Thursday, January 29, 2015

In the Mood for Love (花樣年華) at Carnegie Library Oakland, February 1.



The iconic Hong Kong film In the Mood for Love (花樣年華) will be shown for free at the Carnegie Library Oakland branch on February 1. The 2000 movie is February's installment of International Cinema Sunday. From a 2001 Roger Ebert review:
They are in the mood for love, but not in the time and place for it. They look at each other with big damp eyes of yearning and sweetness, and go home to sleep by themselves. Adultery has sullied their lives: his wife and her husband are having an affair. "For us to do the same thing," they agree, "would mean we are no better than they are." The key word there is "agree." The fact is, they do not agree. It is simply that neither one has the courage to disagree, and time is passing. He wants to sleep with her and she wants to sleep with him, but they are both bound by the moral stand that each believes the other has taken.
. . .
His name is Mr. Chow (Tony Leung Chiu-wai). Hers is Su Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung Man-yuk). In the crowded Hong Kong of 1962, they have rented rooms in apartments next to each other. They are not poor; he's a newspaper reporter, she's an executive assistant, but there is no space in the crowded city and little room for secrets.
The movie runs from 2:00 to 4:00 in Classroom A. The library is located at 4400 Forbes Ave. in Oakland (map).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Colloquium "Visual Orthographic Variation and Learning to Read across Writing System" at Pitt, January 30.


Via the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.

Li-Yun Chang, a graduate student in the Learning Research and Development Center, will give a talk on "Visual Orthographic Variation and Learning to Read across Writing System" on Friday, January 30, at Pitt. The abstract:
Different writing systems are used across the world – their visual forms vary greatly. How can we classify this visual variation? Across the range of writing systems, how does variability in the visual characteristics of graphemes, the smallest linguistically significant writing units, in different orthographies (e.g., English: letters; Chinese: characters) affect learning to read? Specifically, do individuals with differing writing system backgrounds perceive graphemes differently? This talk focuses on research testing the hypothesis that more complex orthographies impose greater perceptual demands on learners, encouraging development of stronger visual perceptual skills through learning to read. Findings suggest that visual orthographic variation, encompassing both grapheme complexity and size of grapheme inventory, affects learning to read due to resulting differences in visual perceptual processing. Implications of this orthographic variation on Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) pedagogy are discussed. Light refreshments will be served.
The talk begins at 12:00 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (campus map) and is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tibetan-French short film "Butter Lamp" at Regent Square Theater, from January 30.



The Tibetan-French short film "Butter Lamp" will play at the Regent Square Theater from January 30 through February 12 as part of the Oscar Nominated Shorts: Live Action series. A synopsis, from the theater's site:
A young itinerant photographer and his assistant offer to photograph some Tibetan nomads in front of various backgrounds.

Host families needed for visiting Japanese college students.

GlobalPittsburgh, by way of the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania, tells us of a need for host families for a group of Japanese students visiting Duquesne University in March:
GlobalPittsburgh is arranging homestays for a total of 18 pharmacy students from Kobe Gakuin University while they attend programming at Duquesne University. The students are between the ages of 18 and 23. At present, We still have 10 women in the group who need to be placed with host families. We will need hosts whose homes are accessible to public transportation as the students will be using bus passes to go to and from their classes and activities. We are asking that hosts provide private bedrooms for the students or provide one room with separate beds for the students. The students will be practicing their English while they are in the city. There will be some compensation for the host families for this program. Our colleagues in Japan are eager to learn the names of hosts so that the students may begin corresponding with their homestay hosts in advance of their arrival in March. If you are interested in this project, please contact Gail Shrott, Director, International Leaders Program, GlobalPittsburgh [. . .] GlobalPittsburgh will ask all potential hosts for this program to fill out a host family application (link to the application is: http://www.globalpittsburgh.org/node/1099).

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫の物語) at Regent Square Theater, tomorrow through January 29.



