Jeonbuk Life Spring Ediion 2016 Vol. 2 ISSN# 2508-1284
Jeollabuk-do’s International Magazine
April 2016, Issue #2
JB LIFE is published by the JBCIA
(Jeollabuk-do Center for International Affairs)
164 Palgwajeong-ro, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, Korea
Tel:(+82) 63-214-5605~6 Fax: (+82) 63-214-5608
Registration No. ISSN: 2508-1284
YOUNG-WOO PARK, Korea, Ph.D. TESOL, has
been teaching English in Korea for 33 years,
with interests in various levels from young
learner to university. He has worked for
several universities in Jeonju, Gwangju, and
Daejeon, and maintains strong connections
with several Western and Asian universities.
He is especially interested in training university
students for their job searches.
DOWON KIM, Korea, is a member of JBCIA
and delivers stories of what is happening
in the center and what the center does
for Jeollabuk-do. She has experience living
in New Zealand so she loves meeting new
people from diverse countries. Passionate
about food, cycle, music and dogs. You can
ask about the center through her e-mail at
DAVID VAN MINNEN, Canada, B.A. Humanities/Classical
Languages, came to Jeonbuk
in 2004. In 2006, he created the Jeonju Hub
website to help foreign residents and has
been highly active in outreach since. After
4 years operating a saloon and 5 running a
restaurant, he works as a corporate English
consultant. He lives with his wife, Jeonju artist
Cheon Jeong Kyeong, and two children.
ANJEE DISANTO, U.S.A., M.A. Communication,
is a ten-year resident of Jeonju and visiting
professor at Chonbuk National University.
While living here, she has had the opportunity
to travel to 42 countries as well as to explore
and photograph most parts of the Korean
peninsula. She is also the English editor of
CBNU’s student magazine and has worked
extensively with 10 Magazine in Seoul.
JONI PAGE, U.S.A., has lived in Korea (primarily Jeonju) for a decade,
working as an ESL teacher and professor.
STUART SCOTT, Canada, is a longterm Jeonju expat who teaches at
Jeonju Unversity. He is very active in the international community in
FELIPE FIRMINO GOMES, Brazil, has a strong affinity toward Korea
and Jeonju in particular. He tries to spend as much of his time visiting
here as possible
AMARBAYASGALAN KATANBAATAR, Mongolia, is a student in the Jimmy
Carter School of International Studies at Chonbuk University.
Spring 2016 / Issue #2
Jeonbuk Life is a quarterly project of the Jeollabuk-do
Center for International Affairs. Our goal is to spread news
to Jeollabuk-do’s international community, as well as to
carry news of Jeonbuk throughout Korea and abroad. This
magazine is scheduled to be published once per season, in
April, July, October, and January.
To get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Charting New Paths with the JBCIA
- Osu-ri: Famous for a Dog
- On the Trail of J.I.F.F.
FOOD AND TOUR
- Getting to Know Namwon
- Pungnammun Media Facade Show
- Hanji: Beyond Handicraft
- OurShop India
- Overview of Jeonbuk’s Worldview
- The Monster of Gui Lake
- Experiences of Jeonju
- Buddha’s Birthday at Geumsansa
- App Review: Kakao Navi
Jeonbuk Life 3
Charting New Paths with the
Last year, North Jeolla province established its Center
for International Affairs (JBCIA) to better extend itself
to foreign residents. This year, the center’s business
continues to branch out toward this goal. Here are just a
few programs that took root in the first part of this year.
1. COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS
- Jeollabuk-do Association of Korean Medicine
This January, the JBCIA, along with the Jeollabuk-do Association
of Korean Medicine, formed an agreement with Wonkwang
University Oriental Medical Hospitals in Jeonju and Iksan,
Gunsan Medical Center, and Woosuk University Medical
Hospital in order to provide traditional oriental medicine service
to foreign workers, international students, etc. Along with
support from the Center, the goal is to improve health care for
those livings overseas in our province.
- Korean Traditional Culture Center
January also heralded an agreement between the JBCIA and
Jeonju’s Korea Traditional Culture Center (KTCC). The relatively
new KTCC, located near the Hanok Village area, will
work with JBCIA to inform visitors and residents of the diverse
arts and culture of North Jeolla. This will include development
of traditional experiential programs. In July, this cooperation
will focus on an academic conference held by NAKS (The National
Association for Korean Schools) in Denver, Colorado,
where exposure to Asian culture is limited. More details will
be included in the next issue of JB Life.
- CBNU Development of Regional Advancement
University Project Consortium
Another of JBCIA’s initiatives involves Chonbuk National
University, Jeonju University, Wonkwang University, and
Woosuk University. This agreement will include manpower
and material exchange and development of educational programs
that can attract foreign students to North Jeolla province
and introduce its educational and cultural environment. This
consortium has also developed a book for the first degree of
TOPIK that includes Jeollabuk-do’s travel sites, traditional
culture, food, etc. The book will be used starting this May in
Indonesia, where Korean is the second language, in hopes of
increasing local interest in Korea and North Jeolla.
2. JBCIA INTERNATIONAL
SUPPORTERS UNTIY (JISU)
JBCIA is currently gathering a group of international supporters
to do work in the areas of computer tasks, translation,
staff jobs, counselling, culture and art, homestay, etc., for the
period from April to December 2016. As for what “international
supporter” refers to, that would be “anyone who loves
and lives in Jeollabuk-do,” provided that they are over 16.
Particularly encouraged to join are those who have interest in
international exchange or diplomacy or those who are active
in SNS, video making, or editing. Benefits of participation
include certificates, awards for outstanding activists, priority
enrollment in the Center’s programs, uniforms, and volunteer
work hours. For those interested, application is possible via
the center’s homepage at www.jbcia.or.kr.
3. FOREIGNER COUNSELING SERVICE
Starting from May, the JBCIA will be providing counseling
services to foreigners in Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, English,
and other relevant languages as available. The goal is to
give solutions regarding problems with language, work places,
visas, legal matters, local information, education, and so on, to
foreign workers and international students. All of the counseling
will be free between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day, and
will be available through visiting the Center, calling, emailing,
or faxing. More information on this service will be provided
in the next issue.
YouTube star Mark Wiens will visit Jeollabuk-do in April,
during which time he will produce several videos about traditions,
food, sightseeing, activities, etc., in order to advertise
the province’s unique culture to global viewers. Wiens’
YouTube channel is titled “Migrationology,” and the Bangkok-based
vlogger encourages his more than 330,000 subscribers
to “travel for food,” making North Jeolla an ideal
destination. The videos Wiens produces will be viewable
via the Center’s homepage (www.jbcia.or.kr) or Wiens’ You-
Tube channel (www.youtube.com/user/migrationology).
5. WELCOMING FOREIGN VOLUNTEERS
JBCIA is seeking foreign volunteers numbering around 50
people, including anyone living or working in North Jeolla
province who is willing to volunteer periodically about four
times per year. As benefits for this help, volunteers will be
offered uniforms, certificates, and classes on topics such as
how to use Internet banking, labor law, the employment license
system, etc. To help, check the website: jbcia.or.kr.
6. FOREIGN STUDENTS P.R. TEAM
The Center has also decided to select international foreign
university students from around Jeonbuk as part of a
public relations team. The selected students will take films
introducing the highlights and challenges of living overseas,
comparisons between the culture of Korea and their own
countries, eating methods, must-see spots in Jeonbuk, and
so on. Participating students will get paid for the videos and
will work with the Center for a period of 4 months.
This year, the Center will work with students twice per
year, once for the current period from April to July and again
for the period from September to December. For the first
installment, the job description also includes on- and offline
promotion, attending and developing materials for international
festivals, and creating promotional content through
traveling. Those with experience in UCC making, photography,
SNS promotion, or Korean language are particularly
urged to apply via the website, www.jbcia.or.kr.
As the Jeonbuk Center for International Affairs was
launched only last November, their programs are constantly
increasing in quality and number. Stay tuned to their website
and to future issues of Jeonbuk Life to get all the latest
updates on international events and services in North Jeolla
Jeonbuk Life 5
Global TALK! TALK! TALK!
New International Talks to Expand Minds
The Jeonbuk Center for International Affairs plans to hold
four internationally themed talks this year (one per quarter)
in order to improve the “global mind” and potential of North
Jeolla residents. The first of these installments took place at Chonbuk
National University on March 20th, when speaker Kim Yeonji
lectured to area high school students and university students as well
parents and other interested parties. Kim, a North Jeolla native and
official for UNESCAP (UN Economic and Social Commission for
Asia and the Pacific), provided the audience with information on the
UN and on how to prepare to work in international organizations.
