Friday, May 29, 2015

Umami Pgh pop-up event, June 1.

June 1 menu, via @umamipgh

Umami is an izakaya---Japanese pub---planned to open in Lawrenceville this August. Monday, June 1, will be the first pop-up preview of it in the neighborhood.
Roger Li is teaming up with Grapperia in Lawrenceville for his first event in an ongoing series to give Pittsburgh a taste of whats to come when the doors open for his new restaurant Umami Pgh, an Izakaya in the heart of Lawrenceville.
The event starts at 4:00 pm, and Grapperia is located at 3801 Butler St. (map).

Thursday, May 28, 2015

15 Chinese nationals indicted in Pittsburgh in student visa fraud scheme.

The Department of Justice announced today that 15 Chinese nationals have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh "on charges of conspiracy, counterfeiting foreign passports, mail fraud and wire fraud".
According to the indictment, between 2011 and 2015, the defendants engaged in a conspiracy and a scheme to defraud Educational Testing Services (ETS) and the College Board by having imposters take college and graduate school standardized entrance examinations, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). In carrying out the scheme, the conspirators had counterfeit Chinese passports made and sent to the United States, which were used by the imposters to defraud ETS administrators into believing that they were other people, namely the conspirators who would receive the benefit of the imposter’s test score for use at American colleges and universities. The majority of the fraudulent exams taken by the conspirators were taken in western Pennsylvania.

“The perpetrators of this conspiracy were using fraudulent passports for the purpose of impersonating test takers of standardized tests including the SAT, GRE and TOEFL and thereby securing fraudulently obtained admissions to American institutions of higher education and circumventing the F1 Student Visa requirements,” stated U.S. Attorney Hickton. “This case establishes that we will protect the integrity of our passport and visa process, as well as safeguard the national asset of our higher education system from fraudulent access.”

Japanese movie Like Father, Like Son (そして父になる) at Northland Public Library, June 10.

Northland Public Library will show the 2013 Japanese movie Like Father, Like Son (そして父になる) on Wednesday, June 10 as next month's installment of the Foreign Film Series. A summary from the Harris Theater, where the movie made its Pittsburgh debut last year:
Prolific filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda (Afterlife, Maborosi, Nobody Knows) continues to recall master director Ozu with his tender films of family life in modern Japan. Here, Ryota is a successful Tokyo architect who works long hours to provide for his wife, Midori and six-year-old son, Keita. But when a blood test reveals Keita and another baby were switched at birth, two very different families are forced to make a difficult decision, while Ryota confronts his own issues of responsibility and what it means to be a father. This story of personal redemption is both moving and playful.
The movie will play at Northland from 1:30 pm, and the library is located off of McKnight Road and Rt. 19 in McCandless Township (map). The film is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Westinghouse hiring bilingual Japanese-English Executive Administrator for Cranberry Township position.

Westinghouse Electric Company is currently hiring a bilingual Japanese-English Executive Administrator for its Cranberry Township headquarters.
In search of a bilingual (Japanese/English) Senior Executive Assistant living in and knowing the Greater Pittsburgh area very well. Candidate must possess an Associate's Degree or equivalent business related curriculum, 10+ years’ experience in an administrative position and 5 years’ experience as an Executive Administrator, Board of Directors administration experience preferred. It is a must to have experience dealing with stakeholders at executive levels (industry, government, and customer) inside and outside of the U.S.

Interested candidates can submit their resume by following the link below and applying to position 19148BR.
The full listing is located here. Westinghouse Electric Company has been owned by Toshiba Group since 2006.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hong Kong film Floating City (浮城) at Maridon Museum, May 28.

The Maridon Museum will show the 2012 film Floating City (浮城) as the final installment of its Hong Kong Film Series this spring. An excerpt from a PopMatters review, which calls Floating City "an incredibly beautiful movie":
This Cantonese-language film begins in the ‘40s, when the British East India Company had vast control over Hong Kong’s citizens and society. Our main character is born into this dichotomy of two worlds, but fits into neither. Bo Wah Chuen is born to a Chinese mother, but has red hair and blue eyes. His mother abandons him to the priests and he is almost miraculously adopted into a new family by an ethnic Tanka mother who recently suffered a miscarriage (actress Josie Ho in a brilliantly dramatic performance).

