Thursday, February 28, 2019

March premiere of new Fruits Basket (フルーツバスケット) anime to skip Pittsburgh.



The theaters for the March premiere of the 2019 Japanese anime Fruits Basket (フルーツバスケット) were announced this afternoon, but no Pittsburgh locations made the list (yet). It will play, however, in Philadelphia, Columbus, and Washington D.C. on March 26 and 27.

Tickets now available for "Yeonmi Park: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom," March 20 at Kelly Strayhorn Theater.



North Korean defector, author, and activist Yeonmi Park will speak at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in East Liberty on March 20. Tickets are now available at $25 for students and military, $40 for general admission, and $85 for VIP.

"Where Goes The Neighborhood? Japan and the Rise of Asia" March 5 downtown.



The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh and Japan America Society of Pennsylvania will present "Where Goes The Neighborhood? Japan and the Rise of Asia" on March 5.
Join us for a lively discussion with two well-known experts on the evolving Japan-US alliance and its impact on security and trade in Asia.

The US-Japan alliance has provided one of the foundations for decades of security and freedom in Asia. But, the neighborhood is changing: Japan is experiencing significant strategic and diplomatic challenges from China, faces increasingly aggressive North Korean weapons development and testing, and has an uncertain relationship with South Korea.

While the U.S. continues to be Japan’s main partner and ally, it has withdrawn from the major Pacific free trade pact, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), after completing negotiations with Japan. As uncertainty in the region abounds, Japan considers how to work effectively with the U.S. but also how to chart its course as a leader and a balancer in Asia.
The event is free but registration is required and can be done online; breakfast is required. It runs from 8:00 to 9:30 am at the Rivers Club on Grant Street (map).

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Korean artist Hyesook Choi part of Material World exhibition at Pittsburgh Glass Center, March 1 through May 12.


From "The Power of Beauty."

Hyesook Choi is one of six artists participating in the Material World exhibition at Pittsburgh Glass Center from March 1 through May 12.
This multi-artist show will explore themes of consumerism, luxury, obsession, and materialism as they relate to popular culture and societal conventions.

Highest-grossing Chinese film of 2019 The Wandering Earth (流浪地球) in Pittsburgh through March 6.



The new Chinese movie The Wandering Earth (流浪地球), which opened in Pittsburgh on February 5 for the Lunar New Year, will stay in town through at least Wednesday, March 6. The South China Morning Post summarizes the movie, considered China's first big-budget science fiction film.
The film portrays how a group of intrepid Chinese astronauts save the world from the brink of annihilation due to the imminent destruction of the sun. Like Hollywood space movies where Americans are portrayed as the only ones capable of saving humanity, here Chinese astronauts are the sole adventurers among the global space community determined to complete the arduous task of fending off the apocalypse.

In spite of such overt patriotism, the film is spectacular for its ceaseless stream of hair-raising close-shave encounters and apocalyptic landscapes oozing desolation and despair. There is also a touching subplot involving family bonds at the centre of the mission to save the earth.
The film is the highest-grossing movie of the year in China so far, and #2 of all-time there behind 2017's Wolf Warrior 2 (战狼2).

Tickets are available online via Fandango. 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.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

2012 Japanese film Thermae Romae (テルマエ・ロマエ) begins Maridon Museum's Spring Film Fest, March 14.



The Spring Film Series begins at the Maridon Museum in Butler on March 14 with the 2012 film Thermae Romae (テルマエ・ロマエ).

Progress on Oakland's TW Kitchen (台味廚坊).



A good amount of progress has been made on TW Kitchen (台味廚坊), a new Taiwanese restaurant coming to North Oakland. Signage first went up in December for the place offering "Taiwanese style bentos, noodles, soup, and more," and though it has not opened yet there is a new awning and signage. It will be located at 192 N. Craig St. (map), in what was most recently Millennial Cupcake and Parfait Bar.

North Korea and International Relations Panel, March 1 at Pitt.



The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will hold its next North Korea in Transition panel on March 1.
Join us for the first panel of the North Korea in Transition speaker series! This panel will focus on international relations, with discussion on North Korea's relationships with Japan, South Korea, China, the U.S., and East Asia as a whole. The goal of this panel is to develop a deeper understanding of the complex relations that have governed North Korea's interactions with the world not only by discussing politics, but by reaching beyond for a holistic perspective.
. . .
This panel will also attempt to build off of the Trump-Kim summit, being held just days before our event. Be sure to join us for this timely discussion!
Panelists are Weston Konishi of the US-Japan Council; Professor William Brown of Georgetown University and the Korea Economic Institute of America; and Lisa Collins, Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic & International Studies. The panel runs from 6:00 to 8:00 pm in 548 William Pitt Union (map) and is free and open to the public.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Lost in Ramen (ラーメン食いてぇ!) added to Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival.



