Saturday, January 30, 2016

Noodle bar, Japanese-style crepes, bubble tea at Love Yogurt in Oakland.

Stopped into Love Yogurt in Oakland the other day, a newer self-serve yogurt place at 229 Atwood St (map) in what used to be an office equipment store. It opened in November after relocating from the South Side, and---along with Fuku Tea and T4U---was one of three Asian tea and dessert places to open in Oakland the second half of 2015. It's recently begun to advertise its noodle and crepe offerings on Forbes Ave. Here's a look at the menu:


Friday, January 29, 2016

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Teppanyaki Kyoto named Best Japanese by Carnegie Mellon's 2015-16 C-Book.


via Teppanyaki Kyoto's Facebook page.

Teppanyaki Kyoto was named the Best Japanese restaurant in Pittsburgh by Carnegie Mellon University's 2015-16 C-Book directory. It's a big win for the Highland Park restaurant, which is popular among Japanese people in Pittsburgh but which normally doesn't turn up on lists of the best, or rather most popular, Japanese places in the city.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Grit & Grace to rebrand to "G & G Noodle Bar" and "approachable Asian-style street food".

The Post-Gazette writes today that the Cultural District restaurant Grit & Grace will rebrand and reopen tomorrow as "G & G Noodle Bar". The restaurant will move to a
more casual menu at G & G Noodle Bar than the one at Grit & Grace, with options like big eye tuna sushi and addictive snacks like General Tso’s cauliflower for dim sum. For mains, look for noodles like tsukemen-style ramen ($15) and spicy dan dan noodles garnished with a poached egg ($13), along with dishes such as crispy Sichuan chicken over noodles ($14) and bulgogi lettuce wraps with flank steak ($10).

CAST-P 2016 Chinese New Year Gala (猴年春节晚会), January 30.

The Chinese Association for Science and Technology - Pittsburgh chapter will hold its annual New Year Gala on Saturday, January 30 in the North Hills:
We warmly welcome you to our 2016 CAST-P Chinese New Year Gala!
You will enjoy performances from excellent cultural and art organizations and teams such as: Yanlai Dance Adacemy, Win-win Kongfu Culture Center, Lydia Music Center, Pittsburgh Haihua Youth Orchestra, Pittsburgh Chinese School, Organization of Chinese Americans - Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University Chinese Student and Scolar Association, University of Pittsburgh Chinese Student and Scholar Association, Yu-ge, Qi-Wu-Zhongguofeng Dance Team.
There will also be a lucky draw for all the attendees to bring you good luck and fortune in the new year!r
Tickets are $5 for CAST-P members and $10 for non-members. North Allegheny Senior High School is located in Wexford, PA (map), roughly 13 miles north of downtown Pittsburgh.

Ka-Man Tse at Silver Eye Center for Photography, from January 29.



An exhibition featuring the photography of Ka-Man Tse will open at the Silver Eye Center for Photography on January 29. Tse was one of two winners of the Fellowship 16 international photography competition.
Fellowship 16 features solo exhibitions from our International Award and Keystone Award winners, selected from an open call for entries in mid-2015. International Award winner Ka-Man Tse (Brooklyn, NY) showcases her series Narrow Distances, which seeks to draw connections between LGBT culture and the Asian Pacific Islander community, as well as Tse’s own ongoing exploration of home, identity, and isolation as someone who was born in Hong Kong and raised in the United States.
An opening reception for Narrow Distances will be held on Friday the 29th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. The Silvery Eye Center for Photography is located at 1015 E. Carson St. (map).

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival at Row House Cinema this March.



The Row House Cinema in Lawrenceville recently announced its Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival coming in March. The three films scheduled are 1949's Late Spring (晩春), the 1991 Studio Ghibli film Only Yesterday (おもひでぽろぽろ), and the 1985 Kurosawa film Ran (乱), with a fourth still to be determined. Details will follow on the theater's official site.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2015 children's blockbuster movie from China, Monster Hunt (捉妖記), in Pittsburgh from January 22.



The 2015 Chinese/Hong Kong movie Monster Hunt (捉妖記) will play at the AMC Loews Waterfront theater from January 22. A Variety review offers a synopsis of this blended live-action and animated children's movie that is the highest-grossing film of all time in China:
What makes “Monster Hunt” so tyke-friendly is its easily digestible story arc, refreshingly devoid of Confucian morality, educational historical background or nationalistic grandstanding — in short, everything that makes most mainland children’s films such a yawn. Stylistically, the film blends Western demon-slaying elements, Japanese yokai folklore and even a distant echo of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” into a fanciful Chinese setting, beefing it with up robust martial-arts action with an eye toward holding the attention of adult viewers.