As Bo grows to manhood he is denied access to the basic rights of Chinese children (he is forced to blacken his hair with shoe polish to attend school) and is equally ostracized by the British upper crust due to his mixed blood and Tanka upbringing. The Chinese call him by the name “Mixed”, the British refer to him as “Half-Breed”.
The film starts at 6:00 pm. The Maridon, an Asian art museum, is located at 322 N. McKean St. in downtown Butler (map), roughly 40 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Sichuan Gourmet to open Oakland location.

Sichuan Gourmet, a restaurant on Murray Ave. in Squirrel Hill, will open a location at 328 Atwood St. (map) in Oakland. The spot was most recently home to India Garden, which closed for good last year after numerous health code violations.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Documentary on early Cambodian rock music, Don't Think I've Forgotten, at Hollywood Theater, May 29 - June 4.

The Hollywood Theater in Dormont will show the 2014 documentary Don't Think I've Forgotten from May 29 through June 4. A summary, from the documentary's website:
During the 60’s and early 70’s as the war in Vietnam threatened its borders, a new music scene emerged in Cambodia that took Western rock and roll and stood it on its head – creating a sound like no other.

Cambodian musicians crafted this sound from the various rock music styles sweeping, America, England and France, adding the unique melodies and hypnotic rhythms of their traditional music. The beautiful singing of their renowned female vocalists became the final touch that made this mix so enticing.
. . .
DON’T THINK I’VE FORGOTTEN: CAMBODIA’S LOST ROCK AND ROLL tracks the twists and turns of Cambodian music as it morphs into rock and roll, blossoms, and is nearly destroyed along with the rest of the country. This documentary film provides a new perspective on a country usually associated with only war and genocide.
Showtimes and ticket information is available on the theater website; adult tickets are $8, and members' 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, May 19, 2015

Kurosawa film High and Low (天国と地獄) at Melwood Screening Room, May 27.

The Melwood Screening Room will show the 1963 Akira Kurosawa movie High and Low (天国と地獄) on May 27 as part of its Essential Cinema series. A 2002 A.V. Club review upon the DVD's release provides a summary:
Adapted from a novel by American pulp writer Ed McBain (whose real name is Evan Hunter), 1963's High And Low stars Toshiro Mifune (naturally) as a properous, principled shoe-company executive. On the verge of taking over the company from a group of less ethical co-workers, Mifune learns that a kidnapper demanding a financially ruinous amount of money has his son. When it's discovered that the kidnapper has mistakenly taken the son of Mifune's loyal chauffeur, Mifune is faced with a dilemma that tests his selflessness.
The show starts at 8:00, and the theater is located at 477 Melwood Ave. in Oakland (map). Part of the Essential Cinema series, tickets are $2.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Korean movie A Better Tomorrow (무적자) at Parkway Theater in McKees Rocks, May 19.

