JB Life March 2017


The Spring version of JB Life, North Jeolla's quarterly global lifestyle magazine.

Jeollabuk-do’s International Magazine

January 2017, Issue #5

Registration No. ISSN: 2508-1284

164 Palgwajeong-ro, Deokjin-gu, Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do, Korea

Tel:(+82) 63-214-5605~6 Fax: (+82) 63-214-5608

Jeonbuk Life Editorial Staff:


M.A. Communication & Rhetoric


Anjee is a ten-year resident of Jeonju

and visiting professor at Chonbuk National

University. While living here, she

has traveled to 42 countries as well as

explored and photographed most parts

of the Korean peninsula. She is the English

editor of CBNU’s student magazine

and has worked extensively with

10 Magazine in Seoul.


B.A. Humanities/Classical Languages


David 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.

Jeonbuk Life Writers & Artists:

BONNIE CUNNINGHAM, U.S., B.A. Visual Arts, is a

new teacher in Korea. She loves to travel and make

artwork along the way. While she currently focuses

on painting, her background is in film and video.

She is excited to be living here and looks forward

to whatever it lends to her artwork.

DEAN CRAWFORD watches lots of films, meaning

he’s a bit of a geek and spends a lot of time on his

own in dark rooms. After working in the UK film industry

at Hogwarts and the X-Mansion, Dean now

resides in Jeonju where he writes about his two favorite

things, films and food!

HEATHER ALLMAN, a U.S. native, has been living

and teaching English in Jeonju for 1.5 years. With

a background in International Relations and Spanish,

she has a dexterity for language. Writing and

traveling are her two favorites, so she thought,

why not do them both at once?

HEEONE PARK was born and raised in Jeonju until

she was 17. Living in various cities overseas and

now residing in London, she tries to be cosmopolitan

but she is very Korean at heart. She loves all

things that give her inspiration, especially art, music,

and books.

RENEE McMILLAN has been living and teaching in

Jeonju for five years. A recovering actress, Renee

has become addicted to travel and photography.

She enjoys sharing her stories and adventures,

and is excited to work with JB Life in capturing the

beauty of Jeollabukdo.

ROBERT CHATTERTON is a 10-year resident of

Jeonju and a married father of a 16-month-old

baby girl who has been competing in triathlon

since 2009.


BA Biological Science


Dowon 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 lived 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 dwkim411@jbcia.or.kr.




Dr. Park has been teaching English 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.

ROBERT SANCRAINTE is an American who currently

teaches English at a school in Jeonju. He is a new

writer for the magazine this month with a passion

for fiction and has contributed this month’s short

story selection.

SARAH HODGKISS, one of our new illustrators, is a

24-year-old British artist who is currently working

as a Kindergarten teacher in Jeonju. If you want to

see more of her work, visit www.facebook.com/


STUART SCOTT, a Jeonju resident since 2003,

teaches at JJU. One of his favorite hobbies is studying

history, folklore, and myths. Stuart grew up in

Canada, where he graduated with a degree in history

and political science.

TAYLORE BEATTY is from Kansas City, Missouri

and has lived in Korea off and on since 2012. She

enjoys camping at the Korean national parks and

stuffing her face with vegan food.

VIKKI CHAN is British-born Chinese. She has been

living in Jeonju since 2013. Vikki loves to find out

more about different cultures residing in Korea.

Jeollabuk-do Global Living

March 2017 / Issue #6

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 publishes once per season.

To get involved, email jeonbuklife@gmail.com















- International Center News


- Year of the Rooster


- Tri-umph! Give it a Try?

- Kickin’ It: The Muju Taekwondowon


- Gunsan’s Historic Waterfront

- Cuteness Overload: The Teddy Museum


- Making Time for a Gunsan Hoetjip


- ‘Je Ne Sais Quoi’ at You Love Soul Zip


- Woodblock Printing: Making its Mark

- From the Heart: Ash Dean’s Poetry


- Olga Kan: Costume Designer


- Catholicism in Jeonbuk


- Being Vegetarian or Vegan


- The Climb


- “The Future is Dark”


JB LIFE is published by the JBCIA

(Jeonbuk Center for International Affairs)

전라북도 국제교류센터

Jeonbuk Life 3


Heading into Spring with the

The Jeollabuk-do Center for International Affairs

(which, incidentally, makes this magazine possible)

is still relatively new in the province. In its short existence

the center has put together a variety of programs linking

international residents, visitors, and locals. Now, as the year

progresses, there are a number of programs to share with Jeonbuk’s

global community.

with expats in other areas to share their living stories and learn

about each area’s modern and contemporary history.

Jeonbuk International Exchange Festival

- This is a festival for expats/residents in Jeonbuk and also expats

from other cities for mutual exchange. JBCIA hopes to

improve the expats’ understanding of Korea and produce more

international exchange between Jeonbuk and the world beyond.

* International Exchange Networks

Jeonbuk Consultative Bodies for International Exchange

1) Jeonbuk International Exchange Consultative Council

- Made up of visiting professors and experts who conduct research

on trends in international exchange and provide consultation

on the direction of JBCIA’s operation as well as new

exchange areas for Jeonbuk. The council also arranges civilian

exchanges and supporting activities abroad.

2) Jeonbuk 14 Municipal International Exchange Network

- Made up of the 14 municipal offices for international exchange

that are spread across Jeonbuk, this network provides

JBCIA with information about county- and city-level organizations

seeking international exchanges. It works to improve the

support and lay the foundation for more rigorous exchanges..

Vitalization of International Exchange Overseas

1) Youth Exchange Programs with Sister/Friendly U.S. Areas

- These programs include a teenage exchange program through

Skype, pen pals, and visiting each other’s cities every other year

to understand the culture, language, history, etc.

2) Sports Exchange with Sister/Friendly Areas in Japan

- With connected leagues in sports, each country’s representative

organizations visit for competition and exchange skills and

information that are common to a particular sport.

3) Discovering New Friendly and Exchange-worthy Areas

- The center is finding new overseas areas that there were not

active in exchange and advocating agreements to promote and

broaden exchange programs.

Korea Foundation (KF) Public Participation

1) KF Exhibition and Concert

JBCIA is arranging a KF cultural exhibition and concert featuring

well-known overseas artists or performances.

2) KF-Jeonbuk Foreigners Themed Field Trip

The center will select expats in Jeonbuk and arrange meetings

Cooperative International Exchange Projects

1) Supporting Overseas Korean Language Schools

- The JBCIA produces and distributes Korean language textbooks

tailor-made by the CBNU Development of Regional

Advancement University Project Consortium to better promote

various aspects of Jeonbuk and also provides stationery for students

taking Korean language courses overseas. The JBCIA and

the universities hope to trigger foreigners’ interest in Jeonbuk

and potentially bring more international students to the region.

2) Cultural Choir Exchange with Jeonbuk Foreigners

- The goal of this program is to support the residents and foreigners

who are interested in choir so that they can practice different

styles of songs and perform at the Jeonbuk International

Exchange Festival.

3) Supporting Development of Underdeveloped Countries

- Another goal is broadening business in underdeveloped countries

and selecting those that have interest in the culture and

history of Korea. JBCIA will build the Jeonbuk International

Exchange House and cooperate with local organizations to provide

equipment, tools, and traditional goods toward this goal.

*Developing Residents’ Global Competency

Global Talk!Talk!Talk! (Global Skills Seminar Series)

- This series invites experts in world economy, trends, and diplomacy.

Their lectures are open to all people in Jeonbuk. The

seminars are aimed at developing the residents’ global skills

and competencies and widening their horizons.

Building “World Town” Networks

- The JBCIA encourages local and foreign residents of the same

town to form a “World Town” international exchange group..

Resembling sister cities, this gives smaller towns opportunities

and support for cultural, art, sports, and food exchanges. It’s

also worthwhile because they are initiated by group members

themselves, not the government.

Supporting Services for Private International Exchange

-The center will work on supporting private organizations

which are struggling with international exchange problems or

establishment of an international exchange organization. The

areas of consulting are law, administration, operation, etc.

Publication of Jeonbuk English Magazine

- The JBCIA English Magazine “JBLife” is a full-color print

magazine that provides an in-depth look at issues surrounding

Jeonbuk history, culture, food, and language and tells the

stories of foreign residents and globally minded people living

in the region to spread news to Jeollabuk-do’s international

community, as well as to other cities and overseas.

The Young Global Leaders Program

-This basic education program focuses on the theme of global

leadership and international exchange for the younger generation

of Jeonbuk to train them as future global leaders. There

will be field trips to the diplomacy department, ambassador

seminars, and a mock-UN meeting.

On- and Offline International Exchange Library

- This library will offer books and electronic resources dealing

with international exchange that can be used as an educational

space for elementary, middle, high school, and college

students from the region and the general public.

JISU: Jeonbuk International Supporters Unity

- This group’s task is promoting major international events

taking place in Jeonbuk and supervising the volunteers’ activities.

These volunteers are expected to advance the internationalization

of Jeonbuk.

* Support Services for Foreigners

Jeonbuk International Students PR Team

- This group of international foreign university students studying

in various parts of Jeonbuk province takes photos and

videos to introduce the culture, festivals, goods, and lifestyle

of Jeonbuk on social media. One PR Team is selected for

each half of the year and their work is uploaded every week

on the center’s Facebook page. An open exhibition with provincial

dignitaries is held when their activity period closes.

Support Service for Jeonbuk Foreign Communities

- This service seeks to promote activities, events, exhibitions,

and friendship meetings of foreign communities in Jeonbuk

to enhance foreigners’ living convenience and vitalize the

communities. JBCIA selects 10 groups in each half of the

year with a maximum budget of 1,000,000won each..

Support Services for Foreigners in Jeonbuk

- This is a new effort offering Korean language education for

foreign workers in the suburbs and giving living tips to improve

their quality of life. The continued models are operating

voluntary groups composed of representative foreign laborers

in Jeonbuk and offering counseling and consulting services

to provide help in the workplace with respect to labor and

employment issues- or even family and personal wellbeing. .

For more information, visit the center at www.jbcia.or.kr.


Jeonbuk Life 5



JB Life Contributing Writer

Happy Year of the Rooster! Chinese

New Year, as it commonly called

throughout the world, has been long

celebrated on the Korean peninsula, too, as Seollal.

In this column we will look at some of the

mythology and history of this celebration.

Like the Western zodiac, the Chinese zodiac

is split into twelve parts. All of the parts in the

Chinese zodiac are labeled with an animal, and,

similarly, most of the Western ones are, too.

Also, both claimed a relationship between activities

in one’s life and personality to the cycle

in which one was born. Unlike that of the early

Greek’s, the Chinese zodiac is not associated

with the constellations. It is also not based solely

on calendar months within a given year but

rather an order of 12 years within a cycle. They

also have monthly animals called inner animals,

daily animals called true animals and hourly animals

called secret animals. So within the yearly

group, you will have inner groups, true groups,

and secret groups. The twelve animals are also

split into four groups called trines. Each of these

4 groups also has specific attributes. As this is

the year of the Rooster, part of the second trine,

we will concentrate on it. Those people born in

these years are great planners. They are hardworking,

modest, industrious, loyal, charitable,

punctual, and good hearted. Not to think these


people are perfect, though, as they may also be

self-righteous, vain, judgmental, and petty.

