Wednesday, July 31, 2013

"Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace: Activism in Japan and the US", August 5.

The Pittsburgh group "Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace" will host a presentation in Oakland on August 5 by Joyce Wagner of Iraq Veterans Against the War
on the dangers of both nuclear weapons and nuclear energy in light of the proposed repeal on (sic) Article 9 of Japan's peace constitution and the on-going consequences of the meltdown at the Fukushiima Daichi plant.
Click the flyer above to enlarge. The presentation will be held at the Friends Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Ave. in Oakland (map), and will be followed by a Skype conversation with peace activists in Kobe. "Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace" has long held events to locally mark the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945.

Monday, July 29, 2013

1974 Japanese movie The Street Fighter in Dormont, August 7 and 11.

Dormont's The Hollywood Theater will show the 1974 Japanese martial arts movie The Street Fighter (激突!殺人拳) on Wednesday, August 7, and Sunday, August 11. A brief comment on the X-rated film, from
Simply put, Terry Tsurugi (Sonny Chiba) is one mean bastard. If you don't keep your promises, watch out. Tsurugi's the kind of guy who'd not only splatter your brains on the pavement for your betrayal, but also be more than happy to make out with your sister right before selling her into a life of prostitution. Really.
Wikipedia says it was "the first film to receive an X-rating in the United States solely for violence".

The movie starts at 7:30 pm on Wednesday and 7:00 pm on Sunday, and tickets are $7. And if you'd like to take the subway to the theater, it's a little more than a block southeast of Potomac Station.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Japanese Nationality Room turns 14.

The Japanese Nationality Room in the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning was dedicated on July 25, 1999. Located in room 317 on the Cathedral's third floor, the room is modeled after a traditional 18th-century minka. Wikipedia provides a good overview of the room's interior---which was largely built in Japan, disassembled, and rebuilt in Pittsburgh---while the 24-page program from the dedication ceremony, scanned and preserved by the university's Documenting Pitt archive, covers the ceremony as well as information on the budget, donors, and other contributors. At the time, it says, the total expenditure was $507,047.64, roughly 80% being building and building-related expenses.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

KBox looking for suggestions for Japanese songs to carry.

In May we read about KBox, the Asian-style karaoke place on Oakland's Craig Street, adding 8,000 new Korean songs to the 13,000 English-language and over 70,000 Chinese songs available. Today a reader on Facebook passed along news that they are soliciting suggestions for new Japanese songs to add. You can view a selection of songs via this link and can pass along your comments or suggestions to KBox via Facebook or email (Pittsburgh.ktv at gmail). The file is massive, with over 25,000 songs, so you might have some luck simply choosing popular songs and passing along your suggestions.

"Stories Joyfully Embroidered: Shaanxi Folk Textiles from Northern China" at SAMA, June 28 - October 12.

Stories Joyfully Embroidered Shaanxi Folk Textiles from Northern China

"Stories Joyfully Embroidered: Shaanxi Folk Textiles from Northern China" is making its US debut at Loretto's Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (map) through October 12. The SAMA website says:
The large and colorful banners featured in Stories Joyfully Embroidered belong to a rich folk tradition that celebrates the legends and customs of ancient China. Subjects include depictions of foundational folk heroes such as Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor; and deity figures including Nuwa, the half-human, half-dragon goddess who created the first men and women. Other themes include symbolic images of longevity, good fortune, and many children, while others encompass cheerful scenes from everyday life. Together, the works in this exhibition provide an overview of Chinese folk culture that is not only fascinating, but delightfully uplifting as well.
“This is an exceptional opportunity to see a type of art that is rarely seen outside of China,” said SAMA Curator for Visual Arts Dr. Scott Dimond.
More details about the pieces available in the Exhibition Catalog (.pdf file). The museum is located at St. Francis University nearly two hours east of Pittsburgh, is open Tuesday through Saturday until 5 pm, and is free.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chinese university students volunteer at local food bank.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette both had stories on the 17th about a group of Chinese students from Zhejiang University who volunteered at a local food bank.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cupcakes and culture at Yummyholic's free "Summer in Saigon", July 24.

