Gwangju Blog


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This week is going to be fun fun fun with Thursday being a public holiday as we celebrate Hangul Day – a day to remember one of King Se Jong’s greatest inventions – the written Korean language.


Apart from that the city of Gwangju will also start celebrating is 11th Annual Chungjang Ro festival as it aims to remember the 70’s and 80’s which was first started to revitalize the old City hall area and make it into more of a cultural gathering point. The event was first held in 2004 and has also been voted as Korea’s best festival.

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Running for 5 days from the 8th – 12 of this month there will be many cultural events happening downtown around the top of Wedding Street and also in the alleys of Chungjan ro with the large post office downtown also acting as a venue for performances as well as the park at Geumnamro station 4.

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The main stage will be at the top of Wedding Street right infront of the newly built Asian art Centre and the whole street will be blocked off for performances etc for the duration of the festival so plan your bus routes.


For lovers of Kpop a whole bunch of Idol stars and Trot singers will also be performing. On the opening night which is this Wednesday you can see AOA, Bestie, Son Seung Yeon, Hong Dae Gwang, Rainbow, Mr Mr and so many more. Thursday night is for Trot lovers and Friday once again sees Rainbow, Mamamoo, Da One, Gilme and Skull taking to the stage. Check the schedule below



CNU Festival: “Neonadeuli”

CNU Festival  Photo by Joe Wabe

CNU Festival Photo by Joe Wabe

Words by Amy Kim

The Cheonnam National University festival was held from September 30th to October 2nd. The festival commemorated the 48th school anniversary since its creation. Originally the festival was called ‘The Yongbong Festival (Yongbong Chuk-jeon in Korean), but after the pro-democracy movement in 1980, the name changed to “Yongbong dae-dong-je”; “dae-dong” meaning community-oriented.

Every year the festival has been given a unique name, this year’s title was ‘Neonadeuli’, which literally means in Korean : a close fellowship.

This year, performances usually started after 6 p.m at the main stage ‘Bong ji’ set up near the big fountain between the library and the students’ union building. The opening ceremony was on September 30th, and it showcased “Freestyle and ZIZO”, a hip-hop group, also “Annyeonghaseyo” a stand-up comedy, which is also a well known Korean TV show, and was a hit among the crowd. The second day, was also packed with many events including ‘Yongbong’ rock festival, a song festival, a talent show performed by Gwangju citizens and international students together, “Ssireum” (Korean wrestling) and a film festival among others. Finally, during the closing ceremony, “Heo-gak”, the winner singer of Super Star K Season 2, performed at the main stage.

Apart from the main stage, at the back gate, a variety of other activities were also taking place, such as the Red and White Festival, The Festival of the Animal Science Department, a milk drinking competition, the festival of Human Ecology Department, a fashion show and finally a DJ was invited, to get everyone on their feet and dance all night clubbing style.

Many other activities were the highlights of this festival as well: food booths, a night market and many other small gigs located along the road and by the main soccer field , lasted throughout the festival.

Most of the university clubs prepared for this festival for at least 2 months. From the young to the old, men and women, Koreans and foreigners, all were able to enjoy one more year of this university tradition.

What To Do This Weekend: Amazing Festival Edition

Photo courtesy of Michael Anthony Simon.

Photo courtesy of Michael Anthony Simon.

A new art exhibit called Keep In Touch opened on Oct. 2 and will continue until Oct. 9 (closed Monday) at the Gundabung Gallery downtown on Art Street. The hours are 10 A.M.-7 P.M. The exhibit focuses on painting with the fingers (touch) on the leaves of plants. After the exhibit the various art pieces will be gifted to the artists’ loved ones. For more information, check out the event Facebook page.

The first-ever 2014 Gwangju 2030 Daehakro Festival will be held Oct. 3-5 at the back gate of Jeonam National University, and will feature street performances, an outdoor DJ club party and a local university band concert. Singing groups Mamamu and O Project will perform in the opening ceremony. Throughout the festival, restaurants and cafes taking part in the festival programs will offer 50 percent discounts on various food and beverage items. For more information check out the Facebook page or the official event website.

Photo courtesy of the Daekaro Festival.

Photo courtesy of the Daekaro Festival.

The 2014 Gwangju World Kimchi Festival will kick off on October 4 at Jungoe Park and run through Oct. 8. There will be cultural experiences centered around kimchi and hands-on activities throughout the festival. There will also be many musical events, such as the KPOP singing contest on Saturday, and the Kimchi Love Concert, and the Kimchi Healing Concert. For more information and directions to the event, check out the handy English website for the event. A complete timetable for all the events can be found here.