When it comes to the UN, there is much to say and many reasons
why it is the most coveted of organizations to work with or volunteer
for. Besides just mediating and preventing war, as most people think
of when the UN is mentioned, the organization of course promotes
human rights, provides a standard for international law, and increases
the global standard of living. This is just part of what Kim Yeonji
sought to portray. The UN has more than 50 committees that workers
fall under. It has 120,000 peacekeepers in 16 operations on four
continents, and utilizes 12.4 billion dollars in humanitarian aid for
The division of the UN with which Kim has been involved, UN-
ESCAP, is a regional branch focused on economic and social issues
in Asia and the Pacific. Some of their areas for study and projects
include sustainable development, disaster risk, and social policy.
With participation in this group under her belt, Kim was able to lead
a well-participated lecture on the finer points of volunteering with
worthwhile international entities such as the UN.
Kim herself has a wealth of experience in the area of working in international
organizations. In 2015, she helped with the planning of a
“UN Day” career expo, English speech contest and exposition sponsored
by the UN. Prior to this, in 2014, Kim served as an aide on
one of the boards for the Paralympic Committee as well as working
on planning for the Global Integrated Sports Forum for the Incheon
2014 Asian Para Games. Most would also be familiar with Kim Yeonji
for her work as an anchor with Arirang TV and Production, where
she served from 2010-14.
The next Global Talk! Talk! Talk! program is scheduled for April
22nd at 7 p.m. (location TBD). On this date, Ahn Si Jun will take
the microphone. Ahn, a Korea Gap Year representative, previously
traveled 39 countries without money for 16 months, as well traveling
around the Korean peninsula 5 separate times with no money. For
travelers and globally minded residents interested in Ahn’s talk, keep
an eye on the JBCIA’s website for further details on location and
A Village Famous for a Dog!
By STUART SCOTT
Jeonbuk Life Contributing Writer
FOREWORD: This will be the first of a series of articles
that examines the unique history of North Jeolla’s small
centers. Many have a story to tell, and these stories are part
history, part mythology, and part folklore. The first of these is
the village of Osu-ri, Osu-myeon.
There are many stories of courageous or loyal dogs
helping their owners in real-life situations. A quick
check of the internet will reveal many such stories.
On 9/11 two dogs became heroes. The first was a Labrador
retriever named Roselle. She was a seeing-eye dog who successfully
led her blind owner out of one of the twin towers.
Truly a heroic feat in the chaos and mayhem of that day!
Twenty-seven hours after the second tower collapsed, the final
survivor was pulled from the rubble. One of the many
search dogs utilized had located this woman who had actually
been in one of the towers during its collapse. Only hours before,
they had been a dominant part of the New York skyline
and housed offices for people from around the world. She had
been buried alive, and, thanks to one intelligent dog, overcame
her injuries to marry and have children.
Another famous dog is the true story of Hachiko, a Japanese
Akita Inu. The story took place in the suburbs of Tokyo in the
1920’s. Every morning, Hachiko would walk with his owner,
Professor Ueno, to the train station and return at 4 pm to
meet him for the walk home. Unfortunately, Professor Ueno
died at work one day. However, Hachiko continued to travel
to the station every day for the next nine years awaiting his
master’s return. The story was popularized by a famous 2009
American movie Haichi, A Dog’s Story starring Richard Gere
as the professor. A permanent statue was erected in front of
the same subway station where Hachiko waited patiently but
unsatisfied for the rest of his life for Professor Ueno’s return.
Of course, there is a Korean story as well. It goes back farther
in history than most dog stories. First recorded in a book
in 1230, it is a story of loyalty, intelligence and sacrifice. The
story took place in a village named Kyeorung-Hyun. According
to the stone in front of the monument built to honor the
dog, a man named Kim Gae In had been become quite drunk
and had lain down to sleep. A fire broke out and he was in
danger from it. Unable to wake his master, the dog tried to extinguish
the fire by wetting his fur and lying on the fire. While
the dog was successful in keeping the fire from burning Kim
Gae In, it did not survive the injuries it sustained in doing
so. When the owner awoke, he realized what had happened
and buried his dog. He used his cane as a marker for his pet’s
grave. Remarkably, a bud sprung out of the cane and grew to
be a large tree. To honor this brave and loyal dog, the village
was renamed Osu-ri, in the district of Osu-myeon. This translates
to a town of dogs and trees in Chinese characters. The
people made a tribute to the dog, called Uigyeonbi, on the
sight of the dog’s grave . There is a large and old tree, which
is allegedly still the same tree, standing in the small park. A
statue of the dog, a Tibetan Mastiff, was built there in 1994,
just 60 meters from Main Street.
This story may or may not be true, but demonstrates the remarkable
relationship between a man and his friend. A large
park has been built along the river in Osu-ri to honor dogs and
for people to use.
If in Osu-ri, you will also notice a brick tower on Main
Street. It was built circa 1940 as a look out for fires. Also located
in the back of the town is a statue of Buddha. While this
village may not be a must-see on your list, if you are travelling
to Namwon from Jeonju, it will only take a few minutes
to pop into Osu and see this piece of folklore history. The village
is on Highway 17 about 12 kilometers south of Imsil. .
Jeonbuk Life 7
Jeonju’s Annual Feast of Films
By ANJEE DISANTO, Jeonbuk Life Co-Editor
It’s springtime in North Jeolla once again, and with
springtime comes the biggest of Jeonbuk province’s
annual events: The Jeonju International Film Festival.
This year marks the 17th installment of the festival, which
opens for 10 days starting April 28th. Tens of thousands of
visitors flock to Jeonju each year for this event, not just for the
movies, but also for the busking, concerts, and myriad new
special events that pop up each year. But the reason for the
season is indeed the movies. Around 200 films are screened
from several dozen countries each year, and this year is no
exception: 211 films from nearly 50 countries will compose
the festival’s record 500 screenings in 2016. So, what else can
visitors expect this year?
Last year, festival organizers expanded in several ways,
including the use of the Jeonju Sports Stadium near Chonbuk
National University for opening and closing ceremonies
and outdoor screenings as well as the use of CGV’s Hyojadong
location. This year, however, there is the advantage of
a brand-new CGV theater in Gosa-dong, on Cinema Street
itself. With this in mind, organizers have elected to concentrate
almost all of the fun from the festival on Cinema Street
exclusively, streamlining the locations and the accessibility of
The two most hyped films of the festival are bound to be
the opening and closing selections. To open the festival this
year, audiences will get Born to Be Blue, a film from director
Robert Budreau in which Ethan Hawke portrays jazz trumpeter
Chet Baker. Meanwhile, the closing slot goes to Die Bad,
a four-part action film (originally four separate short films) of
director Ryoo Seung-hwan.
While JIFF runs a number of competitive themes for films
on its roster, two of the biggest competitions tend to be the
Korean Competition and the Korean Competition for Shorts.
(As you can guess, these sections are also some of the most
likely to sell out of tickets, so book them quickly if you’re
interested!) This year, the festival received a combined total
of 782 entries for those two competitions, with just 10 regular
competition films and 21 shorts ultimately being selected for
inclusion in the festival.
The Korean Competition, JIFF’s most competitive category,
is for films longer than 40 minutes. The 10 films selected
in this area will compete for a Grand Prize and Arthouse
Award, among others. This year, the selections include 7
fiction works and 3 documentaries—a significant accomplishment
since documentaries managed only one slot in last
As for shorts, the 21 selected films include 17 works that
will make their world premieres at JIFF (80% more premiering
films than last year). In this section, fiction works showed
strong domination, with the finalists including 15 fictions
films, 2 animations, 1 documentary, and three experimental.
In fact, the selection process of shorts for this year actually
favored experimentalism. Critic and juror Song Hyo-jung
explained, “Documentary and realistic fiction films are being
declined. ... [O]ur reality is too distorted to be filmed.”
SPECIAL FOCUS: RETROSPECTIVES
AND SHAKESPEREAN DELIGHTS
This year’s film festival will include a retrospective exhibition
of award-winning French director Philippe Grandrieux
and a line-up of Shakespearean films as part of its “ Special
Focus” line of programming.
The Grandrieux retrospective will include eight screenings
with master classes during Grandrieux’s visit to the festival.
Grandrieux’s interests in film directing, video, and installation
art developed through various genres, such as fiction, documentary,
and experimental, and he has gained fame as a creator
who doesn’t settle, but rather explores and experiments
with methods of expression. His portion of the festival will
feature four fiction films, two experimental, and two documentaries,
three of which have never been screened in Korea.
As for the Shakespeare portion, the British Council and
CGV Arthouse teamed up to bring 8 remastered films to JIFF
to commemorate 400 years since the bard’s passing. Organizers
tried to stray from mainstream choices, instead including
a more diverse and offbeat lineup. Among this, there is a collection
of silent Shakesperean shorts from between 1899 and
1922, Vincent Price’s “B movie”-style Theater of Blood, and
Kenneth Branagh’s staggering 4-hour run of Hamlet.
