Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Japanese movie Jellyfish Eyes (めめめのくらげ) at Hollywood Theater, July 15



The Hollywood Theater in Dormont announced today that it will show the 2013 Japanese movie Jellyfish Eyes (めめめのくらげ) on July 15 at 7:30 pm. A summary, from Chicago Reader:
It takes place in a small town where all the kids have fantastic-looking pets that they command with electronic devices, unaware that the pets have been created by a sinister organization as part of a mind-control plot. The creatures—which range from a human-sized frog to a sprite with a big metal box for a head—provide a worthy showcase for Murakami's prodigious visual imagination; not coincidentally, the principal theme is how imagination can play a constructive role in child development, as the kids learn to stop pitting the creatures against each other and use them collaboratively.
Additional background on the artist and the movie is available in a 2013 Wall Street Journal interview. Tickets range from $5 to $8 and are available online. 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.

"Rebel Flags in Korea: Confederate Banners Fly Anywhere!!!"

Confederate Flags Fly AnywhereRebel Flags Still Flying in Korea . . . Unashamedly

African-American publications in the 1950s noted the prominence of confederate flags flown by American soldiers in South Korea during the Korean War. The Pittsburgh Courier, on September 29, 1951, wrote on the phenomenon in an article "Rebel Flags in Korea: Confederate Banners Fly Anywhere!!!". An excerpt:
The Confederate flag which is receiving widespread use in this country is also used in Korea, it was learned this week.

A platoon of the United States First Calvary Division, consisting of a large number of Southerners, flew the Stars and Bars in Korea.

By a special act of Congress, the Fifth Maryland Regiment flies the Confederate flag with the Stars and Stripes. It is also the official insignia of the "Dixie" Division of the National Guard which draws its personnel from the North and South.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Moving closer to Bruster's ice cream in South Korea.

In May 2013 we read about Bruster's plans to further expand overseas to markets like South Korea and Saudi Arabia. A Monday press release offers more details about the plans to open locations in Seoul and Busan:
A 10-unit development agreement for its first Asian shops has been signed with Lee & Brusters, Inc.

Site selection for two locations is underway in Seoul and Busan. The first Bruster’s will open in late 2015 or early 2016.

“I became familiar with Bruster’s amazing ice cream when I was living in Atlanta,” said Hye Young Lee, CEO of Lee & Brusters, Inc., which was created to develop Bruster’s in South Korea. “Bruster’s premium, freshly made ice cream will be a huge success, as it is far superior to the factory produced, deep frozen product sold by other chains.”
To quote from the May 2013 post, with updated figures:
If Bruster's does open in Korea, its ice cream will complete most fiercely with Baskin Robbins (1,148 locations) and Cold Stone Creamery (27 locations), two popular western chains there. Red Mango (47 locations) and Smoothie King (162 locations) are two others covering similar territory. Surprisingly, self-serve yogurt places like Razzy Fresh or Sweet Berry---where customers choose their own flavors of soft-serve and add their own toppings---haven't taken off.
It's interesting to note, though, how things have changed in the last two years: Cold Stone and Red Mango locations have decreased by nearly half, while Baskin Robbins has added another 103 stores since May 2013.

And even more bubble tea in Oakland: 3501 Forbes Ave.

On yesterday's Facebook post about Fuku Tea, a reader tells of another bubble tea place under construction a few blocks away at 3501 Forbes Ave. (map). The coffee, tea, and dessert restaurant, which is now hiring, will open on the ground floor of the Oxford Building in what was most recently a uniform store.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Fuku Tea coming to Oakland.

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Signage went up today for a new bubble tea place, Fuku Tea, in Oakland. It's located at 3800 Forbes Ave. (map), in what most recently was a jewelry store in a university-owned building called Sennott Square. The website is registered to the owner of Sushi Fuku, who in 2012 asked about franchising a New York bubble tea place.

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Sports Seoul looks at Jung-ho Kang, his English study, and his apartment.

South Korean news site 스포츠서울 briefly profile Jung-ho Kang today, his life in Pittsburgh so far, and his apartment.





