Gwangju Blog

Essentials with JD # 268 ** SEOLLAL – LUNAR NEW YEAR 2017**


Incase you are staying home or traveling around the country here are some updates for the Lunar New Year.

Between January 27th to 30th and February 10tht o 11th a total of 24 cultural events are scheduled at a number of local organizations and facilities.

The Gwangju National Museum will host various folk games such as yutnori, top-spinning and the Korean traditional game of hakeysack, known as jegi.The National Gwangju Science Center will remain open during the holidays to host a variety of experience programs.

Individual neighbourhoods including Dong-gu’s Greenway Park, Shinam village in Seo-gu District, and Nam-gu’s Dukam Village will all play host to traditional festivities.

If you are travelling outside of the city the newly opened SRT trains will be discounted by 40% for the long weekend. Gwangju Songjeong Station to Suseo, Seoul will cost just 24,000 won and takes about 2 hours.  Check out for more – the site is only in Korean so you might want to ask a friend for some help.

For those wanting to take the bus – be warned traffic jams are usual but Kumho Bus Lines has added an extra 2,800 express buses and 900 non-stop buses for the holiday. Journeys out of Gwangju to Seoul could take around 3-5 hours on average depending on time of departure.

The best way is to download the Kobus app to check ticket availability in real time or visit their website.  


Take care and stay warm,



(News first appeared on


Surprise, Surprise.

Surprise surprise.


This week, the photo blog reveals its monthly street photography segment. Usually occurring at the beginning of each month, this image was delayed due to the holiday and year-end ruminations several weeks ago. The weather has finally turned towards that familiar dry chill the past week, and thus the ‘street’ for the photo above rests within the mirrored innards of a downtown Diaso. Toasty and oh so well lit, one only has to endure the rampant onslaught of K-pop ballads to enjoy a brief respite from the cold outside. Such was the trade-off two weeks prior when entering into the shop above.

Shot on 3200 iso film, one can easily notice the graininess in this image. However, such sensitivity to light also allows for heightened contrast between the central figure and her surroundings. In this case, a young woman shops with her partner for some discount kitchen accessory which until this particular 1/500th of a second, she likely did not know she needed. However, there is something enticing about the hall of white reflectivity created by this shop and many others like it. Walking into the kitchen section is to be aggressively seduced by a thousand and one gleaming surfaces. Who knew a Chinese-made glass kimchi-container could bewitch one so.

On a less entrancing note, if you happen to find yourself shooting in such spaces, tread gratefully. For, while strange beasts, such shops warm can warm the photographer’s soul in ways a two thousand won hot-pack never could.


[Photo taken with a Contax T2 shooting Ilford Delta 3200. This is essentially a 1600iso film pushed one stop. Either way, for this image the subjective dirtiness of the grain contrasted well with the projection of ‘purity’ at work within this designed shopping space.]


(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)




What to Do This Weekend: Skating, Live Music, and a House Party!

Hello Gwangju!

Are you ready for the weekend? Well, let’s see what you can do in the following days!

Thursday, January 19th

Courtesy of the Gwangju Blog

Courtesy of the Gwangju Blog

You still have time to enjoy ice skating at City Hall! The rink is open from 10: a.m. to 5:40 p.m. on the weekdays, and open until 8:20 p.m. on the weekends and holidays.  You can get to City Hall by taking buses 01, 16, 22, 25, 38, 45, 46, 50, 62, 63, 64, and 518. You can also go to the Gwangju City website for more details as well. Remember, the rink will be open until the end of the month. So head on out to City Hall and enjoy some skating today!


Friday, January 20th

Courtesy of Billy Carter

Courtesy of Billy Carter

Korean rock trio Billy Carter will be performing its first show in Gwangju tonight. They will be performing at Club Nevermind, with Jeonju based 57 opening up for them. Gwangju is one of the stops on a 6 city tour for the band. Tickets are 15,000 in advanced, and 20,000 at the door. For more info about ordering tickets, please follow this link here (link is in Korean). If you would like to know more about the band, you can read about them in this article from the Korea Times. The opening band 57 played a terrific set at Speakeasy awhile back, so make sure you get there to see them as well. Special thanks to Ana Traynin for the heads up about the show!


