Gwangju Blog

What to Do This Weekend: World Youth festival, Art, and Ladies Night!

Hello Gwangju!

Let’s see what is going on during the last weekend of July.

Courtesy of the WYF

Courtesy of the WYF

Last weekend’s big event was the World Human Rights Cities Forum. This weekend sees another great event going on with the World Youth Festival happening at the Arts and Culture Center (ACC) Square. There will be performances, a Youth Festival Academy, a Market, and even movie screenings! The WYF kicked off yesterday, but will go through until Saturday, July 30th. This looks like a great opportunity to spend time with family or friends in downtown Gwangju! For more information about the WYF, you can go to their official website at:  You can also find more details by typing in “2016 World Youth Festival” in the search function on Gwangju’s Facebook page. You can also check out a previous post by Gwangju Blog’s own JD.

The last Saturday art class for July will be a special one. Guest teacher Trevor Homeniuk will lead a class on enviromental collage making. He’ll teach you how to take old magazines and make them into collage art. If you bring your own magazines and an exacto knife, then admission to this special class is only 5,000 won. If you need materials, then the class will be 8,000 won. The Saturday art classes are always held at the GIC. For directions to the GIC, please go to their website. For more info about the class, you can go to the Facebook event page here.

Courtesy of the Sochon Art Factory

Courtesy of the Sochon Art Factory

The Sochon Art Factory will be having their monthly event this weekend, but it will be a special one for July. It will all begin on this Friday, July 29th with a water gun festival, a concert, and a camp fire as well (there will be free camping on Friday night too). Then on Saturday, they will have their monthly flea market. Looks like another great art event this weekend! For more details about this weekend’s festivities, please go to their Facebook page.

Courtesy of Loft 28

Courtesy of Loft 28

Hey Ladies! It’s time for Loft 28’s monthly ladies night on Saturday. You know the drill: if a group of four ladies or more make a reservation, you’ll get a free bottle and a table. So go to their Facebook page right now and make that RSVP! Also, don’t forget about day drinking on the rooftop patio. It’s a great way to beat the heat in Gwangju!





Other stuff? Why of course!

Volunteer at a local animal shelter! Our furry friends need your help. Every Sunday a dedicated group of volunteers head to a local animal shelter to help out. If you would like to join them, please go to their Facebook event page to find out how.

Auditions for the next GPP production will be held next month. What will the next production be? This weekend’s hint: it’s a musical with teeth!

People You Should Know in Gwangju…Jimin Kim

If you’ve ever been to the First Alleyway, or gone to an event hosted by the Global Families of Gwangju chances are you’ve seen or spoken to Jimin. She is a woman who rarely takes a rest, and is always on the move assisting someone in someway. She helps out so many people in so many ways, from helping people with translating issues, to helping different organizations in and around Gwangju she is a force of nature! Without further ado here in her own words is Jimin Kim, a person you should know in Gwangju.


Jimin 2

Jimin Kim


Name…Jimin Kim

Jimin 3

First Alleyway staff retreat

Occupation…I’ve been working at the First Alleyway as a server for about three years. Now the place feels like my home. Haha


My hometown is famous for…Kimchi and culture

I have never been able to…go diving

If I could have any superpower it would be…Mind reading

A great book I would recommend is…Harry Potter

My nickname is…I have too many to tell you

The show I am most likely to binge watch is…CRIMINAL MINDS

My favorite sport or activity is…bike riding

Jimin 1The food I make that I am best known for is…Soy paste soup (된장 찌개)

The best discovery I have made in Gwangju is…Finding the First Alleyway

On my days off I like to…take a rest or stay at home all day

My favorite movie is…The Bourne Series

How did you end up in Gwangju?

I went to high school in Naju, and then i wanted to go to university in Gwngju.

What is the oddest job you have ever had?

Server at the First Alleyway

What is your favorite game to play?


Is there any personal code or motto you would like to share?

My job is just a job. That doesn’t mean people should look down on me.

