July, 2015: Breeze Issue #93


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

Greeting From The Director

As we get into the steaming hot summer, here is something you may need, a cool summer 'Breeze' from the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.

If you have not seen our photo exhibition, "Metamorphosis of Japan After The War," running at West LA College right now, you should go there before heading out to your favorite summer getaway destination. It is a must-see for any photo lover or history geek. Not only is it unprecedented to have such a large collection of works by big-name photographers during post-war Japan, it also tells a profound story; a story of how human-beings can recollect its life, dignity, and pride after devastating event. Please hurry to see it before the exhibition ends on July 11th.

This summer, we are again sending a group of 32 American high school students to Japan. Our JET Memorial Invitation Program, initiated in the memories of Ms. Taylor Anderson and Mr. Montgomery Dickson, who perished in the 3-11 Tsunami in Tohoku, is in its fifth year. The students will participate in a 'High School Summit' with their peers in Tohoku, engage in site visits, home stay, Japanese language classes and other cultural activities. We are very excited to be able to offer this life-changing experience to the future leaders of our two countries.

Finally, do you have plans to visit Japan this summer? If you do, we have special crash course 'Japanese for Travel,' for you. You can learn more than a few expressions to survive and enjoy your trip. Even if you have no plans to visit Japan, you can meet a Japanese baseball celebrity, Mr. Mashi Murakami, who was the first Japanese MLB player who played for the San Francisco Giants.

Whatever your "summer fun" plans are, please join us as we have many activities that will spice up the fun for you.

Hideki Hara, Director


2015 JET Memorial Invitation Program for US High School Students

This month, we will be inviting 32 US High School Students to visit the Tohoku region of Japan to learn about the disaster that devastated the area back in March of 2011. They will participate in exchange with students of all educational levels in Japan to build lasting friendships between both countries. Their first stop will be here in Los Angeles for the pre-departure orientation. During the orientation, they will hear from guest speakers including the family members of Taylor Anderson and Montgomery Dickson as well as their friends. We look forward to meeting everyone on July 5th when they arrive in LA and the program official starts. We will also be posting daily updates during the trip in Japan and you can follow us on our Facebook page starting on July 6th.


J-LEAP: A Program Born of the Japan-U.S. Summit
Ten Young Native Japanese Language Teachers will be dispatched to the United States

The Japan Foundation will dispatch 10 additional native Japanese assistant teachers through the Japanese Language Education Assistant Program for the next two school years. This program was created to assist existing Japanese language teachers at schools in K through 12 levels to strengthen their programs and to nurture a new generation of qualified teachers. The program was started in 2011 with the support of the Laurasian Institute and we will have a total of 19 assistant teachers spread out across the United States during the 2015/2016 school year. New participants recently completed their pre-arrival training in Japan and are very excited to start their teaching careers in the fall. We will be organizing a week long orientation in Atlanta, Georgia, at the end of July for the new teachers and you will be able to read about their experiences starting in the October issue of Breeze. We wish them the best of luck and hope you will support them in their new careers.

Assistant Teacher List


Photo Exhibition: Metamorphosis of Japan After the War
Through July 11, 2015 (Free Admission)
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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The First Japanese Major Leaguer Mashi Murakami
Lecture by Robert Fitts and book signing with Masanori Murakami
Monday, July 6 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

Join us for the 50th anniversary celebration of the first Japanese baseball player in the Majors. Meet the legend Masanori "Mashi" Murakami and author Robert Fitts of the recently published "Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer" for a discussion on Japanese baseball and Mashi’s career and importance to U.S.-Japanese relations.

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Workshop: Japanese for Travel
Thursday, July 9 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)
Register Now!

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 JNTO(Japan National Tourism Organization), and essential Japanese phrases from our JF Nihongo instructor. We will demonstrate Japanese mannerisms too. This workshop is suitable for beginners and those who have no experience at all.


JAPANEMA: Free Japanese Cinema Screening
She could "fall up" into the sky and be lost forever.
"PATEMA INVERTED " (99mins, 2013)
Directed by Yasuhiro Yoshiura
Wednesday, July 8 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

Time of Eve director Yasuhiro Yoshiura is a perspective-twisting sci-fi adventure about two kids separated by opposite gravities. Patema lives in an underground world of tunnels, the long-abandoned ruins of a giant industrial complex. Though she is a princess, she is held back by the rules imposed by the elders of her clan. One day when she is exploring in a forbidden zone, she is startled by a strange bat-like creature and tumbles headlong into a void – and out into the wide open world above the surface, a place with reversed physics, where if she let go she would “fall up” into the sky and be lost forever. 

Age is a student on this surface world, a totalitarian society whose compliant population has been brainwashed against the “sinners who fell into the sky.” When he spies Patema hanging upside-down from a tree, he pulls her down to safety, struggling with all his might to keep her earthbound as she grips on to him for dear life. Together their weights cancel each other out, and once they master the art of navigating competing gravitational forces, they set out to evade the leaders of Age’s world and discover the secret that keeps their worlds apart.

Official Trailer


JAPANEMA: Free Japanese Cinema Screening
High-tech Robotics Faces Its Low-tech Nemesis
"ROBO-G" (111mins, 2012)
Directed by Shinobu Yaguchi
Wednesday, July 22 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

Writer-director Yaguchi Shinobu, who has produced a string of hits including Happy Flight with his unique viewpoint and outstanding comedic sensibility.  Mickey Curtis (KAMIKAZE TAXI), credited as Igarashi Shinjiro, gives a wonderful performance as a stubborn old man in his first starring role.

Consumer electronics company employee Kobayashi (Hamada Gaku) is ordered to develop a bipedal robot, but fails miserably.  He comes up with a plan to pass off a human in a suit as a robot, and finds an elderly man named Suzuki (Igarashi) who fits inside the suit perfectly, but...

Official International Trailer


JFLA Lecture Series 30:
Curating the State of the ‘Art’: Diversity Inspires Creativity Inspires Tech
Lecturer: Miyuki Tanaka
Tuesday, July 28 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)
RSVP Required

An art museum curator is curating tech. Miyuki Tanaka invites you to learn about the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Japan, and the ways they are connecting individuals to the world and the future. Her beautiful exhibitions feature robotics, cellular engineering, regenerative medicine, prostheses, and computer-created art. They pose the questions, “How can we sustain ourselves when our total population will reach 10 billion people in the near future? How can we use our imaginations to live and prosper on this planet?” To Ms. Tanaka, the answer is: Diversity.

More Information Coming Soon!


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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Japanese Language Education Update 20:
Overview of JFLA's Language-Related Programs

You probably know that JFLA supports Japanese arts and culture with events, film screenings, tours, exhibitions, lectures and workshops. But are you aware of the myriad things that we do for Japanese language in the United States? Here’s a brief overview:

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