Saturday, January 21st

This Saturday night Loft 28 will be hosting another one of their great house parties. As usual there will be no cover, and you can also enjoy free shots at certain times during the night. The DJs at Loft will also be playing your favorite music too. There’s always something happening at Loft on Saturdays, so check it out yourself and have a good time! The party begins at 11 p.m., and if you want more info, please go to their Facebook page. Don’t forget to get there early and enjoy the great food that they serve.


Sunday, January 22nd

Courtesy of Gwangju Animal Shelter Volunteering

Courtesy of Gwangju Animal Shelter Volunteering

Every Sunday a dedicated group of volunteers heads to a local shelter so dogs can be walked and played with. If you are interested and would like to go and help them out, then go to the Facebook event page for more information. You can also find details on their main Facebook page about how you can purchase one of their 2017 calendars for charity!

The Gwangju Performance Project (GPP) will be holding their monthly meeting today. They will also be holding elections for leadership positions for the upcoming year. This meeting is open to the public, so if you’ve been thinking about getting more involved in the community, then this is your chance! The meeting will begin at noon at the GIC. For more details, and directions to the GIC, please go to the Facebook event page here.

Where to Eat Wednesday: Loft 28

Though it doesn’t happen often, there are times when I am truly surprised by a place that I had weird misconceptions about for whatever reasons. While perception may be reality in some cases, there will be times I’m dead wrong and walk away humbled. Luckily, I’m usually walking away with a satisfied belly and an appreciation for a new experience.


I made my first visit to Loft 28 a few weeks back after being invited to try the food by Craig, the face of the place. I was a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even know that this cross between a restaurant, bar, and club had a regular menu, which was mostly why I had never gone before. Despite my ignorance, I had become familiar with the many events and specials taking place through Facebook advertisements.


A few friends and I arrived on a quiet weeknight for dinner. The establishment wasn’t too hard to find, especially with its bright sign that was easy to view from block away. Once we made the climb upstairs, I was instantly charmed to see that one of those restaurant call bells had been fashioned to resemble a doorbell, really driving that concept of visiting a home, well, home. We were greeted by Craig and Duchess, his beautiful and well-behaved dog, who I’ve been told only hangs around on slower nights. Once seated, I may have been too distracted by puppy time before getting into review mode. Thankfully, I was in the company of patient people.

When it came time to finally check out the menu, my attention was immediately drawn to two main features: Gourmet Submarine Sandwiches and Jamaican Cuisine. As those are two food options I’m not used to seeing in this city, I was excited. The sandwich options included Cuban (pork shoulder), King Richard (cold cuts), and Miss Joyce (tuna) and came in two different sizes (28cm and 56cm). For Jamaican cuisine, there was a choice between a Jerk Chicken Dinner and 1 KG Jerk Chicken. The other menu options included appetizers like Loft 28 Fried Chicken & Tenders and Loft 28 Chili Nachos, and there was even Hummus for vegetarian guests. Though I don’t drink alcohol, I was drawn to the drink menu by more unique offerings like the Espresso Martini an the Jamaican Rum Punch. After receiving some recommendations, we ordered the Chili Nachos, the 56cm Cuban, and a Jerk Chicken Dinner. I also got the Loft 28 Chai Latte, as I was craving something warm to drink.

Lost 28 Chili NachosLoft 28 Chai Latte

After we placed our order, things got busy in the kitchen while my friends and I went back to doting on one of the sweetest dogs I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Time flew by while our food was being prepped, but the relaxing atmosphere combined with nice music made it easy to chill without feeling any sort of rush or pressure.

The first dish to arrive was the Loft 28 Chili Nachos, which came topped with cheese and jalapeños (these cost extra). As someone who has developed trust issues with anything claiming to be chili on this side of the world, I was impresssed to see that this chili had been made with hefty chunks of meat instead of small amounts of the ground stuff that had been stretched out with too much sauce that I had grown used to receiving. More importantly, this stuff had heat. The spices were bold and held up well against the chips, cheese, jalapeños, and even the extra hot sauce I put on top of all that. I also sipped on my Loft 28 Chai Latte during this part of the meal, which was nice and creamy, but seemed to lack some of the necessary to spices make it truly authentic.

