Elwood 5566


Suncheon, my Birthday, Dec 30th 2011

Welcome! This blog originally started out as Bathhouse Ballads (later again, Amongst Other Things) and was dedicated to that wonderful Korean custom of bathhouse bathing. At the time I was experiencing my third sojourn in Daegu, South Korea (2007-2015). However, over time the contents encompassed all elements of Korean life and later I began writing about non-Korean related topics. In 2016 I decided to remove all barriers imposed in a blog title and simply renamed the blog Elwood 5566. Under this new title I can write about whatever I want.

I have kept copious notes and diaries and as these to have eventually found their way into the blog. I am no authority on Korean life or indeed anything I write. I am simply an observer!

I taught  taekwondo for over twenty years and trained in both the  ITF and WTF styles. In Korea I studied traditional Korean weaponry which I now teach this to a small class in the UK. By profession, I am a teacher of  music as well as history and sociology. I am interested in many aspects of Korean as well as British culture which Elwood 5566 often critiques. You cannot immerse yourself in another culture  without  attitudes to your home culture being amended, altered and reconfigured at exactly the same time as attitudes towards the host culture are being formulated. This unavoidable interaction has brought me closer to a personal understanding of my own culture. For this reason, the phrase ‘back in the UK, is a leitmotiv.

I also have a few subsidary blogs on subjects more specialised:

Band of the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards

Gojeon Muye – Korean traditional weaponry

See  Site Navigation for more infomation on navigating Elwood 5566.

Creative Commons License

©努江虎-노강호 2016  Creative Commons Licence.


34 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Chris Backe (AKA Chris in South Korea) said, on March 29, 2010 at 3:47 am

    Chris in South Korea – always nice to meet seasoned bloggers / writers such as yourself. I just found your blog on the KoreanBlogList and thought I’d say hi. My blog is over at chrisinsouthkorea.blogspot.com, and I’ve added a link to you in my blogroll. Looking forward to plenty more of your excellent writing – cheers.

    • Nick Elwood said, on March 30, 2010 at 3:56 am

      Chris, thanks for your response. I spend much time blogging though to be honest, most of my other blog topics are rants on various social and political issues. My Korean blog is actually positive and a change from my rantings though I do veer off into one at times especially if I am making a comparative analysis. You are the first person to make a comment on my writing and I will certainly be visiting your blog to offer support. Thanks. Nick.

  2. kissmykimchi said, on March 30, 2010 at 5:24 am


    Just stumbled across your blog through your sauna post. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like when you first got here. It seems like just walking the street is an adventure today so you must have been practically poked prodded and studied like newly discovered species when you arrived.

    I’ll be dropping by often! You can follow me if you’d like at kissmykimchi.com.


    • Nick Elwood said, on March 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks for your post. I have a mass of notes on various aspects of bathhouse culture. I am actually a very introvert person when it comes to nudity and in the west I still am. I glossed over my initial introductions to bathouse culture in my recent blog and at a later date will write a more detailed account of some very amusing, if not embarassing, experiences. I will be visiting your blog. Nick

      • Franck Leprince said, on April 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm

        Thank you Nick, for your very interesting FB reply, which I received as I was about to go on tour. Now that I am back, and have had the chance to recouperate after an important concert, I have just managed to figure out how to respond on your blog. I think I know how you feel about sn sites, but most of them are misused I think. They can be very useful for the right purposes.
        I didn’t realize that publishers urged their authors to ‘spruce up’ books, but it’s hardly surprising. Nevertheless, I at least know how real your memoirs are, from my own time in BAOR. If you went to the RA Band in the mid 80’s to do your Band Control Test, then it most probably would have been Frank Renton that you saw.
        When Martin Doughty joined our band in Dortmund, I was very unsure about him, because he was clearly from a different band background (the staff bands had a different relationship with their accommodating regiments, than the line bands – I feel to their detriment), and he was very loud and constantly chatty. My feelings changed from the first rehearsal with him, when I heard how musical he was. I think he felt the same about me, because, apart from our playing abilities, we were like chalk and cheese. During that time though, he often used to come to my room for a chat, mainly discussing musical topics, and he was interested in going to study in Cologne on a jazz course. But because he was living out, with his German girlfriend, we didn’t socialise out of hours really (you know what it was like for the ‘singlies’ v. the married guys; we were always regarded somehow as different, or maybe inferior, for some ridiculous reason). Martin left the band when we had to return to the UK, and that was the last time I saw or heard from him. I often wonder what he’s up to these days, and actually wish he was living in the UK, because I would be able to find him gigs here.
        The barracks at Dodesheide brings back so many memories. Once, my sister and I (I was 7 at the time) sneaked past the NAAFI into the barracks, and found a tank parked outside a hangar, and climbed inside, where there was a start key left in the ignition, and a button – and my sister managed to start it, so we fled, back out through the main gate, onto the “tank road” (that’s how it was known in those days, at least), and as I ran across the road, I was knocked down by a Mercedes, and suffered a broken forehead, and lots of grazes and bruising. Since then, I always wanted a Mercedes! I don’t think such antics would be possible these days. I can tell you plenty of more interesting stories about those barracks, but will reserve those for another time, should we ever meet.
        The epic court martial story would, I’m sure, fascinate, if not amaze you. I do intend to write about it, when I am properly retired, and have plenty of time on my hands, with little to disturb me. Fortunately, I was given, and kept, the ‘Abstract of Evidence’. I’m sure that if you get to see it, you would perhaps come to the conclusion that I witnessed a miracle, because only a devine being could have got me through that unscathed.
        Do let’s keep in contact. I don’t have a blog, but you can always E-mail me from the details below.
        You are very brave and intrepid to go to live in such a far corner of the world. Life must be quite exciting there. Certainly the food would interest me – I like Asian food. I also like Asian people, but don’t speak any of the languages.

