Sunday, April 20, 2014

A few movies of note from the 2014 Silk Screen Asian-American Film Festival, April 26 through May 4.

The 2014 Silk Screen Asian-American Film Festival schedule was announced on March 26, with times and locations on the Silk Screen website. The annual festival runs from April 26 through May 4, with screenings at four local theaters. Here's a quick look at the festival's movies and short films from East Asia and thus of most relevance to this blog:






A Time in Quchi (暑假作业), Taiwan; Bunta, China; Cheong, South Korea; Confession of Murder (내가 살인범이다), South Korea; The Garden of Words (言の葉の庭), Japan; Hide and Seek (숨바꼭질), South Korea; Mourning Recipe (四十九日のレシピ), Japan; Norte, End of History (Norte, hangganan ng kasaysayan); Philippines; Touch of the Light (逆光飛翔), Taiwan; Trap Street, China; Unforgiven (許されざる者), Japan; Why Don't You Play in Hell? (地獄でなぜ悪い), Japan.

Chinese-Korean film Dooman River (두만강) at IUP, April 27.



The IUP 2014 Foreign Film Festival concludes on April 27 with Dooman River (두만강). From The Global Film Initiative:
Writer-director Zhang Lu’s fascinating window into a rarely seen corner of rural China revolves around 12-year-old Chang-ho, living with his grandfather and mute sister along the frozen river-border with North Korea. Although fraught with unemployment and other tensions, his community seems sympathetic toward the Korean refugees fleeing famine and misery; Chang-ho even bonds over soccer with one young border-crosser who comes scavenging food for a sibling. But he soon turns on his new friend as suspicions mount against the illegal immigrants and his sister reels from unexpected aggression, provoking a quandary over his loyalties in an exquisitely detailed story of compassion and strife across an uneasy geopolitical border.
Dooman River will be shown in McVitty Auditorium, Sprowls Hall (campus map) at 5:30 pm and 8:00 pm, and is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

One Night in Beijing, April 26 at CMU.



The annual performance by Awareness of Roots in Chinese Culture, "One Night in Beijing", will be held this year on April 26 at Carnegie Mellon University.
One Night in Beijing (ONiB) is the biggest annual event produced by Awareness of Roots in Chinese Culture (ARCC)! The show boasts a wide variety of performances, so be prepared to get swept away by an amazing storyline, inspired by the famous and traditional story, Journey to the West. ONiB will take you away and into this story set in ancient China through a series of traditional Chinese and hip hop dances, Chinese yo-yo, a capella, and much much more!
ONiB starts at 7:30 on the 26th in the Rangos Ballroom in the Cohen University Center (campus map). Tickets are $10 at the door or $8 in advance.

Japanese tea ceremony, music, at CMU on April 17.



The Department of Modern Languages at Carnegie Mellon University presents an evening with traditional Japanese music and a tea ceremony on April 17 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.
Yuko Eguchi will first give a lecture and performance of Japanese traditional music and dance, called kouta (small songs) and koutaburi (dance of small songs), a genre uniquely created by women and primarily preserved in geisha artistic culture. She will also give a lecture and demonstration of Japanese tea ceremony (Ura-senke school). Participants will have a chance to learn the history of Japanese traditional arts and to try out the taste of Japanese tea and sweets.
The lecture and performance will be held in the Connan Room of University Center (campus map).

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.