Let’s go back in time and look at the creation

of the Chinese zodiac. Of course, if one accepts

that mythology tells things that cannot be true

and folklore is based on the truth but changed

with successive generations passing the story by

word of mouth, one would define the Chinese

zodiac as a combination of myth and folklore.

The mythology part would be responsible for

explaining how the years were aligned with the

various animals. There are many different explanations

to this question, but the most common

started with the Jade Emperor. The Emperor in

Heaven, as it is also called, declared that the animals

would be aligned with the years in the order

that they arrived in front of him. So the cat

and rat, which were also neighbors and friendly

at the time, arranged to go early together in

the morning. As the cat was prone to sleeping in

late, the rat promised to wake him. However, on

the morning in question, the rat forgot his promise

and went directly to the gathering place,

leaving the cat sound asleep. During his trip, he

met the other animals that could all travel faster

than him. In order not to be left behind, he got

the ox to carry him. He promised to sing for the

ox in return. Finally, the ox and rat approached

the designated place first, as the ox was focused

on only one thing. The ox, thinking it would be

the first animal and thus represent the first year,

was surprised when the rat quickly slid in front

of it to become the lucky first animal in the

Chinese zodiac. The other animals followed

and the cat is not represented today because

it slept in. When the cat realized what happened,

he was angry with the rat, and that is

why they are still enemies today.

Another version of the same story has it that

they were given to the twelve most important

animals in China at that time. However,

a long time ago, it is claimed that there were

no cats in China and that is why it is not represented.

The same twelve animals are also

linked to the Chinese agricultural calendar.

On it, though, the Tiger is the first animal, as

it is supposed to be the first animal of spring.

These periods match very closely with the

Western zodiac as they are based on months,

not years.

This year is the Year of the Rooster. The

rooster is to be a combination of the five

virtues of wisdom, valor, courage, benevolence,

and reliability. The wisdom is shown

by the crown or comb on its head. Valor is

shown by its spurs. Courage is represented by

its willingness to fight its enemies. Benevolence

comes from its willingness to share its

food, and, finally, reliability is revealed by its

crowing every morning at the same time with

unchanging regularity. These five virtues

made the rooster an animal worth emulating.

Roosters thus were depicted on many day-today

items as the rooster was part of everyday

life. If you are a Rooster, 2017 will be an unlucky

year for you. It will not be a good year

for your career. It will have misfortunes, unexpected

loss of assets, emotional problems

with your lovers, and changing moods caused

by too much pressure. You should be ready

for great changes in your life. 2017 is also not

a good year for your health.

illustration by

Sarah Hodgkiss

If you were born in 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981,

1993, or 2005 then you were born in the Year

of the Rooster. Of course, the Chinese New

Year does not start on January first, so some

of you born before the Chinese New Year in

January or February may have a different

year, as will those born in the early part of

the new year in the years following the above

years. Roosters should consider their lucky

numbers to be 5, 7 and 8. Lucky colors are

gold, brown, and yellow.

This year, the new year started on January

28th. This will be the 4714th year. Surprisingly

enough, most people claim not to believe

in these ancient superstitions about either

the Greek or Chinese zodiac. However, over

99 percent of people will know what sign or

what animal they were born under. These are

amazingly high percentages for something

we don’t believe in, don’t you think?

Jeonbuk Life 7


A Guide to Triathlons by Robert Chatterton

I remind myself of why I do this. I’m nervous.

I don’t want to start too fast. Pace yourself. OH,

SA, SAM, EE, IL…….OMG! Scratch all that!

Pretty sure I just swam over someone. Salt water

tastes like #$%$! Where’s all my oxygen? I

remind myself of why I do this. OMGWTF! This

is annoying. Keep calm. I remind myself of why

I do this. At last, I’m free. Where are the buoys?

Remember to sight the buoys every four strokes.

More salt water. Two hundred meters down, only

just one thousand three hundred to go. I remind

myself of why I do this.

Back some twenty odd years ago now, I was

chatting with a builder mate of mine and he

was telling me about a client of his and his

unusual hobby. At that time, I’d only vaguely heard

of triathlon as it was so way out in leftfield from my

experience. A sport in its infancy if you compare it

to the mainstream. Now, I’m from England, so the

mainstream was football (soccer), rugby, and cricket

back then. Fast forward some twenty-odd years or so

later and I consider myself an experienced triathlete

in many respects but also a relative novice in others,

as you never stop learning. But what is triathlon?

Triathlon is a sport consisting of three disciplines:

ternet, I was pleased to find that there was and is a

growing triathlon scene in South Korea.

Two hundred meters to go! Sight the exit. Relax.

I remind myself of why I do this. Almost

there, relax. Hallelujah! Dry land! Unzip to

waist. Keep moving. Get out the way! Find my

bike. Look at the bike rack. Who’s out? Who’s

still in? It doesn’t matter. Race your race, strip

off, wetsuit and swim cap and goggles in the

bag. Relax., Helmet on, sunglasses on, number

belt on. Let’s go! Got to drink! Relax! I remind

myself of why I do this.

So where do you start? Well! You’re going to

need a bike, a wetsuit, and a pair of running shoes

as bare prerequisites before you start. All of which

cost money. How much you are willing to spend

is obviously dependent upon your disposable income.

An entry-level triathlon road bike can cost

as little as a $1000. A good wetsuit can be found

at the more modest price of around $250. And a

pair of decent running shoes at around $60. Now,

on a teacher’s wage that is understandably quite a

financial outlay for something you may not be sure

you’re going to like. Compound that with the fact

that race entries are priced at anything between

$50 and $250 and your newly found enthusiasm

may well be curtailed. Not to mention bike shoes,

triathlon running shorts and top, hydration bottles,

running gels, the list goes on. Sadly, this is

a financial reality. That’s not to say you can’t be

smart about how you spend your money and realistic

about your competitive aspirations. Common

sense might lead you to research the used market

in South Korea, especially when it comes to buying

a bike or a wetsuit. If you’re a novice, then

buying a $5000 carbon fiber state-of-the-art speed

machine may not be the way to go. However, with

a little saving and some discerning spending, you

can purchase the necessary equipment and begin

your triathlon odyssey.

Not another bloody hill! Remember to drink!

Take on that gel! Pace yourself! You’ve done

the training. OMG! 10 km to go. I remind myself

of why I do this.

In the six years that I have been competing in

South Korea, the triathlon scene has grown significantly.

When I first started the showcase Olympic

distance ITU (International Triathlon Union)

race at in Tongyeong, Gyeongsannamdo, the event

would attract around 700 competitors from all age

groups. In 2016, the number was closer to

swimming, cycling, and running, and in that order.

I’ve often thought about what the reverse would entail.

I’m pretty sure it would involve the emergency

services. Race distances vary from the sprint distance

of around 400m (swimming), 20km (cycling), 5km

(running), to the Ironman distance of 3.9km, 180.1km,

and 42.2km (a marathon). Most races in South Korea

are held at the Olympic distance of 1500m, 40km,

and 10km. I’ve completed or attempted to complete

all of these distances, and they all offer up different

challenges which the body and mind must cope with.

Now, I’d like it to be known that I started competing

in triathlons with a background of some competitive

cross-country running when I was in secondary

school and some competitive swimming as a member

of my local swimming club, for which the pool was

only open during the summer months, back when I

was in primary school. The time from then up until my

late thirties had been punctuated by season after season

of local Saturday-afternoon and Sunday-morning

football, alcohol, and cigarettes. My time in South

Korea had been pretty much the same kind of deal,

albeit with cheaper cigarettes. Turning forty years of

age and looking for a challenge, I thought about the

conversation I’d had with my mate some 20 years

previous. Aided by the fantastic resource of the ing



2000. The Ironman brand now hosts three 70.3 distance

races in Gurye, Chungju, and Busan, respectively.

North Jeolla province has an Olympic distance

and half-ironman distance race held every year in

Gunsan, along the Saemangeum Seawall. There are

races held in every province, including Jeju Island if

you fancy combining a vacation with your new hobby.

Slow down. Unclip your shoes. Don’t fall over. I

can’t feel my legs!. Keep moving. Find your box.

Rack the bike. Take off helmet. Slip on shoes. Go!

OMG! I can’t feel my legs!. Only 10kms to go…

on foot. I remind myself of why I do this.

Do you have to be the fastest swimmer? No. Do you

have to be the fastest cyclist? No. Do you have to be

the fastest runner? No. And therein is the beauty and

challenge of triathlon. A Michael Phelps-esque swim

may be impressive to begin with, but if you find yourself

having that feeling that you’re going backwards

on both the cycle and run, then you have something

to work on. Likewise, a Lance Armstrong-esque bike

leg (hopefully, drug free) can see you race through

the field. And if you happen to run like Mo Farah,

then you may find yourself dreaming big. The challenge

of triathlon is to try to be competent at all three.

2km down. 8km to go. I can feel my legs again.

Take on some water and a gel. Maintain pace.

Not too fast. Save something. I remind myself of

why I do this .

You may be wondering how you can be competitive

in triathlon, especially if you’re entering middle

age as I am. Triathlon is structured so that while

there may be 2000 or so fellow enthusiasts, you are

only essentially competing against those in your age

group. For example, 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-

44,45-49,50-54,55-59,60-64,65-69, and most impressively,

70 years of age and above; both male and

female, respectively.

Okay, 2km to go. My legs hurt. I can feel myself

slowing down. Take on some water. Okay, time to

gut it out. You can’t quit now! I remind myself of

why I do this.

Motivation can be both intrinsic and extrinsic depending

on the individual. And these may differ for

sure. But what can’t be denied are the mental and

physical health benefits obtained through training for

and competing in a triathlon. Self-efficacy, camaraderie,

the satisfaction of overcoming a challenge as well

as the more obvious weight loss and healthier living

are amongst the myriad of motivations for triathletes.

Triathlon in South Korea has a strong social club

structure with most cities having triathlon clubs who

turn out for races in personalized team kits. There is

even a triathlon club catering for to English speakers

in Seoul (Seoul Synergy). Race site websites have begun

to cater for to English speakers more readily with

registration for races having an English option.

I can see the finish! Look over shoulder. Nobody’s

there. Relax. Smile. Hide your discomfort.

You did it! Break the tape. Water! I need water. I

remind myself of why I do this.

Finishing a triathlon is an achievement. If you’ve

managed to post a personal best or have been lucky

enough to get on the podium in your age group,

you’ll probably find motivating yourself very easy.

Conversely, if your race fell apart and you slowed to

a standstill or didn’t finish, you’ve always learned

something about yourself. And often this motivates

you to do better the next time out. It’s addictive.

