Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Phan Thi Kim Phuc, "The Girl in the Picture", at Sewickley Academy, November 7.

Sewickley Academy (map) will host Phan Thị Kim Phúc for two talks titled "The Girl in the Picture" on November 7 as part of the school's Sewickley Series of speakers and events. From a press release:
The Vietnam War knows many tragedies. A photograph of a young girl running naked down a road, her skin on fire with napalm, changed the way the world looked at war. The girl in the picture is Kim Phuc.

In 1997, Kim established The Kim Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to funding programs to heal children in war torn areas of the world. During her time at the Academy, Kim will share her message of forgiveness with the community.
The two talks are scheduled for 11:15 am and 12:45 pm in the Middle School and High School assembly rooms, respectively. Both are free and open to the public.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pittsburgh Sakura Project Fall Planting Day, November 2.


Kazuko Macher's entry placed second in the Pittsburgh Sakura Project's 2013 photo contest.

The Pittsburgh Sakura Project will hold its 2013 Fall Planting Day November 2nd from 10:00 to noon in North Park (map). The group has been planting cherry blossom trees (sakura) and other foliage around the boathouse since April 2009, and is looking for volunteers among the general public for 30 more this fall. More information is available on the group's website and on its registration flyer (.pdf).

Friday, October 25, 2013

Delegation from sister city Saitama to visit Pittsburgh, October 28 - November 1

From the 28th through a delegation from Saitama, Japan, will be in Pittsburgh touring their sister city. The itinerary includes a meeting with City Council and Bill Peduto, a visit to the University of Pittsburgh and its Japanese Nationality Room, a tour of Pittsburgh attractions like Phipps Conservatory and the Heinz History Center, a stop at the Akiko Kotani exhibition at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and a cherry tree planting with the Pittsburgh Sakura Project at North Park.


Part of a mural saying "Hello, Japan" to visiting students in 1990.

The roots of the relationship were education and economics. Flipping through old papers from the 1980s and 1990s shows examples of cultural exchanges between the two cities before sister city status was cemented on May 5, 1998. A couple from 1990 worth reading on the background of Omiya's (later called Saitama) interest in Pennsylvania and on specific exchange programs are "Keystone Oaks Embraces Japan's Culture" and "Visit Helps Relax 'Stiff' Japanese Stance Toward West". Additionally, the man who would become superintendent of the Mt. Lebanon School District wrote in the Reading Eagle that spring on what Japanese schools do well, raising points that are still found in casual analyses of Asian education systems today. Several items from Omiya were donated to the University of Pittsburgh, along with over $20,000 from various Omiya organizations and individuals, to decorate and develop the Japanese Nationality Room. A 1997 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article counted 16 visits from Omiya delegations to that point; the last visit here was in 2007. Unfortunately it's not much more than a nominal relationship these days, since Pittsburgh's economy rebounded and the need for humility diminished.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pitt Players present[ed] The Yellow Jacket.

The Yellow Jacket
From 1942's The Owl, the University of Pittsburgh's yearbook (via Documenting Pittsburgh).

Around this time in 1941, the Pitt Players opened their season with "the delightful Chinese fantasy" The Yellow Jacket.
In line with the Players' policy of producing at least one experimental drama each year, Mr. Whitehill chose this allegorical satire of the Oriental theatre convention. Over make-believe mountains, across imaginary rivers, through mythical snow storms, Woo Hoo Git (John Reid) made his way in search of his lost heritage. Fantastic spiders did not daunt him, nor were the temptations of beautiful women in "the flowery paths of pleasant ways" enough to turn him from his quest. The play was comparable to an Oriental Our Town . . . The play was more than amusingly novel, and the Players presented it admirably.
A 2010 Theater Journal article, "Trying on The Yellow Jacket: Performing Chinese Exclusion and Assimilation", goes into the contemporary politics and modern interpretations of the play, which not surprisingly didn't age well.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jackie Chan movie CZ12 (十二生肖) at the Waterfront.

cz12The Hong Kong movie CZ12 (十二生肖) was released in the US on October 18 and is playing in Pittsburgh at the AMC Loews Waterfront. It stars Jackie Chan and was, until this year, the second-highest grossing Chinese-language movie in China. Hong Kong's South China Morning Post summarizes:
Reprising the adventurer/thief role he first played in 1987's Armour of God, JC (the character's name) is hired to steal animal head relics that once were displayed in the Summer Palace in Beijing. Along the way, he encounters a greedy collector (Oliver Platt) forging fakes, bumbling and accident-prone French folks, some pirates, and a beautiful antique activist (Yao Xingtong) who gets him to grow a conscience.
A cursory glance around the internet shows mostly poor reviews, though, including the SCMP's, which calls the movie "sad and sorry" and writes "CZ12 is like watching a former star athlete struggle in a meaningless game."

