Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Korean movie 10 Minutes (10분) at CMU, April 8.



The Korean movie Ten Minutes (10분) will play at Carnegie Mellon University on April 8 as part of this year's CMU International Film Festival. 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 event starts at 7:00 pm in McConomy Auditorium in the Jared L. Cohon University Center and includes a "post-screening discussion moderated by Seung-hwan Shin, Professor of English/Film Studies at the University of Pittsburgh" and reception. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors, $10 for everyone else, and available online.

An izakaya coming to Lawrenceville?

That's what PG Plate says today:
Roger Li, the chef who has been with Tamari in Lawrenceville since the day it opened, has left to take on a new project. His last day was March 15.

His plan is to open a Japanese izakaya called Umami that will feature, "traditional Japanese dishes using modern techniques and local ingredients. Every dish will have umami flavors," he said.

Umami will have a sushi bar and a robota grill. He'll also serve ramen, housemade tofu, gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and other Japanese street food. His drink menu will include sake, cocktails and Japanese whisky.
An announcement on location is pending.

“In the Shadow of Working Men: Gendered Labor and Migrant Rights in South Korea" at Pitt, April 3.



The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will host Dr. Hae Yeon Choo of the University of Toronto and her talk “In the Shadow of Working Men: Gendered Labor and Migrant Rights in South Korea" on April 3.
This talk will investigate the gendered production of migrant rights by examining two groups of Filipina women in South Korea: factory workers and hostesses at American military camptown clubs. Based on ethnographic research, I identify two distinct labor regimes for migrant women that were differently shaped in the shadow of working men. Divergent forms of civil society mobilization in South Korea sustained these regimes: migrant factory workers received recognition as workers without attention to gender-specific concerns while hostesses were construed as women victims in need of protection. Thus, Filipina factory workers were able to exercise greater labor and social rights by sharing the dignity of workers as a basis for their rights claims from which hostesses were excluded. Emphasizing gendered labor processes and symbolic politics, this talk will offer an analytical framework to interrogate the mechanisms through which a discrepancy of rights is generated at the intersection of workplace organization and civil society mobilization.
The talk will be held from 3:00 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (map) and is free and open to the public.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hong Kong Film Series at Maridon Museum, April and May.



Over the weekend the Maridon Museum announced its lineup for Hong Kong Film Series running in April and May, 2015. The films are: 1978's Heroes of the East (浮城), Wong Kar Wai's Chungking Express (重慶森林), 2011's A Simple Life (桃姐), and 2012's Floating City (浮城). The first movie, Heroes of the East, plays on April 10 at 6:00 pm.

The Maridon, an Asian art museum, is located at 322 North McKean St in downtown Butler (map), roughly 40 miles north of Pittsburgh. A few times a year it has Asian movies series; Vietnam, Korea, and Taiwan have been subjects in recent memory.

Shen Yun in Pittsburgh, April 25 and 26.



The Chinese classical dance company Shen Yun will be performing three shows at the Benedum Center on April 25 and 26. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust says:
Capturing the spirit of a culture almost lost, Shen Yun brings us dynasties and legends through uplifting dances and original musical scores. Classical, ethnic and folk dances are accompanied by a live orchestra that combines Western and Eastern instruments. And state-of-the-art digital backdrops transport audiences to a world where good triumphs over evil and Heaven and Earth exist together in harmony.

Shen Yun (meaning the "Beauty of Divine Beings Dancing") is the first international touring group to present classical Chinese dance to the world on a large scale. Each of the four touring companies includes nearly 100 artists and 400 hand-made costumes. The fast-moving show has new programming each year, consisting of twenty or more segments. The performances include dances from different regions and time periods of China, including the present, and several operatic vocal pieces.
The performance does look impressive, if the website and promotional materials are to be trusted. Tickets range from $54.25 to $154.25.