I remind myself of why I do this.

RIGHT: Graphic by Bonnie Cunningham

PREVIOUS PAGE: Photos courtesy of

Robert Chatterton.

Brass Tacks

How would I go about entering a race?

● The sites www.triathlon.or.kr or www.koreatri.or.kr

are the two prominent race organizations in

South Korea. They post their races for the season mid

to late January each year. Other organizations operating

within South Korea are www.ironman.com as

well as www.challenge-family.com . For a comprehensive

look at all races being held in South Korea

go to www.kts.pe.kr .

How would I get to races without a car?

● For my first five years of competing in South Korea

I did so without a car and used public buses to get

to and from race venues with my bicycle and other

equipment. Most races are situated within or close to

cities and small towns, especially near the sea. Removing

the front wheel of your bicycle and stowing

it away in the undercarriage of the bus is more than

sufficient to get you to and from races. You may find

yourself having to ride a short distance from the bus

terminal to the race venue (in my experience no more

than 10km) if buses are inconvenient.

How much will it cost to get started?

● I would say in the region of $2000 for a bike,

wetsuit, running gear, etc. Buying an expensive bike

and using a bus to transport it would not be prudent.

However, I have yet to experience any significant

damage apart from the odd scratch here or there that

wasn’t of my own making. Wetsuits are unfortunately

mandatory as a safety precaution, especially in sea

swims. However, some races allow MTB’s, but you

should check before entering. Duathlons (run, bike)

and aquathons (swim, run) are alternative events to

try out before making that leap.

How could I do it cheaper?

● The Korean Triathlon service www.kts.pe.kr

has a page where users post second-hand equipment

for sale. Craigslist is another option. Or Facebook

groups such as Seoul Synergy-Multisports Talk, the

Han River Riders, and Cycling in Korea have members

posting equipment for sale.

Where would I buy equipment online?

● Buying from overseas on major purchases such

as a bike will almost certainly incur an import tax.

This may well be a false economy that will eat into

any saving you may make rather than buying in

Korea. www.hellotri.co.kr is a reasonable online resource.

How would I train for a triathlon?

● Most cities have municipally run pools for use.

50 meters is ideal. Open water swimming is ill advised

unless with an organized group for safety reasons.

Most cities will have triathlon clubs that you

may be able to join who organize open water swim

sessions, training runs, and cycle sessions. The sites

www.kts.pe.kr, www.triathlon.or.kr, and www.koreatri.or.kr

will list clubs and their contact information.

In Jeolla province, Gunsan Multisport Club

is a predominately English- speaking club associated

with the U.S Air Force base. Seoul Synergy –

Multisports Talk members organize cycle sessions,

training runs, and open water swim sessions ( in the

Han River). Other Korean clubs in Jeolla province

can be found in Wanju, Gochang, and Iksan -- see

the above websites for information.


Jeonbuk Life 11



JB Life Contributing Writer

Wondering where to visit in Jeollabuk-do,

somewhere new, refreshing and energetic?

Looking for a very Korean experience?

Well, here’s a bit of advice from a local.

I had a chance to visit the Muju Taekwondo-won last

December as a videographer at their workshop with

the Jeollabuk-do Foreign Students Public Relations

Team. Since I was previously unaware of the place

even though I was born and raised in Jeollabuk-do,

I thought that it would be great to share my journey

and introduce this must-visit cultural heritage of Jeollabuk-do,

and also mention an event that is going to

be held there this June that should not be missed by


With an aim to establish itself as part of the cultural

heritage of Taekwondo, the Muju Taekwondo-won

opened in 2014. Its mission is to cultivate the spirit of

Taekwondo through physical training for professional

practitioners and offer the best venue for the sport.

When I first walked into the entrance, I was mesmerized

by the view and the scale of the park. I would

say it is reason enough to visit simply to appreciate

the beauty of the landscape and the architecture. The

park was designed and planned by world renowned

architects Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi (and

implemented by Samoo).

Walking around, appreciating the view, I could see

how the designers have blurred the distinction between

building and site, establishing a sustainable setting

by letting architecture, landscape, and water collaborate

in a series of ascending terraces and bridges

that preserve the topography of the site. Being there, I

could really grasp the intention of the design that was

inspired by the philosophy of Taekwondo: preparation

of the body, inspiration of the mind, and completion

of the spirit.

After having a tour of the park, we headed down to

the T1 Theatre to watch a Taekwondo performance.

The choreography and the dramatic storyline were

easy to comprehend without explanation, with popular

songs that most of the audience would know,

which makes it an enjoyable performance to watch

for audiences of all ages. Of course there were technical

demonstrations of taekwondo, such as smashing

pine boards with round kicks as well as backward

somersaulting and backflips to add to the splendor of

the performance.

Afterwards, there was a taekwondo learning session.

This would be fun for those who have wanted

to try taekwondo but have not had a chance. Foreign

students from our team joined in at the same time,

learning the spirit of respect for the master, the basics

of kicking (chagi), and hand strikes along with

the music.

Although we had to leave early for another shoot

at Muju’s Meoru Wine Cave, we noticed that there

were many other programs Muju Taekwondo Park

had to offer, such as a museum where you can learn

about the history of taekwondo. Forty-five training

and hands-on experience programs are offered under

the themes of experience, training, rest, and interest.

The programs are open to anyone who is interested

in training the mind and the body through taekwondo,

including local and international Taekwondo

practitioners, business groups, students, and the

general public.

And now, about the major event: The World Taekwondo

Championship is to be held right here at

Muju Taekwondo-won from June 22nd-30th, 2017.

Home to the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation, the

World Taekwondo Headquarters, the World Taekwondo

Foundation, and the Korean Taekwondo

Federation, the park will host about 2,000 athletes

from thirty-one different countries. Many cultural

events, exhibitions, and performances will be held

alongside, so I would highly recommend that you

keep an eye on it.

Since the park offers program packages that cater

to international visitors, a trip to Muju Taekwondo-won

will make a perfect day trip from Jeonju,

with Muju Meoru Wine Cave nearby, not to mention

the breathtaking scenery on the way.

Whether you are a taekwondo fan or not, Muju

Taekwondo-won will offer a rare glimpse of the artistry

and spirit of taekwondo, allowing you to see its

beauty and teaching you how to appreciate the art

of it.

For further information on the Muju Taekwondo-won

and World Taekwondo Championship to be

held in June, please visit:

http://www.tkdwon.kr/kr/ &


Photos of the Muju Taekwondowon





JB Life Contributing Writer

Gunsan, a port city located approximately

forty minutes north of Jeonju,

is probably best known for the Gunsan

Air Base located there, and as a departure

point for exploring the nearby islands. However,

Gunsan has a long and vibrant history

which includes pirates, heroic battles at sea,

and the struggle against Japanese colonial rule.

Gunsan’s rich history may be explored along

the seaside in two locations: the Gunsan Modern

History Museum, and the Jinpo Maritime

Theme Park.

The first stop in discovering the history of

Gunsan should be the Gunsan Modern History

Museum. The museum was completed and

opened in 2011, and offers three floors of exhibitions

in a modern and well-designed open

space. When first entering the building, you

will find a huge and impressive replica of Eocheongdo

Lighthouse, which also serves as a

photo stop for most visitors. The first floor contains

the Ocean Distribution History Hall and

the Theme Park for Children. The Ocean Distribution

History Hall exhibits and explains the

history of sea trade and its importance to the

region. The Theme Park for Children provides

an opportunity for children to experience the

life of a sea trade worker through games and

interactive displays. There is also a large wooden

sailing ship in the main hall that visitors are

allowed to board and “man.”

The second floor of the museum is dedicated

to the history of the Okgu Farmers, and details

their struggles during the colonization by the

Japanese. Gunsan opened its ports in 1899 and

established a settlement where foreigners could

live and trade freely. This area was designated

a joint settlement in hopes of preventing Japan

from occupying the lands, however the area

soon fell under Japanese control. The second

level provides a great deal of history surround-


LEFT: The outside of the historic Wibong Warship at Jinpo Maritine Theme Park. RIGHT [from top]:

A simulated scene inside the Maritime museum; the inside of a larger plane in the Maritime Park; the

outside of the plane on display. [Shots [Photos courtesy by RENEE of Gimje MCMILLAN] Public Relations]

Jeonbuk Life 15

Jeonbuk Life 15




A tank at the Maritime

Theme Park.

[Photo by



“Titanic Fun” outside the

Wibong Warship.

[Photo by


The main exhibits are located in the Wibong.

The first floor details the tremendous victory over

a Japanese pirate fleet by The Naval Command

of Goryeo. According to Goryeosa (The History

of Goryeo), a large pirate fleet consisting of

around 500 ships attacked Jinpo and pillaged

the surrounding area. The pirates carted bags of

rice looted from private households back to their

boats, reportedly dropping so much along the way

that they left behind a layer of rice 30 centimeters

thick. The Naval Command of Goryeo, headed by

Na Se, Sim Deok-bu and Choe Mu-seon defeated

the pirates in Jinpo, using cannons developed by

Choe Mu-seon. It was the first sea battle in the

history of the world in which cannons were used.

The Wibong Warship details further famous sea

battles in the area and the world, as well as the

development of weapons used at sea. The second

floor allows visitors to explore the tight quarters,

and gain a deeper understanding of the day-to-day

lives of sailors stationed on warships. You may

explore the sleeping quarters, toilets, and mess

hall, which demonstrates the food rations sailors

are typically served. There are also many interactive

videos that you may choose to watch, as well

as a 4D Theater.

A visit to the Gunsan Modern History Museum

and the Jinpo Maritime Theme park is a great way

to spend the day. Each experience offers a unique

and detailed glimpse into the origins and history

of Gunsan. You are sure to gain a deeper understanding

and appreciation for the area.

Practical Information:

The Gunsan Modern History Museum is open

from 9:00 to 6:00pm March-October, and 9:00

to 5:00pm November through February. The Jinpo

Maritime Theme Park is open 9:00 to 7:00pm

in the summer season, and from 9:00 to 6:00pm

in the winter season. The Jinpo Maritime Theme

Park is closed on Mondays.

ing the rebellion of the Gunsan area farmers

in an attempt to fight back against the Japanese

forces that controlled them. This became

the largest farmers’ rebellion in South Korea’s

history, and the museum does a wonderful job

in providing information and documenting the

events of the rebellion.

The Modern Life Hall is located on the third

floor, and has a reconstruction of a Gunsan

town block during the 1930’s under Japanese

rule. Visitors can take a stroll back through

time, and peer into several model buildings

from this era. Everyone is invited to participate

in activities including weighing rice, and

trying your hand at ink printing. There is also

a photo shop where you may try on traditional

costumes of the era and have your photograph


Conveniently located only a couple of blocks

from the Gunsan Modern History Museum you

will find the Jinpo Maritime Theme Park. The Jinpo

Maritime Theme Park derives its name from

the fishing village originally located in the area,

and was opened in 2008 in honor of the victory

of Jinpo in naval combat against the Japanese

in 1380. The theme park showcases 16 retired

military craft from the army, navy, and air force,

including retired tanks, military aircraft and warships.