The Parkway Theater in McKees Rocks will show the 2010 Korean movie A Better Tomorrow (무적자) tomorrow, May 19, as the first installment of its Asian Movie Madness series. The Korean Movie Database provides a summary of the film, a remake of the 1986 John Woo movie of the same title:
Hyuk and Chul are two brothers who have been separated since childhood. Hyuk, the older one, has now become a weapon smuggling gang boss, while Chul has become a policeman. Hyuk and Young-chun share 10 years of friendship while leading the gang as two aces, but their tight friendship becomes damaged because of a dirty trick played by Taemin, one of the gangsters, while Hyuk wants to escape from the band of gangs. Chul wants to get rid of the gangs. Young-chun wants to reestablish himself. Their relationship gets tangled with deep wounds and misunderstanding. With Tae-min's plot to take hold of everything, their destiny heads for an unexpected ending.
The movie starts at 7:00 pm and is free. The Asian Movie Madness series will be held on the third Thursday of the month. The theater is located at 644 Broadway Ave. in McKees Rocks (map), a few miles west of the North Side.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Studio Ghibli film When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー ) at Regent Square Theater, June 12 - 18.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers has announced that the 2014 Japanese movie When Marnie Was There (思い出のマーニー ) will play at Regent Square Theater from June 12 to 18. The group summarizes what some believe may be the last Studio Ghibli film:
The newest animated film from Studio Ghibli tells the enchanted story of Anna, a teenage girl who feels disconnected from her peers. Her foster mother frets about Anna’s asthma attacks and sends her to spend the summer with her grandparents in Hokkaido, a sleepy town by the sea. Anna keeps to herself – until she makes friends with the mysterious Marnie, who may or may not be real. Beautifully rendered, the lush, hand-crafted paintings give this modern tale the look and feel of classic animation at its best.
Showtimes have not yet been announced. The Regent Square Theater is located at 1035 S. Braddock Ave. (map).

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Izakaya to open in Lawrenceville in August.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes this afternoon about an izakaya called Umami to open in Lawrenceville above the Round Corner Cantina (map). It is the next project of Robert Li, formerly of Tamari, and anticipates an August open.
The izakaya, or Japanese pub, will feature, "traditional Japanese dishes using modern techniques and local ingredients. Every dish will have umami flavors," he said.

Mr. Li will start construction this month and he's shooting for an August opening. Though it's part of the Round Corner building, it will have its own entrance at 202 38th St.

Umami will have a sushi bar and an infared robata or a charcoal binchotan grill. He'll also serve ramen, housemade tofu, gyoza (Japanese dumplings) and other Japanese street food. His drink menu will include sake, cocktails and Japanese whisky.

He found his inspiration for the izakaya while traveling around Japan.

"Izakayas are my favorite places to go out to eat and have a beverage,“ he said. ”After seeing the true izakayas, I was really interested in doing the concept."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Starkist hiring bilingual Korean/English for "Manager, Corporate Internal Audit" position in Pittsburgh.

Starkist, which has its corporate headquarters on the North Shore and which is owned by South Korea's Dongwon Industries, is hiring for bilingual Korean/English Manager, Corporate Internal Audit position in Pittsburgh. Part of the ad, via Monster:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tribune-Review on Pittsburgh's Chinatown bus station.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has an article today about the Chinatown bus running from Pittsburgh's Strip District to New York City.
[S]everal people quietly wait outside a nondescript, one-story building with their rolling travel bags, bookbags and pillows. Some pass the time by smoking; others stare at their cellphones. Most turn down interview requests, saying they speak little or no English. The front door of the building opens, and they enter a foyer and disappear downstairs into the basement to buy tickets.

Within an hour, they'll board an unmarked white bus that pulls up outside and be on their way to New York's Chinatown.

“People needed an alternative to Greyhound, Megabus and Amtrak. The Chinese coach buses are reasonably priced, clean, and the travel time is much quicker because they don't have all those frequent stops,” said George Chow, who helps market the interstate bus line that's known locally as Great Wall Line Inc.
The Chinatown bus station moved from its Oakland location to 1613 Penn Ave. (map) Strip District on September 1, 2014.

Chinatown buses enjoyed their highest popularity here before Megabus and other alternatives to Greyhound emerged. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did a short profile on some of the lines servicing Pittsburgh in 2006, and their popularity among non-Asians given the lack of affordable intercity public transportation.
Kin Yeung of McCandless said that when he took a Fung Wah bus from New York's Chinatown to Boston, more than half of the passengers were non-Asian.

Nonetheless, "a lot of people in the Chinese community in Pittsburgh are using these bus services because they're so cheap," he said.
The Chinatown bus lines followed a business model similar to the discount lines today:
[Greyhound spokeswoman Anna] Folmnsbee said Greyhound's generally higher bus prices, for the most part, subsidized buildings and staff.