The Regent Square Theater will present The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫の物語) from January 24 through 29. The highly-acclaimed 2013 Studio Ghibli film made its Pittsburgh debut at the Row House Cinema in December, and was announced as an Oscar nominee last week for Best Animated Feature. An A.V. Club review provides a summary:
A humble bamboo cutter named Okina (translation: “old man”) happens upon a glowing stalk in the grove near his house. When he investigates, the shimmering tree blossoms reveal a baby nested inside. Believing this discovery to be a gift from the heavens, Okina brings her home to his wife Ouna (“old woman”), with whom he begins to raise the child as their own. Dubbing her “Princess” Kaguya, Ouna and Okina marvel at how rapidly the girl begins to grow, racing from infancy to pre-adolescence in a matter of days.

While Kaguya busies herself with a normal childhood, making friends with the local kids and bonding with an older boy named Sutemaru, her adopted father becomes distracted by Kaguya’s value to him—the bamboo shoot from which she was born begins producing gold. As Kaguya transforms into a teenager, Okina relocates their family to the capital city, where the girl receives lessons on how to be a proper woman, and is celebrated as a rare beauty. When five aggressive suitors come calling—followed by the emperor himself—Kaguya begins to feel trapped, things falling apart as she imagines a different life for herself.
It goes on to say the film has "some of the most beautifully expressive animation that Ghibli (or anyone else) has ever produced".
Showtimes are available at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers website. The website says tomorrow's and Sunday's screenings will be dubbed in English, while the other shows will be in Japanese with English subtitles.

The Regent Square Theater is located at 1035 S. Braddock Ave. (map).

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pitt News previews "Top Shabu Shabu".


First look at Top Shabu Shabu signage in October; new interior sign installed in January.

Today's Pitt News--the student newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh--has a profile of Top Shabu Shabu, the hot pot restaurant moving into the former Pizza Sola location on Atwood Street.
Andrew Khoo, the restaurant’s manager, said although they named the new restaurant after Shabu-shabu, a Japanese style of dining, yet Top Shabu’s hot pot style is traditionally more Chinese.
Customers will order a “hot pot” and whatever meats and vegetables they would like to eat, which servers will bring to the table. Customers will then cook the food using the hot pot, a metal container filled with broth and heated by an electric coil, and eat their food at their table. In hot pots, the food is cooked while the pot simmers. Thinly sliced beef is the traditional choice, Khoo said, but Top Shabu will offer a variety of meat and vegetable options.

“All food is cooked at the table,” Khoo said.

According to Khoo, Top Shabu’s bar will offer Asian-inspired drinks.

“We have a 10 tap system from the previous owner,” Khoo said. “We’ll also have a variety of wine and a large variety of liquor for unique mixed drinks. The mixed drinks will have an Asian influence. For example, melon liqueur is used a lot in China.”

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Japanese language exchange at Kenmawr Apartments, January 29.



The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania shares news of a Japanese language exchange scheduled for Shadyside's Kenmawr Apartments (map) on January 29. The apartment complex is home to a lot of Japanese families recently arrived in Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"The Myth of McDonaldization: Globalization and Culture in a Japanese Community, 1961-2014", January 29.

Dr. L. Keith Brown, a professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh, will present "The Myth of McDonaldization: Globalization and Culture in a Japanese Community, 1961-2014" as part of this year's MEPPI Japan Lecture Series. A summary from the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania:
Observe more than half a century of change in Japan through photographs and stories. Dr. Keith Brown has been traveling to Mizusawa, a town in Iwate Prefecture, northeastern Japan, for 53 years.

Dr. Brown has captured the emergence of car culture and the evolution of agriculture from labor-intensive hand cultivated rice to capital-intensive highly mechanized agriculture. As in America, “Main Street” in the center of town has hollowed out as suburban big box stores have overtaken small shops.

But what does that mean for the lives of the farmers there? Has this Japanese town been “McDonaldized?”
The talk runs from 6:00 to 7:30 pm in the US Steel Building, Conference Room 33C12 (map). The talk is free and open to the public, but registration is required by January 23.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Last: Naruto the Movie (ザ・ラスト ‐ナルト・ザ・ムービー) at Hollywood Theater, February 21 and 22.



The Last: Naruto the Movie (ザ・ラスト ‐ナルト・ザ・ムービー) will play at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont on February 21 and 22, the theater announced today. A summary by the distributor:
The moon is approaching dangerously close to Earth! Unless something is done, the moon will disintegrate, showering the earth with gigantic meteorites. As the clock ticks towards the end of the world, can Naruto save the earth from this crisis? The final chapter of Naruto's story unfolds!