Visitors are allowed to venture inside several

of the decommissioned ships, with the most

impressive being the Wibong Warship which was

used during WWII and the Vietnam War.


Jeonbuk Life 17




JB Life Co-Editor


know what you’re thinking. The words

“teddy bear museum” either prompted a

spontaneous “awww” as you swooned with

visions of cuteness or a cringe while thinking

“please don’t make me.” While it’s true that the

museum in question would no doubt satisfy the

cute-seekers of that first group, though, you may

find that it offers a surprising variety of entertainment

for even the skeptics.

Teddy bear museums in general have multiplied

in Korea over the years, following the success

of Jeju’s famed tourist spot. Seoul and Yeosu

have their own teddy collections, along with

others. Here in Jeonbuk, though, the Gunsan

Teddy Bear Museum brings a surprisingly intensive

teddy-themed experience close to home.

The most important thing to know is that this

isn’t just some collection of musty, historic teddy

bears sitting on shelves, as the Western concept

of museum might conjure up. Actually, it’s not

that at all. The main part of the museum is a

collection of highly varied, moving dioramas.

Mixed in are bits of history and culture, plushy

selfie opportunities, and, at the end, a very quirky

art museum with a twist. There are even teddy

bear photo booths outside the entrance where

you can digitally design a bear-based portrait.

And of course, as with most any spot in Korea,

there’s an easy place to buy a churro and coffee, a

spot to relax alongside the building’s impressive

teddy-adorned façade.

Overall, the largest section of the museum seeks

to take visitors on a themed “trip.” The premise

of the journey through the museum is that our

hero, Teddy (of course), is searching for his missing

girlfriend, Tesun. It seems that “Tesun entered

a time warp and set out on a trip to cities all

around the world” (per the museum’s signs). But

fear not! Teddy and his friends evidently have a

“time travel yacht” to use to find her!

With this narrative as a backbone, the main

part of the museum showcases Teddy and his

friends inside rich cultural dioramas… full of

teddy bears. They travel from continent to continent

and also through time, touching on major

cultural events and customs. Tesun, evidently a

beach bum, starts her come-find-me journey at

modern-day Haeundae Beach. From there the

viewers tour winding hallways through Chinese

opera, Japanese cherry blossoms, African safaris

and Brazilian Carnival. Teddy and



Tesun appear to enjoy themselves on the journey,

too. Sometimes they appear as lounging

or photo-snapping tourists or sometimes indulging

as players in romantic, picturesque fantasies

dressed in the garb of the day. Throughout the

displays, it can sometimes be fun to try to spot

them. Occasionally something quirky appears in

the dioramas as well, like a bear riding a flying

kangaroo, so there’s a lot to occupy everyone and

plenty of details to look for.

The main journey ends when you return to Korea,

passing through a teddy bear-manned “immigration,”

and see dioramas of history and life

exclusive to Gunsan.

If this overly cute cultural journey wasn’t

enough, visitors also have a chance to see some

variations of famous works of art in the last part

of the museum. Replicas of famous sculptures

like The Thinker are displayed prominently with

the original bodies but teddy bear heads, and 2D

artworks like Klimt’s “Kiss” have been reproduced

with 3D teddy bear noggins in place of the

heads as well. All of this lastly exits into the

gift shop, where teddy bears galore are on offer

to commemorate the experience.

The museum itself is housed in what was a

well-known church in Gunsan, with much of that

structure still intact. If you go, be sure to look

for the teddy bear forms that have taken over the

stained-glass windows and statues outside.

All in all, every eccentric part of the venue

comes together to fit its cute, all-encompassing

intentions, making the experience enjoyable for

almost anyone on the spectrum, whether tourist,

dating couple, or family with kids.


for adults is 10,000 won, with a range of

discounts for age and situation. You’ll find the

museum regularly open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.,

or until 8 p.m. in the summer months. For a map

to the location (not far from the historic Gunsan

seaside), visit the museum’s website: http://


A stone's throw away...

Just a few minutes’ walk from the Teddy

Bear Museum, one can find a number

of Gunsan attractions. Famous

food sites abound, and you should indeed try

some, but for now we’ll focus on two important

Japanese-themed hotspots.

First, while the site is somewhat sparse, it’s

worth checking out the Hirotsu House, otherwise

known as the famed “Japanese House.”

Hirotsu was a linen salesman who built this

house in a wealthy part of Gunsan during the

Japanese occupation, and it still stands today.

Now it functions as a filming site, with several

major Korean movie’s under its belt, as

well as a beloved selfie-taking playground for

Korean tourists. Other than being a stunning

backdrop, the house and courtyards serve as

a good setting to learn about the typical Japanese

architecture of the time.

A similar site worth visiting is Dongguksa,

a temple nestled down a side street in front of

towering bamboo. While in many ways similar

to your average Korean temple, Dongguksa

has a definite point of distinction: it is, in

fact, the only functioning temple of Japanese

style in Korea. Started by a Japanese monk

in the early 1900s, the temple was returned to

Korean control in 1945, after 36 years.

The visual influences of Japanese Buddhism

remain. While most Korean temples

overflow with aqua greens and reds on their

eaves and elaborate patterns on doors and

side panels, Dongguksa, an Edo-style temple,

is notably simple in nature. There are

two main buildings, fashioned with wood exteriors

and very little ornamentation. A bell

tower stands on the edge of the site whose

bell was forged in Kyoto.

But perhaps the most impressive aspect of

this temple is a Korean addition. A modest

statue of a girl was erected in ther corner of

the grounds, a reminder of the women taken

as sex slaves by Japanese troops. It is clearly

well loved by temple visitors -- there’s a

good chance you’ll see a shower of gifts at

the statue’s feet, from snacks to hot packs to

toys, and in the winter, you’re likely to even

see her dressed in knitted caps or scarves to

keep warm.

After getting your dose of “cute” at the

Teddy Bear Museum, these two attractions

are a good way to come back to reality by

taking in the solemn beauty and history of

Gunsan’s Japanese era.


Jeonbuk Life 21


By Heather Allman

JB Life Contributor

Hoetjip, 회집, pronounced roughly as

“hway-chip,” is a restaurant whose main

dish presents itself abundantly in most

Korean towns or cities on the water, while restaurants

can also be found scattered throughout landlocked

areas as well. “Hoe” (hway) itself is any sort

of raw dish, but is primarily used in regards to raw

fish. Situated on the west coast of Korea on the south

bank of the Geum River, just upstream from its exit

to the Yellow Sea, Gunsan is known for its seaport,

which brings along with it a strong industrial trade

industry as well as an abundance of delicious seafood.

Gunsan is known as one of the best places in

Korea to find a hoetjip, with restaurants from Seoul

to Busan named “Gunsan Hoetjip” after the city and

its local delicacy.

Prior to traveling to Gunsan, my knowledge of the

hoetjip was, let’s say, undercooked. While I did my

research pinpointing areas and suggested restaurants

to try, I was unsure of exactly what I would be eating.

I have found that an important part of living in Korea

and trying new foods is the adventure that comes

along with it. Each time I try something new, I’m not

only eating a meal, I’m deepening my understanding

of Korea’s rich and flavorful culture.

In my limited amount of research, I learned that

most of the restaurants in Gunsan were simply named

something like “Hoetjip” and were all situated next

to one another along the seawall on the port. I chose

Kunsan Seafood Restaurant for a couple of reasons.

It had a significant (enough) online presence (albeit

a bit limited in English) and it seemed to be one of

the largest restaurants in the area. While I do love the

authenticity of a mom-and-pop type place, because

I was traveling to Gunsan with the sole purpose of

trying a certain type of food, I wanted to have a good

idea of where I was going. A fresh seafood lunch in

an eight story restaurant on the water sounded worth

the time and effort to me.

As the taxi neared the seawall, snow lightly fell

from the grey afternoon sky. I questioned whether

or not this was a setting in which I wanted to sit near

the water and eat raw fish. It tends to be something

I might imagine myself enjoying on a hot summer’s

day or on vacation on a tropical island. As the taxi

rode along the long wall, hoetjip restaurants lined the

narrow street on our left, only the open river full of

boats and ships on our right. We soon arrived at Kunsan

Seafood Restaurant, directly situated across from

a large arched bridge.

Walking inside the building, it was more reminiscent

of a fish market than anything else. After being

escorted to an elevator and instructed to take it to the

fourth floor, the doors opened to a warm, eloquent atmosphere.

Deep wood tones stretched from the floor

to the ceiling, with low and natural lights providing a

sense of calm and serenity. We were led to a private

room, our table adjacent to a large window


22 Jeonbuk Life 23

overlooking the bridge and the river. The table

sat low, and assuming that we would be sitting

on the floor, we were pleasently surprised when

we realized that there was space for our legs underneath

the table.

After speaking to one of my friends later on,

she informed me that almost all hoetjip restaurants

are built with the same style. Low tables

with deep open spaces beneath to rest one’s legs

are traditional for the meal. It is enjoyed by family

and friends alike, and many Korean businesspeople

take clients to hoetjip restaurants for both

the quality of the food and the longevity of the

meal. For Korean nationals, a hoetjip meal is to

be wholly and slowly appreciated.

The menu was typical of most Korean restaurants,

about four pages long, split into sections

of main courses, soups, side dishes, and beverages.

The sections offered little explanation, most

bearing simple names and prices. The fish, or

hoe, section was split into sets, named Hwareo

hoe (sliced raw fish), Modum hoe (assorted sliced

raw fish), and Sekkosi (bone-in sliced raw fish).

Feeling adventurous, we opted for the Modum

hoe set (for 2) for KRW 80,000. Unsure of what

was to come, we sat back and enjoyed the view

of the Gunsan seaport. As the food arrived, the

snow cleared and the sun came up, making for a

beautiful winter afternoon.

Our table was first set with eight dishes, including

salad, kimchi, pumpkin, raw oysters, sea

urchin, garlic, and corn. While the abundance of

color and various seafood dishes was aesthetically

pleasing, we were a bit confused as to whether

or not this would be the extent of our meal. Veterans

to the Korean restaurant scene, we assumed

that these were our introductory side dishes, so

we stayed patient and enjoyed what was in front

of us.

As time progressed, so did the amount of dishes

on our table. Little by little, what seemed

to be too large of a table for two was quickly

filled from side to side. More food than we could

have imagined stretched (in some cases, literally)

to the edges of our table. Raw tuna, two kinds

of kimchi, sannakji (live octopus), several kinds

of fish (fried, raw, and steamed), sushi, prawns,

clams, porridge, sashimi, and baked oysters (just

to name a few), were brought to us one by one. We

were both astonished and pleased—for the food,

and the fact that we had arrived hungry. After almost

an hour of slowly consuming and savoring

our bounty of “side dishes,” the actual “hoe” arrived.

