I thought my cousin already knew Spanish when he got a Fulbright to
study Spanish dialects. That was a long time agaon and the rules may
have changed. I think Lady Juliana got a Fulbright to study stuff
in Costa Rica or some such place just a couple of years ago. Maybe
you have to carefully spin things. Of course my cousin was a linguist
(he gave up after being denied tenure at Purdue) and Juliana is an
antoropologist. Maybe the figure that historians or people in area
studies can stay at their home institutions.
What really really burned me was the time that I applied for a
Summer language study program for scientists about ten years ago.
I was rejected. Not only that, but after being rejected, they sent
the review forms to me. One of the reviewers calculated my age,
circled it, and then proceeded to give me the lowest possible mark
for ability to live in Japan, ability to learn the Japanese language,
&c. Totally ignoring that I had lived in Japan for six years and had
worked for an pretty much exclusively Japanese speaking company.
Aside from the fact that I was totally unsupported that year and
could have used the grant money over the Summer, I was also eager to
go spend a few months in Japan and ALSO to spend my time in Narita
learning scientific yogo. I already knew yogo for computer engineering,
but I did not know mathical or scientific yogo. BLEH!
One of the program administrators suggested that I reapply after
getting the degree. Of course, the program was cancelled by the
time I finished. BLEH!
Good luck on your Japan Foundation application!
Your Humble Servant