Gwangju Blog

News of the Week: December 18, 2014

Defense Ministry Agrees on Relocation of Military Station on Summit of Mt. Mudeung

The Defense Ministry has agreed for the first time on relocating the air force base currently located on the summit of Mt. Mudeung near Cheonwang-bong area.

At a policy discussion meeting held at the Gwangju city council last Friday, representatives from the Defense Ministry said they would agree to the citizens’ demand over the need to relocate the military base in Gwangju.

They added that the ministry is currently reviewing various measures for relocation and for the sell and use of the old and new military base sites.

This marks the first time the Defense Ministry has recognized the need to address the lingering issue over the relocation of air force base in Mt. Mudeung, which has been off-limits for citizens for over 50 years.


50% of the New Residents in the ‘New Dream Cities’ in Jeollanamdo from Capital regions

Half of the new residents to Jeollanamdo and its ‘New Dream Cities’ are reportedly coming from Seoul and other capital regions.

Located in Jangheung and Gokseong at ‘Rohas Town’ and ‘Gangbit Village’, Jeollanamdo’s New Dream cities have been welcoming a surge of incomers to these retirement villages in rural settings.

The province recently conducted a survey among new residents to the villages on their motivation to move into the Jeollanamdo-located retirement villages and results showed that some 54 percent of the new comers are moving from capital regions.

Among them, some 19 percent are from Gwangju, with the rest moving in from other Jeollanamdo areas.

The largest number of newcomers selected ‘Comfortable Post-retirement Life’ as their greatest motivation to move into the areas, with the rest choosing ‘Seeking a New Life’ and ‘Family Health’.

Some 66 percent of the residents said they are satisfied with their life in the retirement villages but wished to be able to enjoy greater amenities in the medical and educational sectors.
Old Urban Areas to be Revitalized in Gwangju, Mokpo and Suncheon

Old urban areas in Gwangju, Mokpo and Suncheon will undergo major refurbishment projects for the revitalization of abandoned and demolished downtown areas.

The national government recently selected a total of eight target cities and in Jeollanamdo, Gwangju’s Dong-gu district, Mokpo, and Suncheon have been chosen for refurbishment of old urban areas.

Upon the recent passage of the refurbishment project by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport in a plenary session, a total of 232.5 billion won will be invested in the three respective municipal governments.

In Gwangju, Chungjang-dong, Dongmyeong-dong, Sansu-dong and Jisan-dong in Dong-gu district will benefit from a total investment of some 50.6 billion won for the major refurbishment of the older parts of the town to improve urban scenery.

In Mokpo, the Mokwon-dong area located in the old downtown area, as well as Hyang-dong and Jungang-dong in Suncheon, will undergo refurbishment, adding tourist parks and streets themed after regional fisheries, specialty dishes in Mokpo, and ecological parks in Suncheon.


39 Innovative Schools to be Opened in Gwangju Next Year

Gwangju Office of Education finalized and released a list of 39 innovative schools to be in operation next year in Gwangju.

A total of 12 new innovative schools will be opened next year and four schools, such as Dongsan Elementary School and Suwan Middle School, have been re-designated as innovative schools after being recognized for their systematic and renovating educational programs.

Innovative schools in Korea were firstly adopted in 2009 to raise the efficiency of public education in elementary, middle, and high schools and promote student-oriented classes instead of the conventional curriculums focusing highly on exams and grades for college admission.

At the innovative schools, students and teachers play important roles in choosing classes and how lectures are carried out and debating classes and after-school curriculums comprise major educational courses for students.

Where to Eat Wednesday: Cabane

It’s funny how easy it is to dismiss certain restaurants due to assumptions. What’s even funnier is discovering that said assumptions were wrong all along, leaving one feeling like a fool for jumping to conclusions without doing any research. This situation has happened to me multiple times, and it’s tragic that the one place that got it the worst was a restaurant in my own neighborhood.


On a cold, rainy day, a few friends of mine and I finally decided to try dinner at Cabane. Despite having lived within walking distance from the restaurant since I first came to Gwangju, I had made it a point to avoid the place due to thinking that it was too expensive. Despite that fear of spending too much money, I had been curious about going since I had first seen its log cabin-like exterior. Since we had just gotten paid and were in somewhat of a celebratory mood, my company and I figured that it couldn’t hurt to splurge just this once.

When we arrived, we were more than thankful for the convenient parking space right next to the restaurant, as it meant less walking in the rain for us. Once we got inside, I quickly forgot about the cold weather outside after taking one look at the warm and cozy interior. The combination of bricks and wood gave the whole place a nice, cottage feel, and all of the seating options looked rather comfortable. The four of us were taken to a table that offered sofas for seats.


