Gwangju Blog

Essentials with JD # 157 **MAKE, EAT & SAY KIMCHI**

One of the most revered and fun festivals of the Autumn season opens this weekend and you can get a hands on experience in making Korea’s most beloved staple food : KIMCHI!

Running from this Saturday, 4th October to next Wednesday is the World Kimchi Festival at JungAe Park right at the Bienalle grounds where you can experience and taste the majesty of this cultural masterpiece.


It is not secret that the variety of Kimchi’s are endless and each differ from region to region depending on the vegetables used as well as the seasonings that the maker wishes to add. On top of this each maker has his or her own secret ingredient which makes Kimchi such a great dish to sample and try because you are bound to find the one that you like. From spicy, mild, saltier versions and even white Kimchi with no peppers at all. If you ever wanted to get your fill on samples and try amazing dishes using Kimchi then this weekend is your chance.

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There is also a whole bunch of activities to compliment the festival including the Amazing race with tons of prizes and you can also catch one of your friends possibly singing in the GFN Kpop singing contest. Check the schedule below and plan a great long weekend right here in Gwangju.

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You can find more info on their site below


Say Kimchi,




Gwangju – Seoul to Cooperate in Developing Kimchi and Kimchi Making Culture

The city of Gwangju and the capital city of Seoul have agreed on developing joint cultural exchange programs using Gwangju-produced Kimchi ensure a successful hosting of the Gwangju World Kimchi Culture Festival set to be held from October 4th to the 6th as well as the Seoul Kimjang Festival in November.

Representatives from both cities met in July to strengthen mutual cooperation and find various measures to promote the entrance of Korea’s most representative and traditional food, Kimchi, into overseas markets.

To this end, Gwangju and Seoul will cooperate in a total of 8 projects for the effective promotion of Kimchi through the hosting Kimchi-themed festivals that will be carried out throughout this year.

Gwangju and Seoul will also promote each city’s Kimchi-themed local festival at their respective festivals through various promotional leaflets, media advertising, and signboards.

In addition, the Seoul Kimjang Festival organizers will take part in the Gwangju World Kimchi Festival to promote the Kimchi-making culture of Kimjang in its main exhibition hall.

From Gwangju, a total of three Kimchi masters selected from the previous Gwangju Kimchi festival will showcase their Kimchi making skills at the Seoul Kimjang Festival along with a Kimchi Bus team whose members will travel across Korea and the world to promote Kimchi.

Gwangju and Seoul also promised to develop and push ahead with various exchange and cooperative projects for the revitalization of the domestic Kimchi industry and the globalization of Kimchi culture in the world.


A 400 Year Old Friend

Zelkova Tree monument, Sogu, Gwangju photo by Joe Wabe

Zelkova Tree monument, Sogu, Gwangju photo by Joe Wabe

The main reason we like trees is because they are both beautiful and majestic. No two are alike. Different species display a seemingly endless variety of shapes, forms, textures and vibrant colors.

Even individual trees vary their appearance throughout the course of the year as the seasons change. The strength, long lifespan and regal stature of trees give them a monument-like quality. Most of us react to the presence of trees with a pleasant, relaxed, comfortable feeling.

Standing firm, like a king in front of his people, in the heart of Gwangju (Sogu, Yodok-dog) with his magnificent presence above the other village houses; it is easy to spot a 400 years old Zelkova Serrata tree.  Its important community value, made the city declare it a monument in 1982. This amazing life form rises 18 meters above the ground with a 4.4 meter trunk and provides the local village with a strong and guardian-like presence.

The  Zelkova serrata tree (Korean: 느티나무 neutinamu) is a species of flowering plant native to Japan, Korea, eastern China and Taiwan. According to statistics data investigated by Korea Forest Service in 1989, the most numbers of old trees over 500 years were Zelkova serrata, while more than 10 old trees have been registered as Natural monuments of Korea.

Sitting by this majestic tree, and thinking about the amazing history that lies behind it, is overwhelming. How many of your childhood memories include the trees in your backyard or old neighborhood? The sentimental value of a special tree is simply immeasurable.

The 2014 Gwangju World Kimchi Festival is Just Around the Corner!

Kimchi Festival Poster




1ST PRIZE (1 TEAM): 300,000 WON
2ND PRIZE (2 TEAMS): 200,000 WON
3RD PRIZE (2 TEAMS): 100,000 WON
4TH PRIZE (2 TEAMS): 50,000 WON


Spaces are limited for 50 teams so send in registration right now.

To sign up as a team, you will need team of 3 to 5 people!

Discover wonders of the Kimchi and learn all about Korean traditional culture.

You can download the registration form on here and email the form to

Weekend of September 26: Culture Edition

Photo courtesy of USqare Cultural Center

Photo courtesy of USqare Cultural Center

The culture complex at USquare has some great performances and art exhibits going on right now. First up is a Korean drama called All About my Wife. This performance started Sept.19 and will continue through Oct. 19 in the Hall Place Garden. The recommended age for this event is 15 and up and seats are priced at 30,000 won. For more information call 062-360-8437 or check out the website.

The Kumho Gallery at USquare currently has a high school painting art exhibition on display from now until Sept. 30. The gallery is open from 10 A.M.-7:30 P.M. For more information call 062-520-8835 or check out the website. The admission to the exhibit is free.

The Gwangju Asia Content and Entertainment Fair (ACE) is at to the Kimdaejung Convention Center until Sept. 28. There will be exhibits and seminars on a wide range of industry areas such as broadcasting, games, animation and more. Hours for the exhibition are 10 A.M.-5 P.M., and admission is 5,000 won for adults, children are free. For more information or directions, you can consult their handy English website.

Club Bohemian is hosting their latest concert series at their downtown club on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 P.M. Your 20,000 won entry fee covers an all-accoustic set called The New Beginning with three different bands sharing the stage for the night. For more information and directions check out their website.

Photo courtesy of Cafe Bohemian.

Photo courtesy of Cafe Bohemian.

Calling all geeks! It’s finally here! Alleycon 2014 takes over Gwangju this weekend. Starting with a casual meet and greet at the First Alleyway restaurant on Friday, Sept. 26 at 7 P.M., the next day is when the geekiness really sets in, with an all-day event out at Kwangju Women’s University from 9 A.M.- 8 P.M. There will be role play games, video game competitions, board games galore, and a dedicated art room so you can try your hand at being creative. There will be vendors selling art, books, food and drinks, and a photo stand so folks can get pics with their friends. The 20,000 won entry fee is more than covered with the deals and discount coupons to local vendors and restaurants include in your registration bags. Pre-registration ends today, but there are still a few walk-in spots available. For more information check out the Facebook group.

Photo courtesy of Alleycon 2014.

Photo courtesy of Alleycon 2014.

This week’s GIC talk is on Saturday, Sept. 27 at 3 P.M. is The Art of being Fully Human, with Dana Han, a professor from Chonnam University. She will share wisdom and advice from the book Living, Loving, Learning with Leo Buscaglia.

The 2014 Asia Culture Forum started in 2006 to join together many Asian countries to encourage cooperation and competition to strengthen all the member countries. This year’s event will take place Oct. 1-2 at the Convention Hall at Chonnam University, with the theme of Cultural Prosperity and Mutual Growth of Asia. Many cultural experts from 12 countries will participate. For more information about the event, check out the website. To pre-register for the event, check out this link.