Gwangju Blog

What To Do This Weekend: Music Edition

This weekend! Alive Inside 5.  It will be held at Club Boojik, near Chonnam National University. There are 6 different bands on the schedule.


Headliners are:

The Geeks (Youth Crew, Seoul) (
BettyAss (Skate Punk, Gwangju) ( )
Whatever That Means (Melodic Punk, Seoul) (
Summer Never Comes(Post Rock, Seoul) (
Dead Gakkhas (Fast Core, Seoul) (
Save Myself (Skate Punk, Gwangju) (

Ji HongBum from BettyAss organized this show, as well as the other Alive Inside shows, and will be one of the featured acts. BettyAss puts on a great show, and for extra fun, ask them to play their punk cover of John Denver’s “Country Roads”. It’s a classic.

Gwangju has quite a bit of local talent that gets featured in local clubs. Another good place to check out is Club Nevermind across from Daein Market downtown. Look for the “View” eyeglass shop on the corner, and you will see a small white sign about 10 meters down on the right. It’s a small basement club where they will sell the merchandise for the bands playing, and sometimes they will sell some cans of beer with no real formal bar set up. Shows start early, usually 6:30 or 7 pm, and can be done by 9 or 10.  Club Nevermind can be found on Café Daum through Naver, and they now have a page on Facebook to keep you in the loop.

Golden Ticket is another Gwangju local band that’s played the local venues.  They’ve just returned from a trip to Japan. This band has a lot of talent, with songs that range from bluesy and melancholy to angry and jarring. Their song “Marianne” is introspective while “Mask Heroes” is just fun. One interesting note is their female bassist, who really rocks out. She gives a refreshing take on the music and supplies a different sort of image than you are used to seeing in a female music performer in Korea.

Overall, the smaller clubs and local metal acts in Korea give such a different style of performance than can be seen back home in America. Back home the usual metal and punk scene is filled with bands adhering to a certain image of black leather, metal studs, heavy subject matter and usually some Satan rolled in to make the “right” metal or punk image. Here the focus is more on the music and the craft and less about creating a false front. Baseball hats and jeans are the usual attire here, with an intensity of playing and energy that really pleases the crowds.

For something that’s a little different, if you are an artist who’s looking to study your craft, their continuing art class series will feature a live nude female model this weekend. It’s impressive to see that the local art community has been having these regular classes for artists to develop their skills and really network and explore their talents.


Special Guest Post by Nancy Harcar

News of the Week: August 21, 2014

Chairman of the Gwangju Biennale to Resign

Chairman of the Gwangju Biennale, Lee Yong-woo, expressed his will to resign from the post as part of an effort to take responsibility for the controversy that has arisen over a painting, ‘Sewol Owol’, that was submitted for the special project exhibition.

At an interview with a local newspaper, Chairman Lee reportedly explained that someone should be held responsible for the crippled operation of special Gwangju Biennale exhibition project and, as the representative of the Biennale Foundation, it should be him.

Chairman Lee said he will submit an official resignation on September 4th when the 2014 Gwangju Biennale kicks off and will participate as an artistic expert in the September 16th debate session that will be taking place to decide whether the controversial ‘Sewol Owol’ should be on display or not.

The painting, ‘Sewol Owol’, created by a local artist, Hong Seong-dam, was excluded from the special project exhibition as the painting contains political satire of President Park Geun-hye. A group of participating artists in the special exhibition condemned the city of Gwangju and Biennale’s decision.

Chairman Lee has been serving as the executive director of the Biennale Foundation since June 2012 after directing the first Gwangju Biennale in 1995 and another Gwangju Biennale in 2004.


2014 Gwangju Art Fair Kicks Off on August 29th

One of Gwangju’s most representative art fairs, the ‘2014 Gwangju International Art Fair’, will be held from August 29th to September 2nd at Gwangju Kimdaejung Convention Center.

Aimed at promoting Gwangju’s distinctive local arts, this year’s Gwangju Art Fair will focus on revitalizing the regional art industry and creating opportunities for greater exchanges among local art professionals and their counterparts in overseas art galleries and studios.

Coming from 81 galleries from 11 different countries, the upcoming Gwangju Art Fair will showcase up to 1,500 pieces produced by some 400 artists worldwide.

Featured artists include Andy Warhol, Baek Nam-jun, Man Ray, Yi Wo-fan (이우환) and Hosoe Eiko (호소에 에이코).

