September, 2015: Breeze Issue #95


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

Greeting From The Director

Greetings! I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people involved - our partners, volunteers, and participants - in some of our major events this summer, namely the Daidengaku performance at the Nisei Week festival in LA and the Little Glee Monster’s live concert at the J-Pop Summit in San Francisco. Without them, these events would not have been that successful and we feel sincerely indebted to their commitment.

The Japan Foundation Los Angeles will not lose this momentum and will continue to provide a wide variety of opportunities for you to keep in touch with Japanese culture this fall. First, we will invite a renowned architect and designer from Japan and together with OTIS College of Art and Design, we will hold a lecture on Japanese design just before the Labor Day weekend. Our regular Japanema will be kicked up a notch with lectures, and even go mobile to places like Pasadena and Torrance in order to reach out to audiences who could not make it to the Miracle Mile every other Wednesday.

JF Nihongo also goes ‘back to school.’ Our Japanese language classes will resume on September 12th and the registration for the 2015 Japanese Language Proficiency Test is now open through September 25th. There has never been a better chance to begin, continue, or restart studying the Japanese language.

I also want to hear from you. It has been 5 months since I came to LA and I want to know how we’ve been doing so far. Your ideas for our future events and projects will be greatly appreciated.

Hideki Hara, Director


2015 JLPT
Test Date: 12/6/2015
Reg. Close: 9/25/2015 9PM ET
Cost: $60

The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) is an internationally accredited language examination that is offered in five different levels, designed to measure a person;s Japanese-language skills. In the United States, it is administered by the American Association of Teachers of Japanese and will be held at 15 cities across the country. For more information, please visit the site below.

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Japanese Design Today: Unique, Evolving, Borderless
Thursday, September 3 @ 4PM
The Forum, Kathleen Holser Ahmanson Hall
Otis College of Art and Design

Free Admission, RSVP Not Required

In this lecture, Professor Kashiwagi of Musashino Art University, and Yoshifumi Nakamura, an architect and furniture designer, will discuss the evolution, distinguishing characteristics, and current state of Japanese design today. They will delve into these topics and more in Los Angeles followed by a lecture in New York on September 8th.

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JAPANEMA: Free Japanese Cinema Screening
"House" (88mins, 1977)
Q&A With Director Nobuhiko Obayashi
Wednesday, September 9 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

How to describe Nobuhiko Obayashi's indescribable 1977 movie House (ハウス)? As a psychedelic ghost tale? A stream-of-consciousness bedtime story? An episode of Scooby-Doo as directed by Mario Bava? Any of the above will do for this hallucinatory head trip about a schoolgirl who travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt's creaky country home and comes face-to-face with evil spirits, a demonic house cat, a bloodthirsty piano, and other ghoulish visions, all realized by Obayashi via mattes, animation, and collage effects. Equally absurd and nightmarish, House might have been beamed to Earth from some other planet. This film is one of the most exciting cult discoveries in years.

Watch Trailer


JAPANEMA: Free Japanese Cinema Screening
"The Legacy of FRIDA KAHLO" (89mins, 2014)
Directed by Tadasuke Kotani
Q&A With Photographer Miyako Ishiuchi
Wednesday, September 23 @ 7PM (JFLA Auditorium)

This documentary film is about Hasselblad Foundation International Award winning photographer Miyako Ishiuchi's encounter with iconic Mexican painter Firda Khalo's personal belongings that were uncovered 58 years after her death.

The film shows Ishiuchi shooting photographs of Frida's belongings, Ishiuchi's exhibition at the "Paris Photo," and art exhibition at the Musee de l'Orangerie in Paris featuring Frida's and her husband Diego Rivera's works.

By capturing the production process of Oaxaca's traditional embroideries used for the tribal costume that Frida left, a local festival Day of the dead (Dia de los Muerto), and a Mexican funeral in a small town, Ishiuchi pursues the sign of how Frida lived and depicts the view of life and death in Mexican culture.

