Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Japanese rock band Dazzle Vision to play Pittsburgh's Tekkoshocon.

Very advance notice, but Japanese rock band Dazzle Vision will play Pittsburgh's Tekkoshocon on April 6, 2013. Dazzle Vision is, according to a skimpy press release plagiarized from Wikipedia,
popular in the Japanese indies scene for their hard rock sound and Maiko’s alternating melodic/death-voice vocals[.]
Tekkoshocon is a Japanese anime and pop-culture festival in Pittsburgh each spring, popular among fans and people-watchers alike. Here's a taste of Dazzle Vision's latest album:

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Chuseok in the Park" with Korea Focus in Sewickley, September 30.

Korea Focus, a local group "in support of Korean-American adoptive families and individuals", is celebrating "Chuseok in the Park" on September 30 in Sewickley (map). From their Facebook page:
Please join us for the 2nd Annual
Chuseok in the Park!

Sunday, September 30, noon-dusk
War Memorial Park
Shelter One (Up on the Hill)
Blackburn Road
Sewickley PA 15143

Chuseok is one of the year’s most important traditional Korean holidays. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month. Chuseok is often referred to as Korean Thanksgiving Day. It’s a celebration of the harvest and thanksgiving for the bounty of the earth.

In addition to enjoying the awesome playgrounds and wooden walking trails at War Memorial Park, we'll be celebrating with traditional Korean and American food and drinks, music, arts and crafts. Join us for the day or stop by for tea and songpyeon (a special type of sweet rice cakes). We'll be there, rain or shine. And if it is cold enough, we'll make good use of the fireplace!
Contact information available at the link.

Chinese American Students Association at Pitt presents Mid-Autumn Festival, September 29.

Saturday, September 29, the Chinese American Student Association at Pitt will hold a Mid-Autumn Festival at the O'Hara Student Center in Oakland. From the group's website:
September 29th, 2012 (Saturday)
CASA’s Annual Mid-Autumn Festival
Location: O’Hara Student Center
Time: 5:30pm – 9:30pm

Be sure to come to this month’s biggest event! CASA will be hosting our annual Mid-Autumn Festival, filled with FREE Chinese Food and festivities! Moon cakes, lanterns, calligraphy, etc. will be just some of the wonderful delights you will see at the festival. So come with an empty stomach and open mind, and indulge yourself into the celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival!

地點: O’Hara 學生中心
時間: 17:30 – 21:30

The group should also get credit for being one of the only around that has an updated, user-friendly website.

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Ramen Bar" coming to Squirrel Hill.


Construction is underway at "ウー Ramen Bar", a new ramen place in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill. The sign went up recently on 5860 Forbes Ave. (map), most recently a short-lived pasta place. It'll be interesting to see what this becomes: an authentic Japanese- or Chinese-style place, or a generic Asian soup kitchen. I'm hoping for the former. The katakana is pronounced uu.


Now Pittsburghers interested in decent Japanese-style ramen have to travel to Yama in Morgantown, WV. Given all the Asian students, and Asian-food lovers, in Pittsburgh's East End, the absence of certain staples is surprising. We got Asian-style karaoke/KTV/노래방 this week, so maybe real ramen isn't far behind.

[11/30/12 update: Now open]

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"The Labor of Cute: Net Idols, Cute Culture, and the Social Factory in Contemporary Japan" lecture at University of Pittsburgh, October 17.

On October 17 from 4:30 to 6:30, Dr. Gabrielle Lukacs will lecture on "The Labor of Cute: Net Idols, Cute Culture, and the Social Factory in Contemporary Japan". The lecture will be in the English Nationality Room of the Cathedral of Learning, with a reception to follow.

Dr. Lukacs is an assistant professor in the Anthropology department, and this particular lecture has been going around for a year. In 2010 Dr. Lukacs presented on similar topics, "The Net Idols: Cute Culture, Social Factory, and Neoliberal Governmentality in New Millennial Japan" at Pitt:
In this presentation, I analyze a recent Japanese phenomenon, what is called the net idols—young women who produce their own websites featuring personal photos and diaries. Many net idols earn an income from maintaining these websites, thus I understand them as new labor subjectivities that have evolved in late 1990s Japan in response to the deregulation of labor markets and unprecedented developments in new information technologies. Mastering cute looks and embracing cute behavior are key to the popularity of net idols. While the culture of cute has drawn considerable scholarly attention in recent years, it has been dominantly understood as a form of resistance to work-oriented adult society, a retreat to childhood—a space within which young women find redemption indulging in infantile play and passive behavior. By contrast, I draw on the Italian autonomists’ theory of the social factory to analyze the net idols’ production of cute culture as symptomatic of the ways in which the meanings, forms, and conditions of work have changed as intangible commodities (such as cute) have become the new center of economic gravity in the wake of growing economic volatility. Equally important, by analyzing the net idol phenomenon I also aim to theorize an emerging form of rationality (the foundational logic of neoliberal governmentality) within which individuals accept and even celebrate the end of job security as a marker of a shift from the postwar order of “working to find pleasure” to the neoliberal imperative to “find pleasure in work.”

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Japanese earthquake and tsunami survivors to visit Pittsburgh Allderdice High School this November.

The Japanese American Society of Pennsylvania writes about the Kizuna Project in Pittsburgh this fall:
Twenty four Japanese students from Hitachi Dai Ni High School in Japan will be visiting Pittsburgh’s Allderdice High school from Nov 7- 10 as part of the high school students volunteers exchange program called the Kizuna project. Hitachi city suffered from the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami.
Allderdice students visited Hitachi Dai Ni School for two weeks, helped the city as volunteers and learned about the earthquake affected area and their people this summer. In exchange Japanese students will visit Allderdice to share the real stories of their lives with at a presentation about their experiences and recovery efforts in the area. The presentation is open to the public and begins at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 8, 2012. Pittsburgh Taiko will be participating in the presentation.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A neat old picture of Korean missionaries and the Salvation Army in Pittsburgh, 1926, from the Pittsburgh City Photographer Collection:
Korean Missionary Party, of the Salvation Army, visiting Charles H. Kline, Mayor of Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chinese-language lecture at Pitt, 9/16, on how overseas students and scholars contribute(d) to social change in Taiwan.

From the Chinese Students & Scholars Association at the University of Pittsburgh is this announcement for a Chinese-language lecture at the Hillman Library on September 16: "Taiwan Case - How Overseas Students and Scholars Contributed to the Social Transition There-of", part of the lecture series "The World we are Facing, its Backdrop and Prospects".

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Asian-style karaoke / KTV finally coming to Pittsburgh September 16.

From KTV@Pittsburgh Facebook page.

Way back in February we read about Asian-style KTV (karaoke) coming to Oakland, but were frustrated about no updates, and no updates in English, since. Now, it looks like KBOX will finally open on September 16th, on 214 S. Craig St (map). Given the large number of Asian, and Asiaphile, students at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, the absence of a proper Asian-style karaoke place was puzzling. The KTV@Pittsburgh Facebook page has some updates and pictures of their soft opens. It should do very well.

The difference between this and carry okee night at the roadhouse down by the interstate is that at an Asian place, in Asia, you rent a small room with your friends and sing privately, as opposed to singing to the whole dining room---like at most bars and Pittsburgh's Green Pepper, unfortunately---whether they want to listen to you or not.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Japanese band Mono at Mr. Small's, September 11.

Japanese ambient band Mono will be at Mr. Small's Fun House in Millvale (map) on September 11 at 8 pm. Mr. Smalls says of Mono: "Within the rage of distortion and bombardment of feedback, you are just as likely to experience sadness and beauty." And Wikipedia summarizes:
The band's style of music is influenced by the genres of experimental rock and shoegazing, as well as by both the classical and contemporary classical periods of classical music, and also by noise and minimalism. Mono's sound is characterised by the lead and rhythm guitars of Goto and Yoda respectively, both of whom make extensive use of reverb, distortion and delay effects. The band's live performances are noted for their intensity, both in the playing and in the dynamics.
Here's something from their latest studio album:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Vietnamese film series at Butler's Maridon Museum starts September 7.

The Maridon Museum, an Asian art museum in Butler county (map) and one of those neat "oh we have one of those here?" surprises, will run a Vietnamese film series this fall consisting of three award-winning Vietnamese-language movies. The first is 1993's The Scent of Green Papaya on September 7 at 6:30. On October 5 is 1999's Three Seasons, and on October 26 is 2007's Owl and the Sparrow. More details available from the Maridon Museum website (.pdf).

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Free Chinese, Japanese, Korean classes in Pittsburgh's Carnegie Libraries.

Several universities in Pittsburgh offer language classes, and if you have the time and initiative you can enroll in them as a non-degree-seeking student. For more informal introductions and practice in languages, though, the Carnegie Library has free classes throughout the month. In addition to Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, Oakland's branch has French, German, Spanish, and English as a Second Language meetings. Check the library's events page for details, changes, cancellations, or new additions.

* The Chinese Conversation Club meets two Thursday evenings a month in the Oakland branch's Large Print Room. The next meeting is September 6, 6:00 - 7:00 pm.

* Japanese For Beginners meets two Mondays a month in the Oakland branch's Classroom A. The next meeting is September 10, 6:30 - 7:30 pm.
* Japanese II meets two Tuesdays a month in the Oakland branch's Classroom A, and "is geared toward those who already have a basic understanding of Japanese and are interested in increasing proficiency. Ability to read and write hiragana is required to take this class." The next meeting is September 11, 6:30 - 7:30 pm.
* The Japanese Conversation Club meets two Tuesdays a month in the Oakland branch's Large Print Room. This is geared for high-intermediate to advanced learners. The next meeting is September 4, 6:00 - 7:00 pm.

* Korean for Beginners meets each Saturday afternoon in the Oakland branch's Large Print Room. The focus is on learning to read and write the Korean script, and mastering some basic vocabulary and phrases. The next meeting is September 8, 1:00 - 2:30 pm.
* Korean II meets each Saturday in the Oakland branch's Large Print Room. The next meeting is September 8 from 11:00 - 12:30 pm.
* Korean Study Group for Intermediates meets on Saturdays at the Squirrel Hill branch. The next meeting is September 8 from 11:00 - 12:30 pm.

There are a few other programs in the area. A recent addition to the "Learn" page is Aspinwall's Cooper-Siegel Community Library, which offers a beginners' Japanese class each Wednesday, in addition to Arabic, French, and Spanish classes throughout the week.

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