What does he do on his days off? Study English with a personal tutor:
쉬는 날에도 빼놓지 않고 하는 것이 있다. 바로 영어공부다. 강정호는 피츠버그와 계약을 맺을 때, 계약서에 영어공부에 대한 내용도 삽입했다. 구단은 연간 6만 달러(6700만원)의 영어 학습비를 지원한다. 현재 강정호는 영어 과외를 받고 있다. 과외교사는 현지 남성으로서 장소에 구애받지 않고 강정호에게 영어회화를 가르치고 있다. 강정호는 지난 13일 필라델피아 전을 앞두고 홈구장 PNC파크에서 약 한 시간 동안 영어 공부 삼매경에 빠지기도 했다. 현재 강정호는 영어로 간단한 문장을 만들 수 있다. ‘절친’인 션 로드리게스와는 영어로 장난을 치기도 한다. 강정호는 “영어를 많이 쓰려고 한다. 아직까지도 현지 생활이 조금 어렵긴 한데, 그래도 버틸 만 하다”고 말했다.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Chinese Vice Premier Liu visits Pittsburgh.


Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, via NetEase.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong visited Pittsburgh on Friday and met with mayor Bill Peduto, writes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong met Friday with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, commencing her three-city visit to the United States.

Ms. Liu’s visit with Mr. Peduto included a gift exchange and a closed-door discussion.

Flanked by at least 10 members of her delegation, Ms. Liu followed Mr. Peduto as he showed her around the City Council chambers and gave a brief summary of local history, telling her how Pittsburgh evolved from an industrial giant to the tech-med-education center it is today.
A press release from the mayor's office on Friday, June 19, details the purpose of the visit and the recent partnerships between Pittsburgh institutions and China.

Studio Ghibli film When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー ) at Regent Square Theater through June 25.



The 2014 Japanese movie When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー ), which opened in Pittsburgh on June 12, will play at Regent Square Theater through June 25. The group summarizes what some believe may be the last Studio Ghibli film:
The newest animated film from Studio Ghibli tells the enchanted story of Anna, a teenage girl who feels disconnected from her peers. Her foster mother frets about Anna’s asthma attacks and sends her to spend the summer with her grandparents in Hokkaido, a sleepy town by the sea. Anna keeps to herself – until she makes friends with the mysterious Marnie, who may or may not be real. Beautifully rendered, the lush, hand-crafted paintings give this modern tale the look and feel of classic animation at its best.
Showtimes are available online; the first screening is Friday at 8:00 pm. The 8:00 pm screenings will be in Japanese with English subtitles, but the 3:00 pm and 5:30 pm shows will be dubbed in English. The Regent Square Theater is located at 1035 S. Braddock Ave. (map).

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Nakama again voted best Japanese/sushi restaurant in Pittsburgh by readers who don't know Japanese/sushi restaurants in Pittsburgh.

Nakama Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar was again voted the best Japanese/sushi restaurant by readers of Pittsburgh Magazine. Nakama has been voted #1 each year by readers since 2009, and is also perennial winner of the Pittsburgh City-Paper readers' poll.

Japanese language exchange in Shadyside, June 19.



The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania's Japanese language exchange this month is scheduled for June 19. Like the others, it will be held in Kenmawr Apartments, located at 401 Shady Ave. (map). It runs from 4:00 to 6:00 pm in the Community Room and is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Construction underway on Korean Heritage Room in Cathedral of Learning.

Korean Heritage Room Pitt
One design by Arumjigi (아름지기). See also.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today has an article on the construction of the Korean Heritage Room, which is well underway on the third floor of the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. An excerpt:
Five South Korean carpenters who are experts in traditional Korean architecture arrived on the University of Pittsburgh campus in early May for the final stages of constructing the Korean Heritage Classroom in Room 304.

They are working on what soon will be the 30th of the Nationality Rooms, which occupy the first and third floors of the Cathedral of Learning. Most are used as classrooms when the university is in session.

Plans for the Korean Room started in July 2007. Carpenters in South Korea began last year to prepare the wood, which was shipped here in March to give it time to acclimate before it was put together.