The 2018 film Lost in Ramen (ラーメン食いてぇ!) is the latest addition to the 2019 Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival at the Row House Cinema this March and April. The Anime News Network has a synopsis:
The manga's story centers on a ramen shop owner who decides to close his shop after his wife passes away; a food critic who gets stranded in the mountainous area of Xinjiang, China while doing research; and a female high school student who contemplates suicide due to the cruelty of her classmates. A bowl of ramen links them together as they restart their lives.
The movie will be part of the theater's Ramen Fest on March 29, with noodles from Lawrenceville's Ki Ramen. Tickets for the two screenings, and for the other films, are coming soon.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Yanlai Dance Academy spring performance "Drifting Feathers," March 2.



Yanlai Dance Academy will present this spring's performance "Drifting Feathers" on March 2.
This year, our dances range from classical Chinese dance of Hang Dynasty of 2 thousands of years ago - to ethnic folk dances of Xin Jiang, Mongol, Tibet, and Dai dance, where our audience will see the world of enthusiasm and passion. We hope our audience will enjoy the colorful, beautiful costumes, and the joyful and deep music.
The performance starts at 6:00 pm at the August Wilson Center in the Cultural District (map) and tickets are available online.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

1931 Japanese silent film Jirokichi the Rat (御誂治郎吉格子) with live benshi performance, February 26 at Pitt.



The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will present the 1931 Japanese silent film Jirokichi the Rat (御誂治郎吉格子) with a live benshi performance on February 26.
Once known as “poets of the dark," benshi brought silent films to life through commentary and vocal performance, giving voice to the characters on screen. As many as 8000 benshi were performing across the country and the Japanese empire by the 1930s, and their popularity—and power—slowed the introduction of sound film in Japan.

Join us to see internationally celebrated Kataoka Ichiro narrate a silent film, accompanied by pianist Tom Roberts.
The event starts at 5:30 pm in 125 Frick Fine Arts (map) and is free and open to the public.

"Ah so!" "Banzai." Pittsburgh Pirates and Chunichi Dragons.


Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh and Chunichi Dragons manager Wally Yonamine, 1975.

In 1975, the Chunichi Dragons spent spring training with the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Florida. The Dragons were the reigning Central League champions, and were managed by Japanese-American---and Japanese Baseball Hall of Famer---Wally Yonamine. A book on Yonamine, Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball, says the visit was a reward for his leading the team to the Central League championship.
For winning the pennant, Chunichi's board of directors gave the team two rewards. The first was a new clubhouse.
. . .
The second was a trip to Florida for spring training. Yonamine made arrangements with Joe Brown, Pittsburgh's general manager, for the Dragons to train with the Pirates. The Dragons arrived in March, already in shape from their February camp at Hamamatsu, and played exhibition games against the Pirates and nearby Major League teams. Though everybody knew the American teams were not yet in top form, Chunichi did well, taking two of three games against Pittsburgh and beating the Chicago White Sox 1-0.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

WholeRen Education (美国厚仁教育集团) hiring Mandarin-speaking Spanish tutors.



Pittsburgh-based Chinese education and consulting company WholeRen Education (美国厚仁教育集团) has announced openings for Mandarin-speaking Spanish tutors.

New Chinese film The Wandering Earth (流浪地球) in Pittsburgh through February 25.



The new Chinese movie The Wandering Earth (流浪地球), which opened in Pittsburgh on February 5 for the Lunar New Year, will stay in town through Monday, February 25. The South China Morning Post summarizes the movie, considered China's first big-budget science fiction film.
The film portrays how a group of intrepid Chinese astronauts save the world from the brink of annihilation due to the imminent destruction of the sun. Like Hollywood space movies where Americans are portrayed as the only ones capable of saving humanity, here Chinese astronauts are the sole adventurers among the global space community determined to complete the arduous task of fending off the apocalypse.

In spite of such overt patriotism, the film is spectacular for its ceaseless stream of hair-raising close-shave encounters and apocalyptic landscapes oozing desolation and despair. There is also a touching subplot involving family bonds at the centre of the mission to save the earth.
Tickets are available online via Fandango. 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.