Reviews of the show have been mixed, due primarily to the company's religious ties. Wikipedia has a summary of those comments. If Falun Gong plays a part in the performance, it is relatively hidden from the promotional materials.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sichuan University - Pittsburgh apartments Institute



Sichuan University - Pittsburgh Institute is scheduled to open in Fall 2015. The institute at the Chinese univesity's Jiang'an campus "will educate undergraduate students and foster collaborative research" and will start with an incoming cohort of 100 students. The first pictures of the proposed building were released last July. Unfortunately, an image also used to promote the campus is a rendering from a Chinese real estate website of an apartment complex under construction in Sichuan.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter at Hollywood Theater, April 3 - 9.



The Hollywood Theater in Dormont will show the 2014 film Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter from April 3 through 9. A summary from the Sundance Festival homepage:
Kumiko lives in a cluttered, cramped apartment in Tokyo with her pet rabbit, Bunzo. She works as an office lady, robotically preparing tea and fetching dry cleaning for her nitpicky boss. But on her own time, she obsessively watches a well-known American film on a weathered VHS tape. Rewinding and fast-forwarding repeatedly, she meticulously maps out where a briefcase of castaway loot is buried within the fictional film. After hours of intense research—convinced that her destiny depends on finding the money—Kumiko heads to the United States and into the harsh Minnesota winter to search for it.
The American film stars several Japanese actors, including Rinko Kikuchi, and will debut in US theaters in March 2015. Showtimes and tickets are available on the Hollywood Theater's homepage. 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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Shaler Area High School Kakehashi Community Event, March 25.

From the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania monthly newsletter:
This year the Kakehashi (Bridge for Tomorrow) Project brings together not only Japanese and American college students, but high school students as well. As part of an initiative by the Japanese government to promote youth exchange between the U.S. and Japan, Shaler Area High School will be hosting a group of students from Igusa and Suginami Sogo High Schools of Tokyo, Japan.

Shaler Area High School will be hosting a Kakehashi Community Event on Wednesday, March 25th at Shaler Area High School Auditorium from 6:00 - 8:30 pm. This is a rare opportunity to interact with high school students from Japan and help promote the grassroots of internationalization. The program will open with a performance by Pittsburgh Taiko followed by student presentations and a reception with light refreshments where you can meet with the students.

This event is free and open to the public but RSVPs are appreciated. Please contact Steven Balsomico [Balsomicos at sasd.k12.pa.us] for further information or to RSVP.
The high school is located at 381 Wible Run Rd. (map).

TOP Shabu Shabu soft opens today, March 24.



TOP Shabu Shabu has announced that it will have a soft opening today, March 24, with 20% off everything It's located at 114 Atwood St. (map) in Oakland, the former location of Pizza Sola.

The Pitt News, the student newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh, ran a profile on the restaurant in January:
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.”

Monday, March 23, 2015

Korean film The Attorney (변호인) at Pitt, March 25.



The University of Pittsburgh's Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures will show the Korean film The Attorney (변호인) on March 25 as the second and final installment in this year's Korean Film Festival. The Washington Post summarizes the 2013 movie starring Song Kang-ho (JSA, The Host, Secret Sunshine):
The recent South Korean box-office hit observes the progress, beginning in 1978, of a lawyer with few credentials but much ambition. Song Woo-seok (Song Kang-ho) is snubbed by other lawyers because he passed the bar exam without attending law school, or even college. These cohorts are further scandalized when Song begins registering real-estate transactions, a task previously restricted to notaries.

His most inexcusable offense? Song makes a lot of money while doing work other attorneys thought was beneath them.
. . .
Fictionalized from actual events, “The Attorney” shows the transformation of a character based on the late Roh Moo-hyun, who became a human-rights advocate and later South Korea’s president.
The movie runs from 4:00 to 7:00 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (campus map) and is free and open to the public. The movie will also play for free on April 8 at Northland Public Library in the North Hills.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Chinese documentary I Am Here (我就是我) at CMU, March 27.

The 2014 Chinese documentary I Am Here (我就是我) will run on March 27 as part of Carnegie Mellon University's International Film Festival. The festival summarizes:
Do you have what it takes to be famous? Reality television and talent competitions have captivated the star-maker medium, as well as the hearts of viewers around the globe. Super Boy, one of China's most popular and adored reality television shows, recruits hundreds of thousands young, Chinese male performers and audiences to watch one boy's rise to the top of this singing competition reality program. Lixin's film I Am Here delves into contemporary Chinese youth culture, allowing us to witness the personalities, the families, the regime of image building, and the arduous training behind the passion we see on stage. Do you have what it takes to be famous-- or what it takes to become famous?
And some comments from Darren Hughes, who attended the Toronto International Film Festival last December:
“WTF is this movie?!”