In a mythic kingdom, mortals and monsters who once fought each other now stay put in their separate domains. Their uneasy truce is disrupted when a coup in the monster land forces its pregnant queen to go on the run with her two loyal but inept retainers, Zhugao and his rotund wife, Fat Ying. Foreseeing that pandemonium will spill over to the humans’ realm, monster-hunt bureau chief Ge (Wallace Chung) puts up a handsome bounty for the unborn heir.
Monster Hunt was released in China on July 16, 2015, and will makes its US debut on January 22.

Tickets and showtimes are available at the AMC Loews Waterfront website. The theater is located at 300 West Waterfront Dr. in the Waterfront shopping complex in Homestead (map), across the Monongahela River from Greenfield, Squirrel Hill, and the rest of Pittsburgh.

Mandarin Chinese Speed Language Partnering at Pitt on Friday.


Via the Asian Studies Center Facebook page.

A reminder about Mandarin Chinese Speed Language Partnering on Friday, January 22, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Chinese New Year Celebration: Year of the Monkey at Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, February 7.



The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh will hold "Chinese New Year Celebration: Year of the Monkey" on Sunday, February 7.
In ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. Come celebrate the Chinese year 4714, the year of the Monkey, with Silk Screen Asian Arts and Culture Organization. Make art, enjoy live music, and join the Steel Dragon Lion Dance Team for a parade through the Museum for the finale!
The celebration runs from 1:00 to 4:00 pm and is free with museum admission ($14 for adults, $13 for kids aged 2 through 18, and free for infants under 2). The museum is located at 10 Children's Way on the Northside (map).

Friday, January 15, 2016

More information about Squirrel Hill Lunar New Year 2016 events in February.


Via Uncover Squirrel Hill.

In December the first Squirrel Hill Lunar New Year 2016 celebration was announced, and more information about the two weeks of festivities was recently made available online.

The events begin on Saturday, February 6 with the Kick-Off Celebration at the Jewish Community Center (map). From the Uncover Squirrel Hill website:
Bring the entire family to experience this celebration of Chinese and Asian cultures! Enjoy performances by Steel Dragon Lion Dancers, Taiko Drummers, HaiHua Chinese Youth Orchestra, Korean Children’s Choir, Dong Yum Doe Korean Martial Arts, and many more. Watch and learn with demonstrations of origami, dumpling making, and calligraphy. You’ll also find plenty of crafts for the kids, including making paper lanterns. This event is free; food will be available for purchase.
The event runs from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. A Lunar New Year Dining Passport that offers 10% off participating Chinese and Asian restaurants in the area will also be available on the 6th.

Other events throughout the celebration include a Children's Celebration at the at the Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill on February 10, a Teen Time Celebration at the Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill on February 16th, and a Lunar New Year parade down Murray Ave. on February 21. More information is on the Uncover Squirrel Hill site.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016 movie Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu (傷物語Ⅰ 鉄血篇) at Hollywood Theater, from February 27.



The Hollywood Theater in Dormont recently announced that it will show the 2016 Japanese animated movie Kizumonogatari Part 1: Tekketsu (傷物語Ⅰ 鉄血篇) from February 27.

"The Vanished Capital and the Vanished Poet: Landscape and Poetry in the Noh Tadanori" at Pitt, January 20.

The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will host Dr. Elizabeth Oyler of the University of Illinois-Urbana at Champaign and her talk "The Vanished Capital and the Vanished Poet: Landscape and Poetry in the Noh Tadanori" on January 20. A synopsis, from the Asian Studies Center homepage:
Taira Tadanori is among the most famous heroes from the Genpei War (1180-1185), the divisive civil conflict that brought Japan’s first warrior government to power. Renowned both as a poet and a man of arms, Tadanori is commemorated in the epic war tale recounting the conflict, The Tale of the Heike (Heike monogatari), as well as several noh plays, including the eponymous Tadanori. This presentation addresses the way that play meditates Tadanori’s dual identity as a warrior-poet and explores the poetic and battlefield landscapes that define him, demonstrating how language and place reveal hidden, traumatic absences.
The talk begins at 2:00 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (map), and is free and open to the public.

