Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Intro to Japanese Cinema" series at Row House Cinema, tomorrow through September 4.

Clockwise from top left: Tokyo Story (東京物語), Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫), Rashomon (羅生門), Nobody Knows (誰も知らない). Not pictured: Brother.

Lawrenceville's Row House Cinema will present an "Intro to Japanese Cinema" series from August 29 through September 4, featuring animated and live action films from the 1950s, 1990s, and 2000s. Five films will be shown in all: Rashomon (羅生門), Tokyo Story (東京物語), Brother, Nobody Knows (誰も知らない), and Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫). Sunday's noon showing of Princess Mononoke is a "Kids Will Be Kids" show, and the September 2 showing of Rashomon will be followed by a discussion of the film.

Times are available on the theater's website, and tickets are $9. The single-screen theater is located at 4115 Butler Street (map).

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Asian student groups holding events on Pitt campus this weekend.

Several of the University of Pittsburgh's largest Asia-focused student groups will be holding events on campus this weekend to welcome members old and new. The Facebook pages listed below offer more details, but the events generally include food, socializing, and a chance to meet the groups' organizers.

* Asian Student Alliance - Friday, August 28, 1:00 - 3:00 pm, William Pitt Union Assembly Room

* Vietnamese Student Association First Social on the Lawn - Friday, August 28, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, William Pitt Union patio and lawn

* Korean Culture Association [KCA] First Social - Friday, August 28, 4:45 to 6:45 pm, William Pitt Union lawn

* Filipino Student Association [FSA] First Social - Saturday, August 30, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, 630 William Pitt Union

* Chinese American Student Association [CASA] - Sunday, August 31, 3:00 - 5:00 pm, William Pitt Union lawn

* Japanese Culture Association [JCA] Ice Cream Social - Sunday, August 31, 5:00 - 7:00 pm, 548 William Pitt Union

The events will be held in or around the William Pitt Union, located at the intersection of Forbes and Bigelow Blvds. in Oakland (map).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tickets now on sale for Royal Ballet of Cambodia in Pittsburgh, November 7.

A 2010 performance in Paris, by Jean-Pierre Dalbera (Creative Commons).

Tickets recently went on sale for the November 7 performance of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia at the Byham Theater. It is considered an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, and is described thus:
Renowned for its graceful hand gestures and stunning costumes, the Royal Ballet of Cambodia, also known as Khmer Classical Dance, has been closely associated with the Khmer court for over one thousand years. Performances would traditionally accompany royal ceremonies and observances such as coronations, marriages, funerals or Khmer holidays. This art form, which narrowly escaped annihilation in the 1970s, is cherished by many Cambodians.

Infused with a sacred and symbolic role, the dance embodies the traditional values of refinement, respect and spirituality. Its repertory perpetuates the legends associated with the origins of the Khmer people. Consequently, Cambodians have long esteemed this tradition as the emblem of Khmer culture. Four distinct character types exist in the classical repertory: Neang the woman, Neayrong the man, Yeak the giant, and Sva the monkey. Each possesses distinctive colours, costumes, makeup and masks.The gestures and poses, mastered by the dancers only after years of intensive training, evoke the gamut of human emotions, from fear and rage to love and joy. An orchestra accompanies the dance, and a female chorus provides a running commentary on the plot, highlighting the emotions mimed by the dancers, who were considered the kings’ messengers to the gods and to the ancestors.
The Friday show begins at 8:00 pm, and tickets range from $20 to $45. The Byham Theater is located at 101 6th Street, in the Cultural District downtown (map).

Monday, August 25, 2014

Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie at Hollywood Theater, August 30 and 31.

The Hollywood Theater in Dormont will show the 2012 animated movie Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie (劇場版 NARUTO -ナルト- ロード・トゥ・ニンジャ) on August 30 and 31. Tickets are $12 and are available online for the Saturday and Sunday afternoon shows. The movie, which will be released in the US on August 29, will be dubbed in English and the Hollywood Theater will be the only one in Pennsylvania showing the film the weekend it makes its stateside premiere.

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.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Free Chinese, Japanese, Korean classes at Oakland branch of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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

* Chinese for Beginners (next meeting: August 31). Held the second and fourth Sunday of the month from 3:30 to 4:30.
* Chinese Conversation Club (next meeting: August 28). 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: August 25 in Classroom A). Second and fourth Monday of the month from 6:30 to 7:30.
* Japanese II (next meeting: August 26 in Classroom A). Second and fourth Tuesday of the month from 6:30 to 7:30. "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: September 2). Held on the first and third Tuesday of the month from 6:00 to 7:00. For intermediate and advanced learners.

* Korean for Beginners (next meeting: August 30). 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: August 30). 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 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.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Korean mall.

Visited More Shopping Center last weekend, a Korean mall in North Philadelphia (map). The anchor is a Korean grocery, H Mart, and there are branches of Korean franchises like Paris Baguette, Hana Tour, Woori Bank, and The Face Shop. There are also doctor offices, dentists, salons, a pharmacy, a Korean food court, and a few dozen other local businesses. Walking through there, if you didn't know you were above ground you might think you've stepped into one of the underground arcades (지하상가) ubiquitous in Korean cities.

