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:
ANJEE DISANTO, U.S.A.,
M.A. Communication & Rhetoric
JB LIFE LAYOUT & DESIGN
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.
DAVID VAN MINNEN, Canada,
B.A. Humanities/Classical Languages
JB LIFE CHIEF PROOFREADER
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,
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
DOWON KIM, Korea,
BA Biological Science
JB LIFE JBCIA LIAISON
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
YOUNG-WOO PARK, Korea,
JB LIFE KOREAN CONSULTANT
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
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 email@example.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” IN JEONBUK
- Being Vegetarian or Vegan
- The Climb
- “The Future is Dark”
JB LIFE is published by the JBCIA
(Jeonbuk Center for International Affairs)
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
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
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
* 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
By STUART SCOTT
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,
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.
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
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
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
By HEEONE PARK
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
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
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
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
For further information on the Muju Taekwondo-won
and World Taekwondo Championship to be
held in June, please visit:
Photos of the Muju Taekwondowon
by UMESH SAMPATH.
By RENEE MCMILLAN
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
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
“Titanic Fun” outside the
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.
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
By ANJEE DISANTO
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
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.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION: Regular admission
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
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
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
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
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.
Kunsan Seafood Restaurant / 군산횟집
1-76 Geum-dong, Gunsan / 군산시 금동 1-76
Jeonbuk Life 25
By DEAN CRAWFORD
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
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
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
“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
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
By ANJEE DISANTO
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
“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
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
SEUNGBIN JO; other photos by ANJEE DISANTO]
Jeonbuk Life 33
By ANJEE DISANTO
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
“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
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
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-
a bento box
about the contents
of a dumpling
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
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
By VIKKI CHAN
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
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
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.
[Photo by ANJEE DISANTO]
[RIGHT] Fashion show and performance
costumes made by Olga.
[Photos courtesy of Olga Kan]
Jeonbuk Life 39
By DAVID VAN MINNEN
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
(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.
[Photos by ANJEE DISANTO]
42 Jeonbuk Life 43
“BEING” IN JEONBUK
By TAYLORE BEATTY
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
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
“BEING” IN JEONBUKS
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
“Yes it is.”
Jeonbuk Life 49