comprehensive survey of the unique aesthetic and philosophical realm of Raku ware, providing fascinating glimpses into each of the eras it covers.

This exhibition presents 94 works, from the serene, monochromatic tea bowls of founder Chōjirō, which most directly reflect the wabi tea ceremony ideals of legendary tea master Sen no Rikyū, to the strikingly original innovations of the current Raku master. We are confident that this first full-fledged show of Raku ceramics on American soil will draw much attention and acclaim.

After its run in Los Angeles, the exhibition will travel to Russia and appear, with partially modified content, at the Hermitage Museum and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts.

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Summer Camp for Teens
Discover Little Tokyo
July 20 - 24
Register Now!

Step away from the classroom for a more interactive approach to language learning! Learn Katakana and simple expressions in Japanese through fun activities such as exploring Little Tokyo and scavenger hunts. For 14-18 year-olds with no prior experience in learning Japanese. 10% discount off of the tuition when you register by Mon. June 15.


Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Japanese Language Grants

We are accepting applications for the following grants:

  1. Japanese Language Learners Event Grant previously known as "Speech Contest Grant" (Deadline: 9/1/2015)
  2. Japanese Teaching Material Purchase Grant (Deadline: 9/15/2015)
  3. Japanese-Language Education Project Grant (Deadline: 2 months prior to project start date)

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Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Japan Foundation Training Program Participants

Long-term Teacher Training Program
Venue: Japanese Language Institute, Urawa
Duration: From September 28, 2015 to March 18, 2016
Participant: Ms. Jeanne Michaels (LaGuardia Community College, NY)

Short-term Teacher Training Program
Venue: Japanese Language Institute, Urawa
Duration: From July 7, 2015 to August 27, 2015
Ms. Yungchu Hsu (Lone Star College, TX)
Ms. Renee Paczkowski (Cass Technical High School, MI)
Ms. Sueyon Seo (University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, WI)

Japanese Language Program for Specialists in Cultural and Academic Fields
Venue: Japanese Language Institute, Kansai
2-month Course (6/10/15 - 8/5/15): Ms. Fang-Ru Lin (University of California, Los Angeles, CA)
6-month Course (10/7/15 - 4/6/16): Mr. Yoan Rosenziveig (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA)


Japanese Language Education Update 19:
New Language Teacher Certification Website!!

Teacher credentialing and licensing is a massively complex and ongoing process of training, tests, evaluations, applications, fees, and let's face it – headaches. Getting certified to teach a foreign language depends on your background, your subject, and your state's requirements. State department of education websites are packed with complicated terminology, explanations and exceptions, and any teacher who has gone through the process wants to scream, "Just give me a simple set of steps to follow!"

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