View of Chaekbang Musa Jeju

[INSIDER GUIDE] Singer Yozoh Walks Jeju
Yozoh, a singer who runs a bookstore in Jeju, introduced us to some great spots in and around Seongsan-eup on the island. They are all very quiet and tranquil, much like the singer herself.
“Another great thing about Jeju is that from my place, oreum and the beach are about only a 15-minute drive. I love summers here, and I can wake up in the morning and walk straight into the ocean, just like I would go grocery shopping. It’s absolutely incredible.”
Yozoh, singer and bookstore owner

Favorite walking course?
I drive along the Gwangchigi and Teojinmok beaches and get to Seongsan Ilchulbong and back. The area is also the memorial site for April 3 Jeju Uprising. If you are ever in Teojinmok area, you should observe a moment of silence for the lost souls of Jeju civilians.
Gwangchigi Beach 224-33 Goseong-ri, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si

Gwangchigi Beach, with Seongsan Ilchulbong also in view

Favorite café?
I frequent Café Gondry next to my bookstore. It’s nearby, and I can sit back for an afternoon beer or two there.
Café Gondry 3 Susi-ro 10bun-gil, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si 

Favorite shop?
I go to Hollain, the outdoor multishop, to pick up things I need for summers and winters. There are two locations in Jeju, and I visit the one in Pyeongdae because it’s closer to my place.
Hollain 34-3 Pyeongdae 2-gil, Gujwa-eup, Jeju-si
Favorite restaurant and meal?
Near the bookshop, there is a noodle place called ‘Noodle Like It.’ They serve all types of noodle dishes, from anchovy noodle and meat noodle to yeolmu (young radish) noodle and cold soybean soup noodle in the summer. You can also order bibimbap, chicken feet or friend chicken wings. You can wash it all down with some adult beverages. The place is like this guest room for the whole neighborhood. I order whatever I feel like on that particular visit, but I’ve been getting cold soybean noodle a lot lately. They put pear or apple in the soup as natural sweetener. Highly recommended.
Noodle Like It 30 Susi-ro 10bun-gil, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si

Things you must do on the East Coast of Jeju?
You have to check out Bunker de Lumieres. It’s where art and music converge, and you can enjoy that multi-sensory thrill. Every time I visit, I figure this must be what Stendhal syndrome is like. It’s such a visually overwhelming place.
Bunker de Lumieres 89-17, Seoseongil-ro 1168bun-gil, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si

Hidden gem of a place on the East Coast?
Susan Elementary School, across from my bookstore. The school uses the old fortress called Susan Jinseong as its fence. It’s a vintage-style, beautiful school. Jinan Halmandang is located behind the school. At the start of every new year, I visit that place with friends to pray for prosperity for my shop and the rest of the island.
Susan Elementary School 9 Susi-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si

Susan Jinseong’s old fortress, now serving as fence for Susan Elementary School

The most Jeju-like place?
The five-day markets. Large markets are all nice, but it’s also fun to check out smaller five-day markets. Goseong Oilsijang (Five-Day Market) in my neighborhood is tiny but has everything you need. The course meal served at ‘Iloban Sikdang,’ located next to the market, will bring you the taste of Jeju.
Goseong Oilsijang (Five-Day Market) 93 Goseongojo-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si
Iloban Sikdang 87 Goseongojo-ro, Seongsan-eup, Seogwipo-si

Goseong Oilsijang, setting for the TV series ‘Our Blues’

Iloban Sikdang, must-eat place near the market

About Insider: Yozoh, Praying for Safety for Bookstore and Jeju
Singer Yozoh named her bookstore ‘Chaekbang Musa,’ which literally translates to ‘bookstore without incident.’ It was out of her hope for safety and prosperity of the place and in her life. Yozoh is a singer. She picked her stage name from the protagonist in Osamu Dazai’s novel, . Yozoh has produced a few hit singles, and her songs have been featured in sound tracks for popular TV series, too. Yozoh also took time to write about traveling and relationships. Then in 2015, she opened Chaekbang Musa in Bukchon.
In the early days, the sign still said ‘Jin Hair Salon.’ After about two years, Yozoh moved her bookstore to Jeju. She kept the name, too. The sign now says ‘Areum Sanghoe (Shop).’ The antique-looking sign has been a hit on social media, and the more hashtags it has generated, the more visitors the shop has attracted. Yozoh opened a new location in Seogyo-dong in Seoul, and she splits her time between the capital city and the island to oversee the shops’ operations.