Showtimes for today and Thursday are 2:10‎, ‎4:40‎, ‎7:20‎, and 9:55pm‎, with 11:05am‎ and ‎4:35pm‎ on Friday and Saturday.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro among four Asian movies at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Film Festival.

Totoro posterGrave of the Fireflies
Ilo Iloa touch of sin

The Three Rivers Film Festival, which runs in Pittsburgh from November 8 through November 23, announced their schedule of films today, a lineup that includes four Asian movies and one Lao-language film. The four are the classic Japanese animated films My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ) and Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓), China's A Touch of Sin (天注定), and Singapore's Ilo Ilo (爸妈不在家). Schedules are available online, and we'll have more detailed posts on the movies in the next two weeks. (No, Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbor Totoro will not be shown back-to-back, as they often are.)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Panel discussion "Political and Economic Trilateralism in Northeast Asia: The Future of Relations Between China, Japan, and Korea" at Pitt, October 24.

Political and Economic Trilateralism in Northeast Asia Pitt
From the University of Pittsburgh Asian Studies Center Facebook page.

On October 24, the University of Pittsburgh Asian Studies Center will host "Political and Economic Trilateralism in Northeast Asia: The Future of Relations Between China, Japan, and Korea" at 12:30 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (campus map).

Hong Kong movie A Simple Life at Clarion University Venango College, October 26.

On the 26th, Clarion University's Venango College will show A Simple Life (桃姐), the 2012 Hong Kong movie that's part of the school's Independent Film Series. Dramacrazy provides a summary likely plagiarized from elsewhere:
A solemn yet humorous exploration of seniority, the film tells a bittersweet story revolving around the lives of elderly maid Sister Tao and her master, played respectively by veteran actress Deanie Ip and superstar Andy Lau, whose past screen collaborations serve to inspire enormous chemistry between their characters. Their impeccable performances have earned numerous prestigious prizes for the film, including Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival, Best Director, Actor, and Actress at the Golden Horse Awards, and the rare feat of the Big Five (Best Film, Director, Screenplay, Actor, and Actress) at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Sister Tao (Deanie Ip) has served five generations of the Leung family since she was thirteen. Today, at over seventy years old, she continues to take care of Roger (Andy Lau), the only member of the family left in Hong Kong. After suffering a stroke at home one day, Tao realizes it's about time she retired, so she asks Roger to find her a nursing home for rehabilitation. Tao struggles to adjust to the strange new environment as well as her eccentric fellow inmates, but Roger is there to care for this mother figure who has devoted her life to his.
The movie runs from 7:00 to 8:30 pm and is held at the Robert W. Rhoades Center. The Venango College campus is held on the outskirts of Oil City, PA (map), and over the years has shown a number of foreign movies not often seen around here.

Greenfield's Beautiful World Variety Store closing at the end of the year.

SDC11692SDC11694SDC11697SDC11696

Beautiful World Variety Store, at the corner of Murray and Hazelwood Ave. in Greenfield (map), is closing at the end of the year, according to the owner. It has some neat Asian knick-knacks, as well as, um, a variety of other things: greeting cards, jeans, wigs, cleaning products, and lucky bamboo. Everything is on sale prior to the December 31 closing, so that may mean a run on $1.00 Chinese grandparent bobbleheads.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chang-jin Lee's "Comfort Women Wanted" at Wood Street Galleries, November 1 through December 1.



Chang-jin Lee's "Comfort Women Wanted" will run at the Wood Street Galleries downtown from November 1 through December 1 (map). A profile of the exhibition on the galleries' website:
Comfort Women Wanted exposes the fates of nearly 200,000 young women who were exploited as sex slaves by the Imperial Japanese Army in Asia during World War II. The artist uses the remembrance of these “comfort women”—some of whom are still alive today—to increase awareness of sexual violence against women during wartime.

“In Asia, the comfort women issue remains taboo and controversial, while at the same time, it is almost unknown in the West,” says artist Chang-Jin Lee. “The comfort women system is the largest case of human trafficking in the 20th century. Human trafficking is the fastest growing industry in the world, and the second largest business after arms dealing in the 21st century. So, the comfort women issue is not just about the past, but it is very relevant today.”
"Comfort Women Wanted" features both video and print works, and additional information is available on the artist's website. Lee's work was last in Pittsburgh in June when her "Floating Echo" was under a bridge at the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nakama voted "Best Japanese" by Pittsburgh City Paper readers again.

