Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pittsburgh to honor its Asian-American heritage with May 2nd City Council Proclamation, May 6 "Day of Inclusion".

In the biggest start to Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Pittsburgh has ever seen, the City Council of Pittsburgh will welcome members of the Asian-American community and its friends to the City-County building on May 2 for a proclamation recognizing the impact of the local Asian-American communities throughout the city's history. City Council will proclaim May 6 the "Day of Inclusion" in the City of Pittsburgh, a day that marks the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act that halted legal Chinese immigration to the US for seven decades. This information comes from the Organization of Chinese Americans newsletter:
To kick off nationally recognized Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month in May, OCA-Pittsburgh has been working with Councilman Gilman's office to issue a proclamation recognizing the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and to highlight the positive contributions of all immigrants and refugees in the region.

We Chinese Americans came to Pittsburgh as early as 140 years ago. 135 years ago, the US government discriminately decided to exclude any more entry of Chinese. Today, it is our responsibility as Chinese American Pittsburghers to remind this city and the nation "never again".

OCA is proud to take on the leadership role in having the great city of Pittsburgh recognize this "Day of Inclusion," and spotlight that all immigrants and refugees are welcome here. We would like to invite everyone to join us on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. at the City Council building to show how much the Chinese and Asian American community matter to this region. Below is the text of the proclamation to be presented at that City Council Meeting. Please email us at to let us know you can attend. We look forward to seeing you there!
The newsletter also shares the text of the forthcoming proclamation:
WHEREAS, on May 6, 1882, President Chester Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which was the nation's first law to prohibit immigration solely on the basis of ethnicity;

WHEREAS, the Chinese Exclusion Act was based on racial hostility against Chinese, who were characterized as "unassimilable, vile heathens" and were blamed for lowering wages, taking away jobs, and endangering the American way of life, and was renewed in 1892, 1902 and 1904 denying Chinese a pathway to citizenship for more than 60 years;

WHEREAS, subsequent legislation such as the 1892 Geary Act, which required all Chinese to register for and carry on their persons Certificates of Residence or risk imprisonment and deportation set a precedent for future discriminatory registries of immigrants and descendants of immigrants;

WHEREAS, OCA-Advocates of Asian and Pacific Americans -- Pittsburgh Chapter has worked for the last 43 years dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans (APAs) in our region, recognizing the origins of the Chinese community in Pittsburgh date back all the way to the 1870's and have evolved into a strong, productive community who have contributed to all sectors in Pittsburgh -- including government, business, arts and sciences, medicine, law enforcement, and the military and whose abilities and contributions strengthen our economy, enrich our diverse culture, and invigorate our city's neighborhoods; and,

WHEREAS, the City of Pittsburgh recognizes the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act as a day to condemn hatred and prejudice, promote diversity and inclusivity, and reaffirm our values as a welcoming city that values the importance of immigrants and refugees.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby recognize the 135th anniversary of the Chinese Exclusion Act as an opportunity to restate that Pittsburgh is as a city for all and celebrate the important contributions of Pittsburgh's Chinese community; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby declare May 6th, 2017 to be the Pittsburgh "Day of Inclusion," and proclaim and celebrate the month of May as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month in our region.


Co-Sponsored By Council Members:
Ricky V. Burgess, Deborah L. Gross, Darlene M. Harris, Theresa Kail-Smith, Bruce A. Kraus, R. Daniel Lavelle, Corey O'Connor, and Natalia Rudiak

Attest: Bruce Kraus, President of Council

Attest: Mary Beth Doheny, City Clerk
The City-County Building is located at 414 Grant St. downtown (map).

Saturday, April 29, 2017

May 21 proclaimed "Pittsburgh Chinese School 40th Anniversary Day" in the City of Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh City Council issued a proclamation on April 19 naming May 21, 2017 "Pittsburgh Chinese School 40th Anniversary Day". The text of the proclamation:
WHEREAS, the Pittsburgh Chinese School, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1977 with a mission to teach and promote Chinese language, culture, and arts in the Pittsburgh community; and,

WHEREAS, located at Taylor Allderdice High School, the Pittsburgh Chinese School has 326 students and 73 faculty members and operates every Sunday afternoon during the school year; and,

WHEREAS, the Pittsburgh Chinese School curriculum focuses on listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills to prepare students for Chinese proficiency tests such as Advanced Placement and HSK, as well as Chinese culture and arts to provide students with an understanding of Chinese language, traditions, and society; and,

WHEREAS, the Pittsburgh Chinese School provides internship opportunities for University of Pittsburgh graduate level students specializing in foreign language education in the School of Education to help prepare them for teaching certification in the United States; and,

WHEREAS, over its 40-year history, the Pittsburgh Chinese School has been an active participant in community events such as the Pittsburgh Bicentennial Celebration, the Lunar New Year Parade in Squirrel Hill, the Pittsburgh Chinese Cultural Festival, and the Dragon Boat Festival; and,

WHEREAS, the Pittsburgh Chinese School embodies the City of Pittsburgh’s mission of building a more inclusive and welcoming city for all and attracting and retaining immigrants; and,

