Monday, December 11, 2017

MEPPI Japan Lecture Series - Tokyo, One of the Safest Cities in the World, January 18.

"Tokyo" by kalcul (Creative Commons).

Advance notice for the first MEPPI Japan Lecture Series of 2018, "Tokyo, One of the Safest Cities in the World" on January 18. The lecture series is presented by the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and sponsored by Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc.
Why is Tokyo so safe? After devoting 15 years to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, Police Inspector Naruomi Ebitani now works at Carnegie Mellon University researching information security. From his experience in both countries and his police officer’s perspective, he will address the differences between policing and crime in Japan and the United States.
The lecture runs from 6:00 to 8:00 pm in Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall and is free and open to the public. Registration is required and can be completed online.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Japanese Coming-of-Age Ceremony (成人の日) at Pitt for students turning 20, January 10.

Kasai does 成人の日 in 2010.

A large cohort of students from Yasuda Women's University is studying at Pitt's English Language Institute this fall and will miss the traditional Coming-of-Age Ceremony (成人の日) in Hiroshima next month, so the Asian Studies Center will hold its own ceremony on January 10. The Asian Studies Center introduces Pitt's ceremony:
A local government official will preside over the ceremony here in Pittsburgh and a Yasuda University student will give the student address. The ceremony is open not only to the ELI students, but also Pitt students, especially those studying Japanese, who are turning 20 (between April 2, 2017 and April 1, 2018).
And Japan Visitor introduces the day and its traditions:
Seijin Shiki or 成人式 could be translated as 'Coming of Age Day Ceremony' in English. Seijin-no-hi (Coming of Age Day) is a Japanese public holiday that occurs on every second Monday of January.

Coming of Age Day or Adult's Day honors every person that has turned 20 years old over the past year. When young people reach twenty they officially become adults in Japanese society and they now have responsibilities as well as newfound liberties: such as being able to drink, smoke, go to hostess bars, gamble and to drive legally. The voting age was lowered from 20 to 18 in 2015.

The girls always wear gorgeous and very expensive kimono, although most admit to having rentals as the outfit is worth up to 1,000,000 yen. The boys usually wear a regular suit and tie but a few will wear traditional Japanese dress.
It runs from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in Ballroom B of the University Club (map), and those interested should email asia [at]

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Studio Ghibli Film Series continues at Row House Cinema for another week.

The Row House Cinema's Studio Ghibli Film Series, which opened on December 1, will run for another week through 14 and highlight the acclaimed Japanese animation studio. The six films comprising the series are: 1991's Only Yesterday (おもひでぽろぽろ), 1992's Porco Rosso (紅の豚), 1997's Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫), 2001's Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し), and 2013's The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫の物語) and The Wind Rises (風立ちぬ).

Ticket and showtime information is available online. The single-screen theater is located at 4115 Butler Street in Lawrenceville (map).

This year's trend replaces 2015's at Ross Park Mall.

Icy Roll 2.0 just before it opened last month.

Icy Roll 2.0 recently opened in Ross Park Mall, replacing a bubble tea place next to the Sears on the second floor. Thai-styled rolled ice cream places have opened everywhere in Pittsburgh over the past year, from the suburbs to the inside of a hot-pot place to a gas station in Bloomfield. Squirrel Hill is getting its first sometime next year when the newest 15 Fahrenheit location opens. This is in contrast to 2014 and 2015, when an Asian eatery couldn't operate in the city without sticking bubble tea somewhere on the menu.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

HCL Technologies hiring Bilingual Japanese Query Understanding Analyst for position onsite at Google.

HCL Technologies is hiring a Bilingual Japanese Query Understanding Analyst for a position working onsite at Google in Larimer. The posting, via
Bilingual Japanese Query Understanding Analyst is a full-time job through HCL America, Inc. onsite at Google Pittsburgh. You will work to enhance users’ online shopping experience by performing in-depth product research, analyzing the user query stream, and improving query classifier performance using highly technical internal tools and processes. It is part of a fast-paced environment, partnering closely with operations and engineering teams. Native or near-native Japanese reading/writing fluency is preferred and spending significant time living/working in the Japanese culture is a plus.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Pedagogical Technology Mini Workshop: Anki, December 8 at Pitt.

