Gwangju Blog

What to Do This Weekend: Rocky Horror, Makeup Tips, and Halloween Parties!

Hello Gwangju!

Halloween falls on a Monday this year, so many places are celebrating on Saturday. Let’s see what you can do this weekend to get into the Halloween spirit!

Friday, October, 28th

OK Gwangju, it’s time to do the time warp again! After last year’s successful screening of the 1975 cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, organizers have decided to do it again this year. Dress up as your favorite character, and make sure to bring some props so you can get the full experience. The film will be shown at The First Alleyway downtown, and is hosted by the animal support group, Justice for Jindos. For more details about the event, please go to the Facebook page here. The film will start at 9 p.m.

Saturday, October, 29th

Courtesy of the Gwangju Art Class

Courtesy of the Gwangju Art Class

This weekend’s art class will have a Halloween theme as well. The class will cover makeup tricks and skills that will make you a hit at all the parties this weekend. The class runs from 12:30 until 3, and the fee is only 10,000 won. The class will be led by special guest instructor, Gabriellle Zilla (one of the organizers of Synergy). For more information about the class, click on the link for their Facebook page. For directions to the GIC (where the classes are held), please go to their website. This is a special class so spaces will be limited.

Courtesy of GFOG

Courtesy of GFOG

Are you looking for a fun event for the whole family this weekend? Well the Global Families of Gwangju (GFOG) group have just the answer for you-their 5th annual Halloween party. There will be games, crafts, and especially candy for the kids to enjoy. Advance tickets are available (deadline is Friday at 8 p.m.) so you can save yourself a little money-for more candy! It all starts at the Gwangju Foreign School at 1 p.m. Did I mention that there’s going to be candy there? For more details and directions to the event, please go to GFOG’s Facebook page. Candy!

Hey Bill, is Loft 28 having a Halloween party this weekend? Do vampires feast on human blood? Of course Loft 28 is having a Halloween party this weekend! There is no cover so head on over for drink specials, free shot periods, and prizes for best costume, as well as dancing. For more information, please go to their Facebook page.

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Courtesy of Speakeasy

There are a lot of Halloween parties going on this weekend, but none of them have been going for as long as Speakeasy’s has. That’s rights folks, it’s the party you’ve been waiting for, the one that everybody has told you about, Speakeasy’s 10th annual Halloween party! You’re costumes better be on fleek (as the kids say!) if you want to win great prizes. Do I have to tell you that there will be fantastic drink specials? OK, there will be fantastic drink specials! All the fun begins at 8 p.m. For more details, check out the Facebook event page.


Other great ways to celebrate!

What is Dia De Muertos? You’ll have to head to Tequilaz on Saturday to find out! (Hint: great food and drink specials are involved!)

Get Some Lounge near Chonnam University is celebrating it’s 1st anniversary on Saturday with a Halloween party! For more info, go to the Gwangju page on Facebook and type in “Halloween” in the search field.

Billie Jean Bar downtown is also having a Halloween party on the 29th! You can get more details by going to the Gwangju page on Facebook and typing “Halloween” in the search field.

Have a frightfully good Halloween!

Where to Eat Wednesday: Tokyo Steak

Yes. We all know. I love steak. I don’t know how many times that has been mentioned, but it’s something that will never go away. When I see steak, I must go to it. Living in Korea, this is often a costly decision. Luckily, with some of the new restaurants that have been showing up, my protein choices are becoming more affordable.


I first saw Tokyo Steak while scoping out some of the new restaurant options in U-Square. I found the name of the place interesting, especially since steak isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Japanese cuisine. Though I was originally there to check out another restaurant, I made sure to make a mental note to come back for a proper visit in the future. I didn’t have to wait long for that opportunity, as simply saying the word “steak” is apparently enough to get people in the mood for dinner.


