JB Life! Volume 2 (Spring 2016)


This is the second quarterly issue of JB Life, a publication meant to showcase the international residents and traditional elements of Jeonbuk Province in South Korea. The magazine is a project of the Jeollabuk-do Center for International Affairs and publishes in January, April, July, and October.

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

전라북도 국제교류센터

(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




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 jeonbuklife@gmail.com














- Charting New Paths with the JBCIA


- Osu-ri: Famous for a Dog


- On the Trail of J.I.F.F.


- 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.


- 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.



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.


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).


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.


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



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

content: www.jbcia.or.kr.



A Village Famous for a Dog!


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

year’s competition.

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.”



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



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

of shorts!


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

Film Festival.

Jeonbuk Life 13


Getting to Know



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


RIGHT: Participants

dress in traditional

costumes to simulate

the story of Chunhyang

during the

annual Chunhyang


[Photo courtesy of


Chunhyang Festival

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



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:

actually works.

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

water’s edge.

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



in Namwon



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

green pepper.

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.

JeonbukTour EXTRA



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


Beyond Handicraft


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

translucent paper).

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

to try.

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

for cars.

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


Ourshop India

Rare fare for the right reasons


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


Jeonbuk Worldview


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

unique currents.

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


My Experience

Living & Studying

at Chonbuk




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.



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,

new discoveries.

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

peace on.

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

the way.

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

of ice.

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



American Expat

Jeonbuk Life 31


buddha's Birthday

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

multiply exponentially.

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

Chinese Voices


App Review: Kakao Navi


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

navigation services.

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

your battery.

CONS: Still no English



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