Today the Pittsburgh City Paper released the results of their 2013 "Best of Pittsburgh" readers' poll, with Nakama winning in the "Best Japanese" category.
The art of hibachi has taken off in Pittsburgh, thanks in no small part to Nakama. Diners sit grill-side as chefs prepare shrimp, chicken and delicacies like Kobe beef and chateaubriand. Also on the menu is a selection of sake, noodles and starters. If you want to avoid the show, you can order the full menu at tables by the bar.
Nakama won last year, too, and in 2008, 2009, and 2011. Little Tokyo and Fukuda came in second and third place, respectively. Nakama was also voted "Best Sushi". Kiku, Chaya, and Teppanyaki Kyoto---favorites of this blog and among local Japanese---didn't place in any category. Nicky's Thai Kitchen was voted Best Thai and Sesame Inn was voted Best Chinese, those two also repeat winners from 2012.

Maz receives enthusiastic welcome.


연광적환영 받는 결승.

The Dong-A Ilbo covers the Pittsburgh Pirates' World Series victory on October 15, 1960. If you are interested in 20th-century Korean history but are easily prone to getting lost for days in old newspapers, avoid Naver's "News Library" archive.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Squirrel Hill Magazine profiles Chaya.



The Fall 2013 issue of the quarterly Squirrel Hill Magazine has a profile on Chaya, a restaurant on Murray Ave. considered by Japanese in Pittsburgh to have the best Japanese food in the city. In addition to the usual background information, the piece alludes to owner Fumio Yasuzawa's hobby of collecting material for a Japanese cultural center here.
Yasuzawa is now focused on building his Japanese book collection. Hundreds of volumes, along with Japanese movie DVDs, line rows of metal shelves in Chaya’s basement. He hopes to someday make the collection widely available, perhaps as part of a Pittsburgh Japanese cultural center.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Yummyholic's Bukimi: An Asian Horror Event, October 24 in Strip District.



Yummyholic will host "Bukimi: An Asian Horror Event" on October 24 at CAVO in the Strip District (map). It's the second installment of the "Cupcakes and Culture" series, put on by the local sweets-slash-entertainment start-up. From the event's Facebook page:
With the help of an Awesome Pittsburgh grant, this time we are delivering a night of haunted delight with features that will not only make this event the first of its kind in the city but one of the most amazing nights all around:

- FREE nomicakes by Yummyholic ("What's a nomicake?" You have to come and fall in love for yourself!)
- Trick-or-Treating
- Mini Night Market
- Asian Horror Gallery
- Haunted Photobooth

Featuring music by DJ Duo Tracksploitation

21+ ONLY
Dress Code: Black and/or Red Colors. Keep it classy please, no jeans. Dress to kill..
General admission is free, though $25 VIP tickets are available. Advance registration is required, and can be done so online.

Third Madoka Magica movie to make Pittsburgh debut at Hollywood Theater on December 6.



The third movie in the three-part Madoka Magica series will premiere in Japan on October 26. U.S. showtimes for Rebellion (叛逆の物語) were announced yesterday, and Pittsburgh is one of several cities to have December 6 screenings, the second-earliest date in the country behind the December 3 premiere. Rebellion will debut in the area at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont (map) on the 6th, with initial screenings at 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm.

The Hollywood Theater also held the regional debuts of parts one and two in December 2012, and will show both again on December 5 at 7:30 pm, according to the movies' U.S. distributor's website.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Japanese Wagashi Sweetmaking & Tasting Workshop in Butler, October 18.

autumn
Via alde (Creative Commons).

This month there are two Japanese Wagashi Sweetmaking & Tasting Workshops being held in the area. Registration for the one in Oakland on the 19th is closed, but space is still available for the one held at the Maridon Museum in Butler on Friday the 18th. From the museum's website:
In this year's annual cultural program from Handa City, Aichi prefecture, Japan, participants will work with a master wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) maker Masahiro Koie to learn how to make artful sweets and the history and culture of Japanese sweet makers.
It will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at the Asian art museum located at 322 N. McKean St. in downtown Butler, some 40 miles north of Pittsburgh (map). Registration is required and can be done by calling 724–282-0123 or by signing up with the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania.