This raw dish was served on thin wooden boards

in a box, sat atop ice. Four cuts of fish lined the

boards, all white in color, except for one which

was light grey. While each cut of fish tasted different,

they were all very light in flavor. The fish was

extremely soft and fresh, the cold temperature just

right. Paired nicely with soy sauce or delicious on

its own, the hoe was complimented well by our

remaining side dishes.

After we had finished the main dish, we were

full and satisfied. The meal, however, was still

not over, as we were given maeun tang (spicy fish

stew). The stew flawlessly concluded the meal,

especially on such a cold winter’s day. While we

had eaten many cold kinds of fish and seafood,

the stew left us feeling warm and content. For the

amount of food, service, and location, I believe

that the food was well worth the price.

Hoetjip is not just a meal, it is an experience.

While the raw fish is the star of the show, the copious

amount of dishes that come with the fish are

equally important. A hoetjip is unique and admirably

represents the art of Korean dining. My doubts

of enjoying raw fish mid-winter were easily subdued

by the warmth and variety of the foods we

ate that day. Going to a hoetjip can undoubtedly

be enjoyed at any time of year.

Contact Information:

Kunsan Seafood Restaurant / 군산횟집

1-76 Geum-dong, Gunsan / 군산시 금동 1-76

Phone: 63-442-1114

Website: kunsanseafood.co.kr


Jeonbuk Life 25



Jeonbuk Life Contributing Writer

Jeonju has undoubtedly changed a great deal since

I first set foot in this town, and over the last couple

of years the city has grown at a rapid rate. Long

gone are the days of feeling blessed to have an Outback

Steakhouse in Gaeksa or counting down the days until

the grand opening of a TGIFriday’s. Jeonju is not only

the culinary capital for Korean food, but it is now a

hotbed for authentic cuisine from all around the world.


Where once foreigners faced a huge problem trying to

hunt down authentic Western food, the biggest dilemma

expats face today is choosing between curry, paella, enchiladas,

or even escargot .

Nestled in Jeonju’s bustling downtown area, You Love

Soul Zip is the newest location to offer foodies authentic

foreign flavors. The restaurant is run by Lucy Oyi, a

Jeonju native who moved to France as an 18 year old,

spending twelve years studying and modeling, all while

learning about food from her friends and new-found

French family. She has recently returned to her home-

town to share knowledge of French cuisine and

her desire to provide a place for everyone to enjoy,

whether they like to eat, drink, or party. Despite

the restaurant being open for only two months,

she has been exceptionally busy, but found the

time to sit down with me to talk about her passion

for food, France, and her journey from Asia to Europe

and back again.

First of all, why did you decide to go to


“I decided to go France for several reasons. There

was some conflict with my parents about my future

so I knew I had to travel and separate myself

from my family for a while. I decided to go to

France as a student because I wanted to learn the

language. Then I decided to study Sociology. I really

enjoyed my life in France. I thought it would

be hard because I was there as a foreigner but

that meant I didn’t have to try and be anything I

wasn’t. I could just be me.”

LEFT: The baked camembert [Photo by

Anjee DiSanto]; ABOVE: Lucy behind the bar.

[Photo by Dean Crawford]

Tell me about your background in

modeling. How did you get started?

“I was a party girl and my motto in life was simply

‘have fun.’ I was trying to make my life better

by studying, but after several years in school

I decided to have fun and meet lots of people. I

partied almost every night and one of my fellow

party goers was a photographer. They suggested

I be a model for their photo shoot. At first I was

modeling for free with amateur photographers.

But they showed their photos to some modeling

agencies and suddenly the agency ‘VIP MOD-

ELS’ contacted me with an interest in becoming

a model.”

What did you think about modeling as a


“Well, I think it helps a lot for having self-confidence.

In Korea, I see many people wearing the

same things: the same accessories, the same hair,

the same makeup. But in the modeling world,

even for amateurs, we have to be a unique person.

In other words, we have to accept our


Jeonbuk Life 27


differences, whether it’s our different charms or our

different body shapes which help us understand that

there is beauty in our uniqueness. Even though our ultra

superficial society makes its own specific reference

as to what it thinks beauty is, there is another side of

modeling where we can find the beauty in everyone.

So I’d suggest for many people to try a photo shoot or

modeling. It’s a very good experience.“

What did you like about France?

“I like the calm. French people say often ‘c’est la vie’

or ‘c’est pas grave’ (essentially “don’t worry about

it”). They know there’s something powerful watching

over us so they understand other people’s ‘malheur’

(adversity) or pain. I think they are very good in comprehending

the true nature of human beings.

What got you into food?

“I like sharing. Whether it be sharing cultures, sharing

food, sharing the good times and I think food

makes this ‘sharing’ a reality.”

So what do you like about French food?

“Oooh, I love the natural flavor of French food. In

France, we say ‘5 fruits ou legume par jour,’ so they

have very balanced meals. And the presentation of

French food is beautiful.

“I like that French people truly respect their chefs and

their food.”

What is your favorite French food?

“I like ratatouille because it’s a unique dish that tastes

fresh. We make ratatouille at my place with an authentic

recipe from one of my French friends who is a

chef. We cook it in the oven but at a low temperature.

It takes a long time but it is delicious and worth the


What is your experience in food?

“In France, I worked at several different restaurants.

I’m not a qualified chef, but I learned about French

cuisine from my good friends who are chefs, and I

also learned from my friend’s family and my neighbors

. I learned about French food from everywhere

I could. Making food is a skill, but I also think that

good food comes from the heart. At my place, I work

front-of-house, so it’s my philosophy to personally

serve my clients and make sure they have a good


How did you choose your menu, and what are

your favorite items?

“I chose what I thought Koreans would like. As

for my favorite items, I would say the Beouf Bourguignon.

It’s a French beef stew which takes about

4 hours of cooking. We make it with a wine sauce

and serve it with couscous. It’s a true taste of France.

I also love Salade Lyonnaise. It’s very common salad

from Lyon, which is where I lived. It comes with

bacon and poached eggs. It’s a real French tradition.

And I also love a Monaco! It’s very famous beerbased

cocktail from France.”

LEFT: One of the restaurants simple yet thoughtful

hors d’oeuvres. RIGHT: An assortment of the

European fare. [Photo by DEAN CRAWFORD]

How do you try to keep your restaurant

authentically European?

“I try to introduce what I experienced first hand in Europe.

For example, I try my hardest to find good wine

for a reasonable price that compliments the food.

Drinking wine for a reasonable price is definitely part

of French culture!”

What makes your restaurant different from

others in Jeonju?

“I want my customers to enjoy our food using all five

senses. Hearing good music is a part of the experience,

as is our interior design, but also seeing a good

presentation on the plate is a big part of that experience,

also. I’d like our customers to have a great time,

so I don’t only think about the food, but so I also think

about the perfect combination of what drink best

complements their meal. I’d like to say our restaurant

is not only a place to come eat food, but I’d like

to make this place like a ‘cafe – brasserie’ in France.

Which is a place where you can meet new people and

share different cultures over wine! If you come to

my place, you will have great food with great service.

We treat both our clients and our food with the respect

they deserve.”

With its varied menu ranging from escargot to

pomme frites, and its classy interior design beaming

images of France from the projector whilst the

sounds of Charles Trénet resonate from the speakers,

You Love Soul Zip is a unique experience in Jeonju.

Some of the dishes maybe considered pricey, but it

is worth that little bit extra when you taste the quality

of the food. And whilst the food is fantastic, Lucy

provides that certain je ne sais quoi, meaning that if

you haven’t been to You Love Soul Zip yet, you have

just found your new favorite place to eat in Gaeksa.

Je vous en prie.

For more information and directions,

find You Love Soul Zip on Facebook at

the username @YouLoveSoulZip.

Jeonbuk Life 29



JB Life Co-Editor

When you get acquainted with any traditional

Korean form of art, it quickly becomes

apparent that there is more than meets the

eye. Even simple details have meaning and symbolism,

and processes that seem straightforward may be

incredibly, endearingly complicated.

Such is also the case with Korean woodblock printing.

This art form is the focus of the new Wanpanbon

Culture Center in Jeonju’s Hanok Village, and Coordinator

Seungbin Jo is a treasure trove of knowledge on

this practice that he is eager to spread.

One of the first bits of knowledge necessary to understand

Korean woodblock printing is that the woodblocks

are not used like stamps. There’s a good chance

that when you envision the process, you imagine working

with a wooden plate coated with ink and pressed

onto paper. Actually, in the printing of Korean pages,

it’s the opposite: the woodblock is typically coated with

fine ink, after which hanji is pressed and rubbed on top

to receive the impression. This actually produces two

pages – since the paper cannot be printed on both sides,

a double-wide page is produced and then folded in half

to make a front-back page.

Here are just a few of the many other details that go

into the thinking behind Korean woodblock printing

and book production:

● Traditional books from other Asian cultures are also

bound with string, but often using only four holes: Korean

printed books used five. This number is highly


symbolic in Korean culture, reflecting five elements of

life and personality.

● The ink used for printing with Korean woodblocks,

often pine sap-based, is specially designed for that type

of block. After using the woodblock the first time, the

entire piece is covered in the black ink, which serves

as a laminate to protect it from then on. Western inks

would actually ruin the woodblock!

● Even the brushes are specially designed for certain

tasks. The brush to spread the ink uses pig hair, coarse

and stiff enough to get the goo into all the nooks and

crannies of complex letters. The brush used to press

the hanji onto the woodblock itself, though, is a combination

of human hair and wax, making just the right

pressure to create the needed impression.

● Not all woodblocks are even meant to be used with

ink. Some are carved with complex patterns and symbols

intended to create the texture of book covers. With

these, designs are rubbed onto a thicker paper or material

to create an embossing effect. (The Wanpanbon

Center has several examples of both the woodblocks

and covers involved in this process.)

● The quality of hanji for this process has to be very

high, sometimes 20 or 30 thousand won per piece. Imagine

this when multiplied into a finished 220-page



The question many people might initially have is

“why.” Why do this, now, today, when we can simply

print something out on the computer?

“That’s the most difficult question to answer,” Jo responds.

“But I think what we did in the past shows

us who we are. It’s the best way to move to the future.

These kind of things that are not used today are

still very important and this kind of effort can make

us keep our knowledge and move into another way

of doing it. I think it’s very important to inherit the

tradition of what we’ve been doing and let the world

know about our past.”

Then, why in Jeonju?

The Wanpanbon Culture Center belongs to Jeonju’s

city government and opened on January 1st this

year, focused on making woodblocks and printed

books in the ways of old. (Before this, much of the

group’s work happened via the Woodblock Culture

Experience Center down the street, which still holds

classes in woodblock printing.) The name itself contains

a valuable bit of history. In the time of the Joseon

Dynasty, Jeonju was one of three major hubs of

the production of woodblock-printed books, and the

popular books from this location were called wanpanbon.