Summer in Saigon Pittsburgh

Yummyholic's first Cupcakes & Culture Series event is "Summer in Saigon", July 24, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at Biddle's Escape in Regent Square (map). An excerpt from Yummyholic's website:
Get ready for what will be the first in a series of five events collectively called the Cupcakes & Culture Series. Cupcakes & Culture 101 introduces Yummyholic’s first Cupcake Adventure called “Summer in Saigon” – a tres leches style cake infused with a concoction of sweetened condensed milk and Vietnamese dark roast coffee topped off with whipped cream lightly flavored with espresso. Some comments made by taste testers so far include: “It tasted like heaven,” “It was the best thing I ever put in my mouth,” “Oh my god, that was amaaaaaazing!”

Every Cupcakes & Culture event will feature FREE Yummyholic cupcake samples, finger foods from the best Asian eateries in Pittsburgh, music/entertainment, and a gathering of local Asian and diversity organizations that you can learn more about and plug yourself into. The greater purpose of these events is to make something awesome happen for our college-aged and young professional Asian American community here in Pittsburgh that tend to think there is nothing going on in this city that’s appealing enough to make you stay. It’s a way to introduce and strengthen our culture and community by increasing interaction. Yummyholic is basically using what it does best – cupcakes – to bring ALL people together to have a good time and hopefully learn something in the process.
Yummyholic is a local cupcakery slash apparel company started in 2012 by Jasmine Cho. Ahead of Summer in Saigon there will be cupcake samples available at the Local-Pittsburgh tent at Schenely Park's Vintage Grand Prix on Sunday.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Films Seven Samurai, Yojimbo in Oakmont this month.

Those interested in seeing classic samurai films will have a couple more choices besides next week's Rashomon. Oakmont's The Oaks Theater (map) is showing Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samruai (七人の侍) tonight and Yojimbo (用心棒) on July 21 and 24. Showtimes are 6 pm, tickets are $6, and the theater is a relatively short drive from Pittsburgh if traffic cooperates.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rashomon for $2 at Melwood Screening Room, July 24.


As part of its occasional "Essential Cinema" series, the Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood Screening Room (map) will show the 1950 Akira Kurosawa film Rashomon (羅生門) on July 24. The theater summarizes:
Considered one of the most brilliantly constructed films of all time, Rashomon has become synonymous with the subjectivity of truth. Set in medieval Japan, four witnesses give mutually contradictory accounts of a heinous crime. This masterpiece introduced Japanese cinema to the West, and was the surprise winner at 1951's Venice Film Fest, then went on to win an Oscar for Best Foreign Film.
The movie starts at 8:00, is $2, and, according to the receptionist, is in Japanese with English subtitles.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Thailand's Cathedral of Learning.

Via Assumption University's Facebook page.

An errant Google search brought me to the Cathedral of Learning (อาสนวิหารแห่งการเรียนรู้) in Bangkok, a 159-meter landmark at Assumption University modeled after the original Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh. Wikipedia says the 2002 version is the fifth-tallest educational building in the world, one behind the first one, and the university website writes of it:
The centerpiece of the campus is the Cathedral of Learning, a 39-story tower which houses student support services, the library, reception halls, seminar rooms and offices.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Two Pitt student-athletes visit Vietnam in Coach for College program.

Pitt Coach for College 2013
From the Coach for College Facebook page.

One benefit of the University of Pittsburgh's joining the ACC is its participation in Coach for College, a program "that brings together US student-athletes and Vietnamese university students to teach academics, sports and life skills at summer camps to children in rural Vietnam." An excerpt from a July 9 university press release, about two Pitt students visiting Vietnam this summer:
Alec Sheaffer has already returned from her three week stint in Vietnam, in which she taught baseball on the field and health in the classroom. She is a rehab science major, and her experiences through "Coach for College" have instilled in her a new career goal. "I was thinking about doing physical therapy, and I still want to do something similar, but now more related to kids, especially after my experience," she said. "It was an eye-opening experience for sure. It was something out of the ordinary because, as a student-athlete, you don't get many opportunities to do stuff like this because we have such a busy schedule."

