Elwood 5566

2.7 cms! A Load of Cock!

Posted in Bathhouse, Comparative by 노강호 on September 29, 2011

one example of the many surveys

One of the best means of purging a society with the obsession it has for the length of  male genitalia is nudity. I think it’s probably safe to say that wherever social mores have preferred people to keep their clothes on, myths about dicks size proliferate. I would imagine there are far fewer Korean teenagers with hang ups about the size of their tool than there are in British society where lads never see each other, or any other male naked unless it’s through the medium of porn where size is one of the primary employment specs.

the Ancient Greeks had a healthy attitude, big dicks were comical and often associated with ugliness and depravity

I have never considered Korean men to have particularly small penises and only yesterday saw a Korean guy with such a big tool it was obscene and I was instantly reminded of donkeys, horses and Greek satyrs.  I actually felt sorry for him. I wasn’t starring but was intrigued and even though I was very discrete and tried to pretend I was looking somewhere else or day dreaming, he knew what I was doing.  He must get that all the time!

I recently read an article on Koreans and dick size which claimed that Korean men have one of the smaller statistics for that appendage compared to men of other nations. If you’re interested you can ‘Google’ it and will find plenty of studies into dick length. In my delving into bathhouse culture, I often come across jibes made by western men about Korean dick size but dismiss them as they reveal more about the western psyche than that of Korea. That Koreans have smaller dicks should come as no surprise: Koreans are smaller. The average weight of an American male is 86.8 kilograms (CDC 2002 – and is now probably higher) while a Korean male weighs-in at  to 68.6 kgs (Chungnam Univ. Medical School, 2007). Indeed, the 2002 CDC survey cited a typical American 15-year-old boy as weighing 68.3 kilograms, basically the same as a fully grown Korean adult. Correspondingly, Koreans are shorter than the average American (male) by about 1.5 inches. I would imagine Koreans have smaller ears, fingers, feet and indeed noses but for a significant number of westerners such observations evaporate when the subject has a smaller penis.

a modern play mocks big dicks in an Aristophanic fashion (Paul Wignall's 'Bursting the Grape)

Trawling Google looking for statistics on penis size, it is clearly evident that immense resources are wasted on such irrelevancies. The results vary slightly but cite Korean and American flaccid lengths at an average of 2.7 and 3.5 inches, respectively. Having seen thousands of Korean dicks, I find 2.7 to be surprisingly small but perhaps this is because the Korean source of statistics is from 19-year-old military conscripts, who by western calculations, are only 18 years old. The US study used a sample with a far greater age range the youngest of which were mid twenties. And how are statistics gathered? I can very much imagine how the Korean conscripts were measured as much as I can imagine the American statistics being gathered via confidential questionnaires.

So, this week, in my regular sessions in the bathhouse, I’ve been trying to estimate the lengths of dicks. It isn’t easy. First, you can’t be seen to be peeping and second, dicks appear to change size depending on the angle from which they are viewed. Then there is the problem of variation because like the Korean specialty  known as the ‘dog dick,’ a turgid, worm-like sea animal, one moment they are looking a healthy ‘big,’ next they are positively ‘small.’  In the end I gave up firstly, because my long distant vision has deteriorated and either I need to take my glasses poolside or I will have to start squinting – which naturally I don’t want to do. Secondly, the one thing that stops you making a decent estimate is the nature of their pubic hair. Forget the boring twaddle about penis length because all that separates us is around three-quarters of an inch. But when it comes to the length of  pubic hair, Koreans win outright. I’ve seen Koreans with such long pubes they could braid them and often it sticks out straight as if gelled in situ. Korean pubic hair is not just water proof but resilient enough to remain in place even when being doused in the shower.

Koreans have smaller dicks! If they do – big deal! They have smaller toes, too. Meanwhile, a great many western men will take solace in the fact they are bigger than Koreans. You have to be some kind of uber-dork to feel better than another guy because your wadge of fat happens to be a little longer.  It’s all irrelevant and relative and last time I looked at my ruler, 3.5, 4.5 or even 6.5 are pathetically small lengths on which to base any sense of  national or masculine superiority.