Chick'n Bubbly grand opening, August 25.

A reminder that Chick'n Bubbly will have its grand opening on Monday, August 25, the start of the University of Pittsburgh fall term. It's had a soft opening since July 28, during which time it's only been serving chicken and tea.

Chick'n Bubbly is the Korean-style fried chicken restaurant in Oakland, next to---and run by the same people who own---Oishii Bento (map). The small restaurant in a former nail salon is the city's first Korean fried chicken place.

A picture from a University of Pittsburgh Lantern Night ceremony, circa 1940. It's at least prior to 1942, as the university tells us:
The Japanese paper lanterns, abandoned when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, were replaced by metal lanterns. Later the ceremony was simplified and the less costly candles were substituted.
This year's Lantern Night is scheduled for August 24.

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Intro to Japanese Cinema" series at Row House Cinema, August 29 through September 4.

Lawrenceville's Row House Cinema will present an "Intro to Japanese Cinema" series from August 29 through September 4, featuring animated and live action films from the 1950s, 1990s, and 2000s. Five films will be shown in all: Rashomon (羅生門), Tokyo Story (東京物語), Brother, Nobody Knows (誰も知らない), and Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫).

Times are available on the theater's website, and tickets are $9. The single-screen theater is located at 4115 Butler Street (map).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles Golden Pig today.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Melissa McCart visits Golden Pig for today's paper. The best Korean restaurant in Western Pennsylvania reopened on July 31 after a several-month hiatus. An excerpt from the article:
[Owner and chef Yong Kwon is] back cooking the food she grew up on, decidedly savory dishes that display what she describes as an older style. It's different from sugar-laden dishes that have crept into Korean restaurants, such as Korean fried chicken with its sweet heat.

Her food also reflects her values, having been raised during a depression when she admits she had been close to starving. Today, her priority is to serve fresh, affordable fare.

Regulars had hankered for her cooking during her absence. It had been too long since they'd feasted on bul dak ($7.50, $9.50), sesame-laced chicken with carrots in a fiery marinade, the result of chili peppers, soy sauce and red pepper paste, among other ingredients.

It's one of the hottest dishes you can order in Pittsburgh, competing with the Scoville scale of Sichuan dishes.

Whether it's because of her spicy food or her charisma, Ms. Kwon has cultivated quite a following. It's made up of diners looking for authenticity at a time when cuisine that adheres to a culinary tradition is hardly celebrated.
The paper has visited the restaurant before, in 2009 and 2010.

Golden Pig is located in Cecil Township (map), about 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. It's closed Sundays and Mondays.

Inconspicuous, via Google Maps.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

1979's The Crippled Masters at Hollywood Theater, August 21.

The Hollywood Theater in Dormont will show the 1979 Hong Kong martial arts movie The Crippled Masters on August 21. A summary from an imdb user:
Two men skilled in the arts of Kung-Fu are betrayed by their master and crippled for life, one left with no arms and the other with no legs. Despite their obvious disadvantages, they learn to combine their martial arts skills and seek revenge against the evil master.
The movie begins at 7:30 and tickets are $5. 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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

New JAGP website.

In January we helped build a new website for the Japan Association of Greater Pittsburgh. The old address was left as an automatic redirect to the new Wordpress site, but in mid-July the domain expired. Please update your bookmarks to There's a new email address, too. Recent posts in the "ニュース / News" include the members' fall picnic in September. and a visit from the Japanese Consulate in October.

Asia 1, 2, 3 at Maridon Museum, August 19.

The Maridon Museum will host Asia 1, 2, 3 on Tuesday, August 19 from noon to 1 pm. A few words from the Facebook event page:
Learn about Asian culture at The Maridon Museum.
Craft, Snacks, and games.
Ages 4-11 are welcome.
All children must be accompanied by an adult.
$5 per child
The Maridon Museum is an Asian art museum in downtown Butler (map), roughly 33 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hillman Library tours in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean for international students at Pitt, August 12 - 19.

From tomorrow, August 12, the University of Pittsburgh's Hillman Library will host tours in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean for incoming Pitt international students.
Would you like to know:
  • how to meet and know a librarian who speaks your native language?
  • the differences between the academic libraries in the U.S. and libraries in your home country?
  • what and how the library can help your area of study and research at Pitt?
See the flyer above for a schedule and registration information.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Another local find from our Chinese fashion department.

QZ Lady now offers a Kordell Stewart replica jersey, sort of.

National Association of Asian American Professionals [NAAAP] Pittsburgh Annual Summer Picnic, August 23.

The Pittsburgh chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professions [NAAAP] will hold is annual summer picnic on August 23 in North Park. From the Facebook event page:
Get out and enjoy summer with NAAAP (The National Association of Asian American Professionals) and NetIP (The Network of Indian Professionals). Join us for our annual summer picnic! We'll enjoy food, games, and good conversation. Bring yourself and a dish to share.