Arden Cho at Pitt, March 2.



The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Students Alliance presents Arden Cho on March 2.
Arden Cho is a Korean American actress, singer, youtuber and model best known for her role as Kira Yukimaru on Teen Wolf. She also has been an strong advocate for Asian American issues especially within media.

Tickets will be available soon at the William Pitt Union Ticket Office; information about ticketing will be released on a later date.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Black and gold gloves for infielder Bae Ji-hwan.



Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop prospect Bae Ji-hwan (배지환) unveiled some new gloves on Instagram the other day. Bae is a 19-year-old prospect from Daegu, South Korea, who signed with Pittsburgh in March. He is currently in Florida preparing to attend spring training, though he is likely to peak at single-A this season.

Pachinko book discussion ahead of Min Jin Lee talk, March 28 at Pitt.


via minjinlee.com

Author Min Jin Lee's April 1 lecture is sold out, but the University of Pittsburgh's Global Studies Center is holding a discussion of Pachinko on March 28.

Monday, February 18, 2019

"North Korea in Transition" opening lecture, February 22 at Pitt.



The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will host Scott Snyder and his talk "North Korea in Transition" on February 22.

"Japan 2019: Outlook and Challenges" with Deputy Counsel General of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Koji Abe, February 20 at Pitt.



The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will host Deputy Counsel General of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Koji Abe and his talk "Japan 2019: Outlook and Challenges" on February 20.
Deputy Counsel General of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Koji Abe will be discussing the current situation in Japan and challenges to come. He will consider Japan's relations with East Asia and South Asia, as well as the US-Japan alliance. He will examine the USJTA and TPP, grassroots activities in Japan, and other political, social, and economic aspects of Japan.
It will be held from 3:00 to 4:30 pm at 4130 Posvar Hall (map) and is free and open to the public.

Japanese film Shoplifters (万引き家族) at Parkway Theater, February 22 - 28.



The acclaimed 2018 Japanese film Shoplifters (万引き家族) will play at the Parkway Theater in McKees Rocks from February 22 through 28. A summary of the 2018 Japanese movie and Palme d'Or winner Shoplifters (万引き家族):
After one of their shoplifting sessions, Osamu and his son come across a little girl in the freezing cold.

At first reluctant to shelter the girl, Osamu’s wife agrees to take care of her after learning of the hardships she faces.

Although the family is poor, barely making enough money to survive through petty crime, they seem to live happily together until an unforeseen incident reveals hidden secrets, testing the bonds that unite them...
When Shoplifters was released in Japan in June it was the country's highest-grossing movie its first three weekends, and finished the year as Japan's fourth highest-grossing domestic film of the year.

Showtime information is available on Facebook, though tickets are not yet available online. The theater is located at 644 Broadway Ave. in McKees Rocks (map).

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Battle Royale (バトル・ロワイアル) added to Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival.



The 2000 cult classic film Battle Royale (バトル・ロワイアル) has been added to the nine other films that currently comprise the upcoming Pittsburgh Japanese Film Festival.
In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary “Battle Royale” act.

Battle Royale became a cultural phenomenon, and has been highly influential in global popular culture. Since the film’s release, the term “battle royale” has been used to refer to a fictional narrative genre and/or mode of entertainment inspired by the film, where a select group of people are instructed to kill each off until there is a triumphant survivor. It has inspired numerous media, including films, manga, anime, comics, visual novels, and video games; the battle royale game genre (including Fortnight), for example, is named after the film.

"Historical Irony in Wang Xiaobo’s Intertextual Narrator," February 22 at Pitt.



The Asian Studies Center and the Department of East Asian & Languages Literatures will host MA candidate Xiaoqi Shen and her talk "Historical Irony in Wang Xiaobo’s Intertextual Narrator" on February 22.

Japanese film The Third Murder (三度目の殺人) at Carnegie Library in Oakland, April 7.



The 2017 Japanese film The Third Murder (三度目の殺人) will be the April installment of International Cinema Sunday at the Carnegie Library in Oakland on April 7.
Leading attorney Shigemori takes on the defense of murder-robbery suspect Misumi, who served jail time for another murder 30 years ago. Directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, 124 minutes, rated R
The movie runs from 2:30 to 4:30 pm in Classroom A and is free and open to the public. The library is located at 4400 Forbes Ave. in Oakland (map) and is accessible by buses 28X, 54, 61C, 61D, 67, 69, 71A, 71B, 71C, 71D, and 93.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

A final good-bye for the old Kim's Coffee Shop?