The University of Pittsburgh's Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures will present part two of this term's Pedagogical Technology Mini Workshops with a presentation on Anki by Dr. Stephen Luft, the coordinator of Pitt's Japanese program.
Assigning study with Anki as homework: This presentation will describe how to hold students accountable for studying with Anki, a free flashcard program, outside of class. While the presentation will focus on using Anki to aid retention of newly learned characters (e.g., kanji), it is considered to be applicable to a wide variety of subjects.
The workshop starts at 12:00 in 4130 Posvar Hall (map).

Friday, December 1, 2017

2016 Japanese movie Harmonium (淵に立つ at Carnegie Library in Oakland, January 7.

Next month's International Cinema Sunday will feature the 2016 Japanese movie Harmonium (淵に立つ), which played at this year's Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival. From a 2016 Variety review:
Even before the arrival of the mysterious Mr. Yasaka (Tadanobu Asano), the marriage of Toshio (Kanji Furutachi), the owner of a small machine shop, and his self-effacing wife, Akie (Mariko Tsutsui), appears passionless. Polite but distant, they share meals and the care of their small daughter, Hotaru, with so little intimacy that when Toshio offers Yasaka a room and a job, he doesn’t even ask his wife’s opinion. All too soon, though, he’ll have cause to regret his impulsiveness.
The movie plays from 2:00 to 4:30 pm at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's main branch in Oakland and is free and open to the public. The library is located at 4400 Forbes Ave. in Oakland (map) and is accessible by buses 28X, 54, 61A, 61B, 61C, 61D, 67, 69, 71A, 71B, 71C, 71D, and 93.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Former Pirates pitcher Masumi Kuwata again on Japanese Hall of Fame ballot.

Via Kyodo Photo.

On November 28 the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame announced its ballot for the Class of 2018, and former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Masumi Kuwata (桑田真澄) again made the list. Kuwata, the first Japanese player in Pirates history, pitched briefly for Pittsburgh in 2007 as a 39-year-old rookie. He accumulated 173 wins in Japan, 106 of which came before an elbow injury in 1995 that kept him out for almost two seasons. Results of the Hall of Fame voting will be announced on January 15.

Tracing his career on his wiki page, it follows a trajectory common among Pittsburgh Pirates free agents of that era:
"1987-1994: The Glory Years," "1995-1996: Injury," "1997-2002: Post-Injury," "2003-2006: Further decline," "To the USA."
He pitched 19 games in relief in 2007 but was demoted to Triple A in August, two days after his family arrived in Pittsburgh to see him play against the Giants. He retired the following spring:
Kuwata, a baseball superstar in his native Japan, formally announced his retirement after the Pirates' 7-4 victory against the Detroit Tigers this afternoon, a game in which manager John Russell asked him to pitch one final time as a show of respect. But he declined.

"He told us he's pitched thousands of innings, that we should use that time to look at pitchers for our future," Russell said. "He's a class act, a true professional and a great human being. We wish him the best of luck in everything he does."

The ritual at the mound was meant to symbolize a farewell to the game. And, although Kuwata's impact in Pittsburgh was negligible, some in the assembled Japanese media were saying that this farewell would top their nation's news for the day.

"He's a legend in our country," said reporter Yasuko Yanagita, who broke the story of Kuwata's retirement for the Hochi Shimbun sports daily. "Everyone will want to know about this, and everyone will be surprised."

2017 Japanese animated film Mary and the Witch's Flower (メアリと魔女の花) coming to Row House Cinema, too.

The 2017 Japanese animated film Mary and the Witch's Flower (メアリと魔女の花), scheduled to play at Pittsburgh-area Cinemark theaters on January 18, 2018, will also play at the Row House Cinema as part of it's New Animated Films series from January 19 through 25.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ariba hiring bilingual Chinese-English Procurement Operations Specialist for overnight position.

Pittsburgh-based Ariba is again hiring a bilingual Chinese-English Procurement Operations Specialist for an 8:00 pm to 5:00 am shift. An excerpt from the job posting:
The Customer Support Specialist is the face and voice of Ariba to our customers, building relationships in each interaction. Specialists help our customers maximize the benefits of Ariba solutions to facilitate a global exchange of goods and services in the world’s largest business to business trading community. They use their expertise and collaborate with team members and customers across the globe to provide detailed solutions that exceed expectations.