I scribbled this note midway through I Am Here, Fan Lixin’s trainwreck of a documentary about Super Boy, an American Idol-style talent show that is a ratings sensation in China. I walked out of three feature films at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, each of which was more competently made than I Am Here, but none was as fascinating. Assembled from one-on-one interviews with the contestants, backstage observations, broadcast footage, and fabricated adventures (the film begins and ends with three of the boys walking through the desert, for some reason), I Am Here was surely edited by a committee whose sole concern was protecting and selling the brand. Each sequence feels focus group tested, as if the entire film were compiled algorithmically based on Youku analytics data. Say what you will about shows like Super Boy, but after two decades, its approach to storytelling and montage has become so refined it’s nothing for the editors at Big Brother and Survivor to introduce and individuate ten characters before the first commercial break. After 88 minutes of I Am Here I knew only Ou Hao (the guy with the circle earrings) and Hua Chenyu (the one with the lenseless black frames). In other words, I Am Here isn’t even good reality TV.
The event starts at 7:15 pm in McConomy Auditorium in the Jared L. Cohon University Center and includes a "mock singing competition" and reception. Tickets are $5 for students and seniors, $10 for everyone else, and available online.

Tomodachi Festival at Carnegie Library in Oakland, April 18.

Advance notice for the 4th annual Tomodachi Festival at Oakland branch of the Carnegie Library.
Join us for music, dance, kimono try-ons, haiku, origami art, and more! Cookies will be served. This program is presented by our friends from the Japan-America Society and the Friends of Main Library Bridge to Japan.
It will run from 2:00 to 4:00 pm on Saturday, April 18. The library is located at 4400 Forbes Ave. (map).

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"International Health in East Asia" at Pitt, March 20.



The Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh will present Michael SY Liu and his colloquium "International Health in East Asia" on March 20.
East Asia is an important historical case for international health between the 1920s and the 1960s. Prior to WWII, various organizations like The Far Eastern Association of Tropical Medicine (FEATM, 1910-1938), The League of Nations Health Organization (LNHO, 1921/24-39), and International Health Board of the Rockefeller Foundation (1913-51) all tried to dominate the arena. The competition ended in the second-half of the 1940s when new forms of medical aid appeared and the World Health Organization (WHO) was created in 1948. The expansion of state-governed international institutions alongside America’s emergence as a global superpower transformed the state-foundation relationship in profound ways. Professor Liu’s research attempts to demonstrate the changing infrastructures of international health in East Asia during this period, and reveals the possible linkage of U.S. medical aid in post-war East Asia and former activities of colonial medicine in the region. He hopes to provoke a discussion about the nature of American medicine in Cold War East Asia, what constitutes an international relationship in medicine, and whether to consider transnational medical projects in the post-WWII period as a Cold War version of colonial medicine.
The talk begins at 4:00 pm in 4217 Posvar Hall (map) and is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Night Market 2015 at Pitt, March 20.



The Chinese American Student Association [CASA] at the University of Pittsburgh will host its annual Night Market on Friday, March 20. From the event's Facebook page:
Join us for an awesome night filled with fun games, activities/crafts, prizes and FREE food!! Come out to the William Pitt Union Assembly Room as quickly as you can this Friday night- you do not want to miss out on the FREE Chinese food and FREE bubble tea! First come, first serve!!! Doors open at 9pm!! Can't wait to see you all! :D
It runs from 9:00 pm to midnight in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room (map).

Hotteok (호떡) sale at CMU, March 19.


via Happy Today.

The Carnegie Mellon University Asian Students Association will hold its second Hotteok Sale of the term on Thursday, March 19. Hotteok (호떡) is a fried Korean dessert with a sweet filling, commonly sold by street food vendors for 30 to 50 cents a piece. The sale runs from 11:30 to 3:00 pm---or until they run out; February's sold out in 90 minutes---at University Center Black Chairs.