International Family Day at Carnegie Library, October 13.



The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland will host International Family Day on October 13 from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Chinese movie Ocean Heaven (海洋天堂) to open Reelabilities: Pittsburgh Disabilities Film Festival, October 26.

Ocean Heaven Pittsburgh

Chinese-language film Ocean Heaven (海洋天堂) will open the Reelabilities: Pittsburgh Film Festival on October 26. The film stars Jet Li as the father of a young man with autism. Wikipedia provides a summary:
Ocean Heaven is about a terminally ill father, Sam Wong (Jet Li) as he works his job in an aquarium and struggles to look after his 21-year-old son Dafu, who has autism (Wen Zhang). Sam has single-handedly brought up his son since his wife died 14 years ago and looks after him day and night attempting to help him learn basic tasks in order to care for himself, as well as searching for a home for his son before he passes away. As the story progresses, the growing relationship between father and son as well as the community around them become clearer. Ling ling (Gwei Lun-mei) plays the role of a clown who is part of a small traveling circus (they perform in the aquarium for a short period of time) and who gets on well with Dafu, leading to a close friendship between them.
The movie plays at 7:00 on the 26th at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on the Northside (map). Tickets are available online for $25 for adults and $15 for students, though films not part of opening night are $10 and $5, respectively.

Reelabilities is a multi-city festival
dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities

Clara C at Pitt, October 15.

Clara C concert Pitt
Via the Facebook event page.

Singer-songwriter Clara C (Clara Chung) will perform at the University of Pittsburgh's William Pitt Union on October 15, between dates on her current tour. The flyer has details, and her Youtube channel has songs.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lao-language The Rocket among Three Rivers Film Festival openers, November 8.



Australian film The Rocket is one of four movies to open the Three Rivers Film Festival on November 8, writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
In "The Rocket," a boy believed to bring bad luck leads his family and a couple of ragged misfits through Laos to find a new home. After a calamity-filled journey through a land scarred by war, he tries to prove he's not cursed by building a giant rocket and entering the most lucrative and dangerous competition of the year, the Rocket Festival.

In Lao with English subtitles, "The Rocket" is Australia's submission for consideration in the foreign language film category for the 86th Academy Awards.
The Rocket will play at Waterworks Cinemas (map) at 7:15 pm. A complete list of films will be announced on October 21.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Stream the Pirates on Japanese TV.

Pittsburgh Pirates JSPORTS

If you have basic cable and can't watch the Pirates on TV, and if you dislike downloading programs in order to stream television channels, you might consider watching the Pirates' playoff games on Japanese TV. The Chinese website Zenyunzhibo streams live TV from hundreds of Chinese channels, and a handful of Japanese and Korean ones. Japanese channel JSPORTS---in the first batch of channels on the Chinese-language page---carries Major League baseball, and has Japanese broadcasters over the English-language TBS feed. JSPORTS will have Game 4 live Monday at 3:07 PM (Pittsburgh time).

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Taiwanese film Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (明天記得愛上我) part of Pittsburgh LGBT Film Festival, October 13.



The Taiwanese movie Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow (明天記得愛上我) will play on October 13 as part of Reel Q Pittsburgh LGBT Film Festival. Slant magazine provides a summary:
The weight of expectations and unrealized possibilities in love hampers both Weichung (Richie Jen) and Mandy (Kimi Hsia), siblings who find themselves uneasy when faced with the impending demands of domesticity. For Mandy, the issue is her engagement to Sen-Sen (Stone), a reliable, bland hubby-in-waiting, who she dumps after an existentially panicked episode in a department store. Weichung's issues, however, are a bit more cumbersome. Just as his wife, Feng (Mavis Fan), opens discussions about a second child, Weichung's homosexual urges, once thought repressed, reemerge and lead to open flirtations and dates with a nerd-dreamy flight attendant (Wong Ko Lok). Rather than stressing the familial bond between brother and sister, writer-director Chen introduces a team of hip gay men, led by marriage planner Stephen (Lawrence Ko), who both council confused Weichung and give Sen-Sen a makeover.
The movie starts at 5:00 pm and, like all movies in the festival, will be shown at the Harris Theater in the Cultural District (map).

Gwangju National University of Education president receives University of Pittsburgh Medallion Award.


Via Gwangju National University of Education, but watermarked here by Newsway.