Many of them were novels that sprang from

the desire to read Korean stories that had only been

oral before, while in other regions prints were made

largely of historical and important Chinese texts.

With its history in mind, the new center focuses

on the entire process as it existed in old days, from

cutting the wood, to making the boards, engraving

them, choosing the paper, and printing a final product.

Specifically, these days their work involves reproducing

important books from the age of woodblock

printing. This is partially so that people can

see the history of how these works were made. Also,

while many historic woodblocks still exist, there is

rarely a complete set to represent a book. The center

seeks to fill in the gaps and produce full print-capable


Up until last year, the group behind the center was

working on a story book called “The History of the

Three Kingdoms,” created in the Joseon Dynasty.

The three different countries or kingdoms are still

considered as one foundation for the Korean culture.

Gumi County in Gyeongsan Province – the place

where the text originated – wanted to reproduce all

the woodblocks related to the story as part of the history

of a local temple. Thus, the group and seven

gaksu (woodblock engravers) set out on the daunting

two-year voyage of making and printing this historic

volume. Wanbanpon’s director, Esan Ahn Junyoung,

was himself one of the engravers, while the group

behind the center was asked to do the actual printing

of the book. The process required 110 woodblocks

on both sides, Seungbin explained. About a year of

the work was required just for engraving them, with

another two months just for the actual printing part.


Jeonbuk Life 31


This amount of work for twenty volumes of one book

reflects just what a complex and enduring process this

art can be.

Jo, an engraver himself, explains that one single woodblock

of the typical size can take about a month to perfect.

Just as in writing, there are different “drafts” to

be done. The first draft of carving focuses on the main

lines, with additional drafts cleaning up the holes and

small details. A trial of printing with ink is necessary

before making the “final draft,” ensuring that all words

are legible.

“Even if the woodblock looks pretty, if the printout

doesn’t come out correctly, it’s useless,” Jo explains.

As for the engraving process itself, few different types

of tools are necessary, but the ones used are special in

that they are often made by the engraver himself. Jo

illustrates that only two kinds of engraving knives –

one flat and one sharp – are prevalent, yet his toolbox

overflows with different sizes and examples of each, all

made by his hand. Most of the flat tools can be pushed

or pulled by hand to carve, while the sharp knives can

be used with a special kind of iron hammer to pierce the


No tools are pre-made for this traditional process. His

own are made from saw blades, cut and ground to the

proper shapes, with all different custom-made handles.

“The beginning engraving class actually starts with

making their engraving knives,” he explains. “That’s

their first lesson. It’s one of the important skills they

need to know so that they can later do it by themselves.”

While his director has done woodblock engraving his

whole life, Seungbin became involved in the art form in

a surprising manner. A former graduate of English Education,

Seungbin was working with the International Affairs

Office at Chonbuk National University. He brought

a group of international students to the Woodblock Experience

Center, and this simple act would lead to a path

of deep connection to the woodblock printing culture.

Jo was one of the first students to take classes at the

nearby center, where his current director has now taught

the craft to more than 130 students. Along with Ahn and

several other apprentices, he is currently working on a

three-year project involving the making of 233 woodblocks,

as well as other projects, like practicing the carving

of folk art prints.

He is also an eager advocate of the art and of spread-

ing it to others, particularly those from other cultures. Jo

plans to reorganize some parts of the museum to offer

more English signage (some already exists) and showcase

fewer items with more detailed and focused explanations.

He has also traveled to events domestically

and abroad to demonstrate the art of Korean woodblock

engraving in person and answer questions about it, and

has explained the process to a UNESCO committee who

designated Confucian woodblocks as a registered part of

World Heritage.

One thing he did notice through many of these events

is that Western countries are very active in showcasing

their metal-based printing history, and many museums

exist to exhibit the artifacts from these practices. Korea,

in comparison, has not yet been as active in sharing and

showcasing its woodblock printing – a fact he hopes to


“My goal is that, since Korea is kind of dominant in this

woodblock culture, I want to let the world know about

the printing culture and everything related to it,” Jo said.

To learn more about Jeonju’s woodblock printing culture

or the Wanpanbon Culture Center, visit them on Facebook

at facebook.com/wanpanbon or on their website at

www.jjcf.or.kr/main/wan. Better yet, visit in person for

an up-close look. The center, adjacent to Jeonju’s famed

Hyanggyo Confucian school, opens every day except

Monday from 10 to 7, with Jo himself usually on hand to

explain the cultures and process in English or Korean to

those who visit.


PHOTOS: [Page 25] A rooster print made at Wanpanbon’s

free Lunar New Year demonstrations and

the woodblock used to make a tiger print at the same

event. [LEFT] Handmade tools and the first draft of a

woodblock. [RIGHT] Seungbin Jo demonstrating his

craft at an international event (top) and at the center

itself (second); the beautiful setting of the Wanpanbon

Culture Center (third); a woodblock used for

embossing rather than ink printing (bottom).

[1st and 3rd photo on this page courtesy of


Jeonbuk Life 33




JB Life Co-Editor

Can you write a book without being a

writer? This may sound like one of

those “if a tree falls in a forest” questions,

but it makes sense in the context of the

Zen-infused world of writer (or not writer?) Ash


In fact, Dean, an American-born poet and teacher

currently living in Jeonju, does not consider

himself a writer, despite having just published a

poetry collection.

“I was giving advice to a writing friend recently

and I said I deliberately try not to write,” Dean

explains. “I try to be as quiet as possible. … So

much of what we say and write comes from a

kind of diseased organ. The brain, but to make it

clearer, I will call it the mind.”

Dean thinks that these days we have a sort of

“word sickness,” which functions as a symptom

to “mind sickness.” His poetry and teaching of

poetry, he hopes, can be a sort of medicine to this

disease, even for himself.

“As a poet, I only write a poem when it is word

medicine. So I deliberately try not to write poems.

… It is not possible for me to be silent, but it

is possible to only use word medicine. Of course,

I fail, as some treatments inevitably do. But, in

being aware that I am providing word medicine

and only word medicine I am in the best position

to help and to do no harm.”

Dean’s recently published poetry collection,

Cardiography, is meant to be a large dose of this

treatment, and, in this case, seems to have enough

heart not to fail. Cardiography offers up a varied

roster of more than 20 works “for everyone with

a heart” (as its dedication states). Published by

Finishing Line Press, the volume shares themes

that reflect personal moments, find beauty in simple

relatable journeys (like a bus to Gwangju),

and use well-thought forms to capture the essence

of events.

Dean, born in Ferguson, Missouri, has himself

been formed by his upbringing. His American

life involved stints as a working-class carpenter

and day laborer, one who was (and partially still

is) unaccepting of the academic world. Yet he

ended up with six years teaching in and studying

from Suzhou, China, topped off by coming here,

to Korea, as a local literature teacher.

About that anti-academic sentiment, Dean,

though very much an artist at heart, still struggles

with the concept of poetry being an academic

or professional field – at least for himself

personally. He received his MFA in Creative

Writing from the International Writing Program

at City University Hong Kong, but says he did

so more to join a dialogue than to become a

professional writer or an academic.

“Not everything of value needs to be professionalized,”

Dean explains. “I’ve always been

uncomfortable with the idea that you professionalize

joy, horror, sadness. This is the stuff

of poetry.”

His own book, he says, happened more organically

than professionally. Many of the poems

were collected during the time when his wife

(a Gwangju native) was having open-heart surgery.

This theme becomes evident in the reading

of several of the compilation’s pieces. The

transportation theme pops up periodically, too,

reflecting the many journeys between cities in

this time period. And the rest, with notes of

spaces and events in China, Korea, and beyond,

perhaps connects the dots between these and

the writer’s own frame of mind.

“Really what I’m doing is a record of my

heart,” Dean says.

As for the content, one of the points of distinction

for Dean’s poetry is that it often embraces

meaning through both its words and its

physical shape. His forms are carefully contemplated.

Each subconsciously directs the

reader to envision or read in a certain manner.

“Lag,” his book’s second selection, offers up

lines split with uneven spacing between words,

altering one’s internal reading as well as giving

an intended aesthetic effect. The overall poem’s

form represents an airplane’s cabin, with

spaces for aisles and room between passengers.

“This is an important part of the meditation

that is taking place,” Dean explains, “and each

line is part of the meditation because of the lim-


four tiny


in the



a bento box


by mom

at 4am


they never

reveal everything

about the contents

of a dumpling


some things

once open

are more than

we can say

Jeonbuk Life 35


The Woman Who Works

at the Botanical Garden

She has just learned

to use email &

when a rare species

blooms sends out

a message further

than she has ever

traveled “Hey come down

here right away…” pressing send

she imagines should have

the kind of pull

to draw them in

for a moment to have a look

After closing the gate

to the garden she is

standing in line

buying catfood She waits

like everyone else but there

are things she knows

that can’t wait

its placed on it.”

His piece “Sewol (The Passing of Time)” also

serves as a somber demonstration of how words

and form can come together to convey feeling,

commemorating Korea’s Sewol disaster. The

“meditation” (as Dean refers to it) sinks and

spirals down over six pages, with a single word

thoughtfully placed on each line.

“One word on each line is meant to slow the

reader down, to experience time passing, becaues

‘Sewol” means the passing of time, so in

this elegy I have selected the form, because who

would ever want that end to come— one word

per line is enough, and of course each line is a

kind of heart beat that leads up to how the poem


Like the “Sewol” piece, many works in Dean’s

collection connect to Asian events and culture…

an inescapable theme due to not just living in

but immersing himself in the respective cultures

he’s encountered here. He reads and speaks

Chinese and feels strongly connected to its poetic

tradition. While fairly new in this country, he

hopes to gain the same sort of connections here.

“Learning to read Chinese poetry in Chinese

was very important to me. If one can speak of

a lineage, those are the roots of a type of deep

meditative lyric poetry, and inevitably this poetry

takes in the landscape,” Dean says.

“Poetry is also an important part of the Korean

Tradition. And there are many poets from the

Jeolla region. It is not an accident that I moved

here. My wife is from Gwangju, but I was eager

to move to this region. Not that I expect to be a

part of something, but there is an energy. Poetry,

good poetry happens at more of a geological

pace. These mountains, the Honam plain, the

people, they speak to me.”

The stories of Dean’s individual poems are

journeys themselves. Ask him of the inspiration

for a certain piece and you will no doubt hear

the place he first thought of it, whether a British

museum or a plane from Stockholm to Sweden,

as well as any events that shaped its growth over

time. While in some cases poetry is a quick act

driven by the moment, a talk with such an artist

makes it clear that even the shortest poem we

read may be a year or twenty years in the making.

At the time of publishing, Dean and his wife

had just welcomed their first baby, Haru. When

the heavy task of caring for this new heart settles,

Dean hopes to do some book readings around

Jeonju, perhaps starting an English literary magazine

of some sort highlighting the Jeonbuk area

as well.