Naruto has become one of the most popular and recognizable anime and manga series in the United States, with the manga volumes frequently appearing on the New York Times and USA Today Best Sellers List and the Naruto Shippuden anime ranked as one of the top three anime series by the Los Angeles Times. With over 683 chapters and 367 anime episodes and more to come, Naruto continues to be a pillar in the US’s anime and manga culture.
The Last will premiere in the US on February 20. Tickets for the two Pittsburgh shows are now available online. Both screenings are in Japanese with English subtitles, and guests will receive free mini-posters while supplies last.

The theater is located at 1449 Potomac Ave. in Dormont (map), and is accessible by Pittsburgh's subway/LRT at a block south of Potomac Station.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫の物語) at Regent Square Theater, January 24 - 29.



The Regent Square Theater will present The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫の物語) from January 24 through 29. The highly-acclaimed 2013 Studio Ghibli film made its Pittsburgh debut at the Row House Cinema in December, and was announced as an Oscar nominee this week for Best Animated Feature . An A.V. Club review provides a summary:
A humble bamboo cutter named Okina (translation: “old man”) happens upon a glowing stalk in the grove near his house. When he investigates, the shimmering tree blossoms reveal a baby nested inside. Believing this discovery to be a gift from the heavens, Okina brings her home to his wife Ouna (“old woman”), with whom he begins to raise the child as their own. Dubbing her “Princess” Kaguya, Ouna and Okina marvel at how rapidly the girl begins to grow, racing from infancy to pre-adolescence in a matter of days.

While Kaguya busies herself with a normal childhood, making friends with the local kids and bonding with an older boy named Sutemaru, her adopted father becomes distracted by Kaguya’s value to him—the bamboo shoot from which she was born begins producing gold. As Kaguya transforms into a teenager, Okina relocates their family to the capital city, where the girl receives lessons on how to be a proper woman, and is celebrated as a rare beauty. When five aggressive suitors come calling—followed by the emperor himself—Kaguya begins to feel trapped, things falling apart as she imagines a different life for herself.
It goes on to say the film has "some of the most beautifully expressive animation that Ghibli (or anyone else) has ever produced".
Showtimes are available at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers website. The website says the 24th and 25th screenings will be dubbed in English, while the other shows will be in Japanese with English subtitles.

The Regent Square Theater is located at 1035 S. Braddock Ave. (map).

Pittsburgh signs 강정호, is now the biggest story in Korean sports.


via @Pirates.

Pittsburgh is the biggest story in Korean sports today as the Pirates have finalized a contract with shortstop Jung-ho Kang (강정호). The Pirates advertised the deal on Twitter, and included a pronunciation guide; that will come in handy, as far too many Americans pronounced the song "Gayng-num Style" rather than "Gahng-nahm". If Kang appears in a regular-season game, he'll be just the second Korean in Pirates' history to do so, after pitcher Chan-ho Park's brief 2010 stint, during which he became the winningest Asian pitcher in Major League Baseball history.

The signing is currently the fourth-hottest story on Naver, South Korea's largest internet portal:

"China's Next Decade: How Scarcity Will Redefine Business Opportunity in the World's Most Important Growth Market" at Pitt, January 22.



The University of Pittsburgh will host Bill Adams and his talk "China's Next Decade: How Scarcity Will Redefine Business Opportunity in the World's Most Important Growth Market" on January 22. Pitt's Asian Studies Center profiles Adams:
Bill Adams, senior international economist for The PNC Financial Services Group, is responsible for forecasting international economic conditions and exchange rates for PNC, covering emerging Asia, the European Union, Canada and Latin America. Adams serves as PNC's principal spokesperson on global economic issues and frequently presents to its clients on the international economic outlook. He joined PNC in July 2011 after serving as resident economist for The Conference Board China Center from 2009 to 2011. In that position he served as spokesman on the Chinese business cycle and was a designer of The Conference Board Leading Economic Index for China®, a widely-followed, market-moving economic indicator. Bill lived in China for five years and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese. He serves as vice president of The Economic Club of Pittsburgh, is a member of the Economics Advisory Council of the Duquesne University Palumbo Donahue School of Business, and is an advisory board member and center associate of the University of Pittsburgh Asian Studies Center. Bill holds a master degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and is a graduate of Harvard College.
The event is free and open to the public and begins at 4:30 in 104 Mervis Hall (campus map).

