Saturday, March 30, 2013

Korean film Hwang Jin Yi (황진이) at IUP, April 3.

Hwang Jin Yi

Indiana University of Pennsylvania will show the Korean movie Hwang Jin Yi (황진이) as part of its Asian Studies Club Film Festival on April 3. Hwang Jin Yi is a historical drama on the life of Hwang Jini--same person, different romanization--a 16th-century gisaeng. The Korean Film Database summarizes:
A story of HWANG Jin Yi, the most renowned courtesan of the Chosun Dynasty, and her love affair with a male servant named Nom-yi. gives it a very unfavorable review, though. The movie will be shown in room 233 Keith Hall (campus map) at 7:00 pm, and is free and open to the public.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Woodblock print exhibition "The Art of Japanese Noh Drama: Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1869-1927" at Pitt, March 29.

The University of Pittsburgh's Barco Law Library Gallery (map) will exhibit "The Art of Japanese Noh Drama: Tsukioka Kōgyo, 1869-1927" on March 29. A University Library System website describes the collection:
Nōgaku zue 能 樂 圖 繪, or Pictures of Noh, is a spectacular series of Japanese color woodblock prints by the artist Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927). The University of Pittsburgh owns a rare, complete set of this series, published at Tokyo between the Meiji years 30-35, or 1897-1902. Bound in traditional folding-album format, the series comprises five volumes of 261 prints inspired by the plays of classical Japanese noh theatre.
The collection is digitized and is available for browsing on that ULS website, but in real life it
comprises five bound Meiji period printed albums, protected by a silk wrap-around chitsu (chemise) and stored in a modern archival box. Each volume is of equal size and thickness and bound in the manner of traditional Japanese orihon, or folding scrolls. Each volume contains fifty-two or fifty-three full-page, multi-colored woodblock prints of noh (also spelled: nō, nô) theatre subjects.
Also at Pitt and on the topic, the Special Collections Department on the 3rd floor of Hillman Library houses the Barry Rosenthal Japanese Print Collection of woodblock prints from the 18th through 20th centuries.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Taiwanese film Three Times (最好的時光) at Maridon Museum rescheduled for April 5.

Pittsburgh Three Times 最好的時光

Butler's Maridon Museum will show the 2005 Taiwanese film Three Times (最好的時光) on April 5 as part of this year's Spring Film Series. It was originally scheduled for March 25. Wikipedia says about the movie:
[Three Times] features three chronologically separate stories of love between May and Chen, set in 1911, 1966 and 2005, using the same lead actors, Shu Qi and Chang Chen.
The Maridon is an Asian art museum at 322 N. McKean St. in downtown Butler (map) that presents Asian films from particular countries as part of its spring and fall series. Last year it was China and Vietnam. The show starts at 6:30 and is presented by Dr. William Covey of Slippery Rock University.

IUP's growing Japanese program.

A press release from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania's Asian Studies page:
Yongtaek Kim received a grant of $25,000 from the Japan Foundation’s Institutional Project Support–Small Grant Program.

The grant will be used to hire adjunct faculty to teach introductory Japanese language classes and also to expand the program’s online presence.

The grant is being matched by funds from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for the purchase of tablet computers for use in Japanese language classes.
IUP is a midsize state school about an hour east of Pittsburgh that for a while has had solid programs with an international reach. It runs several international film series each year, and has an active Japanese Student Association (their Facebook page is here). The department hasn't publicly advertised the upcoming Japanese instructor position, though feelers have been informally put out in western Pennsylvania.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Japanese festivals at CMU, Pitt on March 29 and 30.

CMU Matsuri

This weekend there will be two Japanese festivals at Oakland's two largest universities. On Friday, March 29, the Japanese Student Association at CMU presents Matsuri (festival) from 4:30 to 9:30 pm at the CMU University Center and Merson Courtyard (campus map). The event's website says:
We wanted to share a snippet of this eventful festival here in Pittsburgh, right on CMU campus. Come by to try a taste of Japanese street food, play with some traditional arcade games and enjoy a range of performances from Japanese Taiko Drumming and a traditional Koto performance to Japanese Pop and Rock Fusion of Contemporary Japanese Music.

We have put in a lot of effort into authenticity; we purchase things online and ship them from Japan. We hand craft our booths to make it look like what you see on the streets in Japan. Enjoy the event to its fullest by paying attention to the details we've put in!
Food and games at the festival require tickets, which you can pre-order online. All of the profits made will be donated to Minato Middle School, which was completely destroyed by the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

JSA Cherry Blossom Festival

On March 30 at the University of Pittsburgh is the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, put on by the Japanese Culture Association. To plagiarize the Facebook event page:
We're extremely excited for this year's festival which has the potential to be one of the best yet!