"We put a lot of money into our facilities, to make sure our passengers have a safe, comfortable, warm place to wait and customer service agents who tell you where to go to line up," she said. "Plus our passengers know we offer more schedules, a dozen to New York per day as opposed to maybe a handful."

While Ms. Folmnsbee declined to discuss how Greyhound regards the advent of low-cost Chinatown bus services, the company did sue Fung Wah in 2004 for lacking proper permits.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Latest rendering of Sichuan University - Pittsburgh Institute.

The recently-launced Sichuan University - Pittsburgh Institute (四川大学-匹兹堡学院) website has a rendering of the institute and its surroundings.

This post from last month looks at several previous renderings. The renderings released online last month show the institute---bottom left in the picture above---surrounded by transparent blocks to indicated other buildings under construction; buildings depicted above. The joint venture between the two universities is scheduled to open at the Jiang'an campus in Fall 2015 with an initial cohort of 100 students.

Update (May 11): Here is another look at the building from elsewhere on the page:

Friday, May 8, 2015

Immediate openings in Pittsburgh for Japanese, Korean, Mandarin speakers to work overnight shifts.

Ariba---"the global leader in business commerce networks, supporting more than $450 billion dollars in yearly trade between over 1 million connected companies"---is hiring Customer Support Specialists fluent in Japanese, Korean or Mandarin to work overnight shifts in its Pittsburgh office downtown. An excerpt from the job ad, posted today:
The Customer Support Specialist is the face and voice of Ariba to our customers, building relationships in each interaction. Specialists help our customers maximize the benefits of Ariba solutions to facilitate a global exchange of goods and services in the world’s largest business to business trading community. They use their expertise and collaborate with team members and customers across the globe to provide detailed solutions that exceed expectations.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Provides inbound application and functional support for all relevant Ariba applications, both internally and externally, by way of email, webform and phone.
• Resolves 80% of issues without escalation.
• Respond to customer inquiries in a timely manner and within service level objectives.
• Successfully documents all requests through the CRM system while adhering to all documented procedures.
• Provides general assistance to other teams within Global Customer Support and Ariba.
• Conducts all customer interactions in a manner that presents Ariba in a positive light. Specialists are required to be respectful, fair, gracious and knowledgeable and to uphold the core values established by Ariba.
• Ensures that individual performance meets or exceeds the department standards.
• All other duties as assigned.

Basic Minimum Qualifications

•Bachelor’s degree or 2-year Technical school degree preferred.
•Fluency in Chinese (Mandarin), Korean and Japanese

Preferred Qualifications

• Technical aptitude. Knowledge in computer hardware and software applications along with experience using the Internet.
• Minimum of 1 year work experience preferred.
• Customer focus and stress tolerance.
• Superior communication and telephone skills.
• Friendly presence and helpful attitude; good interpersonal skills and ability to work well with others.
• Strong troubleshooting and problem-solving skills.
• Ability to adapt support style to align with the technical capabilities of the customer.
• Previous customer service experience strongly desired.
• Fluency in at least one foreign language is highly desirable.
• Experience or education in working with individuals from diverse cultures preferred.

Ariba, Inc. is an EEO/Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status, or any other protected category.
The shifts are 7:00 pm to 4:00 am or 8:00 pm to 5:00 am, in order to accommodate East Asian time zones. More details are in the job ad, and those interested and qualified may apply online.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Japanese language exchange at Kenmawr Apartments, May 15.

The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania will hold its fourth Japanese language exchange at Shadyside's Kenmawr Apartments on Friday, May 15. From the JASP's Facebook page:
Join us for JASP's fourth language mixer! The language mixer will be held on Friday, May 15th from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at the Kenmawr Apartments. Kenmawr Apartments is right off the B route for CMU students and off the 71B PAT Bus route for Pitt students. The mixer is always a good chance to learn more about the Japanese language and connect with Pittsburgh's Japanese community.