Q. You travel back and forth between Seoul and Jeju. How are your lifestyles different in those two places?
A. I often do a lot of things in Seoul. Because the city is so well connected with a great public transit system, I can cover more ground. In Jeju, I keep it simple. I live in the caravan set up behind the bookstore. There are days when I don’t even leave the shop. Even when I do venture out, I only stay within the neighborhood. While in Jeju, I only have simple thoughts on mind, like, what I should eat for the next meal.

Q. How do you balance your career as a singer and a bookstore owner?
A. I try not to push myself too hard. When I feel stretched too thin, I don’t hesitate to ask people for help. I have such supportive people around me that I can juggle many different responsibilities.

Q. Why did you move to Jeju?
A. I’ve always loved Jeju, dating back to times when the island wasn’t so special. Then Jeju gradually became such a popular destination. I used to hold myself back from moving there but I finally caved in.

Q. How different is life in Jeju from the one in Seoul?
A. In Jeju, the sky just looks bigger than in Seoul. Even on days when the quality of air in the two places is virtually the same, friends visiting from Seoul say the air feels much fresher on the island. I think the sky has something to do with that. Jeju feels wide open just because of the way the sky seems bigger.

Q. Why did you choose Seongsan to open your bookstore?
A. I was more attracted to the East Coast, which is less crowded than the West Coast. And I absolutely love Seongsan Ilchulbong.

Q. What would you like visitors to your bookstore to experience while there?
A. In addition to browsing books, I hope people can find whatever meaning that they were looking for. I am trying to turn the shop into a cultural place, offering workshops and live performances, in addition to selling books. Even if you aren’t a big reader but still enjoy your time spent at the shop, I’d be more than happy with that.

Q. How can we enjoy Jeju to the fullest?
A. One way to do it is not to feel too comfortable. Jeju is a beautiful place but it’s also hurting a great deal. When we visit a friend’s house, we’d make sure not to touch anything randomly, and we’d be careful when just using the bathroom once. I hope people realize that they can’t just run around Jeju and do as they please. They should keep that in mind to help preserve the island, and it’s really for their own good, too, because they’ll then be able to enjoy Jeju’s beauty for a long time.

Q. When are you the happiest when you travel?
A. I am easily affected by the weather. I am at my happiest when the sun beats down on us and white and fluffy clouds float up in the sky.

Q. What are your plans for this year as the bookshop owner and singer?
A. I seem to go through much the same routine at the shop: feeling excited about new books coming in, selling them, and cleaning and sprucing up the shop, etc. But these things never get old, because I get so many different types of people coming in. This year, just like any other year, I am looking forward to meeting them. As a singer, I plan to release a studio album around August.

Q Last question. What does traveling mean to Yozoh?
A. It causes me headaches. There are too many things to take care of. For one, I have to manage what’s going on inside my head. And then I have to pace myself physically. If things go well, then I think I can be a great traveler anywhere, from the moment I wake up in the morning to the moment I fall asleep at night. I even have the word ‘traveled’ tattooed on the back of neck, but it is still not easy to handle these things. I hope I myself and readers of this story will all become good travelers. Life is a journey. It’s not just a metaphor. It’s the absolute truth.

July 2022 Editor:Jung Jaewook
Photographer:Park Doosan

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  • July 2022
  • Editor: Jung Jaewook
  • Photographer: Park Doosan
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