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Kang signing appears imminent.


via Naver / 국민일보.

The Kukmin Ilbo reports, via ESPN, that shortstop Kang Jung-ho and the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to a US$16 million contract. The graphics team was hard at work today, though nothing will be official until after Kang's physical on Thursday.

The Pirates won the rights to negotiate with the 27-year-old shortstop in December. If he signs and plays, he will be the second Korean to appear for Pittsburgh in the regular season, after pitcher Chan-ho Park in 2010.

Korean film 10 Minutes (10분) announced as part of 2015 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival.



The Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival announced today that the 2013 Korean movie 10 Minutes (10분) will be part of its 2015 lineup. A summary from the Busan International Film Festival, where the movie premiered in 2013:
A young man preparing for an exam to work for a broadcasting company starts to work as an intern and a junior government employee. He is only there to make some money before finding a real job, but when his boss tells him that he wants to hire him full-time, he is tempted. After going through the interview and getting congratulated from others in the office, he is shocked that the full-time position is in fact given to someone else. An older co-worker tells him that it was a set-up, and the young man decides to fight the decision. The fight for justice is not as easy as his co-worker says. The film cruelly looks on as the man stoops lower and lower, from an intern loved by both co-workers and managers, to a disgruntled employee. He is at a crossroads. Should he stay a good, social employee, or start anew as a straggler?
The festival will run from March 19 through 28, and April 8 through 11. Showtimes and a complete list of films to follow.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Lectures by Yun-fei Je, Ryoji Ikeda at CMU School of Art this semester.


A 2009 DATA.TRON exhibition, by Liz Hingley.

The Carnegie Mellon University School of Art announced its Spring 2015 Lecture Series today, with Yun-fei Je and Ryoji Ikeda of most relevance to this site. Je is scheduled for February 24, and Ikeda for April 7. The School of Art profiles the former:
Yun-Fei Ji’s art addresses social change and geological climates using the political forum of the scroll, an ancient art form of ink and mineral pigment on silk and paper. In 2002, he made his first reference to the theme of mass displacement and environmental cataclysm in Three Gorges Dam Migration, a series of woodblock-printed hand scrolls depicting flooding and social upheaval triggered by the creation of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River.
And the latter, whose installation "DATA.TRON" was in Pittsburgh from July 12 through September 8, 2013:
Ryoji Ikeda focuses on the essential characteristics of sound itself and that of visuals as light by means of both mathematical precision and mathematical aesthetics. He has gained a reputation as one of the few international artists working convincingly across both visual and sonic media. Ikeda elaborately orchestrates sound, visuals, materials, physical phenomena and mathematical notions into immersive live performances and installations. His albums +/- (1996), 0? (1998), and Matrix (2001) have been hailed by critics as the most radical and innovative examples of contemporary electronic music. Currently, Ikeda is working on cyclo, a collaborative project with Carsten Nicolai.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Pitt's Japanese Culture Association New Year's party, January 13.

The Japanese Culture Association at the University of Pittsburgh will host a New Year's party on January 13 from 9:00 pm in room 232 of the Cathedral of Learning.
明けましておめでとう!!Happy New Year!! Come celebrate the new year with us...Japanese style! We will be having red bean soup, mochi, and hot cocoa! Hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lecture "Korean Art after the Korean War" at Pitt, January 15.

Dr. Joo-eun Lee of Konkuk University in Seoul will present a lecture "Korean Art after the Korean War" at the University of Pittsburgh on January 15. The University Center for International Studies provides a summary:
This lecture aims to investigate the direction of Korean art of the past half century, through observing the trends in modern Korean history. It will briefly cover the social and artistic background of Korea in the 1960s to 2010s. The core issue that is pursued by the art of today is ‘communication.’ The reason behind the popularity of artworks that carry the meaning of breaking barriers between artistic genres, overcoming prejudices among people, and destructing regional boundaries is all for the sake of smoothening out communication. By introducing some influential Korean artists of these days that turned to the everyday culture after experiencing epic changes on a national level, what the present era is trying to express, as well as the situation it is facing, is discussed.
The talk begins at 2:00 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (campus map).

