Gwangju Blog

People You Should Know in Gwangju…John Howard

Hello Gwangju. For many the new school year has begun, and so here we shall begin again. This week our community member to meet is a friend to many. Often seen with an instrument  of some kind, and a microphone in front of him. Here is our person you should know in Gwangju in his own words.

Tequilaz Open Mic (nice camera skills Daniel Wallace!)

Tequilaz Open Mic (nice camera skills Daniel Wallace!)

Name…John Howard

Occupation…Elementary School English teacher

Hometown…Kilcorney, North County Cork, Ireland (current population 406 approx.)

Redbull Flugtag Champions 2011, Dublin, Ireland!

Redbull Flugtag Champions 2011, Dublin, Ireland!

Length of time in Korea…Arrived Sunday, March 4th, 2012 so MY GOD coming up on 5 years in Korea now! :-O

My hometown is famous for…having the oldest primary school in Ireland still in operation (built in 1864!) Also, Kilcorney has a higher presence of sióga/fairies than other villages in Ireland. They roam the moors at night… but I’m not supposed to talk about them…

I wish I could…Play the bagpipes. Something about the bagpipes ya know!? When was the last time you were in a room of people and some person turns out to be a proficient piper? Not often; that’s when.

If I could have any superpower it would be…Spidey-sense with reasonable notice; like 10 seconds would be handy.

The show I am most likely to binge watch is…Was “Shameless” (UK); came to it late. Currently Bill Burr’s “F is for Family”.

My favorite sport to play is…Aah, is Beer Pong considered a sport?? 🙂 I don’t know, never really been a big player of sports, more of a spectator. Love following Ireland and Munster rugby back home. Darts or pool I guess (nothing too strenuous).

part time priest in Speakeasy

part time priest in Speakeasy

The food I am best known for is…SCALLOP POTATOES!!!! Can’t beat em! lots of garlic, cream and don’t forget the cheese! (I can attest that these are DELICIOUS!!)

The best discovery I have made in Gwangju is…Sounds mundane but since coming to Korea, the same nice lady in “Park Seung Chol” at the bus terminal has been cutting my hair; so guess that was a useful discovery??

On my days off I like to…Zip around Gwangju in my little scooter.

My favorite movie is…Martin Scorsese’s “The Departed”. I’ve seen it so many times, still love it! What a cast, great movie.

How did you end up in Gwangju? My friend spent a year living and teaching in Iksan the year before I came to Korea; she had very positive things to say about her experience and got me thinking about a new adventure!

Me and Ashley checking out Taiwan

Me and Ashley checking out Taiwan

What is your best tip for living in Korea? Be open-minded. Try new things. Travel around the country when you can. Learn at least enough of the language to be able to express politeness. Learn to read Korean! Doesn’t take too much time; it really opens doors.

What is your surefire way to beat the blues when you are feeling homesick? Youtube my favorite stand-up comedians; can’t go wrong with Louis C.K, Billy Connelly, Mitch Hedberg, Tommy Tiernan, Dara O’Briain etc. Also a steaming cup of Barry’s Tea; always try to have tea from home in the apt!

What is the oddest job you have ever had? Growing up on a farm were a lot. One that stands out; assisting our vet perform a cesarean section on a cow having calving problems. Donned the gown, scrubbed up, whole 9 yards. Calf made it thankfully! 🙂

What is your favorite game to play? KINGS!! Fantastically devious game!

Open Space Dreamers; Daein night market with Tae-Sang

Open Space Dreamers; Daein night market with Tae-Sang

Tell us a strange or interesting fact about you. Me and my 3 friends from home won the Redbull Flugtag in 2011 with our aircraft of sorts “Cool Flyings” (inspired by the movie “Cool Runnings”). Also I’m allergic to nickel….

Describe your dream day in Gwangju. Any day that involves any or a mix of the following is a good day: nice weather, picnic, down by the river beers, disco-pang-pang, First Alleyway rancher poutine, Barry’s tea, Speakeasy Guinness, live music, Tequilaz quesadilla, ice-skating, jimjilbang, norebang, I could go on and on! Love that my recruiter got me to this city day 1 🙂

Are there any places/services/experiences in Gwangju you can recommend that a lot of people may not know about? Got a lot of dental work done recently and was so happy with Dr. Don-ho Lee, 5th floor Mediphil center (near Usquare). Great English with detailed explanations of procedures.

Do you belong to any clubs or community organizations in Gwangju? Not really a club ’cause they are open to anyone but I play guitar regularly at Open Mic events around Gwangju; these nights I would recommend to anyone who either wants to try out a hidden talent or appreciates free live performances. “Tequilaz” bar downtown (every second Wednesday), “Corona” Bar Chonnam Back-gate (every second Tuesday) and just recently “Loft 28” on Friday nights.

Open Mic Corona

Open Mic Corona