Jimin 4

Dear Korea book signing at Salt Gallery

Where to Eat Wednesday: Tarr Tarr

When it comes to desserts in Gwangju, the selection can often seem a bit limited. This holds especially true for those of us who love pies. Sure, sweets like cake, shaved ice, and ice cream are fantastic, but when you’re craving something with as proper crust, nothing else can really hit that spot. It will probably be a while before that pie niche is properly filled, I’ve grown quite okay with using the increasing popularity in tarts to satisfy those rare, sweet desires.

FrontEgg & Cheese Tarts

I originally read about Tarr Tarr while browsing the web for a new restaurant to review. I was immediately drawn in by pictures of delicious looking tarts of all kinds. I had no idea where this magical place was, but I knew I had to find it. After doing a bit of research, I learned that it had just recently opened in the downtown area, making what I feared would be a difficult search into a quick one.

Fruit TartsLine

My dining buddy and I met up early in the evening to check out this place. The choices were few and far between, but we were told that fresh new tarts were scheduled to come out everyday at 11:00AM and 6:00PM. Considering how we had arrived at around 5:00PM, we decided to grab a small bite to eat for dinner elsewhere before returning for dessert. This turned out to be a big mistake. As we returned at around 5:50PM, there was already a line snaking out of the shop. The line moved fast, but so did the fresh tarts that disappeared one by one as I watched sadly from my place in line.

With a bit of patience combined with eventual pushing and shoving, I finally got within arms reach of the tarts that were left over. The dark chocolate tart I wanted was already gone, but there were still many fruit options available. I made it a point to grab a Cherry Tart, and Tiramisu Tart, an Oreo Tart, and a Grapefruit Tart. As I waited in line to pay for the many tarts I grabbed due to feeling competitive, I also snatched up a Cheese Tart and an Egg Tart. At another point, I grabbed a lonely looking Blueberry Tart from one of the employees before he could place it in the display. I didn’t realize just how many tarts I had on my tray until it came time to pay, but it didn’t take long for me to accept my decisions.

More TartsOur Order

Since it was way too packed in the shop for us to go upstairs to enjoy our tarts with coffee, we opted to grab drinks elsewhere and consumed these delicious sweets at my friend’s apartment. As we left, the cashier warned us that these desserts needed to be kept cold, which proved to be difficult to do while walking around in hot weather. As gorgeous as they were when we purchased them, some of these small pastries were quickly beginning to lose form by the time we escaped from the warm humidity outside.

Once I sat down with fork in hand, I came to a realization that there was no way I would be able to eat all of these tarts. Even with my friend’s help, it was just not possible. As a result, we selected the three tastiest looking tarts to eat right there. I chose Cherry, she chose Blueberry, and we both chose Oreo. I left the Tiramisu behind for her husband and kept everything else in the fridge to take home later. We first dove into our fruit tarts, which were both filled with a cream cheese filling that made each bite quite rich. The crust was buttery and crunchy. It was like a hardened version of the classic graham cracker crust and did a fantastic job at holding in the filling without growing soggy. The fruit went nicely with the whipped cream and cream cheese flavor, balancing out the sweetness of the overall dessert without going overboard. Our Oreo choice was somewhat similar, except it came with a surprise Oreo cookie inside the tart. It was quite sweet, but very delicious. By this point, we were struggling to force those last bites. As small as these tarts were, they were incredibly filling.

So Many Tarts Oreo Tart

It took me a week to finish the rest, which stayed delicious despite having rested in my fridge for days. Both the Cheese Tart and the Egg Tart, which were smaller than the regular tarts, packed a ton of delicious flavor while highlighting their main ingredients. They were lovely after spending a few seconds in the microwave. The only tart that caught me off guard was the Grapefruit Tart. The components of the tart tasted lovely on their own, but eating everything together seemed similar to that taste one would get from drinking orange juice right after brushing their teeth.

While it left me a few pounds heavier, Tarr Tarr was a lovely place that I can easily see myself ordering from on special occasions. Most of the tarts we tried were delicious, and there are still other flavors I would love to sample. Due to its small location, I would recommend taking these desserts elsewhere over eating in. Based on some inside information I received, the line isn’t nearly as bad at 11:00AM on weekdays. If you’re not the patient type, be sure to come early. There is usually a surplus of the smaller options (Cheese & Egg), so if those are the ones you want, there’s not as much of a need to rush.