      • 努江虎-노강호 said, on July 21, 2013 at 1:49 am

        Frank, other projects have taken my time and I’ve been absent from here for several months. Indeed, I don’t intend adding anything more here as my martial arts are taking to much of my time. I originally took my first black belt in Osnabruck in 1982.

        The tank story was amazing. It seems so strange now that security was so lax. There were often stories of pissed squaddies stealing a tank or other vehicle and going for a joy ride. And do you remember the noise a single tank makes? I recall being woken on many ocassion in the early hours of the morning to hear that screaming whining noise which was quite frightening. I always laugh when I see old war movies and tanks are able to advance on enemies almost unheard.

        Yes, Martin was a brilliant musician and a few of our band members quite envied him. I had much respect for him. Your comments about the relationship in line-bands between the band and the regiment, was interesting but in our band I think our relationship was fairly close to that of a staff band. Mick Henderson, our BM for many years, forged an excellent relationship for us and we eneded up with many privileges and perks. For a number of years in Paderborn afternoons were dedicated to hobbies such as learning German, horse riding, motor mechanics etc, and trumpet duties and guard duties were greatly curtailed. Eventually, only brass players undertook trumpet duties and the supernumary was scrapped. Guard duties only ever occured when the regiment was out of barracks.

        I plan returning to the UK at sometime in the near future where I will undoubtedly be forced to have to teach British kids – a frightening prospect. It would be interesting to meet up sometime. Take care and thanks.

  3. kathy said, on April 3, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Thanks. I enjoyed reading your blog… very entertaining. I especially couldn’t stop laughing while reading oral hygiene. I totally agree.

  4. Sharon said, on August 11, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Dear Nick,

    My name is Sharon, and I work for Huijun Communications (www.huijun.co.kr). I really enjoyed reading your blog, and I was thinking others could really benefit from reading your blog as well!

    At Huijun Communications, we are currently in the works of creating a website (www.lifeinkorea.kr) that serves as a hub and a community for foreign nationals living in Korea. Our vision is to create a website where people can get all info and service they want through this website without need of searching and looking here and there, and through which people communicate with Koreans as well.

    Many bloggers showed their interest and joined in our website by posting their articles to share with others, and I would like to invite you to do the same.

    Your participation will be greatly appreciated, and we offer complimentary Culture gift cards for bloggers who work with us. For more details, feel free to email me at lucykim4323@gmail.com.


    • Nick said, on September 7, 2010 at 1:04 am

      Tried your links but couldn’t find any blog posts on Korean culture?

  5. Charles said, on December 7, 2010 at 10:08 am


    Just found your blog last night (after returning from a week’s vacation in Korea) and have just finished reading all of your entries. Great blog! I started going to Korean bathhouses in 1992–my first exposure to casual nudity–and have been an addict ever since. At that time, it was the only place where I didn’t feel like a foreigner. In the 목욕탕 I was just another naked guy, at least that’s how I felt.

    Keep up the good work. Charles

    • Nick said, on December 7, 2010 at 12:26 pm

      Yes, it’s strange how I feel more human as a fat foreigner in a Korean bathhouse than I do in a swimming pool or on the beach back home. Thanks for your response.