Almost four years ago I posted some photos of a facade on Penn Ave. in Garfield made up with a pretty distinctively Korean look The eaves on 5447 Penn Ave. (map) are made to resemble a traditional Korean house, though it was actually a Vietnamese place opened in 1983 and run by Mai Hong Khuu until her cancer diagnosis and death in 2006. (Reviews from the last century commented on the windowless atmosphere, and even a 2004 City-Paper review feels especially dated, with Pittsburgh's increased familiarity with Vietnamese and Chinese over the last few years.)



A notice of condemnation was posted on February 12 where the door once was, warning of an "unsafe structure" and "imminent danger," with the solutions required by the notice either repair or demolition. The former restaurant, as well as the building above it, were purchased in 2012 by the nearby Pittsburgh Glass Center, with the intention of turning it into student and artist housing. However, by all indications the two spots have been empty since the restaurant closed nearly 13 years ago. It was sold in 2018 to an LLC run by Ghassan Bejjani, a neurosurgeon who purchased four other vacant homes on the same block in 2015 (under a different LLC) and a building across the street last year.


As seen in 2015.

Friday, February 15, 2019

"Rights Make Might: Global Human Rights and Minority Social Movements in Japan," February 18 at Pitt.



The University of Pittsburgh's Department of Sociology will host Kiyoteru Tsutsui and his talk "Rights Make Might: Global Human Rights and Minority Social Movements in Japan" on February 18.
Since the late 1970s, the three most salient minority groups in Japan - the politically dormant Ainu, the active but unsuccessful Koreans, and the former outcaste group of Burakumin - have all expanded their activism despite the unfavorable domestic political environment. In Rights Make Might, Kiyoteru Tsutsui examines why, and finds an answer in the galvanizing effects of global human rights on local social movements. Tsutsui chronicles the transformative impact of global human rights ideas and institutions on minority activists, which changed their understandings about their standing in Japanese society and propelled them to new international venues for political claim making. The global forces also changed the public perception and political calculus in Japan over time, catalyzing substantial gains for their movements. Having benefited from global human rights, all three groups repaid their debt by contributing to the consolidation and expansion of human rights principles and instruments outside of Japan. Drawing on interviews and archival data, Rights Make Might offers a rich historical comparative analysis of the relationship between international human rights and local politics that contributes to our understanding of international norms and institutions, social movements, human rights, ethnoracial politics, and Japanese society.
The talk runs from 4:00 to 5:30 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (map) and is free and open to the public.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Nine Japanese animated films in Pittsburgh for Studio Ghibli Fest 2019, from April 7.





GKIDS announced the line-up for its Studio Ghibli Fest 2019, which will bring nine films to American theaters from April through December:

  • Howl's Moving Castle (ハウルの動く城): April 7, April 8, April 10
  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (風の谷のナウシカ): May 20 and May 21
  • Whisper of the Heart (耳をすませば): July 1 and July 2
  • Kiki's Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便): July 28, July 29, and July 30
  • My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ): August 25, August 26, and August 28
  • The Secret World of Arrietty (借りぐらしのアリエッティ)): September 29, and September 30
  • Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し): October 27, October 28, and October 30
  • Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫): November 17, November 18, and November 20
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫の物語): December 16 and December 18

There will be screenings in Japanese with English subtitles as well as English-dubbed versions. Tickets for all shows will go on sale March 7; films are likely to play at local Cinemark theaters, as in years past.

WESA FM asks "What Happened To Pittsburgh's Chinatown?"


Taken in 2012.

Pittsburgh's NPR station, WESA FM, has a lengthy piece on what happened to Pittsburgh's Chinatown.

2018 Japanese movie Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative [機動戦士ガンダムNT (ナラティブ)] in Pittsburgh, February 19.



