Gwangju Blog

What to Do This Weekend: Chungjang Mortified Caricature Edition


Poster courtesy of Chungjang Festival Committee.

Poster courtesy of Chungjang Festival Committee.

The 11th Annual Chungjang Festival is happening now downtown! There’s lots of food booths, vendors selling art and crafts, musical entertainment and more! So wander on downtown near the Asia Culture Center and see what it’s all about!

These are the final days to get in on the Kia Tigers baseball raffle to benefit Adopt-a-Child for Christmas – Gwangju. Ticket sales will end on Oct. 18, so get your tickets while you can! Tickets are 1,000 for 500 won, 5 for 2,000 won, and an arm’s length for 5,000 won. Check out the Facebook event page for details on which players autographs you can get and where they will next be selling tickets.

Speakeasy is hosting their first-ever storytelling contest on Oct. 9 starting at 10 P.M. Haul out your most embarrassing story from your anxiety closet that is fit for public consumption, and practice your delivery, because the Mortified event is a contest. There is a 5,000 won cover for the event, but participants get their entry fee back. Top three stories of the night will win all the prizes, as well as the adoration of the voting audience. All proceeds go to benefit the Adopt a Child For Christmas – Gwangju charity. Check out the event page for more information.

Graphic courtesy of Gwangju Art Class.

Graphic courtesy of Gwangju Art Class.

Jen Lee will be leading a Gwangju Art Class on Caricatures Oct. 10 from 12:30-3 P.M. at the GIC downtown. Come learn the basics of how to draw silly and exaggerated pictures of your friends. This is a beginner class that will focus on the basics and help you find your own style. Cost is 5,000 won, with all materials provided—but bring your own if you want to experiment! For more information check out the event page.

The Gwangju Cycling Club has planned a trip Oct. 11 to Naejangsan by way of Damyang, with a short hike at the destination. The total distance is around 140k, so this trip is a challenging one. For more information, check out the Facebook event page.

Zumba with Cailin has its October schedule up. Join in on the fun Oct. 14, 21, and 28 from 7-8 P.M. at the GIC downtown. The cost is 5,000 won. For more information check out the event page.

Photo courtesy of Tequilaz.

Photo courtesy of Tequilaz.

Tequilaz is hosting its regular Wednesday night open mic Oct. 14 from 9:30 P.M. – 12:30 A.M. Here’s a chance to join in on the fun and take the mic to sing and play music.  Newcomers are welcome! As always, come and be a part of the audience and see what talent is on offer. For more information, check out the Facebook event page.

The exciting and delicious 21st Annual GIC Day takes place Oct. 18 from 11 A.M.-5 P.M.downtown at the May 18 Democracy Square at the Asian Culture Center. There will be loads of international food booths, community and culture tables with art and activities, a talent show, and a flea market. This event is always the highlight of the year. Get there early before all the best food is gone!  For more information check out the GIC Facebook page.








People You Should Know…in Gwangju: William Mulligan

Photo Courtesy of William Mulligan

Photo Courtesy of William Mulligan

This week’s person has been around for awhile.  You’ve also likely seen him out and about but didn’t want to bother him…probably because he radiates “cool”.  Seriously, this man is a huge supporter of the community and works very hard to improve education through KOTESOL.    How about I let him introduce himself?  Here, in his own words, is Bill Mulligan…a person you should known in Gwangju.

How long have you been in Gwangju?

I have lived in Gwangju for over six years, and in Korea for over a decade.


 What do you do here in Gwangju?

I teach English at a university.


 What did you do before you took up your current job?

Back home in America I wasn’t exactly sure about what I wanted to do after I graduated.  I took the first job that came along-which was retail. I did that for about two years before I realized that I needed to get away.


What has been your most rewarding achievement?

Being a father would have to be my answer. When I first came to Korea I had no idea that I would end up with a family of my own. Everyone told me that it wouldn’t be easy, and it hasn’t, but there would be nothing I would trade the experience for.


What do you do for fun?

I like to travel, write, and go to the movies. Here in Gwangju I enjoy going to baseball games, local festivals, and Thursday night trivia at Speakeasy.


 What’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done?

