Jeonju, S. Korea
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Jang-gi and Ba-duk: games on the streets of Jeonju
Although the city of Jeonju has been famous throughout Korea for centuries, it's still not a commonly known destination for Western visitors. Recently designated as a UNESCO world "city of gastronomy," Jeonju is definitely worth a several-day stay, and it's an easy couple-hour-train-ride from Seoul. In addition to savoring local culinary specialties and wandering the traditional 'hanok'-house neighborhoods with their galleries and boutiques, check out the chess and go-players on the benches just outside of the Gyeonggijeon shrine, on the corner about a block to the east of the venerable Jeondong cathedral. "Jang-gi" is the Korean version of Chinese chess, and "Ba-duk" is the local name of the game more widely known as "Go." On sultry summer evenings, grab an ice-cream (red bean and melon are popular flavors) from across the street and then check out these neighborhood 'haraboji' ('grandfather,' the respectful term for older men), engrossed in strategy on the sidewalk of one of Korea's most traditional cities.
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