The room represents Korea as a whole, inspired by a 14th-century structure from the Sungkyunkwan (Royal Academy) in Seoul. The carpentry is based on the main building, the Myeong-nyundang (Hall of Enlightenment). The building was constructed in 1398 to educate the children of high-ranking families.
The dedication ceremony is scheduled for November 15.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Cambodian, Thai films among offerings at 2015 Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival.

The 2015 Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival schedule was announced today, with films from China, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand of particular relevance to this blog.

DearestDap cánh giua không trung이것이 우리의 끝이다How to Win at CheckersNướcRed AmnesiaThe Lost Reel

Dearest (親愛的); Flapping in the Middle of Nowhere (Dap cánh giua không trung); Futureless Things (이것이 우리의 끝이다); How to Win at Checkers (Every Time); 2030 (Nước); Red Amnesia (闯入者); The Last Reel; The Nightingale (夜莺)

The full schedule is available online. The festival runs from July 10 through July 19 at the Regent Square Theater and the Melwood Screening Room.

Looks Korean.

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One facade missing from the walking tour of Penn Ave.---submitted by a user on a SkyscraperPage Forum---is one with a rather Korean look to it. Kim's Coffee Shop, at 5447 Penn Ave., was a Vietnamese place, though, run by immigrant Mai Hong Khuu until her cancer diagnosis and death in 2006.

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The walls and the eaves resemble those on hanok (한옥), traditional Korean houses. The restaurant space and the house above it was purchased by the Pittsburgh Glass Center in 2012.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Host families needed for visiting Japanese high school students in August.

The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania advertises a need for host families in Pittsburgh for a group of Japanese high school students visiting as part of the TOMODACHI program in August. Via the group's mailing list:
This August you have the opportunity to open your home to one or two students from Aichi Prefecture, Japan! Hosting a student can provide a connection to last a lifetime.

Twelve seniors from Nihon Fukushi University High School near Nagoya will be coming to Pittsburgh for a musical exchange with local high school students. Host families are needed to provide an immersive American experience for these students for 9 nights.

A small honorarium will be provided. Host families will provide breakfast and dinner, and will drop off and pick up the students daily at Pittsburgh CAPA School downtown. We encourage hosts to plan fun activities with the students in their free time.

To apply, please fill out this form or contact the JASP office at (412) 433-5021 with questions.

All members of the host family age 18 and older must consent to a criminal background check.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Associated Press has a lengthy profile on Pirates Jung-ho Kang (강정호), who is enjoying a successful rookie season as first Korean Baseball Organization position player in the Major Leagues. An excerpt:
[H]e's up for anything, a mindset that allowed a leap that many of his countrymen have not taken. Kang transitioned in the middle of his prime to a contender after signing a four-year, $11-million deal in January.

"A lot of guys are afraid to come over here, but he did it," said Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who signed with Seattle as an teenager out of South Korea in 2000 then worked through the minors for nearly a decade before becoming an everyday player.

"He's not afraid. He wants to play here," Choo said.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Former Pirates draft pick throws out first pitch in Gwangju.



Mike Pill, drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2nd round of the 1977 Amateur Draft, threw out the first pitch at a game in Gwangju between the Kia Tigers and the Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization. His son, Brett, pitches for Kia. 일간스포츠 profiled the family today on their first trip to South Korea. The photograph below shows both men's jerseys; Brett's says "Pill", Mike's says "Pill's dad".

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Former Steelers QB Bradshaw to travel Asia for Korean reality show remake.



Terry Bradshaw, the Hall of Fame quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1970 to 1983, will be one of the stars of "Better Late Than Never", an upcoming reality show based off South Korea's "Grandpa Over Flowers" (꽃보다 할배). From The Wrap:
“Better Late Than Never” will follow five famous men as they backpack throughout Asia without any luxuries. Actors Henry Winkler and William Shatner, former athletes Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman and comedian Jeff Dye have signed up for the reality series that begins production in August.