This might sound like a cop out answer, but I would say coming to Korea. I had never lived anywhere besides the state of Florida before I came here. To move half way around the world, and to live in a culture that is vastly different from my own has got to be the most interesting thing I have ever done!


Any family? Pets?

Go KIA!!!

Go KIA!!!

My wife and I have been married for ten years now. Our son will turn nine in December. Most of my family in America lives in Florida. I try to get home every two years or so to see them.


What is something you wish you could do?

I wish I had some sort of artistic talent. I love to look at photographs, but I can’t take a good picture. I would really like to learn more about photography.


Any embarrassing tales for public consumption?

Being born and raised in Florida I am not used to walking on ice. My first winter here in Korea I was really cautious about where I walked. Then one day in late February, when it was warm out, I completely missed a patch of ice. I slipped and landed right on my backside-in front of a whole group of Koreans.


Is there any person you admire?

Now that I’m a parent, I admire and respect my own parents for what they had to go through putting up with me! I also admire the people in Gwangju who give back to the community. They are the reason why this is such a great place to live.


 Any personal code you live by?

In general I try to treat people the same way I would like to be treated. Since there are so many people from different parts of the world here in Gwangju we don’t always agree on things, but I still respect them as a person.


What’s your “perfect” day in Gwangju?

My perfect day would begin with breakfast with my family. I would relax the rest of the morning watching some television, and then spend the afternoon with my wife and son out and about in Gwangju. We would go to a baseball game in the evening with friends-and of course eat some delicious fried chicken. To end the night I would have drinks with friends at The Alleyway, or Speakeasy (most likely both!).

Selfie Courtesy of William Mulligan

Selfie Courtesy of William Mulligan

Is there any place in Gwangju you recommend?

There are so many great local festivals here in Gwangju. There is the Chungjangro festival coming up, and next month is the GIC International festival. These are great ways to get out and see your community. Also, the First Alleyway-because it has the best Western food in Gwangju!


What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their life?

Try nakji (live octopus). The look on the faces of your friends and family back home make it totally worth it.

Any advice you want to give the people of Gwangju?

Even if you’re only here for a year, get involved in the Gwangju community. There is something here for all tastes! You’ll make great memories and, friends for life.

Where to Eat Wednesday: 태백산

When people think of meat and Korean cuisine, everyone seems to jump right into grilling and BBQ. While all that is good stuff, I’m finding that there’s a serious lack of attention to other methods of cooking meat in Korean food. As someone who likes her meat tender and juicy, I’m a fan of having my protein braised, especially if the bone is still present. My experience at the following restaurant has only confirmed this preference of mine.


I went with some coworkers to 태백산 (Taebaeksan) for lunch, as we had grown fairly tired of our usual spots. Though it was a little further away than I was used to from places I’m familiar with, I was excited to try something new.

When we arrived, the place was already quite busy for lunch. Luckily, we were still able to snag a table for five without waiting too long. The interior was simple, yet thoughtful, especially with the wall of locks that had been filled by couples, friends, and anyone else who wanted to leave their mark.


As I walked to my seat, I saw that the only menus available were the ones hanging on the walls. Like many Korean restaurants, the selection was fairly limited while most of the attention was placed on the house special. The main item on the menu, which was available in lunch and dinner portions, was the 매운쪽갈비찜 (maeun jjokgalbijjim), which is basically spicy, slow cooked ribs. Other options included similarly spicy options like 제육볶음 (jeyook bokkeum), better known as stir-fried pork, and 두부김치 (dubu kimchi), which is a simple dish consisting of tofu and cooked kimchi. Since we were there for lunch, we went for the 양푼쪽갈비 (yangpoon jjokgalbi) lunch special, which came with rice, sides, and slow cooked ribs.

LocksBraised Ribs

After we ordered, we were quickly given water, rice, and a bunch of home made sides. I wasn’t particularly wild about all the pickled vegetables at my table, but the little I ate tasted nice and fresh. A portable gas range was also placed on our table in preparation for the star of our meal.

Before long, the gas range at our table was turned on, and out came a pot filled with ribs, glass noodles, kimchi, and vegetables, all brought together by a spicy, soup-like sauce. Though the meat was mostly done, we still needed to wait for our noodles and onions to cook down some. This turned out to be a little more difficult than I thought, as the aroma was intoxicating, and my tummy was rumbling. There’s just something about pork cooked in marinade that I can’t ever seem to get enough of, and this pot was filled with so many things I love.