The picnic will be held at Miller Grove in North Park. Note that this is a free event, but please bring a dish to share. Frisbees, balls, and any outdoor games are encouraged if you have them. You are welcome to bring family along (this is a kid friendly event) or invite any other friends. The picnic will run from 12pm to 4pm and food will be served at 1pm.

Everyone is welcome, you don't need to be a member of NAAAP or NetIP (or an Asian/Indian professional) to join in. Post a comment or contact us at for more information.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

"Hiroshima Day Observed Here", 1963.

On August 6 and 7, 1963, the local papers reported on Hiroshima Day events in Pittsburgh. From the Pittsburgh Press on the 6th:
Paper cranes on helium-filled balloons -- symbols of the children who died 18 years ago during the bombing of Hiroshima -- flew high above Gateway Center today.

The paper birds were sent aloft by a group of Pittsburgh women as reminders that today's children still face the dangers of the nuclear arms race.

The Pittsburgh Women for Peace, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and the Society of Friends sponsored the outdoor observance of Hiroshima Day. The groups are urging support of the nuclear test ban treaty now awaiting ratification by the U.S. Senate.

Pittsburgh City Council issues proclamation to "commend and recognize" Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace.

On August 4, two days before the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the Pittsburgh City Council issued a proclamation to "commend and recognize the important work of Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace".

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Chinatown bus stop moving to Strip District.

Pittsburgh's Chinatown bus stop is moving from Oakland to the Strip District effective September 1. Currently located at 116 Meyren Ave., its new home will be 1613 Penn Ave. (map), according to the sign posted on its door, between a Chinese restaurant and an Asian hair salon. The daily bus to New York's Chinatown leaves at 12:20 am and costs $45 each way ($65 at the door, though $45 if you mention "George", says George.)

In early June we posted about a different sign on the door that read:
Retail opportunity on the ground floor of one of
Pittsburgh's hottest technology co-working spaces
116 Meyran Avenue is available for lease

Lao-language The Rocket at Northland Public Library, August 13.

Australian Lao-language film The Rocket will play at Northland Public Library on August 13. It's this month's selection in the Foreign Film Series. It was one of four films to open the 2013 Three Rivers Film Festival last fall.
The Akha people of Laos believe that giving birth to twins is bad luck. The main character’s twin is stillborn and it is believed that he will bring bad luck to everyone around him. Ten years later, the family gets word that their village will soon be under water due to a Dam project. After calamity-filled adventures, he tries to prove that he’s not bad luck by building a giant rocket to enter into an exciting and dangerous competition, the Rocket Festival. This film has won 25 awards and has been nominated for 20 others.
The movie starts at 1:30 pm, and is in Lao with English subtitles. Northland Public Library is located in McCandless Township in the North Hills (map).

Friday, August 1, 2014

I Live in Fear (生きものの記録), Hiroshima-Nagasaki Legacy Exhibit, Shibori Peace Quilt, and remembering the "miracle of terror".

A reminder, the 1955 Akira Kurosawa film I Live in Fear (生きものの記録) will play at the Melwood Screening Room (map) in Oakland on August 5. The film is co-sponsored by Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace as a commemoration of the 69th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the 6:00 pm screening is followed by an 8:00 pm Skype interview with Japanese students.

Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace has again this year planned other activities around the commemoration. From August 4 through 15, Hiroshima-Nagasaki Legacy Exhibit will be on display at the City-County Building downtown. The exhibit "consists of photographs, graphics, poetry, and artwork" and is co-sponsored by Veterans for Peace.

From August 5 through 10, the Pittsburgh Children's Museum will host the Shibori Peace Quilt Project. From 12 to 3 each day, visitors are invited to dye small pieces of cloth in the Japanese shibori style. These pieces will then be woven into a quilt to be presented to representatives from Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 2015. The museum's website has a bit more:
Today, there are Museums of Peace in both cities where people can go and learn about the bombs, feel sad together, and forgive each other for the war. One of the things that makes things stop hurting so much is when people who remember what happened teach their children about how painful war is, and how poisonous bombs are. Another thing that helps is to make something beautiful to share.

Please join the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh and Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace to make a Shibori memorial honoring those who were hurt in World War II, and their children and grandchildren who have been healing and rebuilding their communities ever since.
The Pittsburgh Children's Museum is located on the North Side (map).

Also on the North Side, along the Northshore Heritage Trail, is a permanent memorial to the victims in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A marker at Frederick Franck's "The Unkillable Human" reads:
At Hiroshima Franck was confronted with the shadow of a human being burned into a concrete wall by the atomic bomb.

The indestructible spirit rises from the ashes.
At the time of 2012's post on the memorial and contemporary coverage on "the miracle of terror", the Shadow Project had placed bungee cord outlines of bodies, seen above, replicating similar memorials that turn up this time of year. The sculpture by Franck is located basically across the street from Warhola Recycling on Chesboro St. (map).

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