Jeonbuk Life 9
POSTER AND THEME
JIFF’s poster designs are always a hot topic for the festival. This
year’s selections, released on February 22nd, were more minimalistic
than many of the previous years’. The posters highlight two Hangul
consonants: ‘ㅈ’ (“jieut”) to stand for for ‘전주’ (Jeonju) and ‘ㅍ’
(“pieup”) to stand for ‘필름 페스티벌’ (film festival). The main color
of orange and alternate color of blue, organizers say, represent the concepts
of “liveliness” and “youth” and will be used along with the symbols
throughout the festival.
General tickets for this year’s film festival go on sale April 14th and
are sure to be snatched up quickly online. A certain amount are held
back for the time of the festival each year, but since those can be hard to come by, film enthusiasts are encouraged to choose
movies wisely and be poised to get tickets for their top choices the moment they first become available. Regardless of the
movies you see, though, the ever-changing festival is worth checking out on Jeonju’s Cinema Street and beyond. Catch all
the cinematic and performance action from April 28th to May 7th.
JIFF’s Poster Evolution
2000 2001 2002 2003
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
2009 2010 2011 2012
2013 2014 2015 2016
Beverages and Film-buff Fare
at Jeonju’s Film Library and Cafe
For any movie lover, particularly one roaming the streets
of Jeonju during the film festival, the Film Library &
Café on the 2nd floor of Jeonju’s Movie Hotel (Yeonghwa
Hotel) is a necessary delight.
Upon entry up the café and library stairs, visitors are greeted
by old fashioned projectors and cameras and posters of classic
movies, among other memorabilia. But this is just the start.
15,000 pieces of footage are on hand in the café and film library
in a variety of formats, going back to the first recorded film, “The
Arrival of a Train,” from 1895. Along with this, 3,400 specialty
publications and more than 2,000 pieces of film literature and
magazines grace the shelves and tables of the library Often a
classic movie is projected onto a large screen in the café, or patrons
can use one of the row of personal screens and headphones
to watch a variety of media.
The film library is funded with the profits from the café, whose
menu offers the typical Korean fare at a bit higher-than-average
drink quality. Light food options and desserts are also on offer,
and the purchase of any of these food or drink options entitles
customers to use of the film library. For some materials, viewing
times are limited to the late morning or early afternoon, but
visitors are also always welcome to roam the floor and peruse the
collectibles and titles on offer.
Spotting collectibles, memorabilia, and rare movies is perhaps
the most delightful part of strolling through this café. Some seats
are replaced with old movie theater chairs. Treasures line the
shelves: an imprint of the director’s hand from Kung fu Hustle,
figurines of characters from Avatar and Terminator, old film reels,
or VHS copies of Back to the Future… the list goes on and on. A
spattering of classic and contemporary posters on easels or walls
also decorate the library and café.
The venue was host to part of JIFF’s “100 Films, 100 Posters”
exhibition during last year’s festival, a showing which will be reprised
for this year’s edition. The Ministry of Culture, Sports,
and Tourism also sponsors a “Culture Day” highlighting black
and white films on the last Wednesday of each month here. All in
all, it’s an ideal spot to stop by for drinks, wandering, or hunkering
down with good (and possibly rare) movie media.
Find the Jeonju Yeonghwa Hotel and its 2nd-floor movie library
and café around the corner from Jeonju’s original Sambaekjip
restaurant, or visit their website (Korean only) at www.
Jeonbuk Life 11
Tips and Tricks for Tackling JIFF
A Local Expat Weighs In
Everyone enjoys Jeonju’s annual International Film
Festival in his or her own way, but for those who
haven’t attended before, choosing movies and planning
one’s time at the crowded event can be a bit intimidating.
We decided to ask some advice of a local expat and film industry
insider, one who has attended almost ten installments
of the annual festival. Dean Crawford, a U.K. native English
teacher by current trade but a film buff at heart, has plenty of
knowledge to offer on how to best enjoy JIFF and how it has
evolved in the eyes of the attendees. Here are just a few of the
questions he answered for Jeonbuk Life.
First, what’s your background in the movie
I’ve worked in films off and on since 2003, starting as a PA
on shorts. However, it took a while (and another stint in Korea)
before I got my break in the industry as a Production Runner
on a low budget indie film called Doghouse. From there, rather
than stay in one department, I continued to work in many
different areas of the film industry, which I loved. My main
area of “expertise” is in the production department, which is
where I worked on my first Harry Potter movie as well as on
festival circuit favorite A Lonely Place to Die, among others.
… Most recently I was the Key Production Assistant on last
year’s Avengers Age of Ultron. I’ve also worked in the video
department on the final Harry Potter movie and X-Men: First
Class as well as the location department of Captain America:
The First Avenger, and I worked in the art department on a
movie with 50 Cent. Undoubtedly a highlight.
How many years have you attended the film
festival, and how has it changed over the years?
This year will be my 10th. 7 as a guest and the last 3 as
press. My first visit was at the 4th festival in 2003. … I remember
2003 being a big deal for a lot of the expat community
as the downtown area transformed for the week to 10 days
the festival was on. But without a doubt the Jeonju Film Festival
has grown exponentially over the last decade, with people
coming from all over to watch films. The festival has grown
from Cinema Street downtown to needing several venues all
over town to cope with the demand for screenings and other
events. This just shows how popular the festival has become.
What’s the best way to pick films for JIFF?
Anything to look out for?
Definitely – the Midnight Madness movie trilogies, which
are a selection of three films playing from midnight to 6 am
on the weekends. Last year it was nightmares and ghosts on
social media, the year before it was cults and zombies. You
can’t beat seeing a horror film with a Korean audience as they
jump out of their skins! It’s also fun comparing the zombies
on screen to the zombies in the aisles at 6 a.m. as students
wander aimlessly, honing in on free milk and snacks. After
six-plus hours in a theater, the resemblance is staggering. If
you can manage to stay up all the way through, it’s a great
night. The horror trilogies are always my favourite, but there
have also been nights of great music documentaries, Blaxploitation
movies, or a specific director – my favourite being
the John Waters marathon. Some of his stuff isn’t an easy
watch – yeah, I’m talking about you Pink Flamingos – but
it’s a fun watch none the less. Outside of the Midnight Madness,
there’s around 200 movies to choose form each year so
it can be a little daunting. I suggest looking at the synopsis
of each section of the festival to get a feel of what you like.
Cinemafest is likely to be the most audience-friendly of all
the sections, if “audience-friendly” is the correct term, while
the expanded cinema section comprises more experimental
and challenging films. When I’m not reviewing a movie, I try
to see as many films from the Korean Cinemascape sections
as possible, as it’s not often I get to see a movie in Korea with
English subtitles. If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with
picking one of the many films in competition or, if you’re
worried about your concentration levels – choose a selection
Are there any films you’ve seen at the festival
that stick out in your mind?
Yes, there are two. The first is Park Chan-Wook’s I’m a
Cyborg, because it was one of the first Korean movies I got to
see in the cinema and because he is a brilliant, stylish director.
It also helped that Cyborg was a lovely experience – inventive,
clever, sad, and sweet all at the same time. And second
is a tiny Filipino movie called Mondomanilla simply because
the film was nuts! I hadn’t seen anything like it before, nor
since, from the Philippines. Three-legged dogs, rapping little
people, sex, violence, fourth-wall breaking – all in the name
of a political statement. I couldn’t take my eyes off the film,
and that, to me, is the beauty of JIFF.
How do you think JIFF compares to other film
festivals (if you’ve attended them)?
I’ve been to Busan a few times and that felt a lot more
commercial, which of course it is -- the whole point of a film
festival like Cannes or Busan is to find distributors for your
films. But from an audience perspective, I believe you go to
a film festival to discover something new and unique. It’s all
well and good watching one of the biggest films in last years
BIFF, which was Sicario, but with Denis Villeneuve directing
and the quality of the cast and the well-known talent behind it,
it was always going to get a wide release – it was just a matter
of when. But take a film like the aforementioned Mondomanila
– when are you ever going to get a chance to see a film
like that? I’ve yet to meet anyone apart from the people that
went to that screening who have seen it, and it has only just
had a limited run in the U.S just last year. This is where JIFF
excels. To give you an example, in 2013 the festivals OWN
judges criticized the festival for screening too many mainstream
movies. I don’t want to sound pretentious, but despite
it growing in size each year, JIFF is definitely more focused
on the art of cinema, which I think is fantastic. I have to point
out that JIFF actually produces their own films, which is fairly
unique. Ryu Seung Wan’s Mad Sad Bad was one of the
better films they have produced in recent years, demonstrating
the festivals commitment to cinema. Finally, with Jeonju
being a fairly small city compared to Busan or Seoul, JIFF
definitely takes over the town, which is great, as it feels like
every pocket of the city is involved in the festival rather than
it being held in one or two main areas. Jeonju is great at the
best of times, but the festival definitely lifts the atmosphere
and the spirit of the city.