NOW, THERFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby recognize the valuable contributions of the Pittsburgh Chinese School over its 40-year history and does hereby celebrate its commitment to advancing the City’s drive for diversity and inclusion; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby declare May 21, 2017 to be “Pittsburgh Chinese School 40th Anniversary Day” in the City of Pittsburgh.
The school, located in Squirrel Hill, will host a reception from 2:15 to 5:30 pm on the 21st to commemorate the day and the anniversary.
In order to disseminate Chinese culture better and improve cultural communication in the community, we will host the fortieth anniversary celebration of The Pittsburgh Chinese School on May 21, 2017. On that day, we will demonstrate the school’s achievement through a display of student work and performance in the school. Hereby we sincerely invite you to attend our celebration and plan our future together.

Friday, April 28, 2017

"A Taste of Taiwan" fundraiser, May 25 in Oakland.

The Pittsburgh chapter of the Organization of Chinese Americans will host "A Taste of Taiwan" fundraiser in Oakland on May 25.
Watch award-winning master chefs Li Yijun and Liao Yuxiang as they showcase the ancient techniques of Taiwanese cooking. On the menu—Taiwanese street food! Learn and WATCH the chefs focus on light, natural flavors and simple preparations including innovative ways to meet the demands of healthy vegetarian cooking. Then sit down to enjoy this special cuisine with your old friends and maybe meet some new ones!
. . .
The proceeds will help fund the annual OCA Free Medical & Dental Clinic and OCA Pittsburgh’s mission of advocacy, civic engagement, community outreach and cultural education programs.
Details and registration information are available through the OCA Pittsburgh page. The event runs from 4:00 to 8:00 pm at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral at 419 S. Dithridge St. (map).

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Japanese animated film Your Name (君の名は) staying in Pittsburgh through (at least) May 4.

The record-setting Japanese movie Your Name (君の名は), which opened in Pittsburgh and throughout the US on April 7, will stay in the city through at least May 4 at the Southside Works Cinema. The distributor provides a summary:
From director Makoto Shinkai, the innovative mind behind Voices of a Distant Star and 5 Centimeters Per Second, comes a beautiful masterpiece about time, the thread of fate, and the hearts of two young souls.

The day the stars fell, two lives changed forever. High schoolers Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers living separate lives. But one night, they suddenly switch places. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki’s body, and he in hers. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen randomly, and the two must adjust their lives around each other. Yet, somehow, it works. They build a connection and communicate by leaving notes, messages, and more importantly, an imprint.

When a dazzling comet lights up the night’s sky, it dawns on them. They want something more from this connection—a chance to meet, an opportunity to truly know each other. Tugging at the string of fate, they try to find a way to each other. But distance isn’t the only thing keeping them apart. Is their bond strong enough to face the cruel irony of time? Or is their meeting nothing more than a wish upon the stars?
Tickets and showtimes are available from the Southside Works Cinema website. The shows will be in Japanese with English subtitles except the first screening of the day, which will be dubbed in English. The theater is located at 425 Cinema Drive in the SouthSide Works shopping center (map).

Free introductory Aikido class for adults, May 1 in Squirrel Hill.

East End Aikikai in Squirrel Hill is offering a free introductory Aikido class on May 1 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm.
Aikido is a Japanese martial art that teaches coordination, awareness, and resilience, as well as self-defense principles. It is a good workout on its own, but is also good for complementing a yoga routine. For this class we welcome adults (ages 13 and up) of all abilities, with little to no previous martial arts experience.

We're located in the heart of the Squirrel Hill business district at 1918 Murray Ave across from Giant Eagle. The dojo is easily accessible by the 61c, 61d, 64, and 58 bus lines. There is a spacious pay parking lot directly behind the dojo, as well as street pay parking in all directions surrounding (free street parking starts at 6pm).

Please wear comfortable clothing suitable for exercise. Dressing rooms are available.
RSVP is requested at (412) 421-3686 or info at East End Aikikai is located at 1918 Murray Ave. (map).

"Memory as Politics" conference, May 6 at Pitt.

The University of Pittsburgh will host "Memory as Politics: An Interdisciplinary Conference" on Saturday, May 6. The conference will include a screening of selected interviews from "Cultural Revolution Ten", a collection of interviews on citizens' memories about the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
“Memory as Politics: An Interdisciplinary Conference” brings together experts on memory politics from various disciplines to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and dialogue in the field of memory politics. Questions to be discussed include:
  • What shapes a society’s memory of its political past?
  • What defines and shapes individual versus collective political memory?
  • How does our memory of the past shape our opinions about the present?
Furthermore, the conference provides support for Pitt library’s ongoing project “Cultural Revolution Ten.” The project collects video interviews of citizens’ memories about the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). This valuable project provides researchers of the Cultural Revolution new data and new insights. The conference will feature a presentation on the project and screen selected interviews in the panel on the Cultural Revolution.
Participants include Iza Ding, Kun Qian, and Dan Berkowitz of the University of Pittsburgh; Guobin Yang of the University of Pennsylvania; and Jeffrey Javed of Harvard University. The day's programming runs from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm in the second-floor Alcoa Room in the Barco Law Building (map), and a schedule is available online.
A selection of Korean airsoft guns recently turned up at Neighborhood Consignment in Greenfield.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Progress slow but steady on Japan-inspired crepe place in Squirrel Hill.