"Informal Education and Cultural Transmission through Uyghur Language Websites" at Pitt, January 20.



The University of Pittsburgh's Institute for International Studies in Education in the School of Education will host Dr. Rebecca Clothey of Drexel University and her lecture "Informal Education and Cultural Transmission through Uyghur Language Websites" on Wednesday, January 20.

Pan Izakaya to open this spring.

The new Shadyside izakaya we wrote about on Sunday will be called Pan Izakaya, according to today's Post-Gazette profile.
The 50-seat restaurant will be the latest venture from Mike Chen, longtime Pittsburgh restaurateur behind the innovative Everyday Noodles in Squirrel Hill, China Palace in Wexford and Monroeville as well as Sushi Too in Shadyside.

“Pittsburgh is ready for this,” he said. With more Pittsburghers destination-dining around the U.S. and the world, they’re bringing home expectations for the kinds of restaurants they’re looking for in their own community.
. . .
Construction on the space will start within the next few weeks. Decor will be “very Japanese,” which will include wood accents and will highlight the bar — which makes sense, considering an izakaya is an after-work drinking place, he said. And the drinks he’ll highlight include many variations of sake.

Stocking a sake bar is a challenging task in terms of navigating the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB). Since sake is not a popular beverage in Pittsburgh at the moment, he’s having to source from suppliers in Philadelphia and through special orders. Pan will also include amenities like sake storage.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

1937 Chinese movie Street Angel (马路天使) at leaf & plate, January 15.



The Shadyside tea house and restaurant leaf & plate will show the 1937 Chinese movie Street Angel (马路天使) on Friday, January 15.

Monday, January 11, 2016

"Mandarin Chinese Speed Language Partnering" at Pitt, January 22.

The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center is hosting "Mandarin Chinese Speed Language Partnering" on Friday, January 22.
Want to improve your Mandarin Chinese or help new language learners? Join us at our inaugural speed networking event where native and mandarin speakers of all levels will converse in a series of brief exchanges. Meet, socialize, and hopefully find a great language partner! Light refreshments will be served.
The event starts at 12:00 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (map).

Pitt's new wushu club.

Today's Pitt News profiles Gina Bao,a first-year student at the University of Pittsburgh who started a wushu club there in December.
Before she had ever attended class, had midnight fries at market or swiped her panther card, Gina Bao had already written the constitution for her wushu club at Pitt.

Bao, a first-year student studying neuroscience, started the club in December 2015 to teach students about wushu, a modern version of kung fu that involves combat martial arts moves with jumps and aerials. The club held its second practice Jan. 9, when eight members from all experience levels showed up to learn wushu techniques in the William Pitt Union Dance Studio. Beginning with simple lessons in bowing and stretching and progressing to complex combinations of running and kicking, Bao hopes to train the members to compete in a national collegiate wushu tournament in just four months.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Tanpopo Ramen, izakaya coming to Shadyside.

Tanpopo Ramen is coming to 815 S. Aiken Ave. (map), the former location of the S. Aiken Bar and Grille. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette alluded to it in a December 24 piece looking back at 2015 and looking ahead to the new year:
What’s coming for 2016? I predict more out-of-town restaurateurs discovering Pittsburgh; more fast-casual restaurants; a couple of chef-driven Japanese places, from an izakaya to a ramen shop to a yakitori place; and more food trucks with the city’s end-of-year rule changes that will make things easier for mobile food.
Interesting to note that Tanpopo Ramen, LLC is registered to Mike Chen, the owner of Everyday Noodles and several other restaurants in the area. Records also show that a Tan Izakaya has had the 815 S. Aiken as its principal address since October, and is a registered as a Pennsylvania Fictitious Name under the purview of Tanpopo Ramen, LLC, with the address on file that of Everyday Noodles in Squirrel Hill.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 Chinese movie Mr. Six (老炮儿) in Pittsburgh through January 14 (at least).



The 2015 Chinese movie Mr. Six (老炮儿), which opened in China and Pittsburgh on Christmas Eve, will continue to play at AMC Loews Waterfront through at least January 14.

申通快递 coming to Pittsburgh?



That sign is in the window of 2023 Murray Ave. (map) in Squirrel Hill, in what was most recently a dentist's office. STO Express (申通快) is a Shanghai-based shipping and logistics company that has been expanding globally in the last few years, and in 2015 it opened stateside locations in: New York City; Brooklyn, NY; two locations in Flushing, NY; Edison, NJ; and Las Vegas, NV.

