Friday, May 27, 2016

Pittsburgh Bonsai Society Bonsai Show, June 4 and 5.

The 35th annual Bonsai Show will be held at Phipps Garden Center in Shadyside (map) on May 30 and 31. It's presented by the Pittsburgh Bonsai Society and is free and open to the public from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday the 4th, and from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on the 5th.

"Voices and sounds of Japan's extreme underground" on WRCT 88.3FM, May 27 at 10 pm.

via Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation's Facebook page.

Matthew Ketchum, a Pittsburgher who lives and works in Tokyo and moonlights as an event planner for "Japan's extreme underground" music, will have a show broadcast on Carnegie Mellon University's WRCT 88.3 FM on May 27 at 10:00 pm. By way of introduction he writes on /r/pittsburgh today:
Pittsburgh's the best home town I could dream of, and the expansive and vibrant music underground over here in Japan is, in my humble opinion, second to none... So why not put them together?! This is kind of a dream come true, to be honest, but if you dig on black/doom/death/heavy metal or punk or whatever, and have always wondered what else Japan offers besides Coffins, Church of Misery, Merzbow, and Boris, tune in tomorrow night to hear from Makiko of Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation, Tom of Retch, and, of course, me.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads at Carnegie Museum of Art, May 28 through August 4.

via AW Asia.

The Ai Weiwei installation Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads will be on display at the Carnegie Museum of Art from May 28 through August 4, part of a world tour underway since 2010.
This summer, dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s monumental sculpture, Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads adds a compelling new layer to CMOA’s magnificent Hall of Architecture. Comprising 12 bronze animal heads representing the traditional Chinese zodiac, Ai’s work reimagines those that once adorned the famed fountain-clock of Yuanming Yuan, an imperial retreat in Beijing destroyed by the British in 1860. It debuted on the world stage in 2011 shortly after the artist, an outspoken critic of the communist regime, had been detained by Chinese authorities and held for 80 days.

Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads pays homage to China’s history while speaking to contemporary concerns. “It’s about the future and the past, and how China is looked at today and how it looks at itself,” explains the artist. “It has many, many different layers—is it art or not art, and to what degree?”

The expansive Hall of Architecture houses one of the few remaining cast collections in the world, filled with reproductions of classical facades and fragments from throughout the Western world. Likewise, Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads reinterprets a cultural and political remnant of China’s past. Together they create a one-of-a-kind immersive experience that brings together past and present, and underscores how cultural histories are retold.
The museum is open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on Thursdays, and from 10:00 to 5:00 every other day but Tuesday. Admission is $19.95 for adults, though special student pricing is available.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Norwin School District to phase out Japanese program.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote on Friday that the preliminary budget for Norwin School District in 2016-17 calls for the elimination of the middle school Japanese program and an eventual end to high school Japanese in the Westmoreland County school district.
A half-time Japanese language position also will be eliminated at the middle school, with the Japanese teacher continuing to teach classes at the high school, [high school principal Timothy Kotch] said.

Japanese 2, 3 and 4 will be offered at the high school in 2016-17, but the district plans to phase out the Japanese program, Mr. Kotch said.
Two Norwin High School students placed first and second in the Advanced Level of the 2016 High School Japanese Speech Contest held by the Japan-America Society of Pennsylvania in March 2016, with another student placing third in the Beginner Level. Norwin students have placed among the top three each year the contest has been held.

Friday, May 20, 2016

National Association of Asian American Professionals spring happy hour, and details of NAAAP Speaker Series, May 26 at Umami.

via Umami Pgh's Facebook page.

The Pittsburgh chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals will hold its spring happy hour on May 26 at Umami in Lawrenceville. The event is open to the public, with details available on Facebook. At the happy hour the group will, according to NAAAP Programming Director Steve Larosa,
reveal our plans for a speaker series featuring some of Pittsburgh's successful Asian American female entrepreneurs and innovators. Attendees to the event will have the opportunity to meet some of the speakers we will be featuring, and experience some of Roger Li's superb Japanese cuisine. We also plan to use this event to unveil our plans to start a NAAAP student chapter at the University of Pittsburgh in Fall, 2016.

From that point, once a month for the next five months we will host one of our speakers at a venue TBD. The speakers will be talking about their experiences in entrepreneurship, their successes, struggles and failures, what motivates them to do what they do, as well as answer questions from the audience. The networking event and the following speaker series are free for everyone to attend, and we are hoping this series will help us increase our presence in Pittsburgh, as well as give a friendly boost to our participating speakers.

