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Book Trip

 

Pohang, Gyeongsangbuk-do

A once steel city now emerging as a cultural powerhouse with filming sites

 

2022.01.03

 

 

An industrial complex gives off heat along the Hyeongsan river, the first impression of Pohang. But that is just a part of the city. If one aspect of a city leaves too strong an impression, the rest becomes invisible. Pohang is home to many tourist attractions such as Homigot Sunrise Plaza, a famous venue for the sunrise, and Guryongpo, a Japanese old traditional house street where a K-drama called "When The Camellia Blooms" was filmed years ago, exuding an exotic atmosphere, and Cheongha-myeon and Cheongha market as filming locations for "Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha," a popular Korean drama, in addition to Sabang Memorial Park, Botanical Garden of Gyengsangbuk-do and more. The stunning landscape of Naeyeon Mountain and Bogyungsa Temple are the tourist spots you must visit there. Most of all, Pohang city is seeking a transition towards a cultural powerhouse from an industrial city since it emerged as a leading filming site for various dramas. Behind the move is the power of independent bookstores that engage in diverse activities while protecting their neighborhoods.

 

Reborn & Ribbon: A Strong Driver of Reviving Used Books to Build a New Culture

 

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Inside and outside view of Reborn & Ribbon

 

 

A book doesn't end its life because it is old. Instead, books are reborn when they meet another reader. Such a virtuous cycle of books might be the most valuable thing. Reborn & Ribbon, which started as a second-hand bookstore with used books donated from individuals, has enabled used books to be reborn without being thrown away. As such, the role that Reborn & Ribbon pursues is found in its name, implying "reborn" and "connect" (pronounced as "Ribbon"). The bookstore owner has been running the place by giving a coupon to exchange donated books for other books on sale so that more books can be read. After a year of running, the owner felt the need to bring in new books and decided to start an independent bookstore. Now, the bookstore took its place as an independent bookstore exhibiting a variety of books and as a cultural space hosting various book-themed events. It went through a tough time after it opened in June 2020 at the peak of the pandemic. Nevertheless, it has become a leading independent bookstore in Pohang, largely thanks to its regular activities that drive engagement and communication with locals.

 

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Various cultural events organized by Reborn & Ribbon

 

Since it changed to an independent bookstore, Reborn & Ribbon has continuously held cultural events connecting people via books, including a youth book club and another book club to read literature and humanities. Also, there is a "Late Night Book Club" with a different theme every month. As a result, various books, including Dead Poet Society, One-Page Art for 365 Days (BIG FISH BOOKS), and A Dream Where I Wouldn't be Scolded for Loving (Changbi), were read together throughout the second half of the last year by designating a book that can engage with music, drawing, calligraphy, and picture. Also, there was some time to write as an extension of reading. An online writing class themed "My everyday life becomes a story: Everyday Writer" was organized where participants individually learned how to write step-by-step beyond writing together, and they co-produced publications. In addition, they shared their feelings after watching a movie together through a program called "My Neighborhood Late Night Cinema." All these activities helped Reborn & Ribbon establish itself as a leading cultural space connecting local people, proving the positive influence of books to the fullest. Although it opened not too long ago, the bookstore plans to be a place to share good books, culture, and arts by making it accessible enough for people to come and go easily.

 

Now Bookstore: Dreaming of a Book-Reading Town

 

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Inside and outside view of Now Bookstore

 

 

If a bookstore that you can easily visit at any time comes to your neighborhood, it can change the overall atmosphere and the vibe there. Having opened in August 2020 when the pandemic was robbing our daily lives, Now bookstore was named with the meaning that life comes true here and now, and with the hope that books help find new values and hopes. Rather than being busy selling more books, the bookstore owner hopes that the bookstore will contribute to changing the neighborhood that was once a wasteland of books into a book-reading town and that people open their lives through books here. This is because a lot of changes can materialize when life meets books. The books exhibited contain a lot of how the store owner sees the world. As it is a neighborhood bookstore, the shop exhibits books released by small publishers or written by authors who are not well known but look promising, and the bookstore works to find and introduce publishers with such a prospect.