The flowers in the poster is a suzuran, or lily of the valley, the birth flower of May.
The apartment complex at 401 Shady Ave. (map) has a large number of Japanese residents who work and study in the city, and often hosts cultural events for its international residents. Friday's event runs from 4 to 6 pm.

Pittsburgh Bonsai Society Bonsai Show, May 30 and 31.

The 34th annual Bonsai Show will be held at Phipps Garden Center in Shadyside (map) on May 30 and 31. It's presented by the Pittsburgh Bonsai Society and is free and open to the public from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday the 30th, and from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on the 31st.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Kang hits first home run of Major League career.

On Sunday, May 3, Jung-ho Kang hit the first home run of his Major League Baseball career in the 9th inning against the Cardinals' Trevor Rosenthal. Kang is the first Korean position player in Pittsburgh Pirates history.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Opening Reception for Wuhan University Photography Exhibition at Pitt, May 7.

The University of Pittsburgh Asian Studies Center presents the opening ceremony for a Wuhan Photograph Exhibition on Thursday, May 7. From the ASC event listing:
The opening of an exhibition devoted to the longstanding collaboration and goodwill between the University of Pittsburgh and Wuhan University. Remarks will be given by Professor Han Jin, Chair of the University Council, Wuhan University; and Albert J. Novak, Jr., Vice Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh. Please RSVP to Lynn Kawaratani at
The Chinese city of Wuhan is a Sister City of Pittsburgh. The ceremony runs from 9 to 10 am on the 7th floor of Alumni Hall (map) and, as the poster says, RSVP is required by May 4.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Shadyside Hospital's Japanese garden in spring.

A few photos of the Japanese garden at Shadyside Hospital, taken April 29. Unfortunately, I seem to have missed most of the sakura by a few days.

Reads a plaque at the entrance:
This garden is a gift from Dr. Kazuo Kodera in honor of nurses. It is a place for health care providers to think about our friends around the world and to reflect on the meaning of our work, which i to care for one another. It is a place to find new friendships, to find new hope, and to find peace.

We hope you enjoy your time here.

September 2005
A September 2008 Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania newsletter tells more:
Outside the main entrance of Shadyside Hospital, a quiet and unassuming oasis lies. The serene Japanese garden was made in honor of nurses. The trees are a gift from Dr. Kazou Kodera, Japanese director of the English Society Institute in Tokyo.
A plaque closer to the entrance, at a smaller garden, tells visitors that the garden is dedicated to the Matsudaira's first son, Shinya, who died in 1995.

Here are a few photos from a visit in March 2014.

Hong Kong film Chungking Express (重慶森林) at Maridon Museum, May 9.

The Maridon Museum will show the 1994 Wong Kar-wai movie Chungking Express (重慶森林) on May 9 as part of its Hong Kong Film Series. A 1996 Roger Ebert review provides a summary:
If you are attentive to the style, if you think about what Wong is doing, "Chungking Express” works. If you're trying to follow the plot, you may feel frustrated. As the film opens, we meet a policeman named He Qiwu (Takeshi Kaneshiro), who wanders the nighttime city, lonely and depressed, pining after a girl who has left him. He gives himself 30 days to find another girl, and uses the expiration dates on cans of pineapple as a way of doing a countdown. A new woman walks into his life: the woman in the wig (Brigitte Chin-Hsia Lin), who is involved in drug deals.

We expect their relationship to develop in conventional crime movie ways, but instead, the film switches stories, introducing a new couple. The first cop hangs out at a fast-food bar, where he notices an attractive waitress (Faye Wang), but she has eyes only for another cop who frequents the same restaurant (Tony Chiu-Wai Leung). He scarcely notices her, but she gets the keys to his apartment, and moves in when he isn't there -- cleaning, redecorating, even changing the labels on his canned food.
The movie starts at 1:00 pm. The Maridon, an Asian art museum, is located at 322 North McKean St in downtown Butler (map), roughly 40 miles north of Pittsburgh.

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