Park Nam-gi, the president of Gwangju National University of Education, was in Pittsburgh on the 1st to receive a University of Pittsburgh Medallion Award from Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg. The awards are issued to distinguished alumni on the occasion of the university's 225th anniversary (in 2012). Park earned his Ph.D from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993 and worked two stints as a visiting professor at Pitt in 1999 and 2000-2001. Lately, and most recently in July, he has led teacher-training and cultural-immersion programs in Pittsburgh with the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council.

The press release on the GNUE webpage is reprinted below in its entirety because the webpage is unlinkable:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

2013 Carnegie International opens October 4.


From He An's What makes me understand what I know, via the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art.

The 2013 Carnegie International art exhibition opens October 4 at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland (map) and will run through March 16, 2014. Artists featured of relevance to this blog are Japan's Ei Arakawa and Tezuka Architects, China's He An, and Vietnam's Dinh Q. Lê. The linked artist profiles provide fuller biographies and exhibition details, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a profile of Lê in August. Ei Arakawa will perform Soccer Ball and Figure at 11:00 am on October 5, and Tezuka Architects will give a lecture from 6:30 to 7:30 on October 7.


Dinh Q. Lê, from the "Vietnam to Hollywood" series, via Blendspace.

Postponed Chiharu Shiota "Traces of Memory" exhibition to open October 4.


"Stairway", from Chiharu Shiota's official website.

An exhibition by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota that was scheduled to open September 12 will finally open on October 4 after a delay "due to last-minute city code concerns", writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Traces of Memory" will be on display at the Mattress Factory's new satellite gallery, ocated at 516 Sampsonia Way (map), a few houses down from the museum's main building and down the street from the City of Asylum. The museum's website summarizes the exhibit:
Central to the artist’s work are the themes of remembrance and oblivion, dreaming and sleeping, traces of the past and childhood and dealing with anxiety. Shiota explores the relationship between waking life and memories through hauntingly beautiful installations that incorporate everyday objects like shoes, pianos and hospital beds encased in webs of yarn. Stretched in multi-layers in a gallery space, Shiota weaves disorienting cocoons of black yarn that reflect the artist’s desire to ‘draw in the air’.

The site-specific installation of new works by Shiota will fill the eight rooms in the building at 516 Sampsonia Way—a 19th-century row home with a storied past—which is suited to the artist’s work. Its interior is cosmetically untouched; the raw condition of the building lends itself well to reflections on the past and the conjuring of memories.
It will run through May 31, 2014.

Korean Food Bazaar fundraiser in Shadyside, October 5.

The Korean Culture Association tells us about a Korean food bazaar happening October 5 at the Korean Central Church of Pittsburgh (피츠버그한인중앙교회) in Shadyside (map):
There will be a food bazaar fund raiser this Saturday at church (Located on 821 South Aiken, Shady Side) from 2:30-4pm for the University of Pittsburgh Korean Heritage Room. You can contact Hain Byeon (hlb40@pitt.edu) to pre-order any of the items below.

bulgogi (불고기) - $12.00
gim bab (김밥) - $ 5.00
dduk bokk gi (떡볶이) - $5.00
goon mandoo (군만두) - $5.00
yook gae jang (육개장) - $8.00
hae mul pa jun (해물파전)- $2.00
shik hae (식혜)- $3.50
california rolls - $5.00
gut jul ee (겉절이) - $5.00
ho dduk (호떡) - $1.00
pat shi lu dduk (팥시루떡) - $4.00
Pre-ordering is not necessary, though, a comment beneath the post says. This church is the site of the annual Korean Food Bazaar each May.

Proceeds for the October 5 event will benefit the Korean Heritage Room Committee, which is working to build a Korean Heritage Room in the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning in 2014. More about the Korean Heritage Room here.

CMU Japanese Student Association presents Mochi Making Competition, October 4.



The Carnegie Mellon University Japanese Student Association will hold a Mochi Making Competition at 5403 Wean Hall (campus map) on Friday, October 4.

Pittsburgh Penguins in Saitama.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Free Korean Conversation group at Carnegie Library Oakland from October.

The Carnegie Library in Oakland (map) will offer Korean Conversation group every other Saturday from October 12.
Whether your Korean skills are intermediate or advanced, join us to practice lively Korean Conversation and will meet every Saturday in the Large Print Room on the First Floor.
It will be held from 3:00 to 5:00 pm in the Large Print Room. Registration is required and can be done on the event's webpage. For future meetings, visit the Carnegie Library website, click "Events" and search for "Korean Conversation".

The Oakland branch already offers Japanese and Chinese conversation groups, as well as Korean for Beginners and Korean II.