Do you have any special tips for how to enjoy
the festival or movies at the festival?
If you are a film lover, just scan through the program and
see as many movies as you can – you won’t be disappointed.
If you’re not that into film per se and don’t want to take the
risk the of seeing something you feel could potentially be a
chore, grab some friends and go to one of the many live music
performances around the city, or go to the baseball stadium
with the outdoor screenings and grab a beer and choose whatever
food takes your fancy from the many international food
trucks that come to town. I have known people that have had
a fantastic time at the festival without having ever seen a film!
There you have it. No matter how daunting choosing from
the scores of films on this year’s JIFF roster might be, Crawford’s
tips and insights are sure to shed some light on how
to best enjoy the festival, even as a beginner. We hope to
see readers grabbing some popcorn and hunkering down for
some film fare at this, the 17th installment of Jeonju’s International
Jeonbuk Life 13
FOOD AND TOUR
Getting to Know
By FELIPE FIRMINO GOMES
Jeonbuk Life Contributing Writer
Namwon, one of the jewels of North Jeolla just
50 minutes from Jeonju, is many things to
many people. Known as the “City of Love,”
this unassuming city is also one of the gateways to Jirisan
National Park and has a picturesque setting alongside Korea’s
Seomjin River. In brief, though, we’d like to recommend
several main aspects of Namwon’s charm for visitors.
Among them – the not-to-miss annual Chunhyang
Festival, the inescapable charm of Gwanghalluwon Garden,
and the characteristic hometown taste of Namwon
LEFT: A pavilion at
[Photo by Anjee
dress in traditional
costumes to simulate
the story of Chunhyang
[Photo courtesy of
If you didn’t know, Namwon is known as the “City of
Love” among Korean people, so it might not be hard
to spot passionate couples around, enjoying everything
the atmosphere of the city has to offer. In no sense is that
more true than during the Chunhyang Festival, which happens
every year in the month of May.
The tale of Chunhyang is an important element of Korean
culture. It may be easily mistaken as a “Cinderella tale,” or
even a spin on a classic “Romeo and Juliet,” but it has deeper
roots than that. It’s a love story at its core, but Chunhyang’s
determination, fidelity and resolution amidst all adversity as
well as her unshaken faith in love are what make it such a
nice story. A poor girl from Namwon meets an official man
named Mong-ryong from Seoul (in the old times, called Hanyang).
They fall in love almost instantly and decide to marry,
but he has to attend to his commitments back in the capital.
Of course the couple can’t go on with their love because
of the obstacles of distance and different social backgrounds,
but Chunhyang stays stubborn and resolute to the end, when,
even after facing reasons to give up, the couple finally lives
happily ever after, as in many tales that help us explain life to
kids and, why not, even to ourselves.
The beauty in that very specific faith is celebrated in the
Chunhyang Festival, which is one of the most celebrated
ones in Korea. A “Miss Chunhyung Beauty Pageant” is one
of the events of the festival, celebrating local girls dressed
in very luxurious sets of hanbok (the Korean characteristic
clothing for special ceremonies).
Also, a parade along the river is held, with young people
carrying and playing the most varied forms of instruments,
especially really old and traditional ones, which were used
for the first ever composed pansoris (tales of Korean culture
told through song and dance).
All day long it’s possible to use the paddle swan boats
and, at night, the Seungwol Bridge is lit up, which only adds
to an already pleasant set of activities. But if you feel like
adding even more activities to the list, you can walk alongside
the river to the East, following the signs to Namwon
Tourist Complex, or simply “The Chungyang Theme Park”,
which is a place aimed at the whole family. Ponds, statues,
and some amusement park rides can give some sense of enjoyment
for kids and adults, whilst being surrounded by so
many elements of Korean folk culture, and other aspects of
Chunhyang’s tale itself can also teach you more about Korean
history, helping to explain why beauty is so praised in a
general sense in the peninsula.
The attractions inside Gwanghallu Park for the festival include
variations of cultural tents, small parades and music
events featuring some international singers, usually from Europe,
which add nicely into the mix of events.
Be sure to visit this year’s Chunhyang Festival starting on
May 13th and going until May 16th. You will not only surely
have a lot of fun with family and friends, but also have an
excuse to add to your current knowledge and observations
about the Korean culture.
Jeonbuk Life 15
FOOD AND TOUR
A Very Special and Endearing Park
As much as you may think you have seen everything
when it comes to parks in Korea, be sure to visit
Gwanghalluwon in Namwon. It’s easy to just
regard it as a park like many others, but this one is certainly
better than the sum of its parts. Gardens, pavillions, ponds,
pagodas, small wooden and rock bridges, and a small memorial:
this all amounts to a nice, quiet time off from big cities
and big worries.
Gwanghalluwon is said to be the place where the lovers
Chunhyang and Mong-ryong first met, and with its romance
and idyllic charm, this seems highly fitting. The park also is
said to have gained its name from a governor who compared
it to “a palace on the moon” with its surreal scenery and ethereal
With this close in mind, the atmosphere at Gwanghalluwon
is something both hard to be captured and described,
and that is why even though a picture is an amazing instrument
for trying to reproduce a specific point in time, it will
never ever be as efficient and accurate as actually being, living
and breathing, in that place portrayed in a piece of art.
That is why it would be hard to quite pinpoint what makes
Gwanghalluwon so special.
Even so, let’s give it try. First, program yourself to get to
the park with a reasonable time available before the sunset.
That is the best recommendation that can be made. That way
you have time enough to acclimatize with all the features,
especially the calming pavilions (even on crowded days it’s
possible to find relaxing spots). The nice ponds help ornament
the setting, so from the proper vantage point you can
prepare yourself for a truly nice view when the night is about
to come. At this point, search for the largest and most characteristic
pavilion. You will know which one by the heavy
presence of photographers, trust me. Instead of rushing, take
your time to enjoy that atmosphere of dim sunlight coming
from behind the pavilion, drawing a great contrast between
its definitions and the sky, all of that to the soothing sound
of silence (this part, if you are really lucky!). When the night
finally comes, lights installed in the floor will light up the
pavilion in an effort to make you stay, which I might say:
If you have time after that view, go outside the park itself
and spend some time around the river just by it. The Seungwol
Bridge (just outside the park) is beautiful, and it works
as a unique frame to the river itself, as well as the huge Chunhyang
doll present in a boat along the same river. It’s also
possible to hire a paddle swan boat there, if you want more
action, or even a more romantic time with a special someone.
Adding to the charm is a tiny “poetry park” just along the
river where bits of prose are hung as cloth on stakes by the
Walking, having a picnic, just observing people going
around or admiring the recently arrived Spring, Gwanghalluwon
is a great escape to a nice little atmospheric place inside
all of us that yearns for what is simple, but still special. You
have to believe me when I say the best the park has to offer
can’t be put into words, but into feelings, and those, well,
you have to experience for yourself.
Gwanghalluwon Garden is open year-round from 8 a.m.
to 8 p.m. Regular admission is just 2,500 won, but is free
in the final hour of the night, which is, honestly, one of the
most magical times to visit.
LEFT: One of many scenes of multiple pavilions
and ponds at Gwanghalluwon.
TOP: Likenesses of Chunhyang and her fabled
lover at Gwanghalluwon.
ABOVE: Scene from the “Love Bridge.”
[Photos by Anjee DiSanto]
Jeonbuk Life 17
FOOD AND TOUR
It might be funny or even weird to find a fish based
dish in the heart of a city that is not exactly near any
particular shore. But this is just the case of chueotang,
which you can find in Namwon in plenty of places and in the
company of a variety of side dishes.
Choosing among the alternatives might prove to be a hard
job, but you can choose any of the possibilities on the “Chueotang
Street” near Namwon’s Gwanghalluwon Garden to
have a good experience with the dish.
Chueotang is mainly composed of fish, of course, but don’t
expect to find pieces of it, or anything resembling what we
naturally associate with fish-based food. Instead, Chueotang
has a nice, hearty brownish coloring, a result of the grinding
process which the fish itself (loach, a kind of fish that can be
bred in ponds, somewhat common in all of Jeolla province)
goes through before the soup is composed. Expect a lot of
condiments (which can vary from restaurant to restaurant),
some cabbage and spinach (whose taste gets potentially
deeper when mixed into the broth) and the almost ever-present
spiciness, this time not through red paste, but through
What makes chueotang so special is not only the unique
texture and flavor of the fish, but how deep the broth itself
gets with the whole composition. It’s perfect for a cold or
rainy day, but the presence of complementary and bittersweet
side dishes amounts to a good dish for virtually any
type of weather. As for the side dishes, any of the restaurants
on “Chueotang Street” will grant you access to well-fermented
kimchi, some fresh vegetables and colored tofu. The
mildness of the latter ends up balancing really well with the
spiciness of the soup.
