Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles Joyce Bender and her advocacy for disabled workers in Korea.

Joyce Bender during an April visit to Daegu, via Newsis.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles Joyce Bender, of Pittsburgh-based Bender Consulting Services, today and her recent work for disabled workers in South Korea.

Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei at Warhol Museum, June 4 - August 28.

via ArrestedMotion and Ai Weiwei's Instagram.

The Andy Warhol Museum will host an exhibition on the influence of Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei, titled Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, from June 4 through August 28.
Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, developed by The Warhol and the National Gallery of Victoria, with the participation of Ai Weiwei, explores the significant influence of these two artists on modern and contemporary life, focusing on the parallels, intersections, and points of difference between their practices—Warhol representing 20th-century modernity and the “American century,” and Ai representing life in the 21st century and what has been called the “Chinese century” to come.

At The Warhol, the exhibition creates a dialogue between the artists, throughout the seven floors of the building. Visitors experience more than 350 works in drawing, film, new media, photography, painting, sculpture, wallpapers, and publishing, including some of the major contributions by both artists, each of whom is as famous for his artistic persona as for the work he produced.
A traveling Ai exhibition, Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads, is on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art through June 4.

The Warhol is located at 117 Sandusky St. on the Northside (map). It's open every day but Monday, and adult admission is $20.

The Secret World of Arrietty (借りぐらしのアリエッティ) at Row House Cinema, July 1 - 7.

The Row House Cinema will show the 2010 Studio Ghibli film The Secret World of Arrietty (借りぐらしのアリエッティ) from July 1 through July 7 as part of its Fantastical Adventures series.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pittsburgh Bonsai Society Bonsai Show, June 4 and 5.

The 35th 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 4th, and from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on the 5th.

"Voices and sounds of Japan's extreme underground" on WRCT 88.3FM, May 27 at 10 pm.

via Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation's Facebook page.

Matthew Ketchum, a Pittsburgher who lives and works in Tokyo and moonlights as an event planner for "Japan's extreme underground" music, will have a show broadcast on Carnegie Mellon University's WRCT 88.3 FM on May 27 at 10:00 pm. By way of introduction he writes on /r/pittsburgh today:
Pittsburgh's the best home town I could dream of, and the expansive and vibrant music underground over here in Japan is, in my humble opinion, second to none... So why not put them together?! This is kind of a dream come true, to be honest, but if you dig on black/doom/death/heavy metal or punk or whatever, and have always wondered what else Japan offers besides Coffins, Church of Misery, Merzbow, and Boris, tune in tomorrow night to hear from Makiko of Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation, Tom of Retch, and, of course, me.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads at Carnegie Museum of Art, May 28 through August 4.

via AW Asia.

The Ai Weiwei installation Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads will be on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art from May 28 through August 4, part of a world tour underway since 2010.
This summer, dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s monumental sculpture, Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads adds a compelling new layer to CMOA’s magnificent Hall of Architecture. Comprising 12 bronze animal heads representing the traditional Chinese zodiac, Ai’s work reimagines those that once adorned the famed fountain-clock of Yuanming Yuan, an imperial retreat in Beijing destroyed by the British in 1860. It debuted on the world stage in 2011 shortly after the artist, an outspoken critic of the communist regime, had been detained by Chinese authorities and held for 80 days.

Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads pays homage to China’s history while speaking to contemporary concerns. “It’s about the future and the past, and how China is looked at today and how it looks at itself,” explains the artist. “It has many, many different layers—is it art or not art, and to what degree?”

The expansive Hall of Architecture houses one of the few remaining cast collections in the world, filled with reproductions of classical facades and fragments from throughout the Western world. Likewise, Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads reinterprets a cultural and political remnant of China’s past. Together they create a one-of-a-kind immersive experience that brings together past and present, and underscores how cultural histories are retold.
The museum is open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on Thursdays, and from 10:00 to 5:00 every other day but Tuesday. Admission is $19.95 for adults, though special student pricing is available.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Norwin School District to phase out Japanese program.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote on Friday that the preliminary budget for Norwin School District in 2016-17 calls for the elimination of the middle school Japanese program and an eventual end to high school Japanese in the Westmoreland County school district.
A half-time Japanese language position also will be eliminated at the middle school, with the Japanese teacher continuing to teach classes at the high school, [high school principal Timothy Kotch] said.