Nothing about a possible Pittsburgh expansion is online yet, though Squirrel Hill would make sense if the opening, in fact, happens. It is a neighborhood with a significant international population and one that borders on two universities with growing Chinese student bodies. A 2014 Brookings Institute report notes that the top origin for Pittsburgh's international students is China, with Beijing and Shanghai being the #1 and #4 cities, respectively. According to a piece in The Pitt News last fall on the growing Chinese student bodies at two universities a few miles from Squirrel Hill:
The 2,404 Chinese international students at [the University of Pittsburgh] account for more than 50 percent of the University’s total international students. In the summer and fall of 2015 alone, Carnegie Mellon University admitted 1,101 students from China.
For what it's worth, that feature---as well as an article linked yesterday and two pieces by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's food critic Melissa McCart, "America's Next Great Chinatown Takes Root in Pittsburgh" and "The Asian influence"---cites that population growth as the impetus being more authentic, and more-authentic, Chinese restaurants in the area.



Update (9:00 pm): Yes, that's a STO Express. These photos were taken later in the day.

"No Chinatown? No Problem!" writes James Chan on Pittsburgh's Chinese food offerings.

"No Chinatown? No Problem!" writes critic James Chan in a round-up of Chinese restaurants in Oakland and Squirrel Hill. The reason Pittsburgh has an increasing number of authentic Chinese restaurants in spite of lacking an ethnic Chinese enclave is its growing Chinese student population:
The answer to the 21st century emergence of authentic Chinese food in Pittsburgh is actually related to another phenomenon I recently chronicled: the appearance of authentic Chinese restaurants in college towns. The surge in mainland Chinese college students has brought authentic Chinese food to dozens of towns like Storrs, CT, Tallahassee, FL, and Lawrence, KS, for the first time ever. Today’s Chinese foreign students from mainland China are more numerous, more well-heeled, and less inclined to compromise their eating habits than prior generations of international Chinese students from Hong Kong and Taiwan. While Pittsburgh is not a college town in the traditional sense, it is home to major universities like the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne, and Carnegie Mellon, which have brought thousands of mainland Chinese students into Pittsburgh in search of education… and authentic Chinese food.
For other recent articles on the topic of authentic Chinese and Asian food in Pittsburgh, see the Pitt News's November 19 piece "Hungry for more: Competition heats up among Oakland’s Asian restaurants" and a piece by Post-Gazette food critic Melissa McCart for Saveur, "America's Next Great Chinatown Takes Root in Pittsburgh".

Sunday, January 3, 2016

On Ensemble: Contemporary Taiko Quartet in Pittsburgh, January 14.


via the On Ensemble website.

The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh Taiko will present "On Ensemble: Contemporary Taiko Quartet" for a January 14 performance in the Hill District. From the JASP website:
On Ensemble is at the forefront of the growing taiko (Japanese ensemble drumming) community in the United States. Led by childhood friends Shoji Kameda and Masato Baba, On Ensemble has made a name for itself by combining the powerful rhythms and singing of traditional taiko with vibrant jazzy melodies.

The group has achieved recognition worldwide, from being the first American group to have been invited to perform at the prestigious Nihon no Taiko concert series in Japan in 2013, to their three critically-acclaimed albums. Their fearless musical explorations have taken the ancient instruments of taiko into new realms and have established a distinctly modern expression for the art form.
The event runs from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in the Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium at the Hill House on 1835 Centre Ave. (map). Tickets are $20 for JASP members, $25 for adult non-members, $10 for students grades 5 through university, and free for students grade 4 and under. Ticket information is available at the JASP event page.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Free Chinese, Japanese, Korean courses at Carnegie Library in Oakland continue in 2016.

As the new year begins, a reminder that the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has free Chinese, Japanese, and Korean 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:

* Let's Learn Chinese (next meeting January 7). Presented by University of Pittsburgh School of Education graduate Kasper Hua every Thursday evening from 6:30 to 7:00 pm in the Children's library, and aimed at small children through stories, songs, and games.
* Chinese for Beginners (next meeting: January 10). 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 3). 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 14). 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 11). Second and fourth Monday of the month from 6:30 to 7:30 in Classroom A.
* Japanese II (next meeting: January 12). 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 5). 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 2). 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.