Watch Trailer


Come and Visit Us at TARFEST 2015
Saturday, September 26 @ 1-6PM (La Brea Tar Pits)

TARFEST is a premiere arts and culture event in Los Angeles and the Miracle Mile District. Dozens of the nation's most distinctive emerging artists, performers, and cultural innovators come together and showcase their talents and ideas at historic and notable venues along the Miracle Mile. At the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles tent, you can enjoy Japanese cultural activities for all ages! 

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JAPANEMA @ USC Pacific Asia Museum
Directed by Isao Takahata
Sunday, September 27 @ 4:15PM
Museum Admission Required

Legendary Studio Ghibli cofounder Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko) revisits Japan’s most famous folktale in this gorgeous, hand-drawn masterwork, decades in the making. Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her – but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.

From the studio that brought you Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and The Wind Rises comes a powerful and sweeping epic that redefines the limits of animated storytelling and marks a triumphant highpoint within an extraordinary career in filmmaking for director Isao Takahata.

Official US Trailer


JFLA Lecture Series 31: Fragility in Photos
- A Photographer's Intimate Study of the Body and Soul-
Friday, October 2 @7PM (JFLA Auditorium)
Save the Date!

Get ready for a captivating behind-the-lens discussion with a master of modern photography, the prolific and provocative photographer, Ishiuchi Miyako who will be in L.A. this October for the opening of her brand new photo exhibition titled Postwar Shadows at the J. Paul Getty Museum. 

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Japanese Courses Fall Term
September 12 - November 18
Register Now!

Our courses are designed for new Japanese-language learners, as well as those who are interested in improving their existing language skills.  Each course focuses on specific themes and learning goals, such as inviting friends or business e-mail.

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Call for Applications
Performing Arts Japan 2016-2017
Deadline: October 20, 2015 @ 5PM EST

The Japan Foundation is now accepting project proposals for Performing Arts Japan (PAJ) touring and collaboration grants for the 2016 - 2017 fiscal year. For details, including guidelines and application, please visit here.


Fiscal Year 2015-2016 Japanese Language Grants

We are still accepting applications for the following grants:

  1. Japanese Teaching Material Purchase Grant (Deadline: 9/15/2015)
  2. Japanese-Language Education Project Grant (Deadline: 2 months prior to project start date)

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Japanese Language Education Update 22: Brochure Video

Advocacy is a hot topic in the language education field. At the Japan Foundation, Los Angeles we try to make it as easy as possible for teachers to spread the word about their language programs with free advocacy resources like our promotional website, The site lists fun facts about Japan and reasons to study the Japanese language.

There is also a free, printable brochure for those teachers who like to pass out flyers at their Japan-related events. In fact, the brochure is customizable! You can even add information about your school’s Japanese program, including a teacher profile. For a quick step-by-step video on how to customize and print the brochure, check out this link. And don’t forget to visit our How to Use page on our main website!


Hiragana Memory Hint Smart Phone App Just Released

The Japan Foundation, Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai developed a new app to provide a fun way to study Hiragana using mnemonic pictures. It includes plenty of quizzes for you to test your understanding of the 46 characters. This app is recommended for both beginners in Japanese or anyone with an interested in learning Japanese syllabary. For more information including links to the Android and Iphone apps, please visit the link below.

Download PDF


JFLA Awards $15K Grant to Roswell High School in Georgia

On August 27, 2015, Consul General Sunaga from the Consulate General of Japan in Atlanta visited the Roswell High School (Roswell, GA) and presented the Japan Foundation’s grant payment check to Principal Jerome Huff in the support of their Japanese language program. The students had a chance to introduce themselves in Japanese and welcomed Consul General Sunaga to their Japanese classroom.


What Is J-LEAP and What Does It Have To Do With Me?

Do you want to improve your teaching and are you willing to do what it takes to make it more exciting, meaningful and effective in order to grow your program? Are you looking for an affordable two year program that offers one of the best professional development training workshops in the US taught by nationally recognized trainers? Are you a department of one Japanese teacher? Do you wish you had another teacher to collaborate and team-teach with in Japanese so your students have the advantage of listening to and communicating with a young, native speaker who has received some training in teaching Japanese and knows the current culture of Japan?

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2015 JET Memorial Invitation Program: Participant Essays Part 1/8

In July of 2015, 32 US high school students participated in the final 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. 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, middle 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 memorable journey.