Though it felt like it took forever for the noodles to soften, the wait was ultimately worth it. I had to be extra careful when pulling my portion of the ribs out of the pot and onto my plate, as the meat was tender enough to collapse under the slightest amount of pressure. Honestly speaking, when it comes to ribs, slow cooked is the way to go for me. Why fight to take meat off the bone when you can have it slide right off? The noodles had also soaked up a fair amount of the marinade, making each chewy bite spicy and delicious. The kimchi and onions added a nice, fresh contrast to the dish, but it was pretty clear that the meat and noodles were the best parts. The only downside seemed to be that there wasn’t nearly enough to make everyone at the table full and happy. Towards the end, I made sure to save some rice so I could spoon over that delicious sauce, which was now full of porky goodness. The combination of the two was the perfect way to end the meal.

SidesAll Mixed Up

As we walked away from 태백산, we all agreed that this place was quite good. Though the servings could have been a little larger, we got a pretty good deal for the price we paid. Due to the small space, I certainly wouldn’t recommend this to large parties. We were lucky enough to fit as many people as we did. Also, considering how dinner servings range from 12,000 to 15,000 won, I would definitely recommend this place for lunch before telling anyone to go for dinner, if not for the price alone.

Address: 광주광역시 남구 양림동 72-4 (right next to Hakgang Elementary School)
Phone: 010-5877-3529
Hours: 11:00AM to 11:00PM
Average Price Range: 6,000 per person (for lunch)

Essentials with JD # 205 **SING AND WIN YOUR SHARE OF 2 MILLION WON**

k-pop contest (배너)

With under 2 months left before the end of the year you might be thinking about where you will be sunning yourself this cold cold winter. And how much money you might have in your budget to those destinations. Time to get saving! 


Well, festival season is here and GFN is once again offering some great options for everyone out there to win loads of money.


Do you like to sing? Or better yet can you sing? Or do you have a bunch of friends who love belting out Korean songs at the Noraebang? Well then you might just be walking away with 500 000 won as the first prize for the

KPop singing contest that will be held at Wolchoolsan Chrysanthemum Festival 2015.


All you have to do is put together a fun performance of your favorite Kpop song, new or old and enter. Preliminary rounds happen throughout this month and then the Final is October 31st.


Solo, duets and groups are all welcome! The more the merrier. Just check the information on the poster and register your team now! Remember you have a long weekend coming up to think about it and start practicing!


As mentioned the first prize is 500 000 won but the total prize money to be given away to finalists will be part of 2 million won total. So chances are high that you and or your team will walk away with some prize money!


Also happening later this month is a great event at the 22nd World Kimchi Festival with more money to be given away. Check or for updates.






Rays to Come

WEEK 21 - Rays to come

The photo blog this week moves away from its recent philosophical moorings, and offers up an example of local visual culture. The season has begun to change, with mornings and evenings bringing with it the brisk cooling winds and heavy, radiant rays which mark the beginning of autumn. When walking the streets during these hours, it is not uncommon to notice the drying of produce such as ginseng, chilies, in the coming weeks, persimmon, or in this case, fish.

The contrasts between the hard, straight lines of the building’s shadows and the organic lines of the fishy flock help to center the eye on the fish. The rightward-facing fish also imbue a sense of directional movement. As a result, one can imagine this as taking place underwater, with the sun’s rays penetrating the depths as the flock of small fish quickly dart through the scene, seeking shelter in the shadows.

The drying of edibles for winter is such an integral part of people’s lives in this part of the country, or even this part of the globe, that it seems something which is taken for granted, especially after encountering such sights on a regular basis. However, the relationship between a natural phenomenon, the sun’s rays, and human intention to preserve has an especially touching appeal to the photographer, or casual humanist. Using such warmth seems to signify a longing to capture and ingest that energy, those long golden, receding rays. It shows the need to use them for nourishing not just the body, but the soul in expectation for those long, golden rays which signify rebirth, and the start of a new year.
*Photo taken using a aging Nikon FE2 with a 50mm 1.4F lens and Ilford Delta 400

(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)