Sunday, January 7, 2018

Movie & Mumble with 1996 Japanese film Shall We Dance (Shall we ダンス?), January 13 in Cranberry.

The 1996 Japanese film Shall We Dance (Shall we ダンス?) will play in Cranberry as the year's first installment of the Movie & Mumble series hosted by the Cranberry Area Diversity Network.
He's an overworked accountant. She's an accomplished dancer. Passion is about to find two unlikely partners. The 1996 Japanese romantic comedy “Shall We Dance?” will launch the 2018 Movie & Mumble series. No reservations are necessary. The PG-rated feature, with English subtitles, will be followed by an open discussion led by Elena Geil, a former resident of Japan.
The event runs from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the Cranberry Public Library (map), and is free and open to the public.

Conversational Chinese and Chinese Culture at Mt. Lebanon Public Library, Thursday evenings.

A Conversational Chinese and Chinese Culture group meets at Mt. Lebanon Public Library Thursday evenings from 7:00 to 8:45 pm.
Join us every Thursday to practice conversational Chinese and explore Chinese culture. All levels welcome.

Participants are asked to donate $30, prorated, to Mt. Lebanon Public Library for each ten-week session. Please check the Event Calendar for potential schedule changes.
Those interested may contact Charlene Zang at czang [at] for more information. The library is located at 16 Castle Shannon Blvd. (map).

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble film, performance by AppalAsia at Mattress Factory, January 23.

The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, following the cellist Ma and a collective of musicians from across the world, will play at the Mattress Factory art museum on January 23. It will be followed by a performance by AppalAsia,"a Pittsburgh-based ensemble of dulcimer, erhu, banjo, and vocals that combines the influence of their folk-roots with original composition and inspired improvisation."

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Sashiko Embroidery workshop at Carnegie Library - Squirrel Hill, January 31.

by littlelixie (2010, Creative Commons)

There are limited spaces available for a Sashiko Embroidery workshop at the Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill on Wednesday, January 31.
Sashiko is an ancient form of Japanese embroidery that utilizes large, simple stitches to create intricate designs. In this class, students will learn how to control their stitches and will practice on two different designs of their choice. Each student will have two small sashiko samplers to finish at home. Beginners welcome!
The class is taught by local artist, designer, and instructor Rebekah Joy.

The event runs from 6:00 to 7:45 pm. The event is free but registration is required and can be completed on the library's website. The Carnegie Library branch in Squirrel Hill is located at 5801 Forbes Ave. (map).

"Journey to Japan," February 18 at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Oakland.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Main branch in Oakland will host "Journey to Japan" on Sunday, February 18.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Japanese Coming-of-Age Ceremony (成人の日) at Pitt for students turning 20, January 10.

Kasai does 成人の日 in 2010.

A large cohort of students from Yasuda Women's University is studying at Pitt's English Language Institute this fall and will miss the traditional Coming-of-Age Ceremony (成人の日) in Hiroshima next month, so the Asian Studies Center will hold its own ceremony on January 10. The Asian Studies Center introduces Pitt's ceremony:
A local government official will preside over the ceremony here in Pittsburgh and a Yasuda University student will give the student address. The ceremony is open not only to the ELI students, but also Pitt students, especially those studying Japanese, who are turning 20 (between April 2, 2017 and April 1, 2018).
And Japan Visitor introduces the day and its traditions:
Seijin Shiki or 成人式 could be translated as 'Coming of Age Day Ceremony' in English. Seijin-no-hi (Coming of Age Day) is a Japanese public holiday that occurs on every second Monday of January.

Coming of Age Day or Adult's Day honors every person that has turned 20 years old over the past year. When young people reach twenty they officially become adults in Japanese society and they now have responsibilities as well as newfound liberties: such as being able to drink, smoke, go to hostess bars, gamble and to drive legally. The voting age was lowered from 20 to 18 in 2015.

The girls always wear gorgeous and very expensive kimono, although most admit to having rentals as the outfit is worth up to 1,000,000 yen. The boys usually wear a regular suit and tie but a few will wear traditional Japanese dress.
It runs from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in Ballroom B of the University Club (map), and those interested should email asia [at]

2016 Japanese movie Harmonium (淵に立つ at Carnegie Library in Oakland, January 7.

This month month's International Cinema Sunday will feature the 2016 Japanese movie Harmonium (淵に立つ), which played at 2017's Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival. From a 2016 Variety review:
Even before the arrival of the mysterious Mr. Yasaka (Tadanobu Asano), the marriage of Toshio (Kanji Furutachi), the owner of a small machine shop, and his self-effacing wife, Akie (Mariko Tsutsui), appears passionless. Polite but distant, they share meals and the care of their small daughter, Hotaru, with so little intimacy that when Toshio offers Yasaka a room and a job, he doesn’t even ask his wife’s opinion. All too soon, though, he’ll have cause to regret his impulsiveness.
The movie plays from 2:00 to 4:30 pm at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's main branch in Oakland and is free and open to the public. The library is located at 4400 Forbes Ave. in Oakland (map) and is accessible by buses 28X, 54, 61A, 61B, 61C, 61D, 67, 69, 71A, 71B, 71C, 71D, and 93.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress (隠し砦の三悪人) at Regent Square Theater, Sundays in January.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers and the Silk Screen Asian Arts & Cultural Organization will show a different classic Asian film each month, with Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress (隠し砦の三悪人) featured in January. The Criterion Collection summarizes the film:
A grand-scale adventure as only Akira Kurosawa could make one, The Hidden Fortress stars the inimitable Toshiro Mifune as a general charged with guarding his defeated clan’s princess (a fierce Misa Uehara) as the two smuggle royal treasure across hostile territory. Accompanying them are a pair of bumbling, conniving peasants who may or may not be their friends. This rip-roaring ride is among the director’s most beloved films and was a primary influence on George Lucas’s Star Wars. The Hidden Fortress delivers Kurosawa’s trademark deft blend of wry humor, breathtaking action, and compassionate humanity.
Kurosawa's 1958 film will play each Sunday this month; all shows start at 6:00 pm at the Regent Square Theater (map), and tickets are only available for purchase at the door.

2001's Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (カウボーイビバップ 天国の扉) at AMC Loews Waterfront, February 4.

The 2001 film Cowboy Bebop: The Movie (カウボーイビバップ 天国の扉) will play at the AMC Loews Waterfront theater on February 4, part of the Classic Movie Nights series. The series organizer writes:
Widely considered to be one of, if not, the best anime ever made, the masterpiece that was the Cowboy Bebop anime series was originally intended to be a single movie but, when they got the go ahead for a series instead, they made it with the idea that each individual episode was it's own mini-movie.

With the success of the show, they finally got the go-ahead to make a full-length feature and the results are magnificent in both presentation, quality, and artistic merit.

I've been trying to start showing anime here for over SIX months and have constantly run in to roadblock after this is an extra-special event and I am incredibly excited to put this show on...
The show starts at 2:30 pm on the 4th, and tickets are available online via Fandango. The theater is located at 300 West Waterfront Dr. in the Waterfront shopping complex in Homestead (map), across the Monongahela River from Greenfield, Squirrel Hill, and the rest of Pittsburgh.

Free Chinese, Japanese, Korean classes in Pittsburgh.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is an invaluable source of free and enriching programming for people of all ages. Most relevant to this site are the free Chinese, Japanese, and Korean courses at an increasing number of branches. The start of a new year is an excellent time to revisit this list of free courses available for children, complete novices, high-beginners, intermediate learners, and advanced speakers.