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© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.


A Summer Snippet – Circumcision (포경 수술)

Posted in Comparative, Diary notes, Gender, Korean children by 노강호 on August 16, 2010

Circumcision (포경 수술)

If there is one subject rarely talked about in Korea, it is the subject of circumcision. I was actually quite surprised when I discovered that Korea has the highest percentage of secular circumcision in the world, outstripping the USA. Over the age of 18, Korean circumcision rates exceed 90 percent.

By the time boys go to high school, the majority of them will have been circumcised and the most common time to perform this is between 13-16 years of age and usually during the winter vacation.  Some boys are circumcised earlier and a fair number may delay having it done. I occasionally notice university students who are uncircumcised but it is safe to assume that by the time they go to military service, they will have undergone the procedure.

Occasionally, I will know a boy is either about to have a circumcision or has just had one. Sometimes they will tell you and at other times the pained manner in which they walk makes it obvious. On a few occasions the subject has cropped up in lessons but it is never discussed in front of girls. It’s not unusual for a boy to be in classes the day after his operation though some will take a few days off.  Unlike the UK and USA, where non-neonatal circumcision involves a general anesthetic and an overnight stay in hospital, in Korea, it is performed under local anesthetic. Neither are operations performed in hospitals, but clinics which are as prolific as dentists or doctors. There is a circumcision clinic (Urology Clinic) opposite E-mart in Song-So and within minutes of having been circumcised, you can enjoy a Big Mac in their McDonald’s.


Aesthetically, Korean circumcisions are much neater than those performed in some other countries. Traditional circumcision in the Philippines, for example, known as pagtutuli, shouldn’t even be classed as circumcision and in the USA, an additional operation known as frenulectomy (frenuplasty – of which their are various spellings), which as many as 33% of circumcised males have had, removes the highly erogenous frenulum. Parents are not asked for consent to perform this ‘bonus’ procedure and indeed many men are unaware what was removed.  While the subject of circumcision is controversial, frenulectomy slips by unnoticed and most parents are ignorant as to what is involved. In addition, American circumcision has a history of being the most radical. In Korea, frenulectomy is not conflated with circumcision and the type of procedure doesn’t remove as much foreskin as possible.

I underwent a circumcision in August 2001 at the clinic opposite E-Mart, in Song-So. I had been debating the idea for several years and finally decided to take the plunge as I had never been happy with my status, probably because as a boy most of my friends were circumcised. I quite amazed myself at the time as I had visited my doctors and arranged everything for Thursday, 16th of August. The arrangement took less than a minute and there was no asking why I wanted it doing. My doctor simply made a phone call and booked me in. The operation would cost 100.000W (about £50), would take twenty minutes to perform and would be carried out in the same building as my doctor’s surgery.

A suitable totem pole near Kayasan

August 16th, 2001. I had to teach on the Thursday morning and though not as hot as a few weeks previously, it was terribly humid. In my classes, many of which had no air conditioning, my shirt was soaked with sweat. I had already perceived that I wouldn’t be in any fit mental state to teach and so had run-off some word puzzles for the kids. When my classes finished, I  frantically smoked a couples of fags on the back stairwell and paced up and down. I didn’t really want to leave school and there was an unpleasant feeling in my stomach, but eventually everyone wished me luck and I took a taxi home.

I showered and then gave my friend David (이영순) a call. He arrived a few moments later as he had been waiting at the PC Bang, next door. I don’t think I had ever been so nervous, so much so my hands were trembling. Out on the street, we took a taxi and went straight to the clinic. I was early, so we went to the third floor of the building where I had a brief chat and cup of coffee with my doctor. Then, at 1.59 pm, he said, ‘Oh, Nick, it is time.’ And telling me not to worry, I walked down the stairs to the urology clinic. None of the doctors there spoke very good English so David sat in the clinic office with me and asked the surgeon the list of questions I had compiled:

“What happens if I get a hard-on during the operation?”  He laughed and said that wouldn’t happen. What sort of stitches would be used – dissolving or non-dissolving?” I was given a choice and told non-dissolving left less of a scar. “What happens if I get an erection over the next few days?” I was told to stick a cotton bud in my ear or stick my feet in icy water. “’When could I shower next?” Next week!

