Gwangju Blog

People You Should Know in Gwangju: Shuddhachittam Anna

20140923_115206Yoga has become a popular activity in Gwangju over the last few years. This week we profile one of the teachers in our community who has made Gwangju home and holds regular yoga and meditation classes.

Name: Anna Ellery

Occupation: Yoga Teacher

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

Length of time in Gwangju: 6 months

A great book I would recommend is . . . Realities of the Dreaming Mind by Sw Sivananda Radhe

My nickname is . . . Shuddhachittam, it was given to me by my Guru Sw Niranjan, it means pure mind.

The food I make that I am best known for is . . . hummus and tandoori tofu.

The best discovery I have made in Gwangju is . . . Mudeung Mountain

On my days off I like to . . . go walking, cook, and read

My favorite movie is . . . Eat, Pray, LoveDSCF0260

Describe your favorite travel destination.
India, I have travelled there 8 times and lived in an Ashram for 2 years. I love India as you can have a holiday and at the same time do some spiritual study and Yoga. Last year I did an Ayurvedic Course in Bhagsu and spent 1 month at the Bihar School or Yoga and Rikhiapeeth ashrams. Also India is a paradise for vegetarians!

What business do you run in Gwangju?
I teach Hatha Yoga at the GIC Geumnamno, at Beauty and Yoga in Pungam Dong, and also in Ssangchon Dong.

How long have you been teaching in Gwangju?
Since July.

IMG_9048How did you start?
I have been teaching Yoga for 10 years and moved to Gwangju after meeting my boyfriend, who is Korean, while we were doing Sannyasa Training at the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger, India. His family runs a Yoga Ashram in Janheung. So when I came to Gwangju then I started up teaching classes in English and now we also teach in Korean and English in Ssangchon Dong.

What is the best part of your day?

I meditate for one hour in the morning and then do one hour asana. It is my favourite time of day as I get up early when it is still dark and quiet.

What is the thing you wish more people knew about yoga?
That Hatha Yoga is Integral Yoga combining Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, and relaxation.

What is the most useful thing your business does for the people in Gwangju?
Foreigners are able to enjoy Yoga with awareness and mindfulness in English.DSC_0075

Do you have any volunteer or charity work you perform for the community?
I am involved in the Satyananda Yoga Ashram in Jangheung which is a non profit organization. We have a Wwoofing program there and I help with administration and teaching Yoga classes.

Anna Ellery is affiliated with Satyananda Yoga South Korea, which hosts different levels of yoga classes, as well as meditation, and massage. Anna is leading free meditation classes at the GIC downtown this month, as well as a yoga workshop in Suncheon on Saturday Nov. 7.

Satyananda Yoga South Korea
Gwangju, Pungam dong 864-3


Where to Eat Wednesday: 三丁目

Anyone who’s read more than a couple of my posts on this blog should know that I am a total sucker for noodles. As it gets colder, all I ever seem to want is noodles and hot soup, which typically puts me in the mood for ramen. Now, when I’m in such a mood, that instant stuff just isn’t enough to cut it. As someone who has spent way too much time and money in Japan, I crave the good stuff that doesn’t come from a package. Though Gwangju was quite limited with such places when I first got here, my situation appears to be getting better each year as more and more places offering one of my favorite noodle dishes keep popping up.


I first noticed 三丁目 (Sanchome), which roughly translates to “Third Street”, while walking through downtown in the middle of the night. Though I probably should have been more focused on my safety, I was too distracted by outside menu and very Japanese decor with the word ラーメン (ramen) everywhere to consider much else. Due to it being closed, as most restaurants are at odd hours of the night, I made it a point to return soon. When I mentioned a new ramen restaurant to my significant other, soon ended up being the following Monday.

Located on one of the lesser known streets in downtown, this small restaurant was surprisingly busy for a work night. Luckily, since it was just the two of us, it wasn’t too difficult to find a table. As soon as we took our seats, we were greeted by a kind and cheerful waitress who seemed to speak a fair amount of English. As she handed us our menus, I couldn’t help but smile when I heard some of my favorite Japanese tunes and saw that the place had been decorated with characters from Japanese animation that I grew up watching. Whoever set the mood for this place apparently had the same taste in Japanese culture that I did in my younger years.

MenuMini Gyudon

Though simple, the menu had more than enough options to make my mouth water. As expected with the outdoor signs, the specialty here was ramen. The fact that menu items were listed in Japanese, Korean, and English was a nice touch. It was quite nice to see classic ramen varieties like Tonkotsu and Shoyu, but I was surprised to see options like Tsukemen and Shio Butter, which I’ve never really seen outside of Japan. Below the ramen choices, which all offered extra toppings for a fee, were rice dishes known as donburi. What ended up catching my attention at this point was the set, which came with a full bowl of ramen of my choice and a mini-donburi for a discounted price. There was also an assortment of sides to choose from, but I was mildly disappointed to see that the gyoza was not available that night. After some deliberation, I ordered the set with the Shio Butter Ramen and Gyudon while my date got the Tonkotsu Ramen. I also ordered a Meat Korokke on the side.

After we placed our order, we were given some pickled sweet radishes while we waited for our food. Before long, my small order of Gyudon arrived. Topped with flavorful and thinly sliced pieces of beef, this bowl of rice was all sorts of delicious. Though it was my order, my date kept stealing bites from my bowl, making me wish I had ordered the full portion of the stuff. The meat to rice ratio was just right, and the sauce wasn’t overpowering or watery in the least.

Bean SproutsTonkotsu Ramen

Before both of our noodles arrived, we were given a plate of already cooked bean sprouts to add to our meal, if needed. Soon after, we received our ramen. Both bowls looked and smelled absolutely delicious, leaving my mouth watering. Considering how I find the most important part of a bowl of ramen to be the broth, I made it a point to try them first. The Tonkotsu broth, which was made with pork bones, was rich and savory. The flavor of pork was quite evident without being too salty, and there was a lovely creamy aspect to it that really helped tie things together. The Shio Butter broth, on the other hand, was a bit lighter. The addition of sweet corn added a nice sweetness to the salty and buttery pork broth. The noodles in both dishes were thin, bouncy, and delicious, and the single pieces of chashu pork had been kissed by a blow torch shortly before serving, adding a nice charred flavor to the dishes. The half egg, which is the part I’m insanely picky about with ramen, was cooked and marinated well. Though neither of these dishes really offered anything fancy or special, the simplicity and care put into the few ingredients in each bowl made the whole experience a delicious one. Though my guy had no problems with adding as much bean sprouts to his soup as possible, I genuinely appreciated the lack of distracting ingredients.

Shio Butter RamenMeat Korokke

The last dish to arrive was the Korokke. When we ordered it, we were offered one of three different options: Cheese, Pumpkin, and Meat. I chose meat. What we ended up getting was a surprisingly meaty and properly fried snack. Though most forms of this classic Japanese side I’ve had came loaded with potatoes, this one was almost purely meat, and it was tasty. The only thing I personally would have changed was the bed of greens and sauce it came on, which seemed rather unnecessary.

Overall, our trip to 三丁目 was a very positive one. Not only was everything delicious, but the prices were more than fair. Though it’s not something I like to say often, this place has probably made it to the top as my favorite ramen spot in Gwangju, though I’ll have to judge again when they have dumplings available. Due to its small size, I certainly wouldn’t recommend this place to parties of four or more. It’s certainly not the nicest or even the fanciest of Japanese restaurants in town, but if you’re in the mood for delicious and simple ramen, I’d recommend this spot in a heartbeat. Here’s hoping it sticks around, at least until I get to try the Tsukemen.

Address: 광주광역시 동구 불로동 36-6 (right next to where Mick Jones Pizza/Flavor 372 used to be)
Phone: N/A
Hours: 11:30AM to 10:00PM
Average Price Range: 7,000 to 10,000 per person

Essentials with JD # 208 ** SHOP TILL YOU DROP ENTER NOW**

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 7.46.12 PM

GFN is hosting its annual event to get you involved in shopping at one of your local traditional markets. Daein Market which is located downtown has also recently become famous for its fortnightly Night Markets which is all about Art and Culture and experiencing a different side to the working market during the day.


Here is how it works :

  1. Gather 2 or 3 friends
  2. Register the team at asap
  3. Join the facebook group for updates and clues
  4. Turn up at Daein market at on November 14th 2015
  5. Receive 50, 000 won to buy specially selected items from the market.
  6. Gather more items than the other teams within the provided time and you will walk away with 1st Prize of 300, 000 won, 2nd prize 200, 000 won, 3rd prize 100, 000 won in vouchers
  8. You will also supporting the Adopt a Child for Christmas project to raise money and awareness for their campaign.
  9. Nobody leaves empty handed.


This year the Shop till you drop also falls on the same weekend as the Night Market so after the race you can just hang around and enjoy the great atmosphere.




Fresh Kill.



The photo blog this week was supposed to feature an image of giant, white, marshmallowey cylindrical ‘cubes’ dotting the countryside to the south of Nam-gu. The contrast they create with the now barren fields is indeed striking and worthy of exploration if one so desires to find examples of visual beauty as the weather cools, the plants dry, and the last vestiges of autumn brilliance inevitably fade by the wayside. These changes have provided a predictably good ride for this photographer. It has taken me several years to overcome my detest for these changes, for the loss of green at the expense of a seemingly endless array of browns, tans, and ever-encroaching gray palettes offered up by the Gwangju city area each winter. Indeed, one of this photographer’s great challenges is to keep his senses open, expectant, and ready to be widened through the process of seeing the old and familiar with new eyes. This often requires a suspension of judgment, and a sacrificing of the known, or labeled. This letting go rarely happens willingly, and in my case, is usually brought about by sheer desperation.

I refuse to take photographs of my feet.

Every photographer has some dogma which he or she holds to until there is nowhere else to run. Well, fortunately or not, I have not yet arrived at this dreaded locale. However, life has brought me dangerously close to such a precipice. One such experience happened to me recently on an excursion out of town to photograph the predictable, yet still lovely marshmallow-like hay bails mentioned above. Still lamenting the loss of green from this past September, I was not yet able to see the finer, subtle beauties in my city and surrounding landscape. In other words, I was defaulting to what I knew to be beautiful (the hay bails), and not yet open to beauties left undiscovered. (It usually takes several weeks at least, as I am a notoriously slow learner.)

As I drove home, several reasonably well-exposed negatives already completed, a feeling of emptiness began mushroomed inside. It was the kind of feeling which cannot be avoided in perpetuity, the feeling which reports a fake. Artists hate this feeling. It reeks of inauthenticity. It is Toto revealing the Wizard. It shows when one has stopped listening to the call which beckons from beyond, and is just phoning it in.

I stopped, got out, walked half a dozen paces away from my still-idling car with camera in hand. The scene depicted in this photo is what greeted me. This corpse kissed my eager senses, waking them up from their voluntary, moribund hibernation. While not entering in the ranks of a UFO or K-pop star sighting, the beauty inherent within this physical death provided the nourishment necessary to begin seeing such beauty in other forms, which just a moment earlier had been neatly labeled as ‘decay’, ‘bland’, and therefore ‘uninteresting.’ Thank you deer, and thank you wild dogs, and thank you fallow field for this revelation.

*(Photo taken with my trusty Bronica Sq-ai with an 80mm 2.8 lens stocked with Kodak T-max 400)



(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)


What to Do This Weekend: Rocky Horror, Goblins, Parties, and Auditions

Hello Gwangju!

We’ve got a lot of Halloween themed events so let’s get started.

                                                                                 It’s just a jump to the left

                                                                                And then a step to the right . . .


Courtesy of the Gwangju Performance Project

When The Rocky Horror Picture Show was first released 40 years ago, it was not a huge success. It was only through midnight, and live showings that the film became a beloved cult classic. If you have yet to experience TRHPS in a group setting, then The First Alleyway is the place to be on Friday, October 30th. The movie will be shown on a projector, and you can come dressed up as your favorite character. If you have no clue what TRHPS is all about, then you can check out this site for more info. Make sure to bring some rice and toast so you can enjoy the full interactive experience. Rice and toast? Check the website, trust me. For more information about the event itself, which is being sponsored by the Gwangju Performance Project, please check the Facebook event page. The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a film for open minded adults, so if you offend easily then this might not be your cup of tea.

Courtesy of Global Families of Gwangju

Courtesy of Global Families of Gwangju

In Korea Halloween is mostly an excuse for kids to dress up and have parties at their school, or academy. The Global Families of Gwangju group (GFOG) is having their fourth annual Halloween bash on October 31st at the Gwangju Foreign School. There will be games, food, and of course, candy! If you have kids, or are a kid at heart, then you need to check out this fun event. For more details about the party, please look at the poster to the right.

This week’s art class at the GIC will combine art, and Halloween together.  You can start off your Halloween activities with a spooky drawing session. Materials will be provided, but you can bring your own as well. For more information about the class, visit the Facebook event page here.

GIC talk 2

Courtesy of GIC

The last GIC talk for October will be given by GFN’s own Travis (Travvy G) Groves on Saturday October 31st. Travis will talk about his experiences in being part of the English media scene in Korea. He’ll also discuss the differences between Western and Korean media. The talks are always held at the GIC auditorium. For more information, contact, or check out the Facebook event page here.

Speakeasy is known for some great parties. Their birthday celebration is always a blast, and their St. Patrick’s Day bash is legendary. But the one that everybody looks forward to every year is their Halloween party. Since Halloween falls on a Saturday this year Derek and his staff promise an ever crazier time than usual. There will be the famous costume contest, wild drink specials, and live music by Gwangju’s very own Malarkey. It will be the best Halloween party you’ll never remember! For more info, and directions to Speakeasy, check the Facebook event page here.

Courtesy of the Gwangju Performance Project

Courtesy of the Gwangju Performance Project

After all the Halloween shenanigans are over, don’t forget about the auditions for the GPP’s second annual Cabaret night. Last year’s show was a big success, so the GPP are doing it again. If you are interested in singing, dancing, or another type of performance, auditions will be held from 7-10 p.m. starting November 1st to the 3rd. Please check the Facebook event page here to see how you can sign up and audition.

There were so many Halloween events going on that we couldn’t feature all of them. Here are some others that are happening in Gwangju this weekend.

Loft 28 is having their party on October 31st. Here is there Facebook event page for more info.

Check out the Halloween festival happening in Gu-si-Cheong(구시청)  on Saturday, October 31st. The festival starts at 5 p.m., and goes until 11 p.m.