No shabu shabu yet in Oakland.

The day after posting that Oakland's TOP Shabu Shabu will open the week of March 8, this sign went on its door:

"Japanese Field Games" at Pitt, March 22.

The University of Pittsburgh's Japanese Culture Association and GlobalTies will host Japanese Field Games on March 22, ahead of Children's Day on May 5.
This event is to celebrate children’s personalities and celebrate happiness. We will be playing a variety of “field games” to celebrate.
It takes place from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room (map).

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Miss Granny (수상한 그녀) at Pitt, March 18.



The first of two selections in Pitt's 2015 Korean Film Festival is Miss Granny (수상한 그녀), which will play on Wednesday, March 18. Han Cinema provides a summary of the 2014 movie, which was the sixth-highest-grossing film in Korea last year:
Oh Mal-Soon (Nah Moon-hee) is a 74-year-old widow that realizes she is becoming a burden on her family. As she is roaming the streets, she comes across a photo studio and decides to dress up for a self- portrait. When she walks out of the photo studio, she mysteriously turns back into her twenty year old self. Making the most out of this one in a lifetime opportunity, she changes her name to Oh Doo-Ri (Sim Eun-kyeong) and decides to make the most out of her youth.
A New York Times review points out of the "comic-fantasy":
While the broad comedy is entertaining (a youthful Audrey blowing on her grandson’s food and force-feeding him), the film also takes unexpected darker turns. “Nobody raised her baby better than I did — that’s why my baby is so good to me!” Mal-soon shouts when her son is about to send her away. This weird comedy meanders into heartfelt, complex areas about the regrets, attachments and abandonment of the aged.
The movie plays from 6:00 to 8:00 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (campus map), and is free and open to the public.

"Victims, Martyrs, and Heroes: A formation and manipulation of Historical Memory in China" at Pitt, March 17.



The University of Pittsburgh's Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures presents M.A. Candidate Deena Horowitz and her colloquium "Victims, Martyrs, and Heroes: A formation and manipulation of Historical Memory in China". The talk begins at 12:00 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (campus map) and is free and open to the public.

Korean film Joint Security Area (공동경비구역 JSA) at Pitt, March 20.



The University of Pittsburgh chapter of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) will present the 2000 Korean movie Joint Security Area (공동경비구역 JSA) on Friday, March 20. The movie stars Kang Song-ho (The Host, Secret Sunshine), Lee Young-ae (Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, TV drama Jewel in the Palace), and Lee Byung-hun (All In, G.I. Joe series), and was the highest-grossing Korean film of all time until the following year. A 2005 New York Times review writes of the movie:
Set in a particularly tense area of the demilitarized zone between the Koreas, it is a fairly straightforward whodunit with a pointedly political theme and an unapologetically humanist message. Major Jean (Lee Yeong-ae), who grew up in Switzerland, comes to South Korea, her father's homeland, to investigate an incident that took place inside the Joint Security Area, administered by Swedish and Swiss peacekeepers.

Collecting depositions from both sides, she encounters two predictably opposed accounts of the shooting, which left two North Korean soldiers dead. Lee Soo-hyeok (Lee Byeong-heon), the South Korean officer who has admitted to the shooting, says he shot his way out of an attempted kidnapping. The Northerners insist it was an unprovoked attack. With the specter of nuclear hostilities hovering, Major Jean's investigation is a lot more than routine police work.

And "Joint Security" itself departs from routine as the real story behind the skirmish emerges in a series of long, cleanly filmed flashbacks.
The movie starts at 7:00 pm in room G8 of the Cathedral of Learning (campus map). The event is open to the public, and tickets range from $1 to $5.

MEPPI Japan Lecture Series – Obento: Japanese Culture in a Box, March 26.

The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, Inc. will present "Obento: Japanese Culture in a Box" on March 26 as the next installment of the MEPPI Japan Lecture Series. An introduction, by the JASP:
Do you enjoy Japanese cuisine?