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tadao Arimoto.



"Alter Table for a Chapel ----- walnut, bent laminated walnut" by Pittsburgh-based woodworking artist Tadao Arimoto. Arimoto, who moved to Pittsburgh in 1976, was honored as a Master Visual Artist in 2013 by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015



Rei Chikaoka's "Release" is part of a touring exhibition titled Emerge/Evolve at the Pittsburgh Glass Center in Garfield (map) through January 18. Writes the City Paper today:
With just over a dozen artists and typically one work from each, Emerge/Evolve provides only a quick glimpse into contemporary glass work. But it's a glimpse intriguing enough to lead the viewer to search out more and give a longer, closer look.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Search for General Tso at Hollywood Theater in Dormont, from January 9.



The Hollywood Theater in Dormont will show the 2014 documentary The Search for General Tso from January 9 through January 12 and on January 14. The Search for General Tso, says the official site,
is a feature-length documentary tracing the origins of Chinese American food through what is arguably America’s most popular takeout meal––General Tso’s Chicken.

Anchoring the film is an upbeat quest, through small towns and big cities across America and beyond, to understand the origins and popularity of Chinese American food and its top-selling dish. Who was General Tso? And why do nearly fifty thousand restaurants serve deep-fried chicken bearing his name?

Using this Americanized dish and its mysterious mastermind as a lens onto a larger story of immigration, adaptation, and innovation, the film follows a lighthearted journey, grounded in cultural and culinary history, through restaurants, Chinatowns, and the American imagination. Visits to present-day Chinese restaurants spark forays into the past, guided by chefs, scholars, and the occasional opinionated customer. The film’s lively soundtrack and shadow-puppet animations contribute both whimsy and momentum, as viewers find they’re on a search to answer a deeper question: how did America’s Chinese food become so… American?
The theater is located at 1449 Potomac Ave. in Dormont (map), and is accessible by Pittsburgh's subway/LRT at a block south of Potomac Station. Showtimes and tickets are available at the theater's website.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Free language courses at Carnegie Library in Oakland resume this week.

As the new year begins, a reminder that the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has free Korean, Japanese, and Chinese classes at its Oakland branch (map). Depending on the class and the particular volunteer teacher, the sessions range from a period of casual free talking to more rigorous class with workbooks and chalk-and-talk instruction on grammar and usage.

Here's a look at what's coming up, in order of proficiency level:

* Chinese for Beginners (next meeting: January 11). Held the second and fourth Sunday of the month from 3:30 to 4:30 in the Large Print Room.
* Chinese II (next meeting: January 4). Held the first and third Sunday of the month from 3:30 to 4:30 in the Large Print Room.
* Chinese Conversation Club (next meeting: January 8). Held the second and fourth Thursday of each month from 6:00 to 7:00 in the Large Print Room. For intermediate and advanced learners.

* Japanese for Beginners (next meeting: January 12). Second and fourth Monday of the month from 6:30 to 7:30 in Classroom A.
* Japanese II (next meeting: January 13). Second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 6:30 to 7:30 in Classroom A. "Japanese II is geared toward those who already have a basic understanding of Japanese and are interested in increasing proficiency," says the library website. "Ability to read and write hiragana is required to take this class."
* Japanese Conversation Club (next meeting: January 6). Held on the first and third Tuesday of the month from 6:00 to 7:00 in the Large Print Room. For intermediate and advanced learners.

* Korean for Beginners (next meeting: January 3). Every Saturday from 1:00 to 2:30 in the Large Print Room. Focuses on reading Hangeul and producing basic phrases.
* Korean II (next meeting: January 3). Every Saturday from 11:00 to 12:30 in the Large Print Room.

Students may join the class at any time of the year, though registration is now required for many of the classes. This can be done online by clicking on the class and submitting your name and email address. For more information about the courses, and to register for one, visit the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh homepage, click events, and search for Chinese, Japanese, or Korean.