For more information or to find a copy of Cardiography,

visit the book’s page via Finishing

Line Press: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/


All photos and poetry

courtesy of Ash Dean.

Late Summer Full

humidity & mosquitos

roadside peaches under neon

all night long the frog song--

Bats chasing happiness


There is a street

where women sit

in glass tanks

flooded with pink light

Of all the ways

that desire leaves the body

I have mastered none


like the old lawn mower

I could not start,

no matter how hard I pulled

on the cord


so i got the scissors

and began cutting the grass

blade by blade,

perhaps this is the season

to accomplish nothing


Jeonbuk Life 37



JB Life Contributing Writer

Olga Kan, a talented seamstress who has been

in the local Jeonju costume design business

for over ten years, is ethnically Korean, but

was born in Uzbekistan. As a rare phenomenon in Jeonju,

I interviewed Olga at her studio in January to learn

about her experiences and her work here as part of the

Jeonju community.

Olga’s parents always wanted her to become a violinist,

but she was fascinated with fashion. She decided

to go to her local college and gain a diploma in fashion

and textiles. After graduation, she opened a small

tailoring business in her hometown. During that time,

she met her husband, who is Korean. For her husband’s

sake, she moved to Jeonju in 2003, and two years later,

she opened 강올랴, a business that mainly focuses on

making costumes.

When Olga first arrived in the city, she noticed that

there was a high demand for costumes in Jeonju, as the

city is well-known for showing live Korean traditional

performances and many locals are interested in competing

in singing and dancing competitions. Thus, to

tone up her skills and gain knowledge about the Korean

market, she worked part time as an assistant for a number

of Korean seamstresses. Along the way she gained

experience in making Korean traditional clothes and

methods in dealing with Korean customers.

Now, Olga works independently, as she enjoys being

her own boss -- having the freedom to decide what jobs

to accept, what materials to buy, and so on.

Olga is very talented with her needlework. She can

make various types of costumes and clothes, such as

stage costumes (for dancers, singers, and so on) and

Uzbek and Korean traditional clothing. Her favorite

jobs are when she’s making costumes for choir girls

and for dancers because those customers let her decide

on the design and the materials.

Since Olga relies on word of mouth to gain clients,

she usually gets customers who work in the same

field; for example, opera singers, dancers, actors and

so forth. In addition, the word of mouth can attract

customers from neighbouring cities and from Seoul.

Right now, she is making several dresses for a young

female choir group who are competing in the national

junior choir competition. Then she will be creating

costumes for a women’s choir that consists of 30


Besides her main business, Olga has a great interest

in participating in fashion shows because it challenges

her creativity, helps promote her business, and

allows her to meet other designers. For the past two

years, she has taken part in Jeonju’s annual fashion


Olga admires the late Andre Kim, who was a Korean

fashion designer famous for his couture wedding

collections. Clients’ requests also influence Olga’s

work, as each customer has a specific theme that they


Olga would like to move her business somewhere

in Jeonju’s downtown or Hyojadong area because she

wants to attract more customers. However, if she did

not have any family obligations, she would like to

one day expand her business to Seoul.

For now, if there’s a costume or a fashion you wish

to make, you can visit her in her humble shop (scan

the QR code below for a Google Map). While she

doesn’t speak English, she does speak the universal

language of fashion and is happy to help.


[LEFT] Olga Kan in her studio.


[RIGHT] Fashion show and performance

costumes made by Olga.

[Photos courtesy of Olga Kan]

Jeonbuk Life 39




JB Life Co-Editor

NOTE: This article is part of a multi-issue series investigating

the religious roots of North Jeolla and Korea

throughout history until the present. It is the aim of this

series to sketch out the way Jeolla natives think. This is

for the purpose of greater understanding, multicultural

sensitivity, and to tear down the walls of misunderstanding.

Jeonbuk civilization has its own unique, complex

blend of history and mindset. The picture in this series is

admittedly painted with a broad brush; but it may be a

helpful backdrop to your interactions and appreciation

of our beautiful host culture.


worldview is a collection of presuppositions.

These presuppositions are like lenses, and we

see the world through them. Everybody has

a worldview. Some are as simple as a pair of 3D movie

glasses, and others are as complex as a kaleidoscope.

Most of us go through life without really analyzing

our worldviews and enjoy the show in Plato’s Cave all

through life. Some of us spend a lot of time and money

and studious effort to become ‘enlightened’ and say

pithy things like, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

At the end of the day, we all inescapably have a

worldview, and we all can benefit from careful reflection

-- and from an outside perspective.

If we are in a foreign culture, the more we understand

our host’s worldview, the less we will be baffled, annoyed,

and indignant when strange things happen. Such

understanding can temper our frustrations into compassion,

and our reactions into responses; and even respect.

It can also trigger a critical examination of our own

worldviews that we brought with us.

In previous installments of this series, we began to survey,

in chronological order, the mixture of contributing

mindsets that compose Jeonbuk’s basic worldview. We

started with Jeolla province’s manifestation of grassroots

Animism and interviewed a local mudang. Next

was a too-brief glimpse at the very dominant Confucianism,

which is something hard to understand merely by

reading about it. It’s like explaining saltwater to someone

who’s only known a lake. To really get a grasp of the

Confucian way, you have to come here, to Korea. Last

issue’s article spoke of Buddhism’s influence, and featured

Jeolla’s own contribution, Won Buddhism: practical

Buddhism made simple and accessible to all.

Now let’s turn our attention to the next major influence

to land on Korean soil: Roman Catholicism.

A quick Google search will show that “Catholic” is

천주교 (cheon ju kyo) in Korean, stemming from the

Chinese “heaven lord religion,” or a less wooden translation,

“The religion of the Lord of Heaven.” Records

show the first Catholic missionary here was a Portugese

Jesuit who landed in Busan in 15-something, but then it

gets pretty foggy. Mentions of early Korean Christians

are scattered through histories, and many places claim

to be the real birthplace of the faith on this peninsula,

but it’s pretty much uncontested that the faith as a movement

flourished here through 솓 instumentation and

martyrdom of a Korean man named Yi Seung-hun.

It was Koreans who embraced the faith, and who shared

it here in Korea; not European missionaries. The faith

was taught freely and simply, accessible to all classes,

and to women, and to beggars, without prejudice.

Yi Seung-hun was Yangban (nobility) born in Seoul in

1756. He accompanied his father on a diplomatic mission

to Beijing, where he converted to Catholic Christianity,

entered the priesthood, and brought the


Jeonbuk Life 41


faith back to Korea.

In the beginning, the Catholics wouldn’t bow the

knee to the ancestors, so they were persecuted. Tertullian

said that ‘the blood of the martyrs is the seed

of the church,’ and Korea was no exception. The

attempt at ridding the peninsula of believers was

bloody, rigorous, and a glorious failure. Today, Roman

Catholic Christians represent about ten percent

of the Korean population (but these days they have

become very Confucian again, right down to the

bowing to ancestors, though now it’s rationalized differently,

or syncretized). Catholics were persecuted

officially by the government for practicing a banned

religion. They were also persecuted and ostracized

by their own families and communities for shunning

ancestor worship. Many formed little Christian villages,

where they could live together and have property

in common. When French missionaries came in

the 1800’s, they were astonished to find that there

were already Christians in Korea, and that they were

living in a communal way that very much resembled

the early church.

Certain regions have a greater Catholic presence

than others. Iksan, here in Jeonbuk Province, is said

by locals to be the real epicenter of the faith. Perhaps

it is why the Jeolla people are so warm, accepting,

and are taking to globalization so earnestly. After

all, ‘catholic’ means global. It appears the ‘yeast’ of

Catholic believers ‘leavened the whole loaf’ of the


The influence of Catholic Christianity is especially

strong in Jeonbuk. The Samnye countryside, for example,

has many hospitals and retirement care centers

founded and run by Catholics. This can probably be

seen around the nation as well, to varying degrees.

Roman Catholicism is generally thought by locals

to resemble Won Buddhism very much in its simple,

accessible, common-people approach. An erudite local

physician observed that the two faiths are compatible

and even syncretistic in many ways. Both faiths

offer a very clear system, are easily accessible to the

average working person, and emphasize practical


In Korea, the Roman Catholic church is unrivalled

in compassion for the poor. Other religions and fellowships

have great merit, but in them it is hard to

find as many accounts of self-less compassion, and

simple, total devotion to sharing God’s love, sharing

property, sharing meals, sharing health care, and sharing


The thesis of these articles is that all these religions

and philosophies are to some degree syncretized into

the Korean culture and mind.

But more specifically, that the complex, liberal,

thoughtful, Jeonbuk mentality isn’t the same as the

other regions of Korea. This has been deeply impressed

upon me by my older Korean friends, family,

and colleagues, in interviews and conversations over

the last dozen years. It is readily apparent in political

history, and in the regionalisms that persist within

Korea. Jeonbuk has been marginalized by the other

regions of Korea for a thousand years, so it’s not the

only reason for the difference, granted; but talking to

the people, not surfing the web, is how this theory has

been formed.

(By this point, any astute reader is calling ‘bias.’ I’d

like to note, parenthetically, that my background is

ferociously Protestant. Indeed there was a bias; and

it has been tenderized significantly by my time spent

investigating Jeonbuk Catholics.)

There is strong evidence to support the idea that the

Catholic ingredient is much stronger in the local stew.

Even if you do not subscribe doctrinally to some, or

any, tenets of Roman Catholicism, its strong presence

in the recipe still offers a most pleasant aroma.


PAGE 42-43 -- Jeondeong Cathedral, in

Jeonju’s Hanok Village.

LEFT -- Images of Catholic martyrdom outside

Jeondong and the cross atop Martyr’s Mountain,

a renowned Catholic site in Jeonju.

RIGHT -- The inside of the Cathedral; the statue

atop a small Catholic church in Dukjin-gu.


42 Jeonbuk Life 43



JB Life Contributing Writer

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is the second

in a new section for 2017 titled “‘Being’

in Jeonbuk.” The intention of this section

is to share how local expats maintain

their lifestyles and their sense of “being”

while living in our province. This might

include being from a certain nationality,

whether Indian, Mexican, or Ethiopian, or

being part of a certain religion or lifestyle,

such as being vegetarian, gay, or Muslim.

Keep an eye out for this section to see how

people from all walks of life survive and

thrive while abroad.


few months ago, my friend told me

that there are more chicken shops

in South Korea than the number of

McDonalds, world-wide. I was shocked, but

not in disbelief. At that moment, we could spot

three different chicken shops in our frontal

vision! I checked the source of this information

and found it stated as a fact in the Korean

Herald article titled, “Korea, the Republic of


So, can we be vegetarians in the Republic of


Korea once followed a vegetarian diet comparable

to Buddhist “temple food” and most

North Koreans have not had the “luxury” of

eating meat in their lifetime. But, today, many

will likely declare that being vegetarian in

South Korea is impossible.