Address: 광주광역시 동구 충장로1가 10 (near the Starbucks on Wedding Street)
Phone: 1800-4945
Hours: 11:00AM to 10:00PM
Average Price Range: 3,000 to 6,000 per tart

Essentials with JD # 242 **U SQUARE STAYCATION **


It’s hot hot hot! And staying in your home to escape it will probably drive you up the wall. How about exploring U-Square with tons of places to go and things to do this weekend.

U-Square Bus Terminal (also known as 광천 Gwang-cheon Terminal) is Gwangju’s main terminus. From here one can take buses to the surrounding regions, or indeed almost any major town/city throughout Korea.


Not just a bus terminal, U-Square houses art halls, galleries, IMAX Theater, shopping malls, restaurants, children’s play parks and a major book store. It also connects to Shinsegae Department Store, E-mart supermarket and nearby Keumho World Mall. Perfect to do all your shopping!


If you want to relax with popcorn and a movie CGV-theater offers various selections including IMAX. Even better, they have a 4DX movie theater. Also next to the movie theater, there is an games arcade which is one of the largest ones in Gwangju and it has DDR & private Norebang rooms.

IMG_9893 IMG_9892 IMG_9903

Or maybe you just want to relax with a book U-Square has one of the largest book-stores in Gwangju, easily found near the bus gates. In Shinsegae you can also find a dinosaur exhibit for kids well as an art exhibit with new media.

And if you are hungry, you can stop at the restaurants or cafes that sit in front of the various gates if you have some time to wait most are located upstairs with buffet, seafood and most pan Asian cuisines up for offer.



For those stranded at the station there is also a 24 hour sauna that also offers sleeping rooms to make sure you are well rested and ready to make your next bus connection. Just check with information and they will be able to point you in the right direction.


904, Mujin-daero, Seo-gu, Gwangju
광주광역시 서구 무진대로 904 (광천동)

Travel Hotline: +82-2-1330 (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese) 

For more info: +82-62-360-8114  (Korean only) (Korean only)
Search Express Bus (Korean, English) or through smartphone application


Still Life.

still life.
There have been many examples of street photography in recent weeks on the photo blog. This has been, in part, the result of favorable conditions, both culturally and environmentally. Pre-monsoon season on the Korean peninsula, and in the areas surrounding Gwangju city often exude a sense of expectant waiting. As the ground simmers underneath, objects and thoughts seem to melt into one another. In the process, that which surrounds the eye is often transformed from the familiar into something orderly, yet somehow less visually tangible.
An experience similar to the one described above happened to me the other week while in Iksan, a ninety minute drive north of town. I had returned to visit an area which I had spent nine months in two years prior as a resident artist for the city council. The area was visually unique in its decay. A once thriving downtown nightlife district had, by now, become derelict, and was awaiting destruction. As such, most residents had moved on by moving out, and in the process, left many household objects behind. When walking through the narrow alleyways, it was not uncommon to see pictures, still framed, sitting beside a loaded washing machine discarded on the pavement. This was a place where objects transcended their original purpose and definition. In this context, what now were these items? Perhaps it was due to the heat from the late-morning sun, but this question served to quiet my mind.
As the temperature rose and thoughts subsided, a subtle feeling of completeness began to dominate the way at which I looked upon the scenes before my camera lens. Objects seemed to be placed just so, consciously positioned and arranged to provide their viewer with a reassuring sense that all is somehow right, orderly, and just within life’s inevitable decay.  Within this experience, I soon found that the wind ceases to blow, and all sounds suddenly become mute. There seems only an undefinable stillness, within which the photographer can enter. The only requirement is that she or he leaves their ego at the door, and recognizes the just so nature of what lays around them. Within this experience sat a pink plastic spoon, red spray-painted fence, concrete chunk, and faded red washbin. Together, they all sat, waiting, a still life, a study for perfect decay. I composed, released the shutter, and was a week later greeted with the image above.
[Photo taken with a Nikon FE2 with a 50mm f1.4 lens shooting Kodak Ektar 100.]
(Photo & text by Marty Miller)