  6. Roxy said, on December 22, 2010 at 2:33 am

    Hi Nick,

    I just stumbled upon your website and have really enjoyed reading through it.
    I most agree with your post about the E-bente-tang’s…I had heard so many people raving about the “tea” baths at the Time world Jimjilbang here in Daejeon, and was so disappointed to realize its just for the men! Not fair:(

    But I guess guys also deserve to relax in tea baths every now and again 🙂

    Thanks for the great insight into life from a jimjilbang perspective 🙂

    • Nick said, on December 22, 2010 at 6:38 pm

      Don’t other bathhouse have tea baths? Any feedback or even contributions to the female side of things is very welcome.

    • Sonja Freeman said, on February 9, 2012 at 6:07 am

      Hi Roxy! I just found this blog and thus, your post. There are indeed other tea baths – I suggest asking your Korea female friends and co-workers. They often know tons about the local saunas and what they have to offer specifically. Otherwise, just head out and try a bunch on your own. Green tea is the most popular of course and the best by far is the Green Tea-Sea Water Sauna in Yulpo near the Boseong Green Tea Fields (율포해수온천탕 ‘Yulpo Haesu-Nokcha Oncheon-tang’). My review is here: http://saunasinkorea.blogspot.com/2009/06/boseong-yulpo-beach-yulpo-haesu-nokcha.html
      Thanks for visiting my blog!

  7. Kim said, on January 26, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Hi Nick! I just stumbled across your blog while looking for information regarding Korean ‘skinship’. I am a 53 yr. old American mom who’s love for dance and music led me via You Tube, to becoming a fan of (believe it or not) Korean pop music.
    Though I am the mother of a son who is gay, I have been completely mystified by the gay-like behaviors I’ve witnessed between male celebrities and further mystified by the desire of female fans to see what some adamantly describe NOT as ‘gay’, but as ‘skinship’, even ‘fan service’ and by others who wish to believe it as ‘gay’ or something more than ‘skinship’.
    My American/western mind was having such difficulty wrapping itself around the idea, understanding it, until I began reading your blog. It’s so very difficult to ‘let go’ of a mindset that sees things only through what we’ve been taught to believe and see. But, I am trying and want to understand. I eagerly anticipate reading through all of your blog. I may be older, but I am not through learning! ~ Thank you for sharing your stories. Regards, Kim

    • Nick said, on January 27, 2011 at 12:35 am

      Kim, having just returned from holiday, I was pleased to read your comments and indeed yours are the first I am responding to in Korea, in 2011. I suppose you don’t really consider the impact your writing has and I am pleased my posts on ‘skinship’ have helped you. Of course, these are my opinions as arriving at a conclusion is always problematic when you are writing about another culture, especially one so different from your own. I must say, western opinions on ‘skinship’ here in Korea can be quite hostile as indeed they can be towards bathhouse culture. Whenever I write posts on these topics I prepare myself for a few hostile responses. Both bathhouse culture and ‘skinship’ are interesting phenomena especially at a time when western cultures are perversifying what I would consider quite natural and healthy expressions of human behaviour.

      I too enjoy K-pop but I do not follow it too closely. ‘Rain’ is an all time favourite of mine. I was recently reading about two young drama celebrities who on return from filming in Japan, decided to visit a bathhouse early in the morning. When they woke up a number of admirers had gathered and one of the celebs was prompted to do a dance routine – nude. I can’t imagine such a scenario in the west because unlike our respective cultures, nudity in a bathhouse has nothing to do with sex or being sexy. For many westerners, separating nudity from sex is an impossibility.

      Thanks for your comments…oh, and I am actually older than you…

  8. Charles said, on May 16, 2011 at 5:46 am

    Nick, on your most recent entry about the five boys who meet death, there is a typo. Where you meant to write “galvanized” the nation, it appears as “calvinized.”

  9. Mi A Kang said, on August 21, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    hi, my name is mi a. from Daegu! 닉이 한국을 좋아하듯이 저는 영어를 좋아해서 외국인 친구를 찾다가 korean bloglist 에서 찾게 되었어요! 저는… i want u as friends! so if u help i would you help! haha

  10. Tiffany Wong said, on November 20, 2011 at 2:43 am

    thanks so much for this website 🙂 it is so useful!! thank you thank you!
    i am an architecture student in the UK, and my third year project will be designing a spa/bath house and leisure complex that’s open 24 hours a day..and at a cheap affordable price as well as other leisure stuff…for travellers, homeless, locals , everyone..
    do you know any books/websites where i can find detailed plans and sections etc of jjimjilbangs?
    my email is tiffany_wong91@yahoo.co.uk
    i am be very grateful for this site! thank you 🙂

    • 林東哲 said, on November 20, 2011 at 8:30 am

      I do not know of any books though I have occasionally seen companies that plan bathhouses on Korean websites. I was searching in Korean at the time as I don’t think you will find them in English. Maybe I should write a post on that. Thanks for the comments.