Photo courtesy of GFN.

Photo courtesy of GFN.

98.7 FM GFN is hosting the second annual Amazing Race competition in conjunction with the Gwangju Kimchi Festival on Sat., Oct. 4, starting at 1:30 P.M. in the Gwangju Jing-oe Park. There is still time to register your team of 3-5 people to enter the contest, with a prize for the top team of 300,000 won. Second place takes 200,000 won, with 3rd and 4th receiving 100,000 and 50,000 won respectively. For more information or to register for the competition, check out the event website.

This week’s GIC talk at 3 P.M. on Sat., Oct 4 is Social Rights and Human Rights – Korea and Sweden in a Global Perspective by Dr. Sven Hort. Check out the GIC website for more details.

An art exhibition showcasing Gwangju-themed artworks will be held from Oct. 4-11 at the 5:15 Gallery in Yangrim-dong in Nam-gu of Gwangju. Hosted by the city of Gwangju, the the Daedong Culture Foundation organized the event titled Shout out to Asia and will feature works submitted by visiting artists from Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam and China. To get to the gallery: 광주남구양림동 72-3, for more information call 062 654 3003.

Photo courtesy of 7080 Recollection Festival.

Photo courtesy of 7080 Recollection Festival.

Artist Chung Dong Hee’s art exhibit Beautiful Sharing will be on display Oct. 8-14 at the Kumho Gallery at USquare. Admission to the gallery is free to the public and is open from 10 A.M. – 7:30 P.M. daily. For more information check out the website.

In case you haven’t noticed all the extra signs and lights in downtown, let me remind you thatit’s time for the 11th Chungjang Recollection Festival. With a wide variety of activities, entertainments, and lovely flower displays, this festival from Oct. 8-12 is a favorite. For a timetable of events, check out the official English website.

The Gwangju Cinema will be showing several movies that were screened at the Busan International Film Festival on Oct. 9, including Jimmy’s Hall and FutatsumeNomado (Still the Water). by Naomi Kawase. FutatsumeNomado is the story of boy and girl and how they find the true meaning of life after discovering a dead body at the beach. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or award at the Cannes International Film Festival this year. For more information, check out the Gwangju Cinema website.

Photo courtesy of the Cannes Film Festival.

Photo courtesy of the Cannes Film Festival.

News of the Week: October 2, 2014

Honam Express Train to be Opened for Public Next March

Korea Rail Network Authority has recently begun its preparation process for the grand opening of the Honam Express Railroad, set to be opened to the public next March.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and the Korea Railroad Corporation will jointly cooperate with the Korea Rail Network Authority in preparing for the opening of the much-anticipated bullet train route linking Honam and the rest of the country.

Cost estimation tests on different routes, the telecommunication system, and the overall operation program of the trains were held from February to July this year.

Safety inspections on electrical systems, signals, track switches, and automatic tool control systems will be finished this month. And test runs of the bullet train will be carried out from October.


Gwangju Tap Water Passes ‘Drinkable Water Test’

Tap water supplied to Gwangju recently passed a ‘Drinkable Water Quality Test’ in an evaluation and examination held at the filtration plant and in feed water pipes across the city.

A total of 4 major filtration plants and 25 water supply pipes as well as tap water providers in 130 spots were evaluated earlier this month.

No toxic or harmful substances were found in the filtration plants or tap water providers in the city, further satisfying all examination categories for drinkable water tests.

More detailed information on tap water quality inspection results in different locations in Gwangju can be found on the official webpage of the municipal waterworks headquarters at


Gwangju and San Antonio Exchanges Gifts 

The city of San Antonio in Texas, a sister city with Gwangju, will reportedly construct a memorial in Gwangju in return for Gwangju’s gift in 2010, a Korean traditional octagon-shaped pavilion.

San Antonio recently selected an artist that will work on designing and constructing the monument to commemorate the sister-city affiliation between Gwangju and San Antonio.

Selected artist is Cakky Brawley, a professor from Palo Alto College in San Antonio. She visited Gwangju from September 20th to the 26th to finalize the concept of the monument and to select a venue for construction.

Cakky Brawley is a San Antonio-based sculpture artist who has been working on numerous sculptures and monuments built in the city of San Antonio.

The city of Gwangju and Namgwang Construction CEO Kim Dae-ki previously sponsored the construction of Korea’s traditional octagon-shaped pavilion in Denmar Park in San Antonio.