Learn to make a Japanese lunch box with Boston Globe food writer and cookbook author Debra Samuels. Participants will have an opportunity to learn the cultural background of obento, a Japanese term for box lunch, through a presentation by Ms. Samuels and a hands-on workshop. Ms. Samuels will illustrate common differences in value, presentation, and nutritional balance between typical American and Japanese lunches. Under Ms. Samuels' guidance, everyone will have the opportunity to make their own bento.
The talk will be held at the Marshall Twp Municipal Building in Wexford (map) from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. Registration is required and can be done via the JASP website.

Korean movie The Attorney (변호인) at Northland Public Library, April 8.



Northland Public Library in the North Hills will show the Korean movie The Attorney (변호인) on April 8 as next month's installment of the Foreign Film Series. The Washington Post summarizes the 2013 movie starring Song Kang-ho (JSA, The Host, Secret Sunshine):
The recent South Korean box-office hit observes the progress, beginning in 1978, of a lawyer with few credentials but much ambition. Song Woo-seok (Song Kang-ho) is snubbed by other lawyers because he passed the bar exam without attending law school, or even college. These cohorts are further scandalized when Song begins registering real-estate transactions, a task previously restricted to notaries.

His most inexcusable offense? Song makes a lot of money while doing work other attorneys thought was beneath them.
. . .
Fictionalized from actual events, “The Attorney” shows the transformation of a character based on the late Roh Moo-hyun, who became a human-rights advocate and later South Korea’s president.
The movie will play at Northland from 1:30 pm, and the library is located off of McKnight Road and Rt. 19 in McCandless Township (map). The Attorney will also play at the University of Pittsburgh as part of this year's Korean Film Series.

Free Japanese language class at East Liberty Carnegie Library, March and April.

The East Liberty branch of the Carnegie Library periodically holds free Japanese classes, and the latest session will run on Wednesdays in March and April.
Learn Japanese in a comfortable and relaxed setting among native speakers. All are welcome.
The classes run from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, and the library is located at 130 S. Whitfield St. (map). A reminder that the Oakland branch holds Japanese for Beginners, Japanese II, and a Japanese Conversation Club on biweekly schedules each month. Each class is suited for a different level, so check the course descriptions for more information.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Miss Granny (수상한 그녀), The Attorney (변호인) at Pitt in March for 12th annual Korean Film Festival.



Today the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh announced the lineup for the 12th annual Korean Film Festival. The 2014 film Miss Granny (수상한 그녀) will play on March 18, and the 2013 movie The Attorney (변호인) will plan on March 25.

Han Cinema summarizes the former:
Oh Mal-Soon (Nah Moon-hee) is a 74-year-old widow that realizes she is becoming a burden on her family. As she is roaming the streets, she comes across a photo studio and decides to dress up for a self- portrait. When she walks out of the photo studio, she mysteriously turns back into her twenty year old self. Making the most out of this one in a lifetime opportunity, she changes her name to Oh Doo-Ri (Sim Eun-kyeong) and decides to make the most out of her youth.
And the Washington Post summarizes the latter:
The recent South Korean box-office hit observes the progress, beginning in 1978, of a lawyer with few credentials but much ambition. Song Woo-seok (Song Kang-ho) is snubbed by other lawyers because he passed the bar exam without attending law school, or even college. These cohorts are further scandalized when Song begins registering real-estate transactions, a task previously restricted to notaries.

His most inexcusable offense? Song makes a lot of money while doing work other attorneys thought was beneath them.
. . .
Fictionalized from actual events, “The Attorney” shows the transformation of a character based on the late Roh Moo-hyun, who became a human-rights advocate and later South Korea’s president.
Miss Granny will play from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on the 18th, and The Attorney from 4:00 to 7:00 pm on the 25th. Both will play in 4130 Posvar Hall (campus map), and both are free and open to the public.

Pittsburgh City-Paper: "[T]he opening of Nak Won Garden marks the full-fledged arrival of Korean cuisine in Pittsburgh."

The March 11 issue of the Pittsburgh City-Paper contains a review of Nak Won Garden, which opened in Shadyside in November. Food critics Angelique Bamberg and Jason Roth write of it:
But there is a difference, we think, in the way that smaller, tighter communities like ours adopt foreign cuisines. Instead of becoming fluent in them through full immersion, we tend to hold dear one or two iconic, gateway dishes, like Mexican tacos, Japanese sushi and Vietnamese pho. Once these have become established, often after several years, we are primed to explore and embrace a broader, more authentic menu.