With performances from:

-Pitt Taiko
- and Japanese Sword demonstrations from Loren Keifer

That's not all, we'll have all sorts of fun booths set up, including:

-Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) from JASP
-Japanese Tea with Amy Svoboda
-Kimono Fashion with Evan Mason
-Video Games

And of course we'll have copious amounts of delicious Japanese street cuisine, such as; takoyaki, yakisoba, okonomiyaki, taiyaki, onigiri, and mochi.
It will be held from 2:00 to 5:00 at the William Pitt Union Ballroom.

To see cherry blossoms in Pittsburgh you'll have to wait another week or two. On April 6 is the Pittsburgh Sakura Project's Spring Planting Festival, and both Philadelphia and Washington D.C. (two cities close enough for a weekend trip) are holding their large cherry blossom festivals throughout April.

Pitt Night Market (匹大夜市), March 29.

The Chinese American Student Association at Pitt brings news of its Pitt Night Market on Friday, March 29 from 9 pm to midnight in room 548 of the William Pitt Union.
Time to bring back the infamous NIGHT MARKET! Culturally dominant in Chinese cities, night markets are a pivotal aspect of urban life in Taiwan and China. Tonight we will be bringing you a glimpse of just what its like to be at a night market. There will be free games and prizes, as well as traditional night market foods and drinks (i.e. scallion pancake, bubble milk tea, etc). Better not miss it!

地點: 學生活動中心 WPU 748
時間: 21:00

No word yet on the availability of stinky tofu, but this looks like a good time. Though Pittsburgh hypes the Strip District as something of a market---and it's a fine destination in its own right---the city doesn't have anything that matches the activity, the variety, and the mass of humanity of Asian cities a Taiwanese or Chinese night market.

Taiwan night market, by luces. Hard to find photographs under a Creative Commons license, but you can browse more in this Flickr group.

Japanese bands Dazzle Vision, Cantoy to play in Pittsburgh in April.

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Those who know about Tekkoshocon don't need to be reminded that it's coming up, but for the sake a complete blog we'll mention that Pittsburgh's "Japanese Pop Culture Convention" will be at the David Lawrence Convention Center from April 5 through April 7. The costumed fans get the most attention, but it's worth noting that for the first time in a year Pittsburgh will have some Japanese rock bands in town.

Dazzle Vision is a metal band with equal parts melody and screamo thrown in (here's a Youtube playlist). Cantoy would fall under the punk category (here's a Youtube playlist). The setting seems rather sterile, but anime conventions are about the only opportunities for medium-sized cities to attract Japanese groups. Concerts the last two years have drawn over 900 people.

The third musical guest is Chii Sakurabi, who is described on her own webpage as "a breakout international J-POP singer and recording artist". You can find some of her videos on YouTube; I don't get it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Lineup for 2013 Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival announced.

The lineup for the 2013 Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival was recently announced, and it's stacked with 25 films including four from Korea; two from Japan; one each from China, Taiwan, Thailand, and the Philippines; and others with connections to the region.

Two ShadowsTatsumiPietaCha Cha For Twins, AsuraThe Thieves Korean
A small selection of posters: Two Shadows from Cambodia and the US, Tatsumi from Singapore and Japan, Pieta from Korea, Cha Cha for Twins from Taiwan, Asura from Japan, and The Thieves from Korea.

This annual Pittsburgh festival will run this year from May 10 through 19th at three venues throughout the city: The Melwood Screening Room in Oakland, the Harris Theater downtown, and the eponymous Regent Square Theater.

2013 Kennywood Asian Day, May 12.

Kennywood Pagoda @ Twilight
Kennywood Pagoda, copyright Kurt Miller.

A perfect time to start thinking about spring festivities. *cough* According to recent updates to Kennywood's 2013 Nationality & Community Days and Special Events calendar, Asian Day leads off the community day season at the amusement park on Sunday, May 12. More details to come later, so for now we'll restrict the description to the usual: there will be food and performances.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Taiwanese Film Series begins with Three Times (最好的時光), March 25.

Maridon Taiwanese Film Series

Maridon Museum's Taiwanese Film Series begins March 25 with Three Times (最好的時光), a 2005 movie that, Wikipedia says,
features three chronologically separate stories of love between May and Chen, set in 1911, 1966 and 2005, using the same lead actors, Shu Qi and Chang Chen.
The show starts at 6:30 and is presented by Dr. William Covey of Slippery Rock University.