The "Coach for College" program puts together two American athletes, two bilingual Vietnamese college students and one older high school student who previously participated in the program, and places them in charge of a group of Vietnamese students. The American student-athletes participate in the camp as coaches in their first year, and one of them can return for a second year as the camp director. Sheaffer had an "awesome" experience and thinks she might return for a second year next summer. "I was really close with my director," she said. "I want to more coaching and other stuff like that, so I am definitely considering becoming a camp director."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Seven Korean Pitt alumni receive University of Pittsburgh Medallion Awards.

Mark Nordenberg Seoul
Via 동아일보.

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg was in Seoul on the 8th, at a reception at the JW Marriot Hotel "to celebrate Pitt’s continuing progress and the accomplishments of its distinguished South Korean graduates." Seven people received university Medallion Awards, given to distinguished alumni. They are, as seated in the photograph:
왼쪽부터 남궁근 총장, 김학준 동북아역사재단 이사장, 김신복 가천학원 이사장, 김신일 전 교육부총리, 노덴버그 총장, 이상주 전 교육부총리, 권병현 한중문화청소년협회 미래숲 대표, 정재희 포드코리아 대표이사.
Romanizing Korean names is an inconsistent, imprecise task, so the hangeul will have to suffice for now. The group consists of: 남궁근, principal of Seoul National University of Science and Technology; 김학준, journalist and president of the Northeast Asian History Foundation; 김신복, Seoul National University professor; 김신일, former Education Minister and professor; 이상주, former Education Minister; 권병현 (Kwon Byung Hyun), former South Korean ambassador to China; and 정재희, president of Ford Korea.

They have to fix the mindset of white people like that.

Telling Kim Rae-won to get out, Episode 1.

Yesterday The Digs, a Post-Gazette tumblr that combs the newspaper's archives, profiled Pittsburgh native Frank Gorshin, best known as The Riddler on the 1960s "Batman" TV series. Gorshin may be best-known to some readers of this blog, though, for his role on the 2004 Korean TV show "Love Story in Harvard" ("러브스토리 인 하버드"), where he played an irritable, old law professor helping to assault the English language and American academic culture.

Monday, July 8, 2013

"Bo ssam Wednesdays" in Garfield.

Salt of the Earth in Garfield (map) is still holding "Bo ssam Wednesdays" from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am (or whenever it runs out).

Bossam (보쌈) is a Korean dish consisting of pork wrapped (쌈) in lettuce with kimchi, rice, and garlic. Like with the ramen it served last year, Salt of the Earth's bossam is its own interpretation of it, with some obvious variations on the traditional ingredients.

Both Korea Garden and Green Pepper include bossam on their menus, too. For some pictures of what it often looks like in Korea, here's what they sell at Nolboo Bossam, a ubiquitous restaurant chain.

Friday, July 5, 2013

"Kawaii Wa: The Code of Cuteness", July 6th through 27th in Shadyside.

The Gallery 4 on South Highland Ave. in Shadyside (map) will present "Kawaii Wa: The Code of Cuteness" from July 6th through 27th. An excerpt from the gallery's webpage:
"Kawaii Wa" opens Saturday, July 6th, 2013 and runs through Saturday, July 27th, 2013 at The Gallery 4 (206 S. Highland Ave., Shadyside, 412-363-5050). The opening reception will take place Saturday, July 6th, 2013 from 7-11PM and will be opened to the general public with complimentary refreshments and hors d'oeuvres provided by The Gallery 4. The Gallery 4 is open Tuesday through Saturday 1- 8PM .