If you are not really tolerant to spicy food, you can try to
either dump some optional rice inside the broth or scoop
some of the rice with your spoon and then soak it inside the
broth in the quantity you prefer. And since we are talking
about quantity, be sure to have a nice walk in the neighborhood
for digestion just after, because you will get plenty of
food for the average price of between 8,000 and 10,000 won.
Chueotang is a nice meal for a brunch or lunch that works
well as a first step to enjoy all the relaxing features Namwon
has to offer. Just be sure to have plenty of water not only for
proper hydration but to withstand the effect of the spiciness
and condiments present in this unique dish.
Media Facade Show
For those in the area, a must-see event is on until the end of July
at Jeonju’s Pungnammun Gate. The group “30 Days” is presenting
a “media facade” show on the landmark every Thursday
and Friday night at 9:00. The show consists of moving images projected
onto the gate alongside musical accompaniment. Check it out!
Jeonbuk Life 19
Local Art Form Profile
By ANJEE DISANTO
Jeonbuk Life Co-Editor
Anyone who has been to Jeonju is likely to know it is an epicenter
for the production and promotion of hanji, or Korean traditional
paper. Souvenir sheets of paper, fans, dolls, and myriad other
paper-based products are sold in every tourist shop, while several centers
around town urge patrons to make their own products. Among those, two
stand out as hotspots for anyone interested in experiencing hanji. The Jeonju
Hanji Museum and the Hanji Industry Support Center, while far apart in location,
remain close in spreading hanji’s history and applications, as well as
allowing visitors to try their hands at crafting the beloved paper.
Words and shots by Anjee DiSanto
Jeonju Hanji Museum
Tucked into Jeonju’s factory district just off Palbok-ro,
this museum is attached to (fittingly) a paper factory.
The two-story experiential museum highlights hanji’s
1000-year-plus history and its traditional manufacturing process.
The museum’s second floor houses its “Hanji History Hall.” The
hall, full of hanji artifacts and contrasting samples of historical paper
styles, also features small dioramas illustrating each step of the
hanji-making process. (Interestingly, the diorama figures are also
made of hanji, adding to the overall aesthetic.) The best part of
this section of the museum, though not all signage is available in
languages other than Korean, is perhaps the factoids that visitors
can learn about hanji and its characteristics. Here are just a few:
• Historically, hanji was made in different types for different
purposes. For example, the paper used for royal documents
(pyojeonji) differed from that used for diplomatic documents
(jamunji) and from that used for state examinations (siji).
There were also types of paper for fan-making (seonjaji) and
umbrella making (usanji), as well as for covering windows
(changhoji) and floors (jangpanji).
• Hanji has microscopic holes that regulate air flow and stabilize
humidity. It also has the potential to clean or filter the
air. In older times, it was used over windows to cool rooms
in the summer and warm them in the winter, while in modern
times the applications have led to its use in wallpaper to
purify the air.
• By tradition hanji tends to be made in winter as the weather
and climate make the fibers stronger (and results in a more
ABOVE: A step in the process of making your own hanji.
TOP RIGHT: A figure made of hanji demonstrates a key
step in the traditional hanji-making process.
[Photos by Anjee DiSanto]
The museum’s second floor also holds a planned exhibition hall,
a hanji product hall, and the Hanji Future Hall. The latter two halls
may be interesting to those who think hanji is only for paper and
paper products: there, visitors can find clothes and fabrics made
of hanji as well as more futuristic applications, such as lining for
speakers or filters for cars or rockets.
Downstairs is where the magic happens. In the Hanji Reproduction
Hall, visitors can see a simulated display of the manufacturing
process and make their own simple hanji paper with the help of a
few workers on hand.
The Jeonju Hanji Museum is open for viewing and experience
from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, with free admission
for guests. Tours are also available for groups if reserved
ahead of time. Visit the museum’s website (Korean only) at www.
hanjimuseum.co.kr or simply stop by. This museum may be a bit
out of the way, but it’s surely worth a look for those interested in
Korean history or handicrafts.
Jeonbuk Life 21
Hanji Industry Support Center
While not only a museum, this conveniently located
center is easy to access downtown on the grounds
of the Korean Traditional Culture Center (KTCC).
The Hanji Industry Support Center offers a less detailed explanation
and history of hanji than the hanji museum does, but also
offers a wider range of experiential programs and products for enthusiasts
The center’s bottom floor holds a massive hanji manufacturing
room and experiential room for making, dying, and crafting with
hanji. Programs available here (mostly with pre-booking) range
from 30 minutes to an hour and cost anywhere from 500 to 10,000
won, depending what the participants wish to make. Those who
aren’t crafting anything can just roam the manufacturing hall to
observe the various screens and tools used in paper making.
While the center has four floors in total, most of what a general
guest would want to see extends only up to the second floor. Here,
much like at the Hanji Museum, there is a special hall for artist exhibitions
as well as a product exhibition hall and a room for explanations
of the paper’s history and process. Products on display in
the exhibition hall here are a bit more extensive and even include a
hanji wedding dress. The facts in the other display halls are less expansive
than at the paper museum, but they do give guests a chance
to learn many more interesting elements of hanji, particularly the
modern applications. Here are just a few:
• Hanji has applications for making eco-friendly styrofoam.
• Cleansing and fibrillation properties in the paper make it
ideal for manufacturing better filters for cigarettes and even
The Hanji Industry Support Center is open Tuesday to Sunday
from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with free admission (unless making hanji).
Find it downtown near Jeonju’s City Hall or online at www.hisc.
ABOVE: A hanji-manufactured wedding dress in the
Industry Support Center’s product hall.
LEFT: The manufacturing and experience room at
Jeonju’s Hanji Industry Support Center.
[Photos by Anjee DiSanto]
8-stage process of making traditional hanji
1 – Harvest mulberry and soak it in preparation
2 – Bark and boil the soaked mulberry product
3 – Wash, dry and clean the boiled product
4 – Beat the bark
5 – Dissolve the starch from the mulberry
6 – Lift and separate the remaining sheet
7 – Dry thoroughly
8 – Pound the paper into its final form
Hanji All Around
Besides the year-round opportunities to experience hanji in
all its glory at these two centers, events take place throughout
the year in Jeonju honoring and featuring the paper handicraft.
This spring, the 20th annual Jeonju Hanji Culture Festival
will take place from May 5th to 8th at Jeonju’s Korean
Traditional Culture Center and nearby locations. During this
time, visitors should be sure to look out for special exhibitions
as well as the spectacular hanji fashion shows – a sure
And above all, if visiting Jeonju, be sure to take a piece of
Korean history home with you in hanji form. The sheets of
traditional paper are available cheaply in dozens of designs
and colors that are great for photo and picture mattes, gift
wrapping, decoupage, crafts – you name it! Not to mention
all the other souvenirs and clothing items made with hanji.
Hanji is an essential tangible feature of Korea’s history, and
Jeonju is the ideal place to embrace it.
Jeonbuk Life 23
Rare fare for the right reasons
By ANJEE DISANTO
Jeonbuk Life Co-Editor
For expatriates living abroad in Korea, one of the
most tasking problems can often be finding ingredients
and methods to cook a beloved dish from
back home. Whether it’s homestyle macaroni and cheese,
a fish curry, or a palak paneer, it’s often true that there’s an
ideal spice, paste, or cheese that isn’t available in most Korean
One local shop, Ourshop India, has greatly alleviated the
pains of this process in the recent past. Ourshop is more than
just a simple store and delivery service, though—many patrons
are unaware of how special and socially involved this
business is. Krishna Bhavanam, a South Indian native who
tends the shop from day to day, sat down with Jeonbuk Life
to give details on how the shop developed and what it means
both to the founders and those it helps.
Bhavanam moved to Jeonju in August 2014 after a stint
in Suwon with his wife, who works as a scientist in the field
of biotechnology. He previously worked in the same office
as her, but discontinued his regular job when the baby came
along (now 14 months old) in order to provide care. This is
when the opportunity for Ourshop arose. A friend of Bhavanam’s
at Jeonju University, Heo Moon-kyung, suggested
the initiative since both had similar ideas of “doing something
for society.” The two partnered, and an idea was born.
This idea of “doing something for society” is at the heart
of Ourshop, and whether or not most patrons realize it, it’s
not just about providing rare ingredients and raising a regular
profit. In reality, the shop’s profits fund two overseas charity
initiatives. Heo, a research professor of culture and tourism,
puts 50 percent of the shop’s profits toward a project related
to Bhutan’s Happiness Index, with the other half of profits
going to the VISWA Foundation, a nonprofit project of Bhavanam’s
back in India. In Bhutan, the focus is on upping
self-sufficiency. Funds help to import necessary goods for
citizens, particularly from India: one recent project on that
front was sending a soap-making unit to make the product
more accessible there. Meanwhile, the VISWA Foundation
project focuses, for one, on establishing a school for alternative
education in India, including investment of funds and
development of infrastructure. Bhavanam plans to do more
in-person work with that foundation when the family returns
to India in the future.