 

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Various events held in Now Bookstore along with "Now: Flogging"

 

 

What is noticeable in Now bookstore is a witty space dedicated to "Bora Book Curation" that exhibits books with a purple-colored book jacket, signaling "(Please) See books ("Bora" in Korean has two meanings: 'see' and 'purple')." The curation is the part of an effort to make a book a friendly object, not to leave a feeling of obligation to read, and send a message to people to "read, enjoy, write, feel and savor books now." The idea to open your life through books also resulted in social activities. It's been 10 months since the bookstore started an activity called "Now: Flogging" and voluntarily accepted participants at famous attractions such as Pohang Beach, Guryongpo, Poeun Bridge, and Oeosa Temple whenever there was time. Although the activity started not too long ago, Now bookstore is driving small movements and changes. And the place has set a goal to help people grow together by making it a space for children to enjoy the act of reading for growth and adults to lightheartedly read books like drinking a cup of coffee.

 

Snail Books & Tea: A Place Cultivating Local Stories via Books

 

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Inside and outside view of Snail Books & Tea

 

 

Snail Books & Tea pioneered an independent bookstore in Pohang has been paving the way for and established the culture of reading since its start in 2014. As the name of "snail" implies that paper books and reading books present the meaning of slow life, Snail Books & Tea is pursuing a slow but meaningful change through the time to read together. After making slow but steady steps, Snail Books & Tea established a position as a community space for various cultural activities through books. It became the first to bring in the new culture that the community was longing for as if a welcome rain fell amid a drought. The bookstore deals with books about humanities and independent publications, enabling diverse reading experiences, and also offers a tea room (café) serving black tea to get familiar with books.

 

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Diverse activities held by Snail Books & Tea

 

 

The most important thing is that Snail Books & Tea has been organizing an active reading club for 8 years, engaging locals in various book-themed activities like a club to study modern and contemporary world history, poetry club, drawing book club, English book reading club, and more. These activities bring fresh changes to participants slowly, although invisibly, serving as a driver to change the neighborhood atmosphere. Driven by these movements, Snail Books & Tea engaged in exhibitions, book talk shows, one-day classes and even published its newspaper Snail Tribune, drawing attention to local independent publishers and local bookstores. Snail Books & Tea, which aims to be a bookstore that ripens with people who cherish it through various community activities, is seeking to keep going while producing independent publications about local stories.

 

Guryongpo: Retro Themed Travel with a Glance at Old Days

 

As the primary filming location of the drama "When the Camellia Blooms," Guryongpo, drew attention for its rustic yet quiet neighborhood atmosphere and the exotic scenery of the Jeoksan Gaok, Japanese-style houses built during the Japanese colonial era. Of which there are quite a few houses left. With the attention gained from Korean dramas and the rise of the Retro trend, Guryongpo is catching on as a tourist attraction to enjoy an exotic atmosphere after some of these houses were renovated into cafés or restaurants. There are diverse travel inspirations like beautiful scenery when climbing the stairs with a panoramic view of the sea in Guryongpo and a cultural experience of life in a harbor as Guryongpo is a special zone for Gwamegi, or pacific herring.

 

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Filming locations for "When The Camellia Blooms"

 

 

Cheongha-myeon and Cheongha market: Unfolding The Most Ordinary Day

 

Even though it is exciting to have an unusual and special experience during travel, encountering a scene unfolding like everyday life can be a meaningful time to reflect on our lives. Cheongha-myeon and Cheongha market, once a quiet and somewhat outdated place, became filming locations for "Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha," emerging as famous tourist spots. In fact, there is not much to see when you go there, but some of the scenes in the drama are brought to life, making you feel as if you are seeing hidden pictures. A glance at the ordinary days of people living there might present a time to think about our own ordinary days which are just a step away.

 

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Filming locations for "Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha" copyrighted by Pohang City Hall

 

 

 


Written by Kim Young-Ihm

 

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Kim Young-Ihm

#Gyeongsangbuk-do#Pohang#Reborn & Ribbon#Now Bookstore#Snail Books & Tea
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