Gwangju to Seek New Name for Newly-built Sports Facilities in the City

The city of Gwangju will seek names suggested by the citizens and residents of the city for the newly-built sports facilities prior to the official kick off of the 2015 Gwangju Summer Universiade.

The new sports facilities looking for new names include the swimming arena in Nambu University and the multi-purpose gym in Gwangju Women’s University as well as the general gymnasium, the sports ground for the handicapped and the main archery facility.

Citizens of Gwangju and others who reside in the city can take part in the naming of the new sports facilities event and applications can be found on the official webpage of the city of Gwangju at

The city will post selected names for the sports facilities on October 15th and winners will be given Onnuri gift vouchers that can be used in nationwide traditional markets.

생과일 즉석 아이스크림

As much as I love street food, my time in Korea has taught me that the quality of what I order can range anywhere from being absolutely amazing…to getting food poisoning. I know others have had similar experiences, which is why I can’t exactly blame anyone for avoiding places that have yet to be tested by trusted sources. As a result, this hesitation has made it so that I’ve passed by so many potentially good places without batting an eye, simply because they chose to operate outside. The spot featured in today’s review was one of those places, and now that summer’s finally coming to an end, I regret everything.

FrontJunk Food

생과일 즉석 아이스크림, which literally translates to “Fresh Fruit Instant Ice Cream”, was recommended very strongly to me by a friend who has yet to steer me wrong when it comes to sweet treats. When he assured me that the ice cream I’d have here would be creamy and all sorts of amazing, I had no choice but to place my fears of reliving the painful days of bad food poisoning aside and take a risk.


Located on one of the quieter streets of downtown, this little place can be fairly easy to miss. For the longest time, I had assumed it was just an accessory shop that also sold junk food. It wasn’t until I went with a regular customer than I learned just how special this little stand was. Offering fruity flavors ranging from Peach to Tomato, the name was not lying when it said fresh. While most other ice cream places either serve stuff that was made beforehand, the ice cream here is made before your eyes as soon as you place an order. I can see how anyone in a hurry wouldn’t be too interested, but I was excited to see how the magic was done.


My friend first ordered the Banana ice cream. The owner, who speaks very little English, offered to make his ice cream with coconut milk, but he ended up choosing to go with the default cream option. Once the order had been placed, the the man turned on what I believe was an anti-griddle before getting to work. As the machine heated up (or cooled down?), he sliced up a banana and blended it together with what seemed like a mixture of cream and sugar until there were no solid bits left. Once the anti-griddle started to show signs of ice, the man poured the mixture onto the surface, letting it spread out before scraping the already freezing liquid off and around the machine. This continued for some time as I watched the sweet liquid turn into a soft, malleable solid. Though it did take some time, there was something very calming and even therapeutic about watching the process. The same was done for my Lemon and Coconut ice cream, which was made with a combination of a ton of lemon juice fresh from the juicer (I had the option of getting more or less, depending on my taste) and coconut milk.

ShapingAll Done

I first tried my friend’s Banana ice cream, which had been formed into a large cube before being placed in a paper cup. For years, I always thought I didn’t like bananas. One taste of this ice cream made me realize that my banana-related issues had always been with the texture and not the taste. Each bite was creamy, delicious, and melted as soon as it hit my tongue. Unlike so many banana flavored snacks that are loaded with that awkward, fake banana flavor, the freshness of this treat was the main highlight. My Lemon and Coconut ice cream was tart and addictive. Unlike the banana, which was blended, the lemon used in my dessert was freshly juiced with little to no signs of pulp left over. Though it was just as creamy with coconut milk, it was hard to taste that coconut flavor, mostly because the sheer amount of lemon (that I asked for) was on the verge of being overwhelming.


Though the weather is getting colder, I plan to return to 생과일 즉석 아이스크림 to get my fix for creamy ice cream very soon. Ideally, this will happen before the guy decides to close up shop for the winter. Speaking of which, for those who don’t like standing outside to enjoy their quickly melting ice cream, there is indoor seating available, and you can do some shopping for cute things while you’re at it. When I return, I plan on trying the Grape, or even the Korean Plum. Whatever it is I end up getting, I have no doubt that it will be creamy, delicious, and hopefully not too damaging to my already questionable diet.

Address: 광주광역시 동구 황금동 2-4
Phone: 010-3648-0169
Hours: 11:00AM to 10:00PM
Average Price Range: 3,000 for Ice Cream