The one-hour series, an adaptation of the South Korean variety show “Grandpa Over Flowers,” will follow participants to Tokyo, Kyoto, Seoul, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Chang Mai.

“The five will navigate their way through each city — communicating with the local population, immersing themselves in local traditions and enjoying exotic food — all the while dealing with the unexpected twists and turns that any trip presents,” the network said in a statement. “As they check off items on their own personal ‘bucket list,’ the five will rely on each other for support and encouragement and, in the process, demonstrate that friendship is the ultimate gift.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Studio Ghibli film When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー ) at Regent Square Theater, June 12 - 18.



The 2014 Japanese movie When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー ) will play at Regent Square Theater from June 12 to 18. The group summarizes what some believe may be the last Studio Ghibli film:
The newest animated film from Studio Ghibli tells the enchanted story of Anna, a teenage girl who feels disconnected from her peers. Her foster mother frets about Anna’s asthma attacks and sends her to spend the summer with her grandparents in Hokkaido, a sleepy town by the sea. Anna keeps to herself – until she makes friends with the mysterious Marnie, who may or may not be real. Beautifully rendered, the lush, hand-crafted paintings give this modern tale the look and feel of classic animation at its best.
Showtimes are now available online; the first screening is Friday at 8:00 pm. The 8:00 pm screenings will be in Japanese with English subtitles, but the 3:00 pm and 5:30 pm shows will be dubbed in English. The Regent Square Theater is located at 1035 S. Braddock Ave. (map).

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bubblepop at brillobox in Lawrenceville, June 19.


brillobox will host Bubblepop---a night of K-pop, J-pop, and C-pop---on June 19. From the Facebook event page:
We'll be playing all your favorite pop and hip-hop from South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the USAaaaayyyy

DJ YOUNG BAE
DJ QUEEN B

10pm-2am ~ FREE!!

DRESS UP if fashion is your thing. Do what you want, what you want with your body.
It starts at 10:00 pm, and the venue is at 4104 Penn Ave. (map).

Introduction to Mandarin at Shaler Library, from June 16.

Shaler North Hills Library (map) will host a free, three-session Introduction to Mandarin Chinese on June 16, 23, and 30.
Presented by Teresa Blum and Joy Xu, native speakers of Mandarin Chinese. The instructors will introduce pinyin, tones, and numbers. They will also introduce the use of learning with the Mango language database.
The sessions run from 10:30 to 11:30 am in the conference room. Registration is required and can be made by calling 412-486-0211.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Korean movie The Front Line (고지전) at Parkway Theater, June 16.



The Parkway Theater in McKees Rocks will show the 2011 Korean film The Front Line (고지전) on June 16 as the second installment of this summer's "Asian Movie Madness". A summary from a 2012 A.V. Club review:
Jang Hun’s pulpy military thriller The Front Line is set during the waning days of the Korean War, as the commanders know they’re about to hammer out a truce, but the grunts in the field are still shooting at each other, under orders to seize as much territory as possible, for added leverage at the bargaining table. Shin Ha-Kyun plays a lieutenant sent to the Aerok Hills to file a report on a ragtag company where discipline is slack, and where an officer has recently turned up dead with a South Korean bullet in his brain, possibly at the hand of a rumored North Korean mole. When Shin arrives, he finds war orphans milling about, a baby-faced CO shooting up morphine, and soldiers wearing North Korean uniforms over their own to keep warm. In short, the lines between ally and enemy have long since been blurred, and these men are now fighting to survive long enough to see the peace they’ve been promised for years.
The movie starts at 7:00 pm and is free, as are all Asian Movie Madness films, which are held on the third Thursday of the month. The theater is located at 644 Broadway Ave. in McKees Rocks (map), a few miles west of the North Side.

"Storytime: Japanese and English" at Carnegie Library in East Liberty, June 16.

The Carnegie Library in East Liberty will host "Storytime: Japanese and English" on Tuesday, June 16.
Celebrate our city's diverse culture as we explore new words through songs, action rhymes and stories in both English and Japanese. For children ages 2-5 and their parents or caregivers.
The event runs from 11:00 to 11:30 am, and the library is located at 130 S. Whitfield Street (map).