Ourshop also helps from time to time with a local foreign-run
charity called Neighborly, Neighbourly, which
sponsors visits to and gifts for local orphanages. In the past,
the shop has pledged a certain amount of each total purchase
toward the charity’s fundraising efforts.
Some of the wares on offers at Ourshop India’s in-store location in Jeonju’s Hyojadong.
[Photos by Anjee DiSanto]
Bhavanam and partner are overall quite humble about these
efforts, though, which is why many patrons are unaware of
the shop’s good deeds.
“We don’t publicize this much because our results are not as
visible as other charities,” Bhavanam said. “We just do little
works to help as we can.”
As for the shop itself, Bhavanam is just happy to have the
time to spend with his child while tending the store and to
provide an ever-increasing list of what expats need for their
comfort and culinary delight.
“It’s totally an opportunity we created for ourselves,” Bhavanam
The shop itself launched fully in July 2015, and has since
grown from 400 products to more than 650, often at specific
requests of the clients. Bhavanam explains that these are
mostly Indian goods, especially those which are difficult to
And who’s buying these products? Well, while the shop
itself sits on a newer backstreet of Hyojadong in Jeonju, 95
percent of orders are fulfilled online, via delivery. Bhavanam
handles the packing and website management onsite at
the store. These orders go to foreigners throughout Korea,
including Jeju, but mostly to Seoul and Suwon, where large
pockets of Indian expatriates are working in industries like
software. Hand deliveries also go out within the Jeonju area,
and Bhavanam notes that Korean natives have been stopping
by the store more and more, too, for curry and various others.
Clearly, Ourshop has created a useful and fulfilling niche in
this community and beyond. And what of the future? Bhavanam
and family plan to continue the shop’s work for as long
as they stay in Korea, which may be two to three years. If
they leave, they hope to find someone new to take over the
project, so all of those hard-to-find essentials are sure to still
be accessible long into the future.
To find out more about Ourshop India or to make an order
from their ever-growing inventory, search for them on Facebook
or visit their website, www.ourshop.kr.
Jeonbuk Life 25
By DAVID VAN MINNEN
Jeonbuk Life Co-Editor
Jeollabuk-do has been described as the ‘heartland’ or
“bread basket” of the nation. If one were to try to imagine
the entire history and mentality of this region in
a single panoramic, what would stand out as the most salient
features? Politically, some of the hash-tags would be Baekje
Dynasty, Chosun Dynasty, Japanese occupation, and the Korean
War, plus steel, phones, cars, soju. Culture and cuisine
offer local treasures like the Hanok Villiage, intangible arts
like Pansori, as well as rice, cheongguk-jang, cheese, Kpop,
hanji, makkeoli, Jeonju Paper Mill, and so on.
But what about the actual culture—the people? That’s
the real treasure, to understand and appreciate the schools of
thought that make this vibrant place tick.
Visiting the leading wiki on this province, you will notice
that religion is a fairly prominent category, even though it
appears that half of the area’s two million people are agnostic
or atheist. The other million are split between a fairly basic
Buddhism and an array of Christian sects. Many of these
believers are sincere, some even fanatic, but most are admittedly
merely nominal adherents to religion, to please parents
or even employers.
Whether you esteem religion poorly or highly, it is without
contest that religion has been a seedbed of a great many worthy
collaborations such as hospitals, schools, and vital social
services. Therefore, observing the movements of society’s
tectonic plates can be orienting.
Here is a graphical oversimplification of the layers of
bedrock that make up Jeollabuk-do’s worldview. At rock
bottom, we find animistic and shamanistic practices. These
practices are common to all tribes and nations around the
world. Shamanism is a diverse array of natural and magical
efforts to get good fortune or healing or divine the future.
If you walk ten minutes in any direction around here,
you will notice some houses are adorned with long bamboo
poles with a band of red and a band of white ribbon flying
like flags. These are the places where shamans, fortune tellers,
healers, or cursers are at work in a strong and vibrant
subculture that has been developing in its own unique way
since time immortal. It is very much alive and well today.
Shamanism in the Jeollabuk-do province will receive fuller
attention in Part 2 – Jeonbuk Shamanism, Deep Roots.
The first organized and codified school of thought on the
scene was Confucianism. This worldview, although from
China, took to South Korea like water takes to a fish. The
engulfing, comprehensive mindset of filial piety became
the essence of right and wrong for all Koreans. Confucianism
has remained Korea’s moral platform for over 2000
years. Subsequent religions and philosophies came into
Korean Confucianism, but they did not displace it. In the
diagram above, Confucian thought is just one of the boxes.
It was made big and bright red to help emphasize it, but
it is not sufficient to describe Confucianism’s relationship
with the other religions. Perhaps a different analogy will
be helpful. Imagine Korea as a swimming pool. All the
religions are swimming and playing, arguing . . . Confucianism
is the water. What can fish do without water? A
worldview lives at the edge of perception. Most people
go through their entire life not being aware of their worldviews,
like a fish in water. It’s as easy to challenge your
worldview as it is to challenge gravity. A worldview can
be shared by different religions—even arch-rival religions,
despite fervant affirmations. Confucianism is Korea’s current
worldview. Since Confucianism was set firmly in
place, everything that came next has been steeped in it.
The vibrant tenacity of Korean Confucianism will receive
treatment in Part 3.
Next on the scene is Siddhartha. Buddhism has dominated
the Korean religious landscape for 1500 years. It did
not displace Confucian thought, but syncretized rather well
with the host mindset. In Part 4, entitled “JB Buddhism,”
we will look at Buddhism in general, and Jeonbuk’s own
special incarnation of Buddhism.
Part 5 seeks to bring us inside some signature Roman
Catholic spots in this province and highlight how Rome
has served for the betterment of this land for the last 300
years. We will briefly consider Catholic mission in the
Jeonbuk region and appraise its ample institutional legacy.
Finally, Part 6 surveys the vibrant and variegated influence
of Christian Protestantism in South Korea, with particular
attention to North Jeolla Province. Christianity has
dramatically shaped this nation and Jeonbuk has its own
It is important to acknowledge that this nation has also at
this time been torn apart by war. That leaves it’s own wake
and affects even the tint of the worldview.
Zoomed way out, an overview of timeless Jeonbuk can
be summarized very scantily as follows: a very kind people,
brimming with brains and beauty, producing amazing
food, and zealously Confucian.
Once oppressed by the Chinese, then the Japanese, then
the communists broke everything up. People here remember
hunger and hardship. Then, with a leg-up from the
USA, this area underwent a rapid modernization in manufacturing.
This region hurled itself gung-ho into development
with the signature Korean long-haul work ethic. The
infrastructure has been totally overhauled (and tunneled
under) in a very short time. And now, this peninsula has
started kicking butt and taking names, globally. Areas of
greatest improvement include agriculture, manufacturing,
technology, nano-technology, education, and entertainment.
Korean cars, smartphones, pop music, food, and
drink are well known to the world. Korea has buoyed into
a leading developed nation at a speed that taunts the bends.
Culture dramatically shapes society. Culture runs way
deeper than the eye can see. Korean people are very proud
of their culture, and it is the culture that makes one Korean.
To get the societal lay of this land and learn what makes
people tick, it is very helpful to take a look at each of the
major influences under the surface. Confucianism is by far
the dominant worldview, but shamanism, Buddhism, and
Christianity wield great influence in society today. North
Jeolla Province has its own hues and flavors, and has been
home to several stirrings of great import. We will first explore
the most ancient, primordial influence, which is still
very much alive in this province. Look for Part 2: “Jeonbuk
Shamanism – Deep Roots,” coming up in the third issue
of JeonBuk Life.
Jeonbuk Life 27
Living & Studying
By AMARBAYASGALAN KHATANBAATAR
Student, Global Studies
Chonbuk National University
It has already been 2 years since I came to Jeolla province.
I was born and raised in Mongolia, and I came to
Chonbuk National University as an exchange student
in 2014. Most of my experience of living in Jeolla province
is based on my school. In 2015, I joined the Jimmy Carter
School of International Studies at CBNU. I am quite satisfied
studying with a great faculty. There are a few reasons.
I think when we study ‘international studies’ and ‘international
relations,’ there are no borders inside which we get restricted.
We basically study everything: different countries,
international law, international institutions, world politics,
economics, environmental studies, human rights studies,
history, math, physics, chemistry, and even biology.
