Jazz Story

Unique Live Café near the Blue House

Jazz Story is the nearest live café from the Blue House. It is located in the middle of the city, but the atmosphere in the café is much different from others. The owner, Im Ae Guyn, has long hair and well-defined features. She is a mid-aged beauty.

There is a no signboard. I felt as if it had recently fallen down. But inside is quite different. When I went inside, a rhythmic underground group was playing.

There is a lot of foreign money on the wall. This is the evidence that many foreigners visit here. Ms. Im has a reason to open this kind of café. She lived in Japan for 20 years. When she came back to Korea, everything had changed.

The outside of every building was more splendid than the inside. So she made up her mind to open a café which was not so showy on the outside, but with a solid inside and a nice atmosphere. That was in September of 1994. She had met her husband in Japan. After her mother passed away, she felt strange in Japan, so three years later, she came back to Korea.

In 1988, when she was a sensitive high school student, there was no place to listen to live music. She wanted to make a place to play music on a stage, not just records. She started to search for the right place. She had a desire to revive a tradition.

Look at the inside. In the toilet, it is decorated with traditional farm tools. She made a lasting impression on the visitors that Korean traditional things are special.

This is why the visitors come again. They scribble on the walls all the time. So she made a menu board as a scribble board, so they can feel free to do that on the menu board.

She didn't make a sign board on purpose. But people find this place easily. And they call the café as they please, which she likes. Many foreigners visit the café, because of the unique atmosphere.

Ms. Im likes music very much, especially Bob Dylan's. One side of a wall is full of records. There are more than 5,000. She owns a collection of more than 15,000.

There are three live shows each day. The group does not belong to the café. She doesn't want to burden them. If they want to leave, let them go. But she never say goodbye first. So they want to stay more and more.

Excerpts from Kyung Hyang Worldnet (internet newspaper)