  11. Sonja Freeman said, on February 9, 2012 at 6:12 am

    Hi there Nick!
    I’ve found your blog through jonnyontheroad and have noticed that you linked to my blog in one of your sauna posts – Thanks!! I appreciate any extra traffic sent my way and I’d like to feature your blog on my sauna-related links if I may. You have some funny stuff and I think all your links are great! I’d love it if my blog made it into your Bathhouse Websites list 🙂
    Anyway, thanks so much for the link and be reading you soon! ^^
    http://saunasinkorea.blogspot.com Jjimjilbang and Saunas in Korea

    • 努江虎-노강호 said, on February 9, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      Sonia, thanks for your visit. Actually, I had your blog in my ‘Bathhouse Website’ category until fairly recently and removed it as I thought you’d gone ‘inactive.’ Indeed, I had a link for ‘Saunas in Korea’ on my front page for almost two years. I also sent a few comments to your site but have to admit that I always seem to have problems with Blogger when I try to comments to the point where I no longer bother – so any comments I may have made might not have arrived on your pages.

      I followed up a few of your Daegu recommendations and especially remember one in Banwoldang. Anyway, I will now go and reinsert a link in my bathhouse category. Best wishes and thanks again.

  12. Sonja Freeman said, on February 12, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Thanks a lot! Yeah, I go through periods of time where I don’t post much and then I’ll get a couple written up. But honestly, I still get a lot of reads and clicks on my older posts and I always reply right away to comments so people know I’m still around 🙂 Anyway, thanks again for linking to me!

  13. Chris Lott said, on March 30, 2012 at 9:19 am

    Great to find your blog. I’ve been here in Korea (Seoul) since about 2004, and I only recently discovered the saunas. I’m loving it! I’m originally from the USA, and I loved to take long, hot baths, especially while reading a book. But as you know, having a bathtub in your home is rare in Korea, nevermind a large bathtub for the gravitationally challenged man!

    How can I comment to you, without posting to your whole blog???

    • 努江虎-노강호 said, on March 31, 2012 at 1:33 pm

      Chris, thanks very much for your comments. Yes, the bathhouse are indeed the most relaxing locations. I have added your blog, which I browsed through this morning, before going shopping, to my blogroll. I will send you my contact details via your blog.

      Best wishes and thanks

  14. Ashley said, on May 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I believe I ran into you tonight in Igok-dong… I was walking with my boyfriend and you said hello to us (around 8:30 PM). We had just gotten off work (hagwon) and didn’t register the “hello” for a second or two – usually it’s Korean children and not foreigners who approach us, believe it or not!

    Anyway, just wanted to return the greeting and say hello to a fellow Seongseo-habitant. We’re in Yongsan so probably pretty close.


    • 努江虎-노강호 said, on May 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      Ashley, that’s so funny! You probably think I’m crazy because my ‘hello’ was slightly rude. To be honest, Westerners here usually blank all other Westerners, as you seem to have noticed. I live right by where you saw me.

      Anyway, I’m glad you said ‘hello.’ My hakgwon has no other foreigners and I miss chatting in regular English. Do you pass on that route very often? And how did you know it was me ( or is that ‘I’?)

      Best wishes


      • Ashley said, on May 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm

        My school is on that street (above the Starbucks and new Daiso) so I regularly make that trek. And I recognized you from some of the photos on this blog!

      • 努江虎-노강호 said, on May 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm

        I will look out for you!

  15. Eun said, on May 29, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Woa, Nick! Your blog is huge!

  16. David Peck said, on December 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Hi Nick,

    I’ve had a lot of fun reading your blog. It’s been riveting.

    I used to be one of students back in around 1995 at Highams Park. Just thought I would look you up on the net because you was quiet a formative influence on me. Although, I am sure you have taught many, many students since then.

    You’ve certainly had an exciting past 12 years! Would be cool to catch up sometime. I’ve signed up to follow this site, so my email address should be there 🙂

    Take Care,


    • 努江虎-노강호 said, on December 28, 2012 at 12:34 am

      Yea, I remember you very well. I hope you are well. I will follow up to your e-mail shortly. All the best.

  17. Pete said, on March 26, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    Interesting, I have some very different memories of Ken Kane and hope there is a good reason he has become invisible, thanks anyway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: