Sunday, January 13, 2013

Progress on Everyday Noodles in Squirrel Hill.

In October "coming soon" signage went up for Everyday Noodles on 5875 in Squirrel Hill. An awning and an exterior sign went up a little later, and the paper recently came off the windows.

Everyday Noodles Exterior 011313

There's still a lot of work to be done on what used to be an art gallery, and the interior is still in some disarray.

Everyday Noodles Interior Long 011313

But it looks like there's at least one encouraging development: there's a counter against the window providing a view of the preparation area from the street and the dining room. If you're going to tout handmade noodles and dumplings, that's what your restaurant needs.

Everyday Noodles Interior 011313

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Glyn Davies talk at Pitt on "North Korea: Diplomatic Prospects in the Coming Year", January 16.

If you miss Ambassador Glyn T. Davies' January 16 talk at the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh on "Bridging the Parallel: Prospects for Peace in the Korean Peninsula", you will have a chance at a similar presentation at the University of Pittsburgh later in the day. "North Korea: Diplomatic Prospects in the Coming Year" will be held from 3 to 4 pm in room 3911 of Posvar Hall. From the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs:
The Matthew B. Ridgway Center will host guest lecturer Ambassador Glyn Davies at 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 16 in room 3911 Posvar Hall. Ambassador Glyn Davies is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, and was appointed by Secretary of State Clinton as Special Representative for North Korea Policy in November 2011.

A yearlong U.S. effort to engage nuclear-armed North Korea culminated in the announcements by Washington and Pyongyang of the so-called “Leap Day” understanding on February 29. A fortnight later, North Korea announced it would launch a multi-stage rocket carrying what the reclusive state said was a civilian satellite. After an intensive four weeks of public and private calls on Pyongyang from the other five members of the Six-Party Talks not to proceed, the April 13 launch failed, but triggered unanimous censure from the 16-member UN Security Council. Ambassador Davies will describe the talks leading to the Leap Day understanding, the fallout from North Korea’s aborted launch, and where this leaves our efforts to hold Pyongyang to its denuclearization and other promises. He will also discuss Washington’s views of new leader Kim Jong Un, the likelihood of change in North Korea, and diplomatic prospects in this season of political transition in key Six Party states.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Pittsburgh Anime Film Series coming in February.

Pittsburgh Anime Film Series 2013

The Pittsburgh Anime Film Series was announced today by, among others, the Deparmtent of East Asian Languages and Literatures at Pitt.
The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Toonseum are collaborating to bring an anime film festival to Pittsburgh! Join us for film showings, art exhibits, and lectures on the history and influence of Japanese animation. All films presented in Japanese with English subtitles. All films are free and open to the public!
The films playing are: Akira (アキラ) on February 5th, 5 Centimeters Per Second (Byōsoku Go Senchimētoru, 秒速5センチメートル) on February 11, Memories on February 18, and Summer Wars (Samā Wōzu, サマーウォーズ) on February 25. Most are free---all except Akira, which is free with Toonseum admission on February 5th---and all but Akira are held on the campuses of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. A lot more details available on the series' official website.

Post-Gazette likes Ramen Bar; other reviews mixed.

hakata yatai
Not Ramen Bar. Ramen stalls in Hakata, Japan.

The Post-Gazette's "Brunch" column wrote about "Ramen Bar" today and gave it a good review in an overall painful-to-read write-up.
As the days grow colder, we often turn to liquid meals for convenience and comfort. But the ones at Ramen Bar won't induce you to call up any exes or give you a raging hangover. No, they might just be good for you.
There are several reviews of Ramen Bar up on Yelp, which had a soft-opening in Squirrel Hill in November and had its proper opening last week. The thirteen reviews are mixed so far, and the restaurant has earned three out of five stars overall. For Pittsburgh I'd rate it an A-, as it's the only place in the city devoted to ramen. If it were in a larger city, though, it would earn a C and wouldn't be anything special. We're not diverse enough yet to be discerning, and we get fired up about small movements in the generally-right direction. It's still rather new, and is soliciting advice for improvements on its Facebook page, but the glaring omission of "tonkotsu ramen"---left off the menu because the pork-bone soup is cumbersome and was preemptively deemed unpopular in the Jewish neighborhood of Squirrel Hill---nearly defeats the restaurant's purpose. People may be short on patience, though, because they're writing on the internet it opened with some fanfare in a high-traffic area; diners were more forgiving of Teppanyaki Kyoto and its extended soft-opening in Highland Park in 2012.

Setsucon in State College, January 26 - 27.

For the seventh year, State College will host the Setsucon anime convention on January 26th and 27th. More information available on its website and Facebook page.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

"MEPPI Japan Lecture Series: Sake-Tasting" in Cranberry, January 24.

The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania will host a free sake-tasting event on January 24 at the Residence Inn in Cranberry township (map). From the JASP website:
Join us with Michael John Simkin, Sake Sommelier, as we learn about sake. A discussion and casual tasting with follow the lecture.

Michael has spent many years in Japan-some in residence and the rest in travel, traveling extensively through Japan’s sake landscape, interning at many breweries working to learn the intricacies of how sake is made. Mr. Simkin is also the most favored sake expert used by the Washington D.C. Japan-America Society, as well as the San Diego Japan Society.
The event runs from 5:30 to 7 pm, and registration is required.

The JASP recently announced other upcoming events for the first few months of 2013, including: the film The Power of Two at Sewickley Academy on January 12; "Counter-Culture in Japan", a February 21 lecture by Dr. Gabbi Lukacs that will cover similar ground as her October 2012 talk at Pitt on net idols and the culture of cute; the lecture "The Political Economy of Japan in the Wake of a Growing China" in March; and an exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art from March 30 through July 21 titled "“Japan is the key…” Asian Art / Modern Pittsburgh, 1900-1920".

Pitcher Ryu Hyun-Jin to make his debut against Pirates, possibly.

The 한국일보 looks ahead to the 2013 Major League Baseball season and predicts that pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu---a prized Korean free-agent signed to a big contract this off-season by the Los Angeles Dodgers---will make his Major League debut against the Pirates on April 6th or 7th. Ryu signed a 6-year US$36-million contract with Los Angeles in December, and is one of about eight starting pitchers in their rotation. The 26-year-old was scouted by practically every team, including the Pirates, but the large posting fee commanded by Ryu and his agent made him prohibitively expensive to the league's worst team.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"Bridging the Parallel: Prospects for Peace in the Korean Peninsula" public policy discussion, January 16.

Glyn Davies Pittsburgh
The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh will host U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Ambassador Glyn T. Davies and his public policy discussion "Bridging the Parallel: Prospects for Peace in the Korean Peninsula" on Wednesday, January 16. The flyer over there has a summary; an excerpt:
As the Korean peninsula enters its seventh decade of conflict, are there prospects for peace — or renewed conflict? How is an increasingly isolated North Korea balancing itself after a major transition in leadership? Will the rise of China push South Korea into closer relationships with the U.S. and other regional powers? Join the Council as one of America’s leading North Korean negotiators examines the path for reconciliation and cooperation in one of most highly-contested areas in the world.
The talk and luncheon run from 12:00 to 1:45 pm at The Duquesne Club downtown (map). Registration is required and the cost is $65 for those not members of the World Affairs Council and who don't have to work Wednesday afternoon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Free Japanese, Chinese, Korean classes at Carnegie Library.

A reminder from the Carnegie Library in Oakland (map) that it offers free Chinese, Japanese, and Korean classes for beginner and intermediate levels. Here's what's resuming this month:
* Chinese Conversation Club - January 10 and 24 at 6 pm in the Large Print Room, for intermediate learners
* Japanese for Beginners - January 14 and 28 at 6:30 pm in Classroom A
* Japanese II - January 8 and 22 at 6:30 pm in Classroom A
* Japanese Conversation Club - January 15 at 6 pm in the Large Print Room, for intermediate and advanced learners
* Korean for Beginners - January 12, 19, and 26 at 1 pm in the Large Print Room
* Korean II - January 12, 19, and 26 at 11 am in the Large Print Room
On the "Learn" page atop the website is a list of other resources for language-learning and cultural exchange in the Pittsburgh area, including additional Chinese and Japanese classes and conversation partner programs.

White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes at Carnegie Museum of Art through January 13.

"The Oval" by Tadao Ando
Ando's "The Oval" on Naoshima. Image by Telstar Logistics.

Old news, but the exhibit White Cube, Green Maze: New Art Landscapes will be at the Carnegie Museum of Art (map) through January 13. A summary from the museum:
Today a new type of museum is emerging—one that fuses inventive architecture and landscape design with radical conceptual and installation art. These sites typically mix old and new, featuring collaborative plans by several designers and encouraging exploration outdoors.
The exhibit features such work by three Japanese artists: Ryue Nishizawa, Hiroshi Sambuichi, and Tadao Ando, the latter's installations on the island of Naoshima drawing special attention here.