Japanese 2, 3 and 4 will be offered at the high school in 2016-17, but the district plans to phase out the Japanese program, Mr. Kotch said.
Two Norwin High School students placed first and second in the Advanced Level of the 2016 High School Japanese Speech Contest held by the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania in March 2016, with another student placing third in the Beginner Level. Norwin students have placed among the top three each year the contest has been held.

Friday, May 20, 2016

National Association of Asian American Professionals spring happy hour, and details of NAAAP Speaker Series, May 26 at Umami.

via Umami Pgh's Facebook page.

The Pittsburgh chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals will hold its spring happy hour on May 26 at Umami in Lawrenceville. The event is open to the public, with details available on Facebook. At the happy hour the group will, according to NAAAP Programming Director Steve Larosa,
reveal our plans for a speaker series featuring some of Pittsburgh's successful Asian American female entrepreneurs and innovators. Attendees to the event will have the opportunity to meet some of the speakers we will be featuring, and experience some of Roger Li's superb Japanese cuisine. We also plan to use this event to unveil our plans to start a NAAAP student chapter at the University of Pittsburgh in Fall, 2016.

From that point, once a month for the next five months we will host one of our speakers at a venue TBD. The speakers will be talking about their experiences in entrepreneurship, their successes, struggles and failures, what motivates them to do what they do, as well as answer questions from the audience. The networking event and the following speaker series are free for everyone to attend, and we are hoping this series will help us increase our presence in Pittsburgh, as well as give a friendly boost to our participating speakers.

Our confirmed speakers include: Jasmine Cho (yummyholic)
Priya Amin (Roki)
Nicki Zevola (FutureDerm inc.)
Umami is a newly-opened izakaya (Japanese pub) at 202 38th Street in Lawrenceville (map).

Thursday, May 19, 2016

First look at Tan Izakaya menu.

Tan Izakaya, tentatively scheduled to open later this month at 815 S. Aiken St. in Shadyside (map), posted its menu to its Facebook page yesterday.

Tan Izakaya is a Japanese-style pub, the latest project from Mike Chen of Squirrel Hill's Everyday Noodles. We wrote about the new restaurant in January, and a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profile followed.
Decor will be “very Japanese,” which will include wood accents and will highlight the bar — which makes sense, considering an izakaya is an after-work drinking place, he said. And the drinks he’ll highlight include many variations of sake.

Stocking a sake bar is a challenging task in terms of navigating the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB). Since sake is not a popular beverage in Pittsburgh at the moment, he’s having to source from suppliers in Philadelphia and through special orders. Pan will also include amenities like sake storage.

“It’s common in Japan,” he said. “And it’s a great way to keep customers coming back.”

Chengdu Gourmet chef named a top chef by Pittsburgh Magazine; four Asian places make Best Restaurants list.

Pittsburgh Magazine today released a list of six of the city's top chefs "Outstanding in Their Field", a list that includes Wei Zhu of Chengdu Gourmet:
Wei Zhu, chef and owner of Chengdu Gourmet in Squirrel Hill, crafts an authentic taste of his homeland with his well-executed menu of classic dishes, but while adhering to tradition he’s forging his own style by looking to contemporary Chinese dining trends and international flavors. “The food here is my style, Wei Zhu’s style,” says Zhu, 49, a native of the city of Chengdu in China’s Sichuan province.
. . .
“At other Chinese restaurants, they just make the same dishes. I am always trying to keep updated on what chefs are doing in China,” he says.
An October 2015 piece in Pittsburgh Magazine profiles the restaurant and the chef in fuller detail.

The magazine today also named Chengdu Gourmet, Everyday Noodles (Squirrel Hill), Soba (Shadyside)and umi (Shadyside) to its Best Restaurants 2016 list. It writes that Chengdu Gourmet offers "the most adventurous meal you'll have in Pittsburgh".

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New restoration of 1973 Japanese animated movie Belladonna of Sadness (哀しみのベラドンナ) at Hollywood Theater, May 20 - 22.

The Hollywood Theater will show the a 4K restoration of the 1973 Japanese animated movie Belladonna of Sadness (哀しみのベラドンナ) on May 20, 21, and 22.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

30% off Guerrero Ceramics products through June 5.

Guerrero Ceramics is offering 30% off products through June 5 with promo code CHINA. Artist and arts educator Jeff Guerrero makes Japanese-inspired items:
I study the Japanese language and the Japanese tea ceremony. I'm licensed to study the way of tea by the Urasenke school through the Philadelphia branch.

