Gwangju Blog



Join in to win money and take loads of amazing pictures in the beautiful cherry blossoms April 9th 2017. Transportation to and from the event is provided as well as food! You can also win your share of up to 1 million won in prizes!  Spaces are limited so please get your team together and register by April 5th.


“GFN is now accepting registration for our first Amazing Race of 2017 at Yeongam Wangin Culture Festival 영암왕인문화축제.

Visitors can experience various culture programs under the cherry blossom flower trees and you can also taste the delicious delicacies of Yeongam.

The race takes place on Sunday April 9th and will feature various hands on activities at the festival site.

Sign up to win great prizes, plus GFN will provide you with a free bus ride, food, t-shirts and also PRIZES!

Join us, at Yeongam Wangin Culture Festival for GFN’s First Amazing Race, and have a great time!

Send your registration form to

*Registration file is attached*


“We offer only 30 teams, first come, first served.”

The Deadline ; 5th April, 2017

TEL. 062-460-0945


For more updates visit




Waiting Space


Waiting Space


It is now mid-March, and by the time you read this, there is a good chance that Spring Equinox will have come and gone. An ordinary day, not unlike the few that came before, or the ones which will most likely round out the week here in Jeolla-do. However, this day gains its subtle power through symbolic importance, that of marking the beginning of a new season. As many a sage, and perhaps hippy will tell you (conjure up the voice of Tommy Chong for just a sec), “never underestimate the power of the mind, man.” Therefore, our expectations for the lives we hope to live in this fragile, yet predictable spring rebirth rest on our knowing that things will indeed change. We can trust in that. Already, as I type, the as of yet largely unseen action of the earth below is setting the stage for changes which we need only wait for.

While feeling the subtle hints of spring the past week, I searched for an image taken this past winter which eluded to the figurative and literal changes in the air. This shady grave, high in the hills above Damyang fits the bill. Adjacent to a gully in the crook of two hills, it is left isolated from foot traffic and the sun’s rays. However, even this relative solitude could not prevent the recent warming of the earth around the mound. As the snow melted several weeks ago, it revealed this circular shape. The mountain had highlighted the small dome from its surroundings. In doing so, it now focuses our eyes on what had several days before been a nearly unrecognizable subject. The image serves as both a symbolic end to the winter we are leaving behind, and while also hinting at changes we can soon expect. We, the viewers are left to ponder at the changes happening beneath. It also seems reasonable to project certain emotions onto the white tomb. It waits, like we the living do, for the sprouting of the inevitable changes beneath.


[Photo taken with a Olympus 35sp with its fixed 42mm f1.7 lens, shooting Ilford Delta 3200]


(Photo & Text by Marty Miller)

People You Should Know in Gwangju…Andrew Vlasblom

Hello and happy Friday Gwangju. It is time again to meet a member of our amazing community. This week we have a very talented Canadian. He is rarely seen without a musical instruments in tow. Here in his own words is this week’s person you should know in Gwangju…


Andrew and his accordion

Name…Andrew Vlasblom


Hometown…Selkirk, Canada

Length of time in Korea…7 years


Fantastic Mistake

Fantastic Mistake

I wish I could…play the guitar (well). It’s sort of a dream of mine to nail some classic rock solos someday.


My favorite sport to play is…do board games count as sports? If not…table tennis.

The food I am best known for is…I used to run a small operation known as “Gwangju Pie”…

On my days off I like to…sleep late. Maybe write a song or two.

My favorite movie is…Raiders of the Lost Ark



What is your best tip for living in Korea? This is gonna sound cliché, but it’s my honest advice/thinking: be active in doing what you are passionate about. Whether that is painting, pursuing higher education, writing music, walking dogs, learning Korean, whatever–you’ll be happier if you focus on doing what you enjoy rather than conforming to societal expectations.


Tequilaz Open Mic

Tequilaz Open Mic


Describe your dream day in Gwangju.  Wake up at the crack of noon, play board games at the Alleyway with friends, tunes at Daein market with friends, then head to Tequilaz. Some dreams really do come true.