I have lived in Korea for three years, and half

of that time was spent as an uncommitted vegetarian,

being spoon-fed meat by my employers

at work dinners and occasionally falling prey

to the flashy Korean drinking + samgyeupsal

scene. The second half was spent as a “100%”

vegetarian, aka vegan.

Despite the startling number of chicken

shops, times are changing and the concept

of vegetarianism and veganism has found its

place in Korea once again.

I will provide some of my accumulated tips

and resources for eating, shopping and traveling

as a vegetarian, specific to Jeollabukdo.

Note: Omnivores will also enjoy and benefit

from my suggestions and many of my meat-loving

friends are happily surprised by the supreme

tastiness of vegetarian food in Korea.


TIP: Do your research and buy a


1. HappyCow

The most comprehensive site of vegetarian

restaurants worldwide! Not everything

in Korea is listed, but you should be able

to find a wonderful place to eat. Currently,

restaurants in Iksan, Gunsan, and Jeonju

are listed. Wanju and Jeongeup also have

vegan restaurants, so if you visit them,

submit their information on HappyCow!



2. Facebook/ Blogs

Join Seoul Veggie Club or Seoul Vegans,

where people constantly post recipes, blogs,

and new restaurant finds. I also have an

abandoned but resourceful blog about being

vegan in Jeonju, https://jeonjuveggietravel.wordpress.com/,

and Simply Hofit’s

Korean Vegan Vlog on what to buy at a

Korean convenient convenience store will

be particularly helpful for citizens of rural




Along with a toaster oven, my blender

helped me the most in my transition to becoming

vegan. When in Seoul or Busan, I

could go without a blender, but in Jeollabukdo

it serves as an essential tool. I make

smoothies constantly blend up creamy soups

and dressings and perform random scientific

experiments with tofu. Get one second

hand on one of the Jeollabukdo Facebook

pages or buy new at large supermarkets.


Learn to cook vegetarian Korean food with

the help of Maangchi. She is adorable and

her ingredients are specific to Korea and

easy to find locally, so I prefer learning from

her vegetarian recipes. Try her easy soy

milk recipe with your new blender! (http://



TIP: Be lazy and shop online.


If you don’t know about this already, then

I’ve just saved your life. Organic peanut

butter, lotion, shampoo, make up, essential

oils, herbs and all of the other things

that are hard to find at Homeplus, your

only shopping option in miles. It only

takes a week to have your box of goodies


Jeonbuk Life 45


delivered to all areas of Korea, and it’s free

for orders over 60,000 won! (http://www.


C. Vegan Groceries: http://www.lovinghut.


programs locally in Buan, Gochang, and Gimje.


1. OurShop India

A store in Jeonju (but with nationwide

delivery!) that gives access to South and

Southeast Asian spices and goods as

well as fresh and frozen vegetables and


2. Veggiehill

You can make specific orders for organic and

non-pesticide produce at this site. This is a

great option if it is hard to find certain fruits

and vegetables you may be craving, or if you

just want organic eggs. (http://veggiehill.


3.Vegan Specialty Sites

A. Fake Meats, Sauces, and Packaged foods:


B. Vegan Cheese: http://www.vegbox.kr/


TIPS: Have food stashed on you at

all times and meditate.


Planning a trip to rural areas of South Korea?!

Don’t forget to bring snacks, and lots

of them, unless you can survive off soju and

field weeds. You may be able to find fruits

and some traditional types of snacks, but it

can be difficult. I went to a small beach last

summer with no food to test out my vegan

survival skills and it did not go well. I ate an

entire box of digestive biscuits and a 4,000

won tiny bag of dried sweet potatoes from


2.Last-minute Snack Ideas

A. Organic and dried goods section of any

big supermarket (E Mart, Homeplus..)

B. Snacks at highway rest areas: steamed

corn, fried potatoes, baked sweet potato.

C. Kimbap ordered without egg, imitation

crab, and/or ham.

D. Fruit and rice cakes at traditional markets.

3.Temple Stay

Temple stays offer all conscious eaters need,

3 vegan meals, nature, and comfy cotton

lounge wear. There are English temple stay

4. Yoga retreat in Wanju

Ananda Marga Korea, right here in Jeollabukdo,

holds yoga and meditation classes, detox retreats,

and yoga teacher trainings. I took one module of

their yoga teacher training course and it was a

weekend full of vegetarian feasts, relaxation, and

loving people. (https://www.facebook.com/AnandaMargaKorea)

You now have the knowledge to bypass the fried

chicken shops and explore the emerging and traditional

vegetarian culture in South Korea. Jeollabukdo

is a wonderful place to fill your belly and

experience a unique and fulfilling way of life.

If you are craving some vegetarian/vegan food

right now, you can run out to get bibimbapb without

meat/eggs, red bean porridge or red bean noodle

soup (팥죽/ 팥칼국수), or veggie pizza with

no cheese. Many things can be made in Korea to

accommodate vegetarians, so don’t take no for an



Editors’ Note:

In addition to Taylore’s suggestions, we’d like to

refer any new vegetarian/vegan residents to some

of the veggie-friendly shops we’ve covered in previous


2. Masala

One of Jeonju’s most beloved foreign

food spots, this cozy Indian restaurant

has options for all walks of eating, including

tasty vegetarian/vegan dishes.

3. Tacocina

Jeonju’s newest Mexican restaurant is

luckily accompanied by a chef and owner

who is more than willing to adapt

dishes on request, allowing access to

delicious plates for vegetarians, vegans,

and a variety of other restrictive diets.


Illustration by Bonnie Cunningham



The stairs reach into the heavens. The stones

pound my feet. The Earth moves me upward.

I march to its rhythm. Sunlight scatters

through tree branches overhead. Even in winter

the trees’ colors look brighter, their bark healthier,

their smell sweeter. I look straight ahead at the

stones shining bright in the daylight. I feel the sweat

on my brow and back from the heat of the sun. In

this moment my thoughts swim and shift and I am

surrounded by spring, not winter.

My body aches.

A long and chaotic search brought me to this far

corner of the world. I imagine myself on the heels

of ancient ascetics. Bald head exposed to the hot

sun. Bare feet slapping cold ground. Mind full of

questions. Body tempered, never tired. Do not

stop. The monks meditate only at certain times of

day but this is a gentle lie. The truth is they never

stop. The rhythm of the Universe never ceases.

The monks always feel a march to that rhythm. As

a boy I wondered if magic was real, if those monks

who wandered unhurried across peaks and through

valleys were imbued with a power beyond normal


Sometimes the smog rolls in and covers the whole

valley. I am reminded of the cities in the West, titanic

brick and concrete monoliths that rise to dizzying

heights and eclipse the sun. They stifle and suffocate.

They are hollow mountains. They are breathless


My lungs move thick like a bellows.

These stairs are not like those bleak monuments. A

very different excavation gave birth to these stones.

They were all once identical, but across time each

step has become etched with unique ruts and scars.

My feet slap the smoothed rock. How old are these

stones? How many sets of feet have stubbornly





climbed, their owners fatigued yet resilient, seeking

an obvious challenge without obvious reward?

There is a bend in the climbing path that I cannot

see around. Even in the grip of winter the summertime

strength of these trees does not recede and the

wider world can only be seen through the occasional

gaps in the dense thicket of branches and leaves

all around. I look over my shoulder at my traveling

companion far below. He stops at a clearing, to

breathe and to take in the sights. Dark shadows and

golden sunlight mingle about his bright clothes and

ignite him with inner fire. He looks out. I look out.

We can see for miles in every direction. The Earth

mankind purports to conquer stretches to oblivion

in silent rebuke. Even if we spend every day trekking

through its mountains and valleys and across

its plains and deserts, we will never see more than

a fraction of it all before our bones collapse and our

blood turns cold.

My feet are bleeding.

My companion begins to climb again, and I rejoin

the effort soon after. He moves faster than me now.

I wonder if he moves faster because we are nearing

our destination. It may be that I am only moving

slower while he maintains the same dogged pace.

Rains approach slowly in the mountains. Halfway

up this flight of hundreds of stairs, we stop and

stare at the clouds as they unfurl across the skies and

swallow the sun. My companion utters something

in a tongue I don’t know but can intuitively understand.

We must press on. The rainclouds’ slow speed

belies their ferocity. The first drops that strike are

gentle, but the dark clouds to come portend that that

will not last.

The wind picks up, cold and biting. The rains get

sharper, stabbing like knives. Thunder begins quietly,

its roar growing steadily louder until the colossal

sound is right overhead. I look up at a black sky

and pause for a moment in awe. My companion

picks up his pace as the rain begins to soak our

clothes, and he overtakes me quickly. The strength

he summons comes from that same deep well of

constitution I have only seen in those who live

lives of devotion. He has been here before. He has

lived through strange storms like this one. I am exhausted.

I fear I cannot match his pace. I know I

must. The path back down the mountain is longer

now than what lies ahead.

My body shakes from the cold.

He reaches a platform of stone many dozens of

steps above me. The stones are slick with water,

and sheets of it slide off the steps like a hundred

waterfalls. His cloak is soaked through with rain

and the gusting wind whips about the damp fabric

in wide and tangled arcs. He is framed by a

charcoal sky lit with chaotic blue lightning. I had

thought the winter cold could never avail such wild

storms. I feel no surprise when my false assumption

is shattered.

We press on into the storm. I stumble to the top

of the next rise, eyes downcast to shield them from

the piercing rain. My feet are caked with wet dust

left by travelers who came before. My companion

calls out, his voice nearly lost on the wind. I look

around to try to see why he beckons. He stands

off to one side of the ridge, under the shelter

of an old pagoda, weather-beaten yet sturdy.

It is unmoved by the gusts of wind, and the

raindrops roll off the slick timbers as though

they never touched them at all.

I stagger forward and he takes my arm and

guides me out of the torrent and into the shelter.

I stand in the middle of the floor, shaking, looking

down at the wet wood, shivering, cloak held

tight around me. I look up to see him standing at

the railing of the pagoda, looking out across the

city. I wrap my cloak around me tighter and come

to stand next to him at the railing. We look down

from the mountain across the wide valley and the

sparkling city below. The storm does not mar the

view; it enhances it.

The clouds part off in the west, making way for

the orange light of the late hour to break through.

Grey clouds still darken the mountain and leave a

chill in the air and in my body, but the light that

spills over the valley brings a sudden surge of color

that arrests my gaze and stymies any regret for

the painful climb that brought me here. A rainbow

stretches across the sky, its dazzling colors outmatched

by the brilliant shades of the thousands

upon thousands of rooftops below. Hills rise out of

the city, and the buildings part for them like water

flowing around rocks in a river.

As a boy I wondered if magic was real.

“Quite the view.” My companion speaks every

word with great weight. It could be his imperfect

grasp of my language. It could be something else.


I take a deep breath. The air smells sweet after

the rain.

“Yes it is.”

illustration by

Bonnie Cunningham

Jeonbuk Life 49

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