Our confirmed speakers include: Jasmine Cho (yummyholic)
Priya Amin (Roki)
Nicki Zevola (FutureDerm inc.)
Umami is a newly-opened izakaya (Japanese pub) at 202 38th Street in Lawrenceville (map).

Thursday, May 19, 2016

First look at Tan Izakaya menu.

Tan Izakaya, tentatively scheduled to open later this month at 815 S. Aiken St. in Shadyside (map), posted its menu to its Facebook page yesterday.

Tan Izakaya is a Japanese-style pub, the latest project from Mike Chen of Squirrel Hill's Everyday Noodles. We wrote about the new restaurant in January, and a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profile followed.
Decor will be “very Japanese,” which will include wood accents and will highlight the bar — which makes sense, considering an izakaya is an after-work drinking place, he said. And the drinks he’ll highlight include many variations of sake.

Stocking a sake bar is a challenging task in terms of navigating the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB). Since sake is not a popular beverage in Pittsburgh at the moment, he’s having to source from suppliers in Philadelphia and through special orders. Pan will also include amenities like sake storage.

“It’s common in Japan,” he said. “And it’s a great way to keep customers coming back.”

Chengdu Gourmet chef named a top chef by Pittsburgh Magazine; four Asian places make Best Restaurants list.

Pittsburgh Magazine today released a list of six of the city's top chefs "Outstanding in Their Field", a list that includes Wei Zhu of Chengdu Gourmet:
Wei Zhu, chef and owner of Chengdu Gourmet in Squirrel Hill, crafts an authentic taste of his homeland with his well-executed menu of classic dishes, but while adhering to tradition he’s forging his own style by looking to contemporary Chinese dining trends and international flavors. “The food here is my style, Wei Zhu’s style,” says Zhu, 49, a native of the city of Chengdu in China’s Sichuan province.
. . .
“At other Chinese restaurants, they just make the same dishes. I am always trying to keep updated on what chefs are doing in China,” he says.
An October 2015 piece in Pittsburgh Magazine profiles the restaurant and the chef in fuller detail.

The magazine today also named Chengdu Gourmet, Everyday Noodles (Squirrel Hill), Soba (Shadyside)and umi (Shadyside) to its Best Restaurants 2016 list. It writes that Chengdu Gourmet offers "the most adventurous meal you'll have in Pittsburgh".

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

New restoration of 1973 Japanese animated movie Belladonna of Sadness (哀しみのベラドンナ) at Hollywood Theater, May 20 - 22.

The Hollywood Theater will show the a 4K restoration of the 1973 Japanese animated movie Belladonna of Sadness (哀しみのベラドンナ) on May 20, 21, and 22.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

30% off Guerrero Ceramics products through June 5.

Guerrero Ceramics is offering 30% off products through June 5 with promo code CHINA. Artist and arts educator Jeff Guerrero makes Japanese-inspired items:
I study the Japanese language and the Japanese tea ceremony. I'm licensed to study the way of tea by the Urasenke school through the Philadelphia branch.

My interest in Japanese pottery stems from when I first started making pottery. I was fortunate enough to spend considerable time with two celebrated Shigaraki potters during their month-long residency in the studio where I work. Later, I became friends with a Japanese-American potter who taught me much of what I know.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The RiCECOOKERS at Three Rivers Arts Festival, June 9.

via The RiCECOOKERS Facebook page.

The RiCECOOKERS, an indie rock band comprised of four Japanese musicians currently based in New York, will play at the Three Rivers Arts Festival on June 9. The festival website summarizes the group:
The members staked their claim to fame when a famous Japanese film director Yukihiko Tsutsumi saw their performance by chance and immediately decided to use their song for his upcoming television drama series in Japan.

Though their fame grew in Japan at first, they had set their aim to make it in the United States. They have chosen to live in Brooklyn, while continuing to work on creating music and capturing the audience with their authentic, yet multi-faceted music.

Their music is described as “alternative rock”, which is mainly said to have been a product of influence by the grunge music of the 90s. However, they are not the 3-chords-talks-all kind of guys. They have added true musical skills acquired by attending Berklee, as well as adding a hint of Japanese melody. With this recipe, they have evolved the alternative genre to the music for the listeners in 21st century.
The RiCECOOKERS will play from 5:00 to 6:00 pm on the Dollar Bank Main Stage at Point State Park (map). The concert will be free and open to the public, as are all other performances in the festival.