Feel Like Living in My Home Country

Authors: Go Chengdu


Kim Kwang-gi does not feel like he is living in a foreign country after having been in Chengdu for one and half years.
A handsome young guy in his chef suit is cutting beef with a knife, with all his attention and expert skills. And that was it we saw Kim Kwang-gi for the first time at a Japanese restaurant in downtown Chengdu. Known as Kim among his colleagues and friends, Kim Kwang-gi is a Korean descendent and lives in Japan. But to the Chinese people, he is not taken as a foreigner until they have come to know his nationality, as the young guy with black hair and black eyes looks nothing different from locals.
Well, he said that why he has chosen to come to Chengdu is not that he has a fancy of the city name, which still has a special meaning to many Japanese and Korean people ― in fact, they are fans of the literature about the Three Kingdoms, and Chengdu was the capital city of the Shu State during the Three Kingdoms period (220-280).
A fourth-generation Korean descendent, Kim was born and brought up in Osaka, Japan. He came to Chengdu for the simple reason that the city offers good job opportunities for people like him.
Reputed as Asia's first UNESCO City of Gastronomy, Chengdu has attracted many foreigners to settle down while restaurants of foreign cuisines are having prosperous business here.
Kim is now working at a restaurant named Tokyo Beef Dinning, located at the 8th floor of Isetan Mall in Chunxi Road, which specializes in yakiniku, a style of Japanese food quite similar to Korean barbecue.
"Kim was born to a barbecue family in Osaka, with their yakiniku restaurant very famous in Japan," said Kawase Mikio, manager of Tokyo Beef Dinning.
Kim had a week-long visit to Chengdu in 2010, when he was 20 years old, and soon fell in love with the city.
Seven years later, in 2017, he came to Chengdu as an overseas student and studied the Chinese language at Sichuan University. Now he is able to speak Mandarin well and even some Chengdu dialects.
(Kim often eats out with friends during his language learning time in Sichuan University.)
"I love the city ― the scenery, the food, and the lifestyle," Kim said. Actually, he began to miss everything in Chengdu just after he had finished his study at Sichuan University and went back to Japan. So he flew back to Chengdu and found a job here as a chef.
He also told us has been to many places in Chengdu and other parts of Sichuan, including the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Huanglongxi Old Town, Qingcheng Mountain, Leshan Giant Buddha, and so on.
"It makes me feel very comfortable and the local people are very kind-hearted and friendly," Kim said, "I have made quite a number of friends here, and some guests like to ask me some interesting questions and chat with me when they know I'm a foreigner. I feel like I were at home in Chengdu."

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