The 2018 Japanese movie Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative [機動戦士ガンダムNT (ナラティブ)] will play in Pittsburgh on February 19. Anime News Network has a summary:
U.C. 0097. One year since the Laplace's Box was opened. Despite the revelation of the original charter for the Universal Century, which acknowledges the existence of Newtypes and their rights, the world remains largely unchanged. After the destruction of the Neo Zeon remnant force known as the Sleeves, the event that has come to be known as the "Laplace Incident" seems to have drawn to a close. In the final battle, two Full Psycho Frame mobile suits displayed power beyond human imagination. The menace of the White Unicorn and the Black Lion were sealed away from public consciousness, and were consigned to be forgotten by history. But now sightings of the RX-0 Unicorn 03, long thought lost two years ago, are being reported. Its name is Phenex, an immortal golden bird.
The movie will play at 7:00 pm the Southside Works Cinema and the Cinemark theaters in Monroeville and Robinson. These screenings are dubbed in English.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

New films The Wandering Earth (流浪地球), Pegasus (飞驰人生),Fall in Love at First Kiss (一吻定情 ) staying in Pittsburgh through February 20 (at least).



New Chinese films The Wandering Earth (流浪地球), Pegasus (飞驰人生), andFall in Love at First Kiss (一吻定情 ), will stay in Pittsburgh through at least February 20. The first two were released to coincide with the Lunar New Year, while the latter will be released on Valentine's day.

"Japan 2019: Outlook and Challenges" with Deputy Counsel General of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Koji Abe, February 20 at Pitt.



The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will host Deputy Counsel General of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Koji Abe and his talk "Japan 2019: Outlook and Challenges" on February 20.
Deputy Counsel General of Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Koji Abe will be discussing the current situation in Japan and challenges to come. He will consider Japan's relations with East Asia and South Asia, as well as the US-Japan alliance. He will examine the USJTA and TPP, grassroots activities in Japan, and other political, social, and economic aspects of Japan.
It will be held from 3:00 to 4:30 pm at 4130 Posvar Hall (map) and is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Lunar New Year Celebration, February 15 at Pitt.



The Pitt Chinese Department and Chinese Club will present a Lunar New Year Celebration on February 15. It runs from 6:00 to 7:30 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (map).

New Chinese movie Fall in Love at First Kiss (一吻定情 ) opens in Pittsburgh on February 14.



The new Chinese movie Fall in Love at First Kiss (一吻定情 ) will open around the world, including Pittsburgh, on February 14. A Malaysian site provides a summary:
Director Chen Yu San’s second film, Fall In Love At First Kiss, does not stray too far from her first feature – the successful romantic flick, Our Times. She has also gotten Our Times actor Darren Wang to be the male lead in First Kiss.

Adapted from Japanese manga Mischievous Kiss (by Kaoru Tada), First Kiss tells of schoolgirl Yuan Xiang Qin (Lin Yun, of The Mermaid) falling hard for the new boy in school, Jiang Zhi Shu (Wang). Unfortunately, Zhi Shu is superior to Xiang Qin in every way – from his looks to his IQ. Undeterred, she decides to follow her feelings and confess her love for him.
Tickets and showtime information is available online via Fandango. 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.

"From Animation to Martial Arts: Toward the Transcendence of False Movements," February 21 at Pitt.



The University of Pittsburgh's Pittsburgh Film and Media Colloquium will present Dr. Jinying Li and her talk "From Animation to Martial Arts: Toward the Transcendence of False Movements" on February 21.

Monday, February 11, 2019

燃而不毁-荆棘火敬拜团原创诗歌音乐会, March 9.



The Chinese Bible Study Fellowship and the Pittsburgh Chinese Church of Oakland will host a musical performance by Burning Bush on March 9. Please note: the entire event will be in Mandarin.
Join the Chinese Bible Study Fellowship for a night of music sharing by Burning Bush Worship Band from Chicago that creates all original content. It's a time to relax, enjoy music, and meet some new people! Free refreshments will be provided. Please note that the entire event will be in Mandarin Chinese. We hope to see you there! Tickets are free, please sign up with the link below.
The event is free but registration is required and can be made online. It runs from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in Bellefield Hall in Oakland (map).

Understanding the Background and Academic Preparation of Students from Chinese Cultures, February 28 at Pitt.

The University of Pittsburgh's Center for Teaching and Learning will present "Understanding the Background and Academic Preparation of Students from Chinese Cultures" on February 28, as part of its ongoing series of workshops for instructors and teaching assistants.
Chinese learners make up the largest international student population at the University of Pittsburgh. They serve in many teaching and learning capacities such as undergraduate and graduate students, teaching assistants, and research scholars. This workshop provides specific techniques in ways to involve and interact with this specific ethnic and linguistic group. Livestreaming option is available to regional campuses.
The event is open to the Pitt community; registration is required and can be done online. The presentation will run from 1:30 to 4:00 pm in 211 David Lawrence Hall (map).