The Gallery 4 is pleased to welcome HIROMI to Pittsburgh! HIROMI was born in 1958 in Hachioji, a suburb of Tokyo, Japan. After her creative childhood, HIROMI studied drawing, painting, design and craft in Tokyo Metropolitan High School of Arts. In 1982 she started her career as an illustrator of corporate advertising, calendars, magazines, and children's books. At the same time, HIROMI also started to work as an independent fine artist in 1987, and has participated in numerous solo and group shows in Japan and abroad.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Gwangju students to visit Pittsburgh again.

Thank you, Geun-ae.

Students from the Gwangju National University of Education will visit Pittsburgh on July 5, part of a four-week teacher-training and cultural-immersion experience with the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council. According to a June 26 university press release, 60 students will visit San Bernadino and 20 will come to Pittsburgh from the 5th through August 3rd, with another 20 students participating in shorter programs in Vietnam and Malaysia.

The GPLC hosts these students twice a year, and posts updates on its Facebook page. Readers of Korean can learn more about the trip and the students' experiences by reading the trip reports prepared by the students each term, hosted on the GNUE website. The school magazine also published interviews with a couple students in 2011 and 2012 (issues 414 and 422), but they aren't interesting enough to reprint or translate.

These training and immersion programs have been going on between GNUE and Pittsburgh since 2009, shortly after Park Nam-gi was named school president. Park earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1993, and worked two stints as a visiting professor at Pitt in 1999 and 2000-2001.

2013 광주교대 어학연수
(Left) Poster for study abroad information session; (Right) At PNC Park, via the GPLC GNUE Summer Institute Facebook page.

Cloud Atlas at Erie Art Museum, July 10.

The 2012 film Cloud Atlas will play at the Erie Art Museum (map) on July 10. A German film, it features a number of household names in its ensemble cast and is the English-language debut of Korean actress Bae Doona. It also includes a year 2144 Seoul as one of its many settings.

The movie starts at 7:00 pm, and tickets are available online and at the door.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Researching Chinese soldiers in American Civil War.

Joseph Pierce.

With the country commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, it's timely to pass along the "Association to commemorate the Chinese serving in the American Civil War" website, which collects research on Chinese soldiers who fought in the American Civil War and "would like to honor the Chinese people who fought for freedom for their host, in this new country, the United States of America". A Department of Defense website provides more information about Chinese soldiers in the Civil War, including Joseph Pierce, pictured above:
Pvt. Joseph L. Pierce was age 21 when he enlisted in the 14th Connecticut Infantry in August 1862. It's unclear how Pierce ended up in the United States. One story has it that his father sold him to Connecticut ship Captain Amos Peck for $6. Another story was that his brother sold him for $60. Still another was that Peck picked up the lad, who was adrift in the South China Sea. Peck, a lifelong bachelor, turned the 10-year-old he called "Joe" over to his mother in Connecticut.

Young Joe went to school with the Pecks and formally became Joseph Pierce in 1853. He picked up the last name from President Franklin Pierce.

At the time of his enlistment Pierce was a farmer in New Britain, Conn. He listed his height at 5 feet 5 inches, dark complexion with dark hair and black eyes. His birthplace was Canton in Kwangtung Province, China.

His regiment participated in the Battle of Antietam, Md. Sept. 17, 1862.

He suffered some sickness during his time around Washington and was in the hospital for a time. He was assigned to the Quartermaster Department for a bit and rejoined the 14th in time for the Battle of Chancellorsville, Va. in May 1863.

The 14th had a distinguished role in the Gettysburg campaign. "It fought on the north part of Cemetery Ridge on July 2 and was one of the units that helped repel Pickett's Charge," said Gettysburg Historian John Heiser. "The 14th was primarily responsible for turning back Brig. Gen. James Pettigrew's North Carolina division." Today, you can see the 14th Memorial to the north of the grove of trees marking the High-water Mark of the Confederacy.

The 14th's regimental history says that during Pickett's charge, Pierce appeared "pig-tail and all, the only Chinese in the Army of the Potomac." But he wasn't.

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