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Oakland's Sichuan Gourmet to have Sichuan menu, spicier dishes.



The Pitt News, the University of Pittsburgh's student-run newspaper, has an article today on two restaurants opening on Atwood St. One is the new location of Sichuan Gourmet, which has been in Squirrel Hill for several years and will open a new restaurant in what was formerly India Garden. On what will help distinguish Sichuan Gourmet from the several other Chinese places in the area, co-owner Wei Yu tells the paper:
While his original location in Squirrel Hill has both Sichuan and American menus, Yu said his second location in Oakland will only have a Sichuan menu, to set itself apart from other Chinese restaurants in the neighborhood.

“The other restaurants are totally different,” he said. “They are tailored to American [tastes]. If you taste our food and compare to their food, you will find that the taste is not the same.”

The main difference, he said, is that his food will be much spicier.

“People from different parts of China have different tastes,” he said. “In east China, people eat sweeter foods. The sauce is more spicy in Sichuan.”

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Jackie Chan movie Police Story: Lockdown (警察故事2013) at Parkway Theater in McKees Rocks, June 5 - 7.



The Jackie Chan movie Police Story: Lockdown (警察故事2013) will play at the Parkway Theater in McKees Rocks from June 5 through June 7. The movie was released in China in 2013, but will be released internationally on June 5. A plot summary from a Variety review:
Police captain Zhong (Chan) is called to an aggressively hip underground club by daughter Miaomiao (Jing Tian), who walked out on him six months earlier. Finding her dangling from the arm of owner Wu Jiang (Liu Ye, “The Last Supper”), whose diabolical grin and tank of pet piranhas are the epitome of shady, Zhong launches the first of his many self-righteous lectures — on Miaomiao’s goth getup, her tattoos and her dodgy b.f. — but she lashes back, blaming his workaholic ways for her mother’s untimely death. They are interrupted by a suicide-bomb crisis, which turns out to be just a prelude to the real trouble: Wu has lured everyone to his hive in an elaborate kidnapping plan.
According to Facebook, the movie will start at 7:00 pm on June 5, at 6:00 pm on June 6, and at 5:00 pm on June 7. The theater is located at 644 Broadway Ave. in McKees Rocks (map), a few miles west of the North Side.

Chinese language program for kids at Carnegie Library in Oakland continues in June.

The Carnegie Library Oakland branch will host "Let's learn Chinese" programs for children each Thursday in June.
Experience Chinese language and culture through books, storytelling, songs, games and more!
The programs are led by Kasper Hwa, who earned a Master's of Education from Pitt this spring. They run from 6:30 to 7:00 pm in the Children's section on the first floor. The programs have been running since February, and I apologize for the late notice. Q_Q

Monday, June 1, 2015

North Allegheny hires Sanshiro Abe as new wrestling coach.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes today about North Allegheny's hiring of Sanshiro Abe as its new wrestling coach. The news actually came out in April, and Abe won't "come to town" as he was the coach at Oakland's Central Catholic High School since 2008. He wrestled collegiately at Penn State, but was born in Tokyo and competed for Japan at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Author Robert Yune at Carnegie Library in Oakland, June 17.

Robert Yune, a University of Pittsburgh professor and author of the forthcoming novel Eighty Days of Sunlight, will speak at the Carnegie Library in Oakland on June 17 as part of its Writers LIVE series.
Robert Yune’s debut novel, Eighty Days of Sunlight, comprises “equal parts hilarity and heartbreak in an accomplished debut,” said Kirkus (4/15). The story follows a young Korean-American man who struggles to come to terms with his cultural identity and dysfunctional working-class family. Yune’s stories have been published in the The Kenyon Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Avery, among others. He lives and teaches writing in Pittsburgh.

A book signing follows the program with copies of the author's books available from Mystery Lovers Bookshop.
The event runs from 6:00 to 7:00 pm in the Quiet Reading Room on the library's first floor. Tickets are free, but registration is required and can be done online or by calling 412.622.8866.