Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hot pot place moving into to old Pizza Sola location in Oakland.

Temporary signage just went up at 114 Atwood Street (map) for TOP Shabu-Shabu & Lounge. Until July, the space was home to Pizza Sola.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Four Japanese movies, one Taiwanese, part of 2014 Three Rivers Film Festival in November.

The Three Rivers Film Festival, which runs in Pittsburgh from November 7 through November 22 at nine local theaters, announced its schedule of films today, a lineup that includes five Asian movies, four of which are Japanese: the Hiyao Miyazaki classic Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し); the animated Welcome to the Space Show (宇宙ショーへようこそ) ; the adult comedy R100; and a documentary on Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (夢と狂気の王国). The Taiwanese-French drama Stray Dogs (郊遊) is included among the roster of foreign-language movies .Schedules are currently available online, and there will be more detailed posts on the movies in the next two weeks.

Angry Asian Man blogger Phil Yu at Pitt, October 25.

The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Student Alliance will host Phil Yu, the blogger behind Angry Asian Man, on Saturday, October 25. A 2010 KoreAm profile described the site as
the whirling core of the networked Asian American community, the hyperconnected hub where tens of thousands of people dock each day—sometimes hourly—to find out what’s happening in the cultural, media and political landscape of the nation’s most dynamic emerging population.
The event starts at 7:00 pm and is held in the William Pitt Union Ballroom (campus map).

Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania Student Halloween Mixer and movie Dark Water (仄暗い水の底から), October 24.

The Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania is hosting a Student Halloween Mixer on Friday, October 24, at Point Park University. The event includes free candy, an introduction to local Japanese-related student groups, a presentation on yōkai, and a screening of the 2002 film Dark Water (仄暗い水の底から)).

The evening runs from 6:00 through 11:00 pm in Lawrence Hall's 2nd floor multipurpose room (map). More information is available on the event's Facebook page.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Documentary Last Days in Vietnam at Harris Theater, from October 24.

The 2014 documentary Last Days in Vietnam will play at the Harris Theater from October 24 through October 30. A synopsis, from the film's official site:
During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. The United States has only a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives still in the country. As Communist victory becomes inevitable and the U.S. readies to withdraw, some Americans begin to consider the certain imprisonment and possible death of their South Vietnamese allies, co-workers, and friends. Meanwhile, the prospect of an official evacuation of South Vietnamese becomes terminally delayed by Congressional gridlock and the inexplicably optimistic U.S. Ambassador. With the clock ticking and the city under fire, a number of heroic Americans take matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible.
A September 4 New York Times review says of the documentary and its filmmaker, Rory Kennedy:
Perhaps the most striking thing about “Last Days in Vietnam,” Rory Kennedy’s eye-opening documentary about the 1975 evacuation of the American Embassy in Saigon, is how calmly it surveys what was once among the angriest topics in American political life. The story is full of emotion and danger, heroism and treachery, but it is told in a mood of rueful retrospect rather than simmering partisan rage.
Showtimes haven't yet been announced. The Harris Theater is located downtown at 809 Liberty Ave. in the Cultural District (map).

Monday, October 20, 2014

1963 Japanese movie Matango (マタンゴ, Attack of the Mushroom People) at Hollywood Theater, October 28.

The Hollywood Theater in Dormont will show the 1963 Japanese movie Matango (マタンゴ) on October 28. An SFX review provides more information about the "anti-drug" tokukatsu movie:
A yachtful of seven disparate characters are stranded on a mysterious island. Making a home in a deserted wreck, they discover that food is scarce, except for the mind-altering mushrooms that cover the island. One by one, they succumb to their hunger, and turn into monsters.
. . .
In the States, Matango was retitled as Attack Of The Mushroom People. Although the “mushroom monsters” that pop up at the end are gloriously silly, that monicker doesn’t really do it justice. With its eerie environments – a fog-shrouded beach of black sand; a gangrenous ghost ship – and its cast of self-serving scumbags, this is a surprisingly bleak, disquieting B-movie.
The show starts at 7:30 pm, and tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students. There will be food and drink:
Mushroom delicacies will be served by Wild Purveyors, and Night of the Living Stout beer served by Full Pint Brewery. Doors open at 6:30pm.
The theater is located at 1449 Potomac Ave. in Dormont, and is accessible by Pittsburgh's subway/LRT at a block south of Potomac Station.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pink Box Bakery coming to Oakland.

Someone recently told me Pink Box Bakery Café was planning on opening an Oakland location. Turns out they've been saying this since June. The Taiwanese-owned "Asian-European fusion bakery" that opened in Squirrel Hill on July 7 will open a second location at 4527 Winthrop St. in Oakland (map) later this year or early next. The new store is behind KBox, Pittsburgh's Asian karaoke / K-box / 노래방 spot.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Xinjiang Food by Northwest Chinese Pop-Up Restaurant, October 18 in Bloomfield.

The next Northwest Chinese Pop-Up Restaurant event, "Xinjiang Food", is Saturday, October 18 at Sonny's Tavern in Bloomfield (map). The person slash group Northwest Chinese Pop-Up Restaurant exists to "strive to bring Northwestern Chinese culture to Pittsburgh through its authentic food, arts, music and crafts".

Nakama voted Best Japanese, Best Sushi in Pittsburgh by City-Paper readers again.

Nakama Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar was voted by Pittsburgh City-Paper readers as both the Best Japanese and Best Sushi restaurant in the city in the 2014 "Best of Pittsburgh" poll. On its claim to the Best Japanese spot:
There is no better spot to watch the South Side careen by than from a window seat at Nakama. Add to the experience freshly prepared sushi; an extensive selection of appetizers; steak and fish entrees; and perhaps a signature martini or draft beer, and it's no wonder this spot is popular every night of the week.
Nakama was the top vote-getter in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013 as well. Umi and Little Tokyo came in second and third place, respectively, in the Best Japanese category, and Umi and Penn Ave. Fish Company placed second and third in the Best Sushi category. Japanese restaurants popular with Japanese residents and with those who know Japanese food---Chaya, Kiku, Teppanyaki Kyoto, and the recently-closed Fukuda---did not place.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Dr. Shinil Kim and "Achievement and Issues of Korean Education" at Pitt, October 23.

University of Pittsburgh alumnus Dr. Shinil Kim will speak at Pitt's School of Education on October 23 on "Achievements and Issues of Korean Education".
Korea is recognized internationally as having made strong advancements in education. The country is often given high rankins in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), has the highest enrollment rates in secondary and tertiary education, and contributing to the overall economic development of education, among other achievements. Nonetheless, there are still difficult education issues on education that Korean society has to tackle wisely. Shinil Kim's presentation at the School of Education will review the development as well as some of these issues within Korean education.
The talk will be held in 5604 Posvar Hall from 2:10 to 3:15. Registration is required and can be done through October 20 by emailing sks at

Dr. Kim, a former Korean minister of education and longtime professor at one of Korea's top universities, earned a Ph.D. from Pitt in 1978, writing his dissertation on "A Cross-National Analysis of the Determinants of Public Efforts in Education". He was awarded a University of Pittsburgh 225th Anniversary Medallion in 2013 as a distinguished alumnus.

Mark Nordenberg Seoul
Fourth from left, Via 동아일보.