If this theory holds, then the opening of Nak Won Garden marks the full-fledged arrival of Korean cuisine in Pittsburgh after a decade or more of enthusiasm for Korean barbecue. Open since November on busy Centre Avenue, at the seam of Shadyside and Bloomfield, Nak Won Garden is Pittsburgh's most ambitious Korean restaurant to date.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

5th annual Matsuri at CMU, March 27.



The Japanese Student Association at Carnegie Mellon University will present its 5th annual Matsuri on Friday, March 27. The spring matsuri (meaning festival in Japanese) benefits Minato Middle School in Ishinomaki city, which was destroyed by the March 11, 2011 tsunami. More information, from the CMU JSA:
Join us in celebrating aspects of Japanese food, culture and society. We will be hosting the event at Merson Courtyard outside of the Cohon University Center on Friday March 27th, from 3:30 to 8:30 PM. While you enjoy these acts, traditional Japanese decorations and festival games, feel free to eat a variety of foods from our Food Booths such as Takoyaki, Yakisoba, Okonomiyaki, Onigiri and a variety of other Japanese foods! Small carnival games will be available, and J@CMU's origami and cooking groups will also be in attendance to further promote Japanese culture at CMU.

All profits go to recovery efforts for the Minato Middle School in Japan which is still suffering from the earthquake and tsunami three years ago. Your contribution is valuable and we hope to send a sizable amount of supplies this year, as we did last year. For more information regarding donations please go to this site: http://matsuri.cmu-jsa.com/cause.html.
Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Peking Acrobats at Byham Theater, April 2.



Tickets went on sale in November for the Peking Acrobats at the Byham Theater on April 2, 2015. Prices run from $15 to $35.

Friday, March 6, 2015

이재은 scores Jung-ho Kang autograph, Clint Hurdle scores Jung-ho Kang shirt.

MBC TV personality Jae-eun Lee (이재은) scores a Jung-ho Kang autograph at Pirates Spring Training. For the first time, Korean media are covering the Pirates and Kang remains one of the top sports stories in South Korea this winter.



She caught up with manager Clint Hurdle in his new Kang t-shirt:



Meanwhile, a local writer objects to the attention Kang is getting.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Seoul's PPG Place: Immanuel Methodist Church (임마누엘교회)

Across from Olympic Park in Seoul's Bangi-dong is Immanuel Methodist Church (임마누엘교회), shaped like a large glass castle.




Churches in Korea tend to be large and ostentatious---more often than not they're capped by neon crosses---but this one first caught my eye back in 2006 because it looks almost exactly like PPG Place, perhaps the most distinctive building in Pittsburgh.




PPG Place opened in 1983 and 1984, Wikipedia says, and the new church building ten years later. The church's website doesn't acknowledge the resemblence or the inspiration. Here are a few pictures from my visit in 2010.





PPG Place consists of six builidngs, the largest being 40 stories. The church has two buildings, a 16-story education center and a four-story church, and doesn't enclose a courtyard like its Pittsburgh counterpart. Behind the church is an alley full of motels and singing rooms, and across the street is the park that held the 1988 Summer Olympic Games.

Originally published elsewhere in 2010.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Jung-ho Kang making friends.


Alen Hanson and Jung-ho Kang. "Hanson, my friend."

New Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jung-ho Kang is one of the biggest stories in Korean sports so far this spring. Daum, the second-largest internet portal in South Korea, has a short video on Kang, cobbled together from various Korean-language interviews. He also introduces viewers to teammates Andrew Lambo, Alen Hanson, and Jose Tabata; he introduces Tabata as the teammate who wants to visit Korea.

Monday, March 2, 2015

TOP Shabu Shabu to open week of March 8.



According to a new sign on the door, TOP Shabu Shabu will open the week of March 8. It's located at 114 Atwood St. (map) in Oakland, the former location of Pizza Sola.

The Pitt News, the student newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh, ran a profile on the restaurant in January:
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.”