Cuban SandwichEspresso Martini

Just as soon as we finished inhaling our nachos, we received our Cuban, which actually came cut in two for easier handling. As much as I wanted to dive into my portion of this long sub, there was apparently one more step left to finish this already delicious looking sandwich. Before I knew it, a blowtorch had been lit at my table and was being used to toast up the top of the lightly buttered bread. It was definitely fun to watch, and that extra heat really helped bring out those lovely, toasted brown marks that I love to see on my warm sandwiches. Now, the description of the sandwich said it was made with tender pork shoulder, ham, onions, dill pickles, Swiss cheese, and mustard, but it did nothing to describe just how flavorful this whole thing was. The pork was the star, as it was juicy and had been marinated with something that made it wonderfully tangy and delicious. The marinade had made the meat a little pink, which was a surprise until I was thoroughly assured that everything was properly cooked. Honestly, I could have eaten an entire plate of this pork on its own and had a good night. Having it in a sandwich with other ingredients that elevated it made it a great evening.

Jerk Chicken DinnerMango Passion

The last of our dishes to arrive was the Jerk Chicken Dinner, which came with a healthy serving of chicken, some shrimp fried rice, and a simple salad. I knew from the aroma of the chicken alone that I would soon be falling in love. One bite of that spicy, beautifully seasoned protein, and my assumptions became a reality. Each bite was a succulent flavor bomb that had the perfect amount of heat and smokiness that could make even the blandest part of the chicken into something lovely. It should be noted that Craig is actually from Jamaica and that the spices used in this chicken are sent over by his mother. It really doesn’t get anymore legit than that. The simple shrimp fried rice offered a nice and savory contrast that my friends and I found addictive, and the salad helped cool things down while giving us a different texture to an otherwise soft dish.

Overall, the food combined with the service at Loft 28 was lovely. We finished off with some drinks (I got a virgin cocktail) and had fun simply chatting as the hours slipped away like nothing. Though I will admit that the prices here can be a little steep, especially when compared to the many other restaurants and bars in the area, nothing quite beats that feeling of comfort that can only be achieved in such a welcoming and relaxed setting. While this place is open to anyone and everyone, I would highly recommend checking social media to see what sort of events or deals may be going on before making a visit. Quieter types may not be interested in trying to have a meal in the middle of Open Mic Night, and more adventurous types may want to learn some moves at a Latin Dance Class. It’s always good to be prepared. There are also escape rooms which can be played in Korean, English, or a blend of both. Just be sure to make a reservation before showing up for one of those.

Address: 광주광역시 북구 용봉동 157-20 3층 (right next to Yongbong Park)
Phone: 010-8470-1221
Hours: 5:00PM to 2:00AM
Average Price Range: 15,000 per person for food

Essentials with JD # 267 ** 1 MONTH RADIO HOSTING OPPORTUNITY **


GFN is searching for new talent to host a radio show project where you will get to be the host of your own show for 1 month. The DJ will change every month, so the odds are in your favor.


If chosen, you could be on air for 1 month from 9 – 10am, Monday – Saturday starting from 20th March 2017, and all you need for this amazing opportunity is a unique personality and an excellent command of written and spoken English.


Anyone can apply – regardless of nationality and age – so check below for further info and get your application in ASAP.

Download the application here :




The first audition for GFN Listener DJ will be launched on February 25 at the GFN studios.

You can be an official GFN DJ for one-month music program.

No Experience necessary and all applicants will be considered regardless of age or nationality.

Great English skills are a must.

To sign up, please send your application form to

Application deadline is February 17.


GFN에서 “청취자 라디오 진행자”를 공개 모집합니다.


GFN 음악 프로그램 진행에 관심이 있고 

진행에 무리가 없는 영어실력을 갖춘 분이라면

나이, 국적, 경력에 관계 없이 누구나 지원하실 수 있습니다.


오디션을 통해 선발된 진행자는

한 달 동안 음악 프로그램을 책임지고 이끌어가게 됩니다.

매월 새롭게 선정된 청취자 진행자가 출연해서

지역에서 살아가는 소소한 일상과 음악을 소개합니다.

청취자 여러분의 많은 관심과 참여 부탁드립니다.


Application Period : from the 1st of Feb to 17th of Feb(6PM)

How to apply : please download the application form from the GFN homepage and send it to

First Announcement of the Qualifiers : 21st of Feb

Audition Date : Saturday, 25th of Feb

Final Announcement : Monday, 5PM, 27th of Feb

First Radio Show : Monday, 9AM ~ 10AM, 20th of March, 2017

Host(DJ) fee will be paid under the GFN rule after one-month show. (TBD)

Contact : 062-460-0941 /