My interest in Japanese pottery stems from when I first started making pottery. I was fortunate enough to spend considerable time with two celebrated Shigaraki potters during their month-long residency in the studio where I work. Later, I became friends with a Japanese-American potter who taught me much of what I know.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The RiCECOOKERS at Three Rivers Arts Festival, June 9.

via The RiCECOOKERS Facebook page.

The RiCECOOKERS, an indie rock band comprised of four Japanese musicians currently based in New York, will play at the Three Rivers Arts Festival on June 9. The festival website summarizes the group:
The members staked their claim to fame when a famous Japanese film director Yukihiko Tsutsumi saw their performance by chance and immediately decided to use their song for his upcoming television drama series in Japan.

Though their fame grew in Japan at first, they had set their aim to make it in the United States. They have chosen to live in Brooklyn, while continuing to work on creating music and capturing the audience with their authentic, yet multi-faceted music.

Their music is described as “alternative rock”, which is mainly said to have been a product of influence by the grunge music of the 90s. However, they are not the 3-chords-talks-all kind of guys. They have added true musical skills acquired by attending Berklee, as well as adding a hint of Japanese melody. With this recipe, they have evolved the alternative genre to the music for the listeners in 21st century.
The RiCECOOKERS will play from 5:00 to 6:00 pm on the Dollar Bank Main Stage at Point State Park (map). The concert will be free and open to the public, as are all other performances in the festival.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Asian Pacific Heritage Day, Jung-ho Kang Bobblehead Day, August 11 at PNC Park.

August 11 will be Asian Pacific Heritage Day at PNC Park. The first 20,000 fans will receive Jung-ho Kang Bobbleheads. Kang (강정호) is an third baseman from South Korea who has made a big impact in just over one season with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is the second Korean to play for Pittsburgh in the regular season, and the first position player to do so.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Finding Mr. Right 2 (北京遇上西雅图 2) in Pittsburgh through May 18.

The 2016 Chinese movie Finding Mr. Right 2 (北京遇上西雅图), also called Beijing Meets Seattle II: Book of Love, will play at the AMC Loews Waterfront theater through May 18.

Did you know the local "In God We Trust" politician wrote an insightful book on North Korea?

State representative Richard Saccone is in the news again for his quest to put "In God We Trust" in American classrooms. The Saint Vincent College professor and Pittsburgh native has been on this mission since 2013, he is best known to this site for his 2006 book Living With The Enemy about his year living and working in North Korea (which followed 13 years in South Korea). The title is facetious, and it's a book on the country that, uncommonly for the genre, provides insight without being judgmental or condescending. "My intention is for the reader", he writes on page 8,
to come away with a better understanding of the people of North Korea. My experience confirmed the most effective way to deal with North Koreans is to suspend our preconceived judgment for a moment and attempt to think as they do, to understand their perspective more clearly.

Mongolian-inspired "nomadic folk metal" band Tengger Cavalry in Lawrenceville, June 3.

The nomadic folk metal band Tengger Cavalry will play at the newly-reopened Belvedere's Ultra-Dive on June 3. The band's Facebook page describes the New York based group thus:
TENGGER CAVALRY have been turning heads in the music world since the band’s inception in 2010 they blend the nomadic music tradition of Central Asia with heavy metal, creating a unique genre of music known as Nomadic folk metal. Having sold out Carnegie Hall in a legendary performance and been featured in CNN, Vice, the Guardian, Wall Street Journal and the Village Voice, among countless others, the band is ready to take on the world.
Tickets for the 8:00 pm show are not yet available, but those interested can RSVP online. Belvedere's Ultra-Dive is located at 4016 Butler St. in Lawrenceville (map).

Monday, May 9, 2016

Korean troupe Bereishit Dance Company (브레시트무용단) in Pittsburgh, March 4, 2017.

via FocusNews.

The Pittsburgh Dance Council released its 2016-17 schedule over the weekend, with Korean dance troupe Bereishit Dance Company (브레시트무용단) among the performers.
In this first-ever Korean dance presentation for Pittsburgh Dance Council, the Seoul troupe Bereishit presents contemporary work that draws upon eastern Asian culture. Witness Bereishit’s amazing display of space and rhythms choreographed with kinesthetic clarity and power. Elements of street dance and multimedia add to Bereishit’s potency.

Sport meets dance in the rigorous male duet BOW, inspired by the Korean tradition of archery. The intensely physical Balance and Imbalance juxtaposes the dancers alongside some of Korea’s most revered traditional storytelling genre drummers and pansori vocalists.
Tickets are not yet available for the March 4 event.

New restoration of 1973 Japanese animated movie Belladonna of Sadness (哀しみのベラドンナ) at Hollywood Theater, May 20 - 22.

The Hollywood Theater will show the a 4K restoration of the 1973 Japanese animated movie Belladonna of Sadness (哀しみのベラドンナ) on May 20, 21, and 22.

1974 Japanese martial arts movie The Streetfighter (激突!殺人拳) at Row House Cinema from June 10.

The Row House Cinema will show the 1974 Japanese martial arts movie The Streetfighter (激突!殺人拳) as part of its Four Degrees of Tarantino film series from June 10 through June 16. The Montreal Film Journal provides a summary of the movie that starts Sonny Chiba and that influenced Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films:
There are two intercrossing storylines in “The Street Fighter”, both revolving around Terry Tsurugi, a half-Japanese, half-Chinese man who created a martial arts style combining karate, Chinese boxing and dirty street fighting! A man for hire for anyone who can afford him, Tsurugi helps death row convict Junjou (Makashi Ishibashi) to escape, but when Junjou’s siblings fail to pay him, Tsurugi kills the brother and sells the sister as a prostitute! Sooner or later, this will lead to a confrontation between Terry and a rightfully infuriated Jonjou, but in the meantime Tsurugi also finds the time to get on the Yakuza mob’s bad side by getting in their way as they try to manhandle the heiress of an oil company to sign it over to them. This sounds like a lot of plot, but it’s thankfully rushed through and most of the running time is packed with the most insane, goriest martial arts scenes you’ll ever see!
Wikipedia says it was the first movie to receive an X rating in the US due to violence. It last played in Pittsburgh in 2013.

Showtimes and tickets will be available online later. The single-screen theater is located at 4115 Butler Street in Lawrenceville (map).

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Dou kyu sei (同級生) movie at Hollywood Theater, May 8.

The Hollywood Theater in Dormont will show the 2016 Japanese animated movie Dou kyu sei (Classmates, 同級生) on Sunday, May 8.

Japan-inspired T-swirl crêpe chain to open first Pittsburgh location in Squirrel Hill.

via T-swirl crêpe Facebook page.

Signage went up recently for T-swirl crêpe at 1714 Murray Ave. in Squirrel Hill (map), scheduled to open in July. T-swirl crêpe has four locations in New York City, one in Philadelphia, and one in California, and has 12 more planned. From the official site:
The story of T-swirl Crepe starts thousands of miles away on the shores of Japan. The Japanese Crepe borrows from a western concept and modernized it into new level of versatility that you can gobble on the go. Building on this new concept, T-swirl started to research and have perfected the 100% gluten free rice flour batter, to craft a crispy thin chewy layer that embraces all the decadent condiments. T-swirl is synonymous with using the finest ingredients to construct a trendy/artistic crepe that arrives to your hand with incredible speed. We have standardized the process to give you a consistently clean and delicious crepe.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Ariba still looking for fluent Korean, Mandarin speakers for overnight customer support jobs in Pittsburgh.

Ariba---"the global leader in business commerce networks, supporting more than $450 billion dollars in yearly trade between over 1 million connected companies"---is again hiring Customer Support Specialists fluent in Korean or Mandarin to work overnight shifts in its Pittsburgh office downtown.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Akiko Kotani's "Strip Mines" going back up at Pittsburgh International Airport.

In a Friday article about live musical performances at the aiport, the Tribune-Review mentions that Akiko Kotani's 1984 piece "Strip Mines" will be reinstalled.
The airport also announced that it has reinstalled “Strip Mines,” a three-panel, 41-foot tapestry of wool on linen by Slippery Rock artist Akiko Kotani. The work, originally commissioned by the Allegheny County Bureau of Cultural Programs in 1984 for Greater Pittsburgh International Airport, was removed for renovations at the airport.

Peelander-Z documentary Mad Tiger at Hollywood Theater, from May 6.

A 2015 documentary about Japanese punk group Peelander-Z will play at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont from May 6.

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