A couple of friends and I went not too long ago for a bite to eat after hitting up the arcade and getting some shopping done. As we entered, I was charmed by the adorable decorations all over the decently sized space. It certainly had the feel of a small Japanese restaurant. Once seated, I peeked through the menu, which thankfully came with plenty of pictures. As expected, the main feature was steak. There were three main types (Sirloin, Top Blade, and Chopped) that came in three different sizes (150g to 300g) with three different prices. I thought the option for such variety was pretty cool, as not everyone can eat ridiculous amounts of beef like I can. The rest of the menu had a range of Japanese and Japanese fusion dishes while also offering some Italian inspiration. These options included different types of pasta, curry, and udon. We ended up ordering a 200g Top Blade Steak, a side of Okonomiyaki, Napolitan Pasta, Japanese Style Spicy Curry w/ Karaage, and an additional side of Chicken Karaage.


After we placed our orders, we were treated to a small bowl of cold soba noodles as an appetizer. This came with our order of Okonomiyaki, which was tiny and adorable. The iced noodles were savory and refreshing, perking up a bit of an appetite. The okonomiyaki, which is a savory Japanese pancake made with cabbage and topped with sauce, mayonnaise, and bonito flakes, was quite nice. Though small, each bite packed a ton of flavor that left me wanting more.


Before long, the rest of the dishes started to arrive. I first tasted the Napolitan Pasta, which tasted pretty standard for a tomato sauce pasta, at least until I was hit with how spicy it was. While I didn’t mind the heat, my friends were not too enthused at this deceptively hot dish. The next dish I tried was the Japanese Style Spicy Curry w/ Karaage. It came with yellow rice (not sure what it was cooked with) and succulent pieces of chicken karaage, which is basically a chicken nugget that’s more chicken and less nugget, that had been topped with curry. Thanks to the name, the spiciness of this dish was much less of a surprise. What was interesting was how unique the curry tasted. Compared to other Japanese curries I’ve had, which have been a little more savory and even a little sweet, this one was a little more tangy. The flavor was unlike any curry I’ve had before. That being said, it was still nice, especially with the juicy pieces of chicken it came with. It certainly left us glad that we ordered an extra serving of Chicken Karaage, which we ended up dipping in the curry anyway.


Since I came for steak, I saved it for last. The Top Blade Steak I ordered came on a bed of cooked bean sprouts, a scoop of yellow rice, and some vegetables on the side. The whole thing had been topped with a savory steak sauce and a lone piece of grilled garlic. As we each tried a piece of medium-well beef, happy noises were heard all around. Though it was a slightly chewier cut of meat, the beefy flavor really came through with the accompaniment of the sauce. The bean sprouts did a good job of soaking up the leftover meat juices and sauce, adding a nice crunch to the dish. The only part of the dish I feel the need to be critical over are the vegetables. Most of them were fine, but as a lover of carbs, I was seriously underwhelmed by the dry, almost inedible potato.

Overall, my experience at Tokyo Steak was quite pleasant, especially when considering the affordable prices. Considering how busy the restaurant was by the time we left, one can assume that others agreed with my sentiments. Though the size of the restaurant itself is decent, due to how the seating is set up, this place would be better for smaller groups than it would be for larger parties. I also learned that they have beefy rice dishes that are only available during lunchtime, so if you’re into that, then it might be worth it to come earlier in the day. Also, I’ve seen more locations popping up around town, so if U-Square is out of the way, then I can at least say that there’s a branch in downtown Gwangju.

Address: 광주광역시 서구 광천동 49-1 (inside U-Square)
Phone: 062-369-7730
Hours: 11:30AM to 9:30PM
Average Price Range: 10,900 to 22,900 for steak

Essentials with JD # 255 **1930’S CULTURAL EXPERIENCE IN YANGRIM DONG **


The last Wednesday in the month has been designated as Cultural days in Korea where art and culture events often run for free and venues are open till longer.