Compared to the big cities like Seoul and Busan, my city,
Jeonju, is relatively a small city. We don’t get that much traffic
or loud noise here. And there are not too many people
around. Living in a big city has its advantages, but when
you are living in a small city like Jeonju, nobody is going
to bump into you when you are walking down the street.
If I had to choose words to describe the city, they would
be “peaceful,” “relaxed,” “quiet,” and “has-everything-youneed.”
It is a perfect place to study.
By JONI PAGE, U.S.A.
Ten-year Resident of Jeonju
A Jeonju Story, My Story
Coming around the bend, driving in my car,
the lights of the World Cup Stadium begin to
come into view. The bright and distant lights
greeting me, leading me... I think to myself, my river,
my bridge, my friends, my home. My town, Jeonju.
I have lived in Korea for about ten years now. Ten
years is a long time. Lives change, faces change, people
come and go, but Jeonju has been my home. I’ve lived
and worked in other cities here in Korea, but I always
come home to my house, my bed, in Jeonju.
The front of my house is situated within easy walking
distance of a major street with convenience stores,
markets, bakeries, eateries, and more. Yet there’s no one
behind me, no one but the hills. The 7 peaks of Jeonju, a
majestic mountain ridge painting the skyline behind my
house that culminates in a striking pagoda at the summit.
It’s difficult to climb up the steps sometimes. It’s not an
easy hike. But I do it, just because it’s there, because I
can...and because it is beautiful.
Sure, I go to my homeland, America, to visit my family,
my children who I miss very much and are all grown
up now. They miss me. These ten years have been a bit
of a struggle for us as a family. They love me and I love
them. I love my family in America. Nonetheless, I always
come home here to Korea... at least for the past 10
years that’s how it’s been.
Sadly, my stay here in this lovely country of Korea
has an expiry date on it. Soon I will have to bid adieu,
one final farewell, to this fair and lovely town I’ve come
to know and love. My homeland beckons, my children
await. Another chapter of my life eagerly waits to be
written as I turn the pages in my memory. New adventures,
The stadium lights welcome me back to my town . I
don’t need navigation anymore. I know my way home
from here. My home town, Jeonju.
Jeonbuk Life 29
The Monster of Gui Lake
It was a typical winter Saturday for a not-so-typical
man. Panting like a Labrador retriever, he stood
and surveyed the slushy landscape. The banks of the
reservoir were covered with melted snow. Each and every
precarious footfall was well planted, due the weight of the
injection mounded kayak balanced on his head. Yet each
well-planted step slipped just a little, as if to wag a finger
and say something about pride and destruction.
He could barely breathe as he balanced his safety-cone
orange boat on his head and hesitantly plodded through
200 meters of uneven, runoff soaked, snowy mud to reach
the open water.
Solitude. He had come out here to see and hear the ducks
and get tranquil. He was going to get tranquil, by thunder,
and that’s all there was to it.
As he wheezed and sputtered, he began muttering, “Local
man found dead under his boat, face down in the frozen
mud with six beers strapped to his chest. Suffocated by life
Actually, his fishing lifevest was getting pretty tight.
That was before stuffing four tall-boys into the pockets.
At least he was wearing a life jacket this time. I guess it
only made sense: he was out on the reservoir all alone on
a foggy January day. About half of the water’s surface was
covered with ice. And about a third of the ice was covered
with duck droppings. Vast groups of ducks sat on the thin
John quietly rode toward a large flock with his camera
ready, hoping--in vain, he knew--to get near enough for a
decent shot. But they erupted in a flurry of flaps and quacks
before he could ever get near.
What’s better than a watchdog on your property? Waterfowl.
Ducks and geese have far more sensitive hearing and
make lots of noise when someone or something unwelcome
John felt about as welcome as a leopard seal at a penguin
As he got near a large group on the edge of the ice, six or
seven made a ruckus and took off into the air. He dropped
his paddle and grabbed his camera in time to see the massive
flurry of quacking and flapping rise into the cool moist
air only to deposit themselves on the other end of the reservoir,
some 2000 meters away.
John was the richest man in the world.
He had a loving wife, two beautiful children, some very
dear friends, a career he loved, a little bit too busy of a
life, and a kayak he purchased at Costco for a few hundred
bucks. In this vessel, he could get away from it all every
few days. Year round.
As long as he can get his paddle through the ice in the
winter, or as long as there was water in the summer, he
would be out on his favorite Gui reservoir. Getting his
He’d always loved water.
When he was a boy, back in Canada, his family had
a Carver. That was a 35-foot hotel room. A cabin cruiser
with a lower deck and upper deck for steering, twin,
super-thirsty inboard motors in the stern, white leather
trimmed rear decks, plush cabin with a kitchenette, and a
v-shaped bedroom with a sunroof up in the bow.
His early memories were awash with trips across Lake
St. Clair to the states, or out swimming to “the grassy.”
The kayak in which he now sat was a far cry from such
extravagance, about as far away as he was geographically
from that region. But the water was the same: H 2
Every body of water has a spirit. Perhaps a dissimilar
spirit. But similarly, a spirit.
John was a Firesign but always really loved the water.
He remembered even holding his breath and sinking
himself with weights to the bottom of his mom and dad’s
swimming pool just to find the quiet beneath the water.
Water was his balm. His way to peace.
Through the distant ducks’ social quacking, he detected
another sound drifting across the tranquil expanse. Traditional
Korean music echoed from a hillbilly property on
the Eastern shore. You can see smoke from a woodstove
rising from a cabin. On the floating dock was a kayak.
A man was walking with his dog playing fetch, when
the dog noticed John out on the lake. Now the incessant
barking of this dog acompanied the quacking of the ducks
off to the south.
It was a noisy kind of tranquility.
Just for kicks, he decided he was going to play icebreaker
and break a trail through the serene lake so that he could
photograph it after he made it. He carefully positioned
himself onto his knees like he’d done so many times before.
But this time extra careful so as not to fall into the
frigid waters. Out here alone in the middle of the lake, even
with a life jacket and even if you could pull yourself back
into the boat, your chances of reaching the shore and surviving
are not exactly guaranteed.
Well, the lake wasn’t that noisy after all. At least not
compared to the sound of John’s plastic kayak crashing
into the ice and his paddle flailing as he made very slow
headway as an icebreaker. The man on the shore was no
longer playing fetch and the dog was no longer barking:
they were both staring at this crazy guy trying to break his
kayak through the ice.
John chuckled to himself and struggled onward. He had
given up caring what people think of him years ago.
Panting with exhaustion, he retreated out of his 25 meter
broken ice channel and retreated slowly and steadily back
to open water. Of course, he thought. Ramming speed.
He drove his paddles back down into the water swiftly,
sliding up the little channel he had made. Once in a while his
paddle slipped over the ice rather than breaking through it.
It was hardly top speed, but when he reached the end of his
channel the kayak’s momentum slid him atop the ice, where
the boat slid another 10 meters. He laughed, thinking of a
loud, orange plastic otter before he ground to a crunchy halt.
There were two people standing on the shore now. Surely
they thought he had lost his mind. Maybe they thought he
was trying to reach them. But they were still a good 800
meters away. And even if he could reach them they probably
didn’t speak English. Even if they did, they might not want
to talk to someone so obviously insane. Who knows what
they could talk about, but the icebreaker was already out of
He reversed his kayak again down his channel and took
a photograph of his freshly carved and hard-won canal. Just
for kicks, he uploaded it to Facebook on the spot.
Even I think I’m crazy, he chuckled to himself.
About halfway back out of his ice canal, he checked his
watch and decided that his seven minutes of insanity disturbing
the peace was done. He had an English lesson at two
that afternoon and it was getting on 12.
Time to polish off this second tall boy, row back and get
home in time for lunch and a quick shower.
He dug his paddle into the water and, just below the surface,
he hit something, but it was not the hard, scratchy sensation
It was like rubber or perhaps wood, but on contact within,
his paddle jerked forward. He had been reversing, but the
forward snapping motion seemed to double his speed in reverse.
Whatever it was he had hit, it was moving!
“What was that?!” he exclaimed aloud, and heard his own
voice echo from the mountains.
Heart pounding, he jammed his paddle the full length into
the depths and felt nothing but empty water. He froze. He
sat perfectly still in his boat, hearing only the sound of the
distant ducks and the ice scratching gently on the one side
where the wind was pushing him against the unbroken ice.
There were no ripples in the water. There were no bubbles
under the ice or rippling surge on the thin ice like his kayak
had caused only moments before. Everything was placid.
Tranquil. He sat frozen,but his heart was pounding. He
knew that whatever had hit his paddle was big, with terrifying
attributes of size and momentum
“I must’ve hit a carp right on the back ... or a big bass,”
he reasoned to himself. Looking over into the inky darkness,
he saw nothing. His previously mild desire to relieve
his bladder was now quite a priority. Still he sat motionless,
skimming the surface of the ice and open water for any signs
of motion beneath. There was nothing. Slowly scanning
around him in a full 360° survey, one of the clips of his lifejacket
fell against his boat, causing her ever so slight thump.