As everyone else relaxed, I peeked through the large, sadly untranslated menu. Though everything was written in Korean, being able to simply read made it so much easier to figure out what we’d be having for dinner. As expected, the restaurant specialized in Italian and Korean fare, offering options like different pastas, pizza, steak, and rice dishes. What caught me by surprise was how affordable everything was. If anything, most of the pasta dishes actually cost less compared to the average Italian restaurant in Gwangju. I ended up ordering the 치즈오븐 스파게티 (Cheese Oven Spaghetti) while the others got 까르보나라 (Carbonara), 포크스테이크 (Pork Steak), and 안심스테이크 (Tenderloin Steak).

After we placed our orders, our waitress informed us that our food came with a free glass of red wine or plum tea. I opted for the tea while everyone else gladly took the wine. Soon after, we also received complimentary rolls, soup, and a small salad. Though I enjoyed my sweet tea, the wine drinkers at the table didn’t seem too impressed when they received glasses of cold red wine that apparently tasted more like grape juice. The warm rolls and creamy soup were just what our chilled bodies needed, but the salad itself was a little too sweet, mostly due to its yogurt dressing.

SaladTenderloin Steak

Before long, our food eventually arrived. Being the greedy person I am, I made it a point to try a bite from every plate. The Tenderloin Steak, while cooked well, came covered in a savory sauce that I would have preferred to receive on the side. Though tasty enough on its own, the steamed vegetables on the side were a tad bit cold, which was as bit of an unexpected surprise. The Pork Steak, which was also sauced up, was actually quite good. It came topped with large pieces of onions, mushrooms, and fried shrimp that had been topped with a creamy and lemony sauce. Though the sauce on the pork was a bit on the sweet side, the meat itself was juicy and delicious. Both dishes came with a plate of steamed white rice, which would probably explain why we received kimchi with our pickles.

Pork SteakCarbonara

The creamy Carbonara came cooked with vegetables like mushrooms, broccoli, and lots of onions. As is the case with most Korean cream pastas, the sauce itself was thin and made up of more cream than cheese. I personally could have used a little more sauce, but it still tasted good enough on its own. The Cheese Oven Spaghetti, which probably could have stood to stay in the oven for a few more minutes (only because I like that chewy burnt cheese), was massive. In a deep dish was a pile of spaghetti with tomato sauce that had been topped with cheese and broccoli before being into a melted, tasty dinner. This was probably one of the first few times I finished a pasta dish in Korea and walked away completely full.

Cheese Oven SpaghettiIce Cream

Once we finished our food, our waitress told us that our meals came with dessert, asking us to choose between coffee, tea, and ice cream. Without hesitation, we all screamed for ice cream. What we got was a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a bed of cereal that had been topped with chocolate syrup, cookies, and sprinkles. We all enjoyed our fancy dessert and spent the next few hours chatting it up in our comfy seats, simply enjoying the relaxing atmosphere.

Overall, Cabane surprised and impressed me on multiple levels. The prices were much better than I assumed they would be, despite how classy the restaurant itself was. It was also nice to see that outside of food, the place also served as a bit of a bar and cafe, offering options like juice, milkshakes, bar snacks, cocktails, beer, and wine. Though I’d definitely recommend this easy to find restaurant to anyone looking for a nice date spot, it’s actually one of the few places that could comfortably seat a party of six or more.

Address: 광주 서구 풍암동 1018-1 (across the street from the Pungam Reservoir)
Phone: 062-682-4503
Hours: 11:00AM to 10:00PM
Average Price Range: 12,000 to 14,000 for pasta, 17,000 to 29,000 for steak.

Essentials with JD # 166 **BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE **

Screen Shot 2014-12-16 at 12.09.39 AM

It’s Christmas time

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside

I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside

This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in

So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice

I’ve got to get home – Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there

Say, lend me your coat – It’s up to your knees out there

You’ve really been grand – Thrill when you touch my hand

Why don’t you see – How can you do this thing to me?


Oh dear yes indeed it is cold outside and it is not going to get any warmer at least for another 2 or three months. So prepare and wrap up warm. Temperatures are set to drop this week once again as a cold front moves into the country with Seoul experiencing temperatures of up to -15. Gwangju will on the other hand hover around the -5 degree for lows but with added wind chill it will feel colder.

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So, try investing in some great layers to keep you warm and toasty as you prepare for Christmas 2014 and there are tons of bargains to be had. You just need to know where. For those who are on a budge and want to save some money, SPAO at NC wave shopping mall downtown are having great specials on Parka’s and hoodies that will most definitely keep you warm and fashionable. Sale continues till 21st of this month so be sure to check it out and stay warm.

NC wave is located near Geumnamro 4-ga station – walk towards Gwangju Cheon/River and you can’t miss it. SPOA is located on the entrance level.

 Don’t freeze and Season’s Greetings




Gwangju Dongbu Police Station’s Foreign Liaison

Lee Hye-gyoung at Dongbu Police Station - Photo by Joe Wabe

Lee Hye-gyoung at Dongbu Police Station – Photo by Joe Wabe

Lee Hye-gyoung possesses the rank of “gyeongsa” – that can be translated as sergeant. She’s one of the 15 officers in charge of protecting Gwangju’s foreigner population. Don-gu alone is home to over 1,200 foreign residents, as well as multiple expat-run businesses where the rest of the city’s English-speaking expats typically gather.

Lee joined the police force after majoring in geology at university. Inspired by an English club at her alma mater and wanting to broaden her way of thinking, she joined the police force primarily to meet a greater variety of people.

Lee regularly gives presentations about public safety and the finer points of Korean law to foreign students, English teachers and migrants. One particular responsibility she has, is the production and distribution of police literature in the form of posters, pamphlets and notices, informing foreign residents about laws and regulation that may be slightly different from their home countries but which can get them in trouble nonetheless.

If you are an international resident of Gwangju, she encourages you to contact her with any questions or concerns. Her e-mail address is



What to do this weekend: Sparkly Lights Edition

Photo courtesy of Boseong Green Tea Plantation.

Photo courtesy of Boseong Green Tea Plantation.

The Boseong Green Tea Plantation is having a Light festival Dec. 12-Jan. 25. The rolling fields of Boseong are brightened with Christmas lights and themed light exhibits such as an enormous Christmas tree, the Love Galaxy Light Tunnel, the Green Tea Themed Street, and more. Admission is free for the festival, and the hours are Mon.-Thurs. 6-10 P.M., And Fri. and Sat. 6P.M.-Midnight. There are special extended hours until Midnight on Christmas Eve, and on New Year’s Eve, the lights will stay on all night until 7 A.M. the next day. For directions, check out the Visit Korea website in English.

The Daein Nighttime Art Market near downtown will re-open for the public once again Dec. 12 and 13 from 7 p.m. to midnight. The Market sells and exhibits various artistic goods and cultural items, as well as serving street food and offering music performances. This event will be themed after a ‘Special Gift in the Holiday Season’ with a series of street performances by local percussion, choir and orchestra groups in Gwangju. In addition, Hanpyeong Gallery located inside the Daein Market will showcase a special free exhibition for visitors. Stop by the T. House while you are there.

Photo courtesy of Gwangju Cinema.

Photo courtesy of Gwangju Cinema.

Gwangju Cinema will host a special ‘Chronicle of Theatre and Movie Project’ Dec. 12-17 showcasing 8 movies selected from the 1930s to 2000s. Representing each decade, a total of 8 movies that were highly acclaimed will be showcased during the special exhibition period. The price of tickets is set at 4,000 won. Movies to be shown will include a 1945 film, Brief Encounter, 1980’s Raging Bull and a 1974 film, China Town. For more information, and a show schedule, check out the venue Facebook page or the official website.

Photo courtesy of Gwangju Culture and Art Center.

Photo courtesy of Gwangju Culture and Art Center.

The Gwangju Municipal Symphony Orchestra will showcase two concerts, on Dec. 12 at 7 P.M. and Dec. 30 at 7:30 P.M. at Gwangju Culture and Art Center. In addition, the Gwangju Boys and Girls Choir will perform ‘Merry Christmas in Love’ on Dec. 13 at 7 P.M., singing Christmas carols for the season. For pricing for the various shows, check out the venue website. Visit Korea handy English listing. For directions, check out this handy Visit Korea website in English.

Don’t miss the last two performances of the Gwangju Performance Project’s production of “Proof” at the Gwangju Art Hall downtown Dec. 13 at 3 and 8 p.m. The production is a drama, and suggested for ages 14 and up. Korean translation will also be provided (한국어 통역 제공). To inquire about reserving tickets, send an email to For more information about a list of cast members, ticket pricing and special package deals, check out the GPP website.

There is a 12 pubs of Christmas event Dec. 13 from 7 P.M.- 4 A.M. It all kicks off with an hour at German Bar, with a half hour spent at each of the successive locations, and a challenge to be completed at each venue. For more information, including the total list of bars to visit, check out the Facebook event page.

The First Alleyway restaurant will be hosting a Smash Brothers and Mario Kart 8 Game Greatness tournament Dec. 13 at 8 P.M. For full competition rules and how to register, check out the Facebook event page.

Photo courtesy of Yoga Yogi.

Photo courtesy of Yoga Yogi.

The Yoga Yogi is hosting a Year End Potluck at her studio Dec. 14 from 5-8 P.M. Everyone welcome, please bring a dish to share. It’s a great chance to check out the facilities, and learn more about yoga and our resident Yogi. For more information and for location directions, check out the Facebook event page.

Speakeasy will be hosting The Big Fat Sports Quiz of the Year on Dec. 14 from 7-10 P.M. It’s time to test your knowledge of 2014 sports trivia and events. The competition involves teams of 4, two quizmasters. The entry fee is 5,000 won per person, and prizes for the winners and other attendees will be announced soon. For more information, check out the Facebook event page.