Sunday, April 13, 2014

Castaway on the Moon (김씨 표류기) at Maridon Museum, April 24.



The Maridon Museum will show the 2009 Korean film Castaway on the Moon (김씨 표류기) on April 24, as part of its 2014 Spring Film Series. A plot summary from the Korean Film Archive's Korean Movie Database:
A man named KIM jumps into the dark, quiet waters of the Han River. He wakes up and finds himself lying on strange ground, covered with sand. For a second, he thinks he is in heaven, but soon recognizes that he simply drifted to a nameless island in the river. In one of the riverside apartment buildings, there’s a girl who hasn’t ventured out of her room for years. With her dishevelled hair and in the same old clothes she’s worn for years, she looks just like a castaway. Then one day, she catches sight of a man living alone on an island through her binoculars. Day after day, his lonely but seemingly contented life triggers her curiosity and compels her to step out of her room after so many years. KIM’s extraordinary life becomes the inspiration for change in this girl’s lonely, detached life.
The movie begins at 6:30 and is presented by Dr. Alison McNeal, a retired English professor from Slippery Rock University.

The Maridon Museum of Asian Art is located at 322 N. McKean St. in downtown Butler, some 40 miles north of Pittsburgh (map).

Friday, April 11, 2014

Passport to the World: Japan, at Carnegie Library in Sheraden, April 26.

On April 26, the Carnegie Library in Sheraden will take kids on trip to Japan with its Passport to the World program.
Stop by the library to experience a taste of Japan. Listen to a Japanese folk tale, learn how to make a Sumi-e painting, and try some Sushi!
The event runs from 2:00 to 3:00 pm. The Sheraden branch of the Carnegie Library is located at 720 Sherwood Ave in Pittsburgh's West End (map).

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Bamboo and Bronze: Flute and Gamelan Music of West Java" at Pitt, April 12.



The University of Pittsburgh's University Gamelan will present "Bamboo and Bronze: Flute and Gamelan Music of West Java" on April 12. The University Gamelan, according to its self-introduction,
plays the gamelan music of the Sundanese people, an ethnic group that inhabits roughly the western third of the island of Java. Gamelan refers to a set of predominantly percussion instruments including tuned gongs, metal-keyed instruments, and drums (as well as bowed lute and voice). Gamelan music is played as accompaniment to dance, drama, puppet theater, and martial arts, as well as for concerts of listening music. Gamelan is performed in conjunction with special occasions and to mark important life-cycle events.
Of the upcoming performance the department writes, in part:
Special guest artist and bamboo flute virtuoso Burhan Sukarma will perform on suling/bamboo flute. Kaitlyn Myers will lead members of the ensemble as they perform on Pitt's Gamelan Degung Ligar Pasundan. Ligar Pasundan is the name of the gamelan used for this performance and means "Fragrance of Pasundan." Gamelan degung refers to Ligar Pasundan's five tone tuning made up of both large and small intervals.
The April 12 performance begins at 8:00 pm at Bellefield Hall (map). It's free for Pitt students with a valid student ID card. General admission tickets are $8.50 in advance and $12 at the door.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Study Korean in Korea for free.

With even the shortest study abroad programs costing thousands of dollars, and with opportunities for Korean-language study in the US rather limited, it's worth considering a school in rural Korea that offers scholarships to students and college graduates. Geumgang University (금강대학교) is a Buddhist university in Nonsan, South Chungcheong province (Daum map) that offers tuition-free courses in the Korean language.
The Korean Language Program, offered by the Geumgang Language Center, is open to those foreign students, including ethnic Koreans, who are interested in the Korean language and culture. Applicants must be fluent speakers of English, Japanese, or Chinese, and they should

(1) be currently enrolled in university studies
(2) be on leave from university studies, or
(3) have graduated from university.
This program has primarily been designed with a view to promoting a better understanding of Korean culture on the part of foreigners and to creating an environment where Korean students will be exposed to foreign languages (English, Japanese, and Chinese) and cultures.
The next session begins September 1, and the application period begins in May. More information is available on the university's homepage. Sarah Shaw at Mapping Words has more information about applying to and studying at Geumgang in a post from last year.

"Voices from Japan" poetry exhibit opening reception, April 8.



The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania will bring the Voices from Japan poetry exhibit to Pittsburgh from April 8 through April 30 at the US Steel Tower (map). An overview of the exhibit from the JASP:
In recognition of the relief efforts carried out in Pittsburgh for the 3/11/2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania will present an exhibition of tanka poetry written by Japanese citizens in the aftermath of the disaster, “Voices from Japan.” The exhibition features tanka poems translated into English, 3 brush calligraphies of tanka in original Japanese and two large collages of damaged photos that were washed away by the tsunami.

Led by the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania and Brother’s Brother Foundation, Pittsburghers and Pittsburgh businesses donated more than $500,000 for new hospital equipment and a youth center for orphans in one of the hardest-hit towns. With the generous sponsorship of UPMC, a major contributor in the Pittsburgh relief efforts, this exhibit reminds us that expression through poetry, art, and photographs connects us in the face of disasters.

The exhibition will be on view from April 8 -30, with a reception open to the public from 6-8 PM on April 8. Those wishing to visit the exhibition outside of reception hours must make an appointment with the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania at 412-433-5021.

Register for the opening reception today!
To reiterate the flyer and release, after tonight's reception the exhibit will be appointment-only.

Monday, April 7, 2014

"Seeking Healing Through Internet Suicide Websites? Existential Suffering and Lack of Meaning Among Japanese Youth" lecture at Pitt, April 10.



The Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh hosts Emory University's Dr. Chiako Ozawa-de Silva and her lecture "Seeking Healing Through Internet Suicide Websites? Existential Suffering and Lack of Meaning Among Japanese Youth" on April 10. A summary from the Asian Studies Center website:
Suicide has become a major public health concern in Japan over the past decade due to extremely elevated suicide rates since 1998. Discourse in Japan on suicide prevention has nevertheless focused almost exclusively on the state of the Japanese economy and levels of mental illness, neglecting the subjective experience of suicidal individuals and the roles that meaning and positive mental health play in suicide and its prevention. Increasing evidence suggests that a lack of positive mental health may be more important than the presence of mental illness in predicting future suicide attempts, and also that treatment of mental illness alone may not address the lack of psychological and social well-being (including meaning or purpose in life, loneliness, and existential suffering) implicated in suicidality. Since positive mental health and subjective well-being involve meaning-making processes and social relationships that are heavily influenced by cultural factors and may vary widely cross-culturally, there is great scope for local ethnographic studies to contribute to our knowledge of factors conducive to positive mental health and potentially preventative for suicide.
The lecture is at 4:00 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (map), and is free and open to the public.

Friday, April 4, 2014

KTown at Pitt on April 6, Asian Student Alliance Culture Fair on April 7.



The University of Pittsburgh Korean Culture Association will hold its annual KTown festival on April 6 in the O'Hara Student Center Dining Room (map). A brief description from its Facebook page:
We'll have plenty of food provided by Oishii Bento, performances, and fun booths afterwards!
The festival runs from 4:00 to 8:00 pm.



The following evening, several university student groups will participate in the Asian Student Alliance Culture Fair. Details are still sparse, though the generic "food, performances, and prizes" applies. The participating organizations include the Chinese American Student Association, the Pitt Filipino Student Association, the Korean Culture Association, the Pitt South Asian Student Association, and the Vietnamese Student Association. The ASA Culture Fair will run from 8:00 pm to 10:30 pm in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room (map).

Hina Matsuri doll collection at Maridon Museum through May 3.


Hinamatsuri, by Rodrigo Verschae (Creative Commons).

Butler's Maridon Museum has a Hina Matsuri Doll Exhibit now through May 3rd, in addition to its regular exhibitions of Asian art. March 3rd is Hinamatsuri (雛祭り) in Japan, Girls' Day, and is commemorated by a series of dolls, says Wikipedia:
Platforms covered with a red carpet are used to display a set of ornamental dolls (雛人形 hina-ningyō) representing the Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period.
And the museum writes:
When a little girl is born in Japan they usually are gifted a set of Hina Matsuri dolls. These dolls are to be put up and taken down on March 3rd. If the dolls are not taken down at the end of the evening it could me bad luck for the little girls future.

This Festival is also called "Momo no sekku (Peach Festival)" because of the peach blossom season on the old lunar calendar.
The museum is located at 322 North McKean St in downtown Butler (map), and is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Two talks by visiting short-term fellow Ruth Hung at Pitt, April 7 and 9.

Dr. Ruth Hung is a short-term fellow visiting the University of Pittsburgh from Hong Kong Baptist University, and will give two talks next week. A lecture, "Red Nostalgia: Commemorating Mao in Our Time", is scheduled for 5:00 pm on April 7, and a colloquium on April 9 at 12:30 "How Global Capitalism Transforms Deng Xiaoping". Dr. Hung presented on the former last year at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; here's the abstract:
This essay departs from the figure of exoticism and argues that twenty-first century chinoiserie needs to address the reality of a new context surrounding the creation of the “orient.” The paper focuses on the cult of posthumous Mao that became fervent in the 1990s and has become, since the turn of the millennium, a nexus in which global capitalism and “effective authoritarianism” negotiate conflicting interests and, together, create a line of development in their search for a global modernity. I argue that, on the one hand, twenty-first century chinoiserie accepts revolutionary China as a source of unlimited possibilities, treating its relics with special care, and puffing it with so much capitalist money, creativity, and productivity that it allows its protagonist Mao Zedong to live an afterlife hardly any other historical leader has enjoyed. On the other hand, the new chinoiserie in the age of global capital continues to construct China from within the hegemonic framework of capitalism precisely in its attempt at liberating and depoliticizing Red China. Despite its narrow focus on the market, it even lends power to a new authoritarianism that has ceaselessly been inventing, reconstructing, and staging China’s revolutionary past as no more than a spectacle or amusement park in which the party-state allows and contains social discontents. The rise and fall of Bo Xilai, the party boss in Chongqing before his arrest, along with his Chongqing Model—a grand example of “Red Culture” resurrected, is a case in point. Ultimately, I am less interested in the extent to which twenty-first century chinoiserie actually exists outside of the Chinese community. In some way, the commodity industry of posthumous Mao nowadays witnesses chinoiserie’s transformation from a western China craze into a policed imagination--a chinoiserie with Chinese characteristics.
The latter is the subject of a forthcoming article in the Summer 2014 issue of Boundary 2, published by Duke University Press. Both events will be held in room 602 on the sixth floor of the Cathedral of Learning.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Breakfast menu coming to Tân Lạc Viên.



Signage at Tân Lạc Viên in Squirrel Hill says a breakfast menu is coming soon. The Vietnamese restaurant on Murray Ave. (map) is currently open from 11:30 to 10:00 pm Sunday through Thursday, and until 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Here's a look at how a Vietnamese restaurant in Seattle does breakfast.