He jolted with fright at the sound. Then he began to laugh
at himself, ruminating on countless afternoons out here on
the reservoir, the fishing boats, the kayakers, the students he
had taken out, the friends. The largest fish he’d ever seen
in these waters was indeed a carp, almost 3 feet long. He
laughed out loud and even scolded himself for being so easily
spooked. The next sound was the crack open of a beer
can, a tallboy of dark beer, ice cold out in the sun with no
need of a cooler, and he slugged the entire can back without
a break for air.
Expelling a long, throaty “Ahhhhh!” an overwhelming
urge to urinate suddenly demanded his full attention.
There is a trick of balance to achieve that point where you
neither piss in your small craft, nor on yourself, along with
ensuring you don’t fall out of it. Balancing himself in the
boat carefully, he struggled to his knees and slowly acquired
balance precariously with his knees on the gunwale so that
he could relieve himself over the side of the boat.
“Sorry about the little bump, Nessy!” he quipped, balancing
on his knees and unzipping his trousers to relieve
himself. “Had I known you were down there, I wouldn’t of
bonked to you on the head!”
Chuckling at his own foolishness, and welcoming the
warm buzz of the beer he had just finished, blissfully compounded
by the relief of peeing over the side of his small
craft, he sighed heavily, and emoted aloud, “Ah.... 쳤다!”
Hypnotized by the sprinkling sound and the site of little
yellow balls of urine rolling over the surface of the water, he
breathed in deeply, absorbing the solitude.
The streaming tinkle of his urine reduced to a few drops,
and was finally punctuated by a loud bang as something
very large struck the bottom of his kayak behind him, propelling
him sprawling forward. Splash!
Panicking, dog-padding, choking, sputtering, the ice
in his mouth tasting very alive, he frantically tried to pull
his phone out of his upper left vest pocket to raise it out of
the water, cursing himself for removing it from the waterproof
case just a few minutes ago. Holding the phone over
his head and paddling and kicking with just three limbs, he
turned toward his kayak, and sputtered, “What the hel--”
just as long, needle-sharp teeth dug into his calf muscles and
shins, yanking him under with a final abruptness.
He saw his orange kayak a few meters above him, through
the dark frigid silence, swirling with clouds of his own crimson
By MANNY HUGHES
Jeonbuk Life 31
at Geumsansa: a photo story
By ANJEE DISANTO, Jeonbuk Life Co-Editor
Buddha’s birthday (commonly known as 부처님 오신 날, or “Day of Buddha’s
Coming,” in Korea), is an excellent time to see some of the country’s most vibrant
festivals and displays. Countless temples commemorate the event each May
(based on the lunar calendar) all over the peninsula, but in North Jeolla, one of the best
spots to enjoy is undoubtedly Geumsansa, a jewel perched atop Moak Mountain in Gimje.
Take a look!
Geumsansa translates to “Golden Mountain
Temple,” which seems somehow fitting at the
times when festivals like Buddha’s Birthday are
on. For Buddha’s special day, grids of rainbow
lanterns criss-cross the open middle grounds of
the substantial temple complex, some made of
thin cloth and some of hanji paper. Each carries
a tag with a wish written for the writer or
the writer’s loved one, and all help contribute
to the “golden” nature of the temple after dusk,
when the candles inside each lantern cast a deep
yellow glow upon the grounds.
Surely the transition from the deep pre-dusk
sun to the afterglow of evening is the ideal time
to view lanterns at Geumsansa, but events happen
here all day for Buddha’s birthday. Ceremonies
and prayer sessions abound, for one.
Besides this, foreigners may not know that
most temples like Geumsansa offer free meals
and tea for visitors on Buddha’s day. Sanchae
bibimbap (mixed mountain vegetables and rice)
is the typical fare, served up happily by monks
or devout volunteers.
When the sun sets, the temple comes alive with a
whole new vigor. The lanterns and the symbols with
which they are adorned become even more pronounced,
as temple-goers and avid photographers
An interesting fact: Some foreigners may be initially
shocked to see a symbol which they equate with
the Nazi swastika on some of the glowing lanterns.
Fear not -- this age-old Buddhist symbol (which typically
turns clockwise, contrary to the other “swastika”)
merely symbolizes well-being and good fortune
in Buddhism. In fast, the Sanksrit word svastika simply
means “all is well.”
All in all, this “Golden Mountain Temple” becomes
a spectacle worthy for all ages to behold
on Buddha’s Birthday. Kids as well can take part
in candle lightings, and anyone can appreciate the
beauty despite their faith.
While amidst a rural area atop Moak Mountain,
Geumsansa is accessible from Jeonju via Bus #79
or from Gimje via Bus #5, along with a 10-minute
stroll to the temple. Buddha’s Birthday falls on Saturday,
May 14th this year, at the very peak of good
weather in Korea. Why not check out the scenery
and a bit of Korea’s culture and faith by visiting the
Golden Mountain Temple on this special day?
Jeonbuk Life 33
App Review: Kakao Navi
By DAVID VAN MINNEN
Jeonbuk Life Co-Editor
FOREWORD: From time to time, Jeonbuk Life will
review apps or services that could be of vital use to the
foreign community. Our first is for those who drive or use
Korea’s most popular free navigation app for
smartphones, “KimGiSa,” has had a total
makeover. It has already long been an invaluable
tool. Now it’s gotten even better! The
new name is “Kakao Navi.” It is now branded as part of
Daum’s great Kakao lineup.
If you want to talk with your friends around the world
for free, Kakao Talk is awesome. You can send pics and
videos and talk by voice with no cellular usage if you’re on
wifi. Likewise, if you want to call a taxi in Korea, Kakao
Taxi is the way to go. Enter your desired destination and
you will be shown a GPS map with moving dots that indicate
the nearest participating taxis. It’s convenient, and the
driver already knows where you want to go when you get
in the car. And you know the route and the fare upfront.
If you want to drive, bike, walk. or rollerblade, Kakao
Navi offers a hand-held global positioning service with a
super-detailed and updated Korean nav service powered
by Daum Maps. Kakao Navi loads automatically if you
were using KimGiSa. At first glance, such a radical upgrade
is slightly annoying, because it involves a learning
curve, while driving a car around literal curves. But if you
give yourself a little time to learn this app, you’ll see that
the changes are well-crafted upgrades.
Kakao Navi is very trim and simple, showing much fewer
options, but they are the ones you want. First, the map
is clear, and the indicators around it are tuned for maximum
at-a-glance efficiency. Whether driving or cycling—
even walking!—a glance is all you can safely give to your
On this note, it is important to mention the HUD, even
though it is not a new feature. If you are driving a car at
night, switch to HUD (Heads Up Display) and lay your
phone on the dashboard. Your speed, next turn distance,
and speed camera warnings are reflected on your windshield.
You can line up your phone so that your eye is on
the road ahead AND on your navi indicators. No looking
off the road into a bright LED screen. Admittedly, this is
not the newest technology. It has been available on Cadillac
cars for some years. But now it’s available on anybody’s
smartphone for free. If you prefer to look at the
screen, however, there is an option within the program to
dim the display for night driving.
The first thing most people want to do with any navi is
turn down or off that pleasant feminine voice which incessantly
reminds you of every camera and turn. Even with
a poor understanding of Korean, it is now much easier to
find the volume control.
My favorite new feature is the orientation button. In the
settings menu, there is a new feature indicated by the symbol
for infinity ∞, or maybe it’s an eight lying on its side.
This symbol is also indicative of orientation. It’s intuitive,
since you sometimes have to perform that motion holding
your phone for it to accurately calibrate a compass direction.
In this case, when you push down on the orientation
symbol, it is not the phone that receives orientation, it is the
user. The map instantly snaps to north-south and zooms out
to display your total route and your current progress at a
glance. With the former app, you had to pinch your fingers
to zoom out and you were only given a brief amount of
time before it returned to the navigation screen. This was
annoying and dangerous while driving. The app still behaves
that way if you want to zoom out with your fingers,
but this orientation button snaps it to the ‘big picture’ that
you want and stays there until you push the X.
Another great feature is that it runs in the background.
Well, it did before, too, but before, when the app was running
in the background, it was draining your battery, even
if you forgot it was on, and would not interrupt foreground
programs to warn you of missing a turn or whizzing past
a speed camera. Now, the voice warns you, through a call
or internet radio or wherever else you might have strayed
from the nav screen. The new version also uses the same
flashing blue banner indicator at the top of your screen as
when you are using hotspot. It constantly reminds you that
navigation is using your location--and thus extra doses of
CONS: Still no English