Tomorrow thus sees the Yangrim-dong 1930’s cultural experience taking place. This includes music, movies and plays set in 1930’s in the historic area of Yangrim-dong as well as a special event held by GFN ‘Journey by Moonlight’ from 7pm. Please dress accordingly as the low tomorrow will be around 11 degrees and this is an evening performance. 

This outdoor performance will be a great opportunity to not only see the historic house of Choi Seung Hyo, which is a heritage space rarely opened to the public but also the opportunity to explore a new part of town and possibly network with others in your community.


The highlight of the evening includes performances by local fusion traditional Korean music group Ryeon, the Park Soo Yong Jazz Quartet, and many more. Furthermore, free refreshments will be provided to visitors as well.

Due to the historical nature of the venue you need to be on the list so email as soon as possible. The Yangrim historical event was launched earlier this year and will go until November 30th. So come out and enjoy and experience the other programs, food and hanok.

For more info visit for more information:

Dress warm



2016 GFN’s Culture Performance Event : JOURNEY BY MOONLIGHT


Join GFN for the 2016 GFN Culture Performance Event, “Journey By Moonlight” in Yangrim-dong.

Wednesday, October 26th at 7 pm, you can explore the story of the Yangrim area at the historic house of Choi Seung Hyo, a unique opportunity to experience a heritage space rarely opened to the public. Also, there will be free refreshments.

Featuring performances by local fusion traditional Korean music group Ryeon, the Park Soo Yong Jazz Quartet, and many more.

If you want to join, please send your name and phone number We will send you a ticket. Tickets are free of charge. Pre-registration is neccesary for participation.

Date: Wednesday, October 26th.
Time: 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Location: Choi Seung Hyo’s House(최승효 가옥), Yangrimdong(양림동)

Bienalle Still.

Bienalle Still


I have been waiting to upload a photo from the recent, and on-going bienalle exhibition. This reluctance was done in part to allow myself adequate chance to photograph more elusive emotions, and not just the place or the work itself. For this year’s iteration, this meant visiting thrice over a six week period. However, I also wanted to provide a photo which was not necessarily newsworthy, but rather, evocative of the spirit of the experience. It is to this sensitivity with which (I hope) the photo above speaks.

In it, we see a young couple standing in front of am oddly-shaped wall sculpture. We cannot see the young woman’s face as she stares at the set of images in front of her. However, her partner reveals a gesture which belies their shared passivity towards the art they encounter. As he looks at an exhibition booklet for information on (one can assume) the artist/artwork in question, the text provides a physical and psychic intermediary with witch to encounter the artwork. As they stand there, the air between them both and the artwork holds a slightly indifferent uncertainty which I, myself also felt in this scene. Often, contemporary art relies on subtle shock value (yes I realize that the prior three words might be a tad oxymoronic, but bear with me here) through material, presentation, or application in order to engage its viewers. However, if forgoing the superficialities of said shock value, modern artwork can come across as largely unapproachable, and therefore unable to engage passers-by long enough to reveal its secrets. Multiple visits to this exhibition tho, have shown me that the best modern artwork is often that which can effectively negotiate these two extremes.

When visiting the Gwangju Bienalle exhibition for the third time the other week, I had in mind to express the experience described above. In order to do that, choosing the film to use seemed a worthy first step. Therefore, deciding to use ultra-grainy black and white film helped to create an atmosphere which was less documentary, and more evocative of an experience. Then, it only took several hours of meandering with senses open and camera ready to provide an image worth sharing.

Honestly, when recalling my visits, few pieces from the exhibition gave me an experience worth remembering. Yet, this is not true of all work. Even now, I can still feel certain pieces which captured an elusive sense of awe, and revealed to me a slightly different way of looking at my surroundings. While the exhibition will still continue for two more weeks, I leave fulfilled.


[Image taken with an Olympus 35sp. It is my first ‘pure’ rangefinder camera, after shooting with SLR’s for most of the past six years. On this day, it was loaded with a roll of Ilford Delta 3200, which accounts for the graininess of the image.]


(Photo and Text by Marty Miller)