I was then taken into the operating room which was small and not unlike a dentist’s surgery.  In the center stood that ominous table. Dropping my trousers and boxers I lay down and wondered what the fuck I had let myself in for.

Everything everyone had told me worked out the opposite. David had told me to expect two injections (later it became four) well, I was given eight and they stung. I covered my eyes and ears for the whole operation as there was a radio playing shit Korean music and the three surgeons kept fucking singing along to it. David had told me that sometimes you hear the scissors snicking away and I did, even the radio or the surgeons’ singing didn’t drown it so I had to jam my thumbs in my ears. Then the overhead light was so bright I had to cover my eyes. Several people had said the operation would take around twenty minutes, in fact it took forty. Then, all apart from Pak Ji-won (박지원),  one of my older students, I had been told it wouldn’t hurt. It did! But not at first. Shortly after the snicking sounds finished, I smelt something cooking; I reckon they had either cauterized an artery or one of them was starting a barbecue. It was like my entire senses were being assaulted: the bright light, the noraebang Nahuna rendition and that strange, almost acidic  barbecue smell that lingered.  I had to stretch my fingers so I could pinch my nose shut, bung my ears and cover my eyes to blot everything out.

I think I lay like that for twenty minutes and eventually, felt a numb change in what was happening. I thought they were finishing but next followed a sort of slicing sensation which was very unpleasant because although it wasn’t painful, it felt actually felt like something was being sliced. David  had told me to expect eight stitches. The following  morning I counted 36.   At one point  during the procedure I told them it hurt but they ignored me and just carried on singing along to the radio.

Finally, the pain stopped and I could sense I was being mopped up. I took my clammy hands off my face and sighed. Then I was able to sit up and pull my trousers up. The surgeons, lined up, smiled and bowed. Out in the corridor David was sat reading. I did a little dance for him as I didn’t hurt at all, probably because my system was zinging with adrenalin. Then, we walked over to E-Matt and bought a McDonald’s which we walked home with. Was I hungry!

A common place to see boys hobbling. 미래 Urology Clinic opposite Song-So E-Mart.

The clinic has given me a list of after-care procedures which David had translated into English whilst I was being operated on. It listed things like not drinking for a week because of the antibiotics, not showering for a week, resting for a few days, etc, etc. At the bottom of the list was an amendment  in David’s handwriting, it read….

6. And you must endure not to have a wang! (Wank).

I didn’t hurt at all but throughout the evening, waited for the drugs to wear off and enter what someone had predicted would be, a ‘new world of pain.’ When my roommates arrived home we went out with them to a nearby restaurant. I wasn’t hobbling at all. Strangely, during the night I was worried more by the fact I didn’t hurt. And you wouldn’t believe how effective cotton buds in the ear are at killing an erection. One of the doctor’s had explained that poking a cotton bug in you ear-hole interrupts signals from your dick to brain and terminates any boner.

Friday 17th of August, 2001. In the morning, I was quite worried because it looked very ill. I wondered whether the bandage was too tight. I phoned David but couldn’t get hold of him so, at 8.45 am, I took a taxi to the clinic only to find it didn’t open until 9.30. So I waited in my doctor’s office on the third floor of the building. He sat me down, gave me a cup of coffee, talked to me and soon it was 9.30 am.

Back on the slab, I was checked-out but they didn’t think anything was wrong. Back in the reception area my doctor was waiting for me as he can speak fairly good English. There were three patients sitting behind me, two young women behind the receptionist’s desk, and four surgeons around me. Ten Koreans in all! Everyone was centered on our conversation – which of course, was about my dick!