Divided into a main exhibition, a special exhibition and additional exhibitions, the upcoming Art Fair will display various types of art works, including media art, painting, and sculpture.


Holiday Food Items See Price Rise Before Holiday

Prices of holiday items ranging from fruits and vegetables to livestock goods are in an upward trend due to the monsoon season and the continuous days of scorching weather.

Vegetables, fruits, and livestock goods saw their prices skyrocket due to the shortage of harvested foods for the early Chuseok holiday from September 6th to the 10th.

According to the regional distributional channel, the price of a 4 kilogram-package of spinach being sold at Gwangju’s wholesale market was 25,000, up 53 percent from one month ago.

Also, the price of an 8 kilogram-box of green pumpkins was tallied at 25,000 won this month, up 56 percent from last month at 11,000 won.

In addition, apples, pears and carrots each rose by 10, 12, and 25 percent in the local wholesale market.

A 100-gram package of first grade Korean Beef of Hanwoo was priced at 7,000 won, up 14 percent compared to the price a month ago with Pork Belly seeing a 15 percent price increase at Yangdong Market.


Jeollanamdo Speeds up 100 won Taxi and Public Bus Operation

Jeollanamdo will reportedly speed up the 100 won taxi and public bus operation system that was part of the election pledges promised by the newly elected governor of Jeollanamdo, Lee Nak-yeon, as early as later this year.

Boseong and Hwasun-gun district have been chosen as test run counties for the 100 won taxi project, targeting 30 villages located in remote areas to promote and improve public transportation system.

In addition, during this year, Jeollanamdo will conduct a financial and administrative inspection of three municipalities in Yeongam and Boseong that wish to adopt the public bus operation system.

However, as more than 60 billion won of municipal funding is required for the successful operation of the public bus transportation and 100 won taxi, Jeollanamdo said it will prepare effective measures to secure financial expenditures without causing administrative difficulties for the participating municipalities.

Where to Eat Wednesday: 유생촌

With the opening and closing of so many restaurants, it’s a wonder how any of them manage to last. In the past year alone, I’ve seen at least five places I’ve reviewed disappearing as quickly as they appeared (so sad). As a result, it’s hard to not be surprised when I find a place that has yet to fall, even if it’s a franchise. Finding one in downtown is even more impressive.


My guy and I recently visited 유생촌 (Yusaengchon) with an empty stomach and a craving for 돈까스 (donkkaseu), which is basically breaded and fried cutlet that’s often made with pork (also known by its Japanese name, tonkatsu). I had passed by it countless times whenever I was cutting through the lesser traveled street in the middle of downtown. At first, I just knew that the place served breaded pork cutlets. It wasn’t until I had passed by it at least a dozen times that I realized that the place was a buffet, as well as a business that managed to pass the test of time since 1983.

InsideDon't Leave Leftovers

Before going inside, I made sure to read the sign outside to make sure I wasn’t stepping into a place that was potentially too rich for my blood. It was a bit of a surprise to see the price for dinner was less than 10,000 won a person. Once we were seated, I looked around to see if there were any sort of catches or limitations, as the price of my meal had left me in a bit of shock and denial. The only thing I managed to find was a sign in Korean that stated that leaving an excessive amount of leftovers would cost each person an additional 2,000 won. Since I try not to be the wasteful type, I’m always happy to see buffet places that encourage not wasting food. From my seat, I could see that the restaurant offered more than just breaded and fried goodness. The bold, obvious signs over the food advertised other options like pasta, rice, salad, and more.

KatsuMeat Plate

Before long, my hungry stomach forced me to make my way to the buffet. I followed the overall flow of traffic and started where the fried options were. There were three simple offerings of breaded cutlets that included seafood, chicken, and pork. One thing I appreciated was that there never seemed to be too much available at once. Instead, employees would come by every few minutes to place just fried pieces of cutlets on the large serving plates for customers, resulting in hot, moist, and crispy pieces of meat each time. Though the cutlets were a bit on the smaller side, a buffet filled with full sized pieces of this classic, heavy protein would probably not have been ideal.

There also seemed to be an assortment of sauces for dipping, which was very much appreciated. As much as I like the sweet and savory sauce that’s often served with fried cutlets, it can be a little too sweet and watery at times. To give customers a range to choose from, there were bottles filled with ketchup, teriyaki sauce, honey mustard, and more. There was even a little bowl filled with tartar sauce, which ended up tasting pretty good with my fried options. Still, for the fans of the original stuff, there was a large vat of it that was kept warm nearby.

Salat BarSalad Plate

Now, I know there are other locations of this particular franchise in and around Gwangju, and they each offer slightly different options when it comes to the rest of the buffet options. That being said, I was more than satisfied with what I got from the downtown location. Some of the options included cream pasta, seafood tomato pasta, 떡볶이 (tteokbokki), 순대 (soondae), fried rice, 쫄면 (jjolmyeon), and more. What oddly set the food here apart from other buffets was how spicy some of these options were. A lot of places like these tend to tone down their food to please the masses, but the options here carried a fair amount of heat. The dessert bar had more simple choices like yogurt, cake, and waffles with apple syrup.

BuffetDessert Plate

Overall, 유생촌 was a pleasant experience. Though it certainly wasn’t anything special, the food was quite satisfactory for the price. This is one of the few restaurants I’d recommend to families with hungry children, as the restaurant was full of them. Though it’s not often I get to eat at a restaurant in this country that’s older than I am, the combination of quality food and unbeatable prices makes it easy to see how it’s lasted this long.

Address: 광주 동구 황금동 23-2 (located on fortune teller street)
Phone: 062-222-5200
Hours: 11:00AM to 10:00PM (food stops coming out at 9:30)
Average Price Range: 8,500 for lunch, 9,500 for dinner

Essentials with JD # 151 ** 5 DAYS OFF – CHUSEOK IS COMING **


With summer vacation just over and many returning to work this week, good news is here with the fact that in about two weeks it will be another long holiday!


Chuseok, Korean Thanksgiving or the Harvest Moon festival will be celebrated this year from Sept 7th-10th but it falls on a weekend which means that you should have about 5 days off!  (- In 2014, the substitute holiday applies to the Chuseok holiday on September 7 (falls on a Sunday), meaning Wednesday, September 10 is an extra day off) 


For those who have just landed or are new to Korea here is a quick explanation of the holiday from

“Koreans previously followed the lunar calendar, but in recent history, they have followed the solar calendar in line with international practice.


Chuseok, along with Seollal, are the most significant holidays in Korea. Chuseok is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eighth month by the lunar calendar. Just like the Korean New Year, families get together to perform an ancestral ritual and share a feast of traditional food, including songpyeon rice cakes (steamed on top of pine tree leaves) that the whole family makes together.


In general, museums, galleries, royal palaces, and other major tourist attractions close only on a certain day of the week, regardless of public holidays. Some department stores and large marts are closed on Lunar New Year’s Day and Chuseok Day, but are opened on the days before and after, in addition to other public holidays. Each location has varying policies on days off, so be sure to double check the operation hours of any location you plan to visit on a public holiday.”


Make sure to plan another great getaway!





Kia Champions Field

Picnic area at the Kia Champions Field - Photo by Joe Wabe

Kia Champions Field – Photo by Joe Wabe

Baseball is believed to have been introduced to Korea in 1905 by American missionaries during the Korean Empire, after which it gradually attained prominence. In December 1922, a team of American Major League players stopped in Seoul during a tour of Asia, and a Korean team was assembled to play against them. The Koreans were defeated, 23-3.

 The 1980s marked the beginning of the era of professional baseball in Korea. In 1982 the MBC Chungyong, Lotte Giants, Samsung Lions, OB Bears, Haitai Tigers, and Sammi Superstars were launched, as was the highest-level league that they composed, the Korea Baseball Championship. This league continues to be Korea’s major league, although as of 2013 it has expanded to 9 teams.

The Kia Tigers, previously known as the Haitai Tigers, is the most successful team in Korean baseball having won the national championship, ten times, with a perfect 10-0 series record and a 40-12-2 game record.

After winning the 2009 KBO season and 2009 Korean Series, which is the first double victory since 1997, the city decided it was time to build a new stadium for the champions, replacing their old home Mudeung Stadium of thirty some years.

The Gwangju Kia Champions Field was inaugurated in 2014, and has reached the 488,000 mark attendance. With an average of about 12,000 spectators for game, and it’s expected to break the figures from the old Mudeung Stadium that stood at 475,000

It’s a beautiful, modern baseball stadium equipped with cutting edge digital and electronic sign boards as well as wide seating areas, rest areas, a cafeteria and handicapped friendly amenities.

To read more about the Kia Champions Field click here