Do you belong to any clubs or community organizations in Gwangju? I’m an active open mic (Tequilaz, Corona) attendee, and I frequent Taesang Park’s Dreamers space in the Daein market. I’m also in a couple of bands and collaborate with a few talented artists I’m privileged to call my friends. I enjoy playing music so most of my activities in the community center around that.

Dreamers Space at Daein Market

Dreamers Space at Daein Market

What are some future plans that you have for your music? In addition to continuing playing music in the community, I’ll continue to write my own instrumental songs/compositions. A dream of mine is to one day write soundtracks for films, but that really is just a dream. Til then, I am grateful for the opportunities this community affords to wannabe musicians like myself. (If you are so inclined, you may choose to listen to my music here: )





If you’d like to see Andrew and the other members of his band 4tae play be sure to check out Speakeasy tonight. You can also spot Andrew at open mic night’s at Corona’s (alternating Tuesdays), Tequilaz (alternating Wednesdays), and Loft 28 (Friday’s).

What to Do This Weekend: Open Mic, Auditions, and St. Patrick’s Day!

Hello Gwangju!

You better break out the green because it’s St. Patrick’s Day this weekend! We’ve got the details on how you can celebrate, so let’s go.

Friday, March 17th

Courtesy of Loft 28

Courtesy of Loft 28

Live music and green beer go great together, trust me! We begin at Loft 28 with their weekly Open Mic Night. If you want to perform for the local crowd, just bring your own instrument and Loft will take care of the rest. While you’re there be sure to check out their menu-which has been getting some rave reviews! Open Mic begins at 10 p.m., and if you have any other questions, please go to their Facebook page. If you’re in the downtown area, then Speakeasy is where you’re going to want to be. They continue their new series of live music, Gwangju Live, with a performance by John Howard and 4TAE. Start off the St. Patrick’s Day weekend festivities by listening to some of the talented musicians that call Gwangju home. The music begins at 10:30, but get there early for some great happy hour specials. For more details about the show, please check Speakeasy’s Facebook page.

Saturday, March 18th

This weekend’s talk at the GIC is one that is very topical. The subject will be how young men and boys can be allies in stopping violence against women. William Harris will be the main speaker, and he’ll discuss how men can help end violence against women. The GIC Talk series begins at 4 p.m., and is held on the first floor. For more information and directions to the GIC, please go to their website. You can also go to their Facebook event page for more details.

Courtesy of the GPP

Courtesy of the GPP

After last weekend’s successful GPP Cabaret show I’m sure some of you are thinking, “I can do that!”. Well, if you ever wanted to tread the boards, then now is your chance. The GPP will be holding auditions for their next production-an evening of one act plays. Auditions will be held this weekend at the GIC for the next show. The first tryouts will take place on Saturday at 5 p.m., and then again on Sunday at 8 p.m. Those who are auditioning should bring a one to two minute monologue. The tryouts are open to anyone in the community, and you do not have to have any prior experience. For directions to the GIC, please see the post for the Talk series. For more info about the auditions, you can go to the Facebook event page here.

Courtesy of Speakeasy

Courtesy of Speakeasy

What’s the great thing about having St. Patrick’s Day on a weekend? The party can carry on to Saturday! Speakeasy will be holding their second big event of the year, their Annual St. Patrick’s Day party. Guinness, green beer, drink specials, Jamesons . . . I don’t think you need anymore convincing! Plus, there will be a costume/dress up competition, jello shots, special cocktails, and the England/Ireland rugby game being shown upstairs. OK, I gave you more convincing. Speakeasy will be the place for one of the best St. Patrick’s Day parties in Korea! It all starts at 7 p.m., and goes until . . . ?? For more information, please go to the Facebook event page.

Where to Eat Wednesday: 전대별식

If there’s one way to grab my attention, it’s with surprising food. It’s hard to describe the emotions one can go through when biting into something familiar while expecting one thing, only to get something else. Whether that’s taken positively or not is completely dependent on how good the final result is, but the memory of what was just experienced is one that doesn’t seem to go away quickly.


I went to 전대별식 (Cheondae Byeolsik) for lunch on a Sunday afternoon. It was a good thing we arrived when we did as there was a sign on the door letting customers know of the restaurant’s quickly approaching afternoon break time. Despite how close it was to the break, the place was quite busy. We lucked out by arriving just as another party was leaving. The space was on the small side, but the interior had some nice touches that made it warm and welcoming.

The first thing I made note of after being seated was the menu. Though the featured dishes did have pictures, most of what was actually in the menu that offered no English had no pictures. It wasn’t a problem, as everyone at my table could read Korean pretty well, but I could certainly imagine those who are still learning the language to get pretty frustrated. Another thing that caught my eye was the way the prices were listed. It was a fairly unique system that would list something that costs 10,000 won as 1.0 and 7,500 won as 0.75. As the main feature of the restaurant was Japanese cuisine, there was a nice variety of dishes ranging from carbs to fish. Some of the 돈부리 (donburi; rice bowl dish) options included 규동 (gyudon; beef rice bowl), 에비동 (ebidon; fried shrimp rice bowl), and 가츠동 (katsudon; fried pork cutlet rice bowl). There was also 연어 (yeoneo; salmon) and 소고기 (sogogi; beef) 초밥 (chobap; sushi), as well as a few different types of 라멘 (ramen) and 우동 (udon). It took some time to read over everything with the intention of choosing just a few dishes, but we ended up getting the 돈코츠라멘 (tonkotsu ramen; pork bone broth ramen), the eight piece order of 연어초밥 (yeoneo chobap; salmon sushi), the 辛규동 (shingyudon; spicy beef rice bowl), and a side order of 치킨가라아게 (chicken karaage; marinated and fried chicken).


After we placed our order, we received a cabbage salad topped with a black sesame dressing to snack on while we waited. While I’ve never been a huge fan of cabbage salads, the dressing on this one was quite nice. Really, I was just happy to receive a salad that had not been topped with some form of sweet yogurt.

The first dish to arrive was the 돈코츠라멘, which I happily stole some bites from before the friend who ordered it could properly dig in. They certainly got the look of the ramen right, especially with that cloudy broth combined with slices of marinated pork, some fish cake, sprouts, green onions, and an egg that was cooked slightly beyond my personal preference. What caught me by surprise was how spicy this typically savory bowl of noodle soup was. There was no indication of there being any heat anywhere on the menu, so it was certainly unexpected. Luckily, everyone I was with liked spicy food, and the dish turned out to be a tasty take on one of my favorite Japanese dishes.

Tonkotsu RamenSalmon Sushi

Next, we got into the 연어초밥 and 치킨가라아게. I had been told the salmon here was quite fresh and delicious, and that first bite into the thick piece of fish that had been topped with raw onions, greens, and some sort of mayonnaise based sauce confirmed it. Though I wasn’t crazy about those toppings, they did offer a contrast to the otherwise rich cut of fish. The rice wasn’t anything spectacular, but I was very impressed to see that this sushi came with real grated wasabi instead of the bright green paste that many people are familiar with. The marinated pieces of fried chicken were also quite delicious, though they were topped with a creamy sauce and came with a side of even more sauce. As someone who prefers to enjoy my chicken without anything extra, I personally could have done without having my meat pre-sauced. That being said, the flavors weren’t too overwhelming.

Chicken KaraageSpicy Gyudon

The last dish I tried was the 辛규동, which was mine. I was in the mood for something beefy with a punch, and that’s just what I got. The unassuming bowl of rice, marinated beef, onions, and a single egg yolk hit me like a brick wall. The first few bites offered a nice amount of heat that played nicely with the rest of the more delicate flavors, but it didn’t take long for that to turn into an overwhelming burn that pushed me to consume more water than food. Though it was a tasty bowl, they certainly did not hold back on the spice.

Overall, my lunch at 전대별식 was a satisfying, sweat-inducing one. It certainly offered some surprising twists on Japanese dishes I have enjoyed for some time now. Due to the limited amount of space, I would recommend this spot for couples or smaller parties looking for a solid meal. Just be sure to come with someone who knows Korean if you’re not in the mood to be adventurous.

Address: 광주광역시 북구 중흥동 260-79 (around the corner from Starbucks)
Phone: 062-261-4775
Hours: 11:00AM to 11:00PM (break time at 3:30PM to 4:00PM)
Average Price Range: 8,000 to 10,000 per person