As I leave, all the staff smile and bow deeply. My doctor invited me up to his surgery for breakfast and there I am introduced to his mother. We ate fruit and sat talking for about two hours and as I was leaving he invited me out to dinner. At the time, my doctor had just moved into the premises and had few patients, today I have to sit in the waiting room for an hour before I can see him.

Saturday August 18th, 2001. Very irritating because the stitches are made from something resembling nylon – like the material used for a toothbrush.

Although not sore, it is uncomfortable walking any distance so I have spent a considerable time lying down under the fan. Most Koreans get circumcised in winter and I would imagine the possibility of infection is higher in a humid climate so I lie under the fan as much as possible. I have been used to showering over 5 times a day and it is very uncomfortable not being able to do so. Showering is not just a hygienic necessity but a hobby and something I do to kill time.

Tuesday 21st of August 2001. Pak Jun-hee (박준희) has been bringing me lunch for the last couple of afternoons. His mandu and kimchi, made by his wife, Sun-hee, in their restaurant, are definitely the best in Song-So. Today, he asked if he could see ‘the results!’ Yes, I was rather shocked because in the UK no one would ask that. It was a strange situation because between us on the table, were the steaming mandu.  Koreans! I love them!

My ‘go-ch’u chin-gu’ of 10 years, Pak Jun-hi and his wife, Sun-hee

Thursday 23rd of August, 2001. My antibiotics and pain killers ran out today and I’ was sore, so much so I had to go and buy some. In the afternoon, I went out to the cinema with Ji-won (박지원, his father is Jun-he). His English has improved so much since I started teaching him back in November. He told me he would be really sad when I left and that he would never forget me. It was all rather poignant. We walked around the Milano area for a while and had pat-ping-soo in a Sweet Water cafe which is just  so tacky it’s unbelievable. It was decorated in pinks and had Barbie dolls and Miss Kitty paraphernalia all over the place. After, we had a burger in Lotteria and then took the bus home  which was painful as the bumpy journey was over the construction area of what is now Daegu Subway system.

Saturday 25th of August, 2001. Saturday and I’m still in pain so I headed back to the clinic with David. My God! What a hideous experience, so hideous I don’t think I can actually do it justice in writing. It’s like I’ve been to a place of pain that I never want to experience again. I went back onto the couch where they decided to remove the stitches and it felt I was being assaulted with a pair of pliers.  I cannot describe how excruciatingly painful it was and I wished they had been singing or cooking a barbecue, anything to take my mind off they pain. At one point, when I flinched, one of them told me off.  When I eventually walked out of the small surgery, and David saw me, me he thought I had soaked my head in water and my hands were shaking badly. However, it was much easier walking without those infernal barbed-wire bonds.

‘Go-ch’u chin-gu,’ David (이영선)

Thursday August 30th, 2001. Life is almost back to normal. On Thursday afternoon I did some of my jobs – paid some bills, went to see Mr Pak at the post office and then we spent the afternoon in the Han Song Plaza bathhouse. With school having just started, the place was empty.


I Saw a Snood

Finding a Pathology to Fit the Procedure

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© Nick Elwood 2010. This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.

Penis Paradise. Palgongsan National Park

Posted in bathhouse Ballads, Comparative, Daegu, Entertainment by 노강호 on May 19, 2010

Highly recommended

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about life in Korea, it’s that cocks can turn up in the oddest places and at the most unexpected times. Of course, if you’re a westerner you might be surprised as we so often perceive Korea as conservative in its values. Well of course it’s freaking conservative! If you’ve been socialised and educated in one of those degenerate moral and ethical cesspits, such as the UK or USA, you cannot fail to perceive Korea as naive and  innocent. Most westerners, myself included, are so used to cesspit values we hardly notice the toilet paper and bits of turd clinging to our bodies as we travel the globe. Being British and from the land where teenage pregnancy and STI’s are at ‘epidemic proportions,’ in Korea, with one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in the world, 2.1 per thousand, it is quite natural to perceive the country as conservative and even innocent. Ironically, despite Korea’s low rate of  STI’s and teenage pregnancy, the existing figures are a current social and political concern! I am neither religious nor particularly moralistic but, I prefer my students, especially ones under 14, to be innocent as opposed promiscuous,  predatory, precocious, tarty and cheap.