Photo on right via T-swirl Crêpe Facebook page.

Signage first went up for T-swirl Crêpe at 1714 Murray Ave. Squirrel Hill in May 2016. Little had changed to the exterior since then, as renovations were underway to the former banking and investments location that had been empty for over five years. But the paper is now off the windows!

The official site summarizes the concept behind T-Swirl Crepe:
The story of T-swirl Crepe starts thousands of miles away on the shores of Japan. The Japanese Crepe borrows from a western concept and modernized it into new level of versatility that you can gobble on the go. Building on this new concept, T-swirl started to research and have perfected the 100% gluten free rice flour batter, to craft a crispy thin chewy layer that embraces all the decadent condiments. T-swirl is synonymous with using the finest ingredients to construct a trendy/artistic crepe that arrives to your hand with incredible speed. We have standardized the process to give you a consistently clean and delicious crepe.
The chain has a Pittsburgh connection, as a NBC News story on the "undocumented entrepreneurs" notes:
In 2007, Andy Lin moved out of New York, travelling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to begin work at a hibachi restaurant where Jerry Lin was already employed, he said. Andy Lin proved a quick study, Jerry Lin recalled, earning the plaudits of the owner who asked him to partner to open another store two years later.

But despite earning more than $10,000 a month, Andy Lin said he began to feel his career plateauing after years of doing the same thing day in, day out.

That's when he noticed the frozen yogurt shop across from his restaurant in Pittsburgh and decided to take a chance, he said.

Hoping to ride the frozen-yogurt wave washing up in cities across the country, Andy Lin returned his share of the restaurant and left at the end of 2010, he said.

Monday, April 24, 2017

2008 Japanese movie Still Walking (歩いても 歩いても) at Carnegie Library in Oakland, May 7.

The Carnegie Library's main branch will show the 2008 Japanese movie Still Walking (歩いても 歩いても) as May's installment of International Cinema Sunday. A 2009 Roger Ebert review summarizes:
A dozen years ago, the prized possession of this family was Junpei, the eldest son, doted on by his parents and admired by his younger brother and sister. But Junpei drowned while saving a life, and every year the family gathers, as many Japanese families do, to visit his grave and memory.

These occasions are hated by Ryota (Hiroshi Abe), the second son. His father (Yoshio Harada) almost blames him for not being the one who died. On the drive to his home town at the seaside, Ryota tells his new wife Yukari (Yui Natsukawa) they must not even stay the night. This will be her first meeting with the parents; she is a widow with a young son.

The father is a retired physician, slowed with age, still marching joylessly on his daily walk. He stays mostly closed off in his office and greets his son brusquely. The mother has her doubts about this marriage; it is better to marry a divorced woman than a widow, because at least the divorce chose to leave her husband.

Also together for this day are Ryota's older sister and her husband. It is only slowly that we pick up the suppressed currents of feeling in the family; on the surface, the mother stays cheerful, although the old doctor's bitterness is obvious: The wrong son drowned.
The movie plays from 2:00 to 4:30 pm on May 7 in Classroom A, and is free and open to the public. The library is located at 4400 Forbes Ave. in Oakland (map).

Friday, April 21, 2017

Hong Kong movie Love Off The Cuff (春嬌救志明) in Pittsburgh, from April 28.

The 2017 Hong Kong romantic-comedy Love Off The Cuff (春嬌救志明) will be released worldwide on April 27, and will play at the AMC Loews Waterfront theater from the 28th. A Variety review on the third movie in the series:
[T]he movie packs Pang [Ho-cheung]’s trademark smart-ass humor, plenty of colloquial Cantonese wordplay, and a stream of cameos by dishy starlets — all of which should guarantee a robust box office in Hong Kong, but a meh reaction in China.

Pang, who started out as a whiz kid making off-color indie comedies, shot “Love in a Puff” in 2010 as a snarky rejoinder to a new anti-smoking law in Hong Kong. The protagonists, Sephora-lady Cherie (Miriam Yeung) and ad-man Jimmy (Shawn Yue) were chainsmokers who meet cute huddling over a garbage-can. The film became a sleeper hit, spawning the sequel “Love in the Buff,” which relocated events to Beijing as the couple kept falling in and out of love. By 2017, they have returned home from their expat stint and settled into the convenience of cohabitation. Neither wussy Jimmy nor chronically insecure Cherie feels ready to take things to the next stage.
The movie is in Cantonese with English subtitles. Tickets and showtime information is available via Fandango. The theater is located at 300 West Waterfront Dr. in the Waterfront shopping complex in Homestead (map), across the Monongahela River from Greenfield, Squirrel Hill, and the rest of Pittsburgh.