純 순수한 - 'Innocent '

In Autumn last year,  I visited Palgongsan National Park, on the edge of Daegu. After a very delicious smoked duck barbecue, I took a little troll around the restaurant grounds only to discover 42 penises, (yes, I actually counted them!), all poking skywards and congregated in an area about the size of a large living room. This little patch of cock I endearingly referred to as Penis Paradise. On my initial trip, I’d forgotten to take my camera and all year I’d been planning to go back and capture, albeit it on a digital, the only cocks I am probably likely to get close  enough to touch between now and the grave. You can imagine how gutted I was when I enthusiastically arrived at my  little paradise, tucked away in some obscure corner of the mountains, only to discover all but one cock remained. The adjoining restaurant had made some alterations but even after trolling around the building and snooping in tucked away corners, it became apparent I’d missed my one and only  opportunity.

Where a patch of proud penises had majestically stood there remained one solitary cock which poked up pathetically from a surrounding pile of junk robbing it of any remaining grandeur. Up closer it retained an air of pride despite  probably  being the poorest specimen with a shaft looking hacked, holed and even split as if old or simply unfinished. The other ones had been smooth, perfected and each imbued with particular qualities suggested by both the  nature of their wood as well as their individual design; qualities that only someone who likes natural wood and  cock could appreciate.

Surrounded by junk - Sacrilege!

A badly hacked shaft in need of some oil!

Penis Paradise had originally stood outside a carpenter’s workshop/gallery and inside I found another penis. It was a big fat number, somewhat interesting but with a face carved on one side which I didn’t particularly like but it had the bonus of and added appendage ….yet another cock.

Two for the price of one

The epitomisation of Korea

Knotted and gnarled were the qualities that had enamored me when I first encountered that patch of penises. Korean wood is invested with a strange quality probably induced by struggling into life in quite difficult surroundings. Back in England, near where I live, are some examples of the most enormous oak trees and in a five-minute cycle I can be stood under trees that Constable himself painted.  Korean mountain forests exude a sense of gargantuan Bonsai and walking in one, especially when daylight is ebbing, is like wandering through a Mahler symphony, most especially, his fourth.  It’s a dark, warped, and knotted world, with craggy imposing crops of rock, mossy and lichened,  the perfect background for goblins, ghosts and  other imaginary forest creatures.   There are no immense oaks on those rugged rocky slopes where every tree has had to fight its way into existence with roots seeking out and voraciously burrowing into nutritious gaps and fissures in that dense, granite-like base. Tress are wind swept, stunted, knotted, gnarled and twisted in manners which betray both pain and tenacity.

In my last  high school, the top class of first, second and third year students, were called, ‘so-namu’ (소나무),  ‘pine tree, classes,’ and the boys affectionately called, ‘so-namu.’ ‘He’s ‘so-namu’ would be used to describe and explain  a boy’s exam success or identify the fact he was  in the top class.  That pained-tenacious existence, evident in Korean forests where life has been fought for, exists on other plains: you see it in the bodies of old men and women, bodies muscled and knotted, damaged and strengthened by an arduous life, yet supple enough to sit cross-legged, all  a rarity in the west. I have seen  old grannies who cannot stand up straight and are forced to walk with a right  angle between their spine and legs,  bodies damaged by a lifetime of carrying children or heavy loads on their backs, sit into a cross-legged position, and rise, without using their hands or moving their feet.  Even at forty, I had to get on all fours to escape this position. Sometimes you see it in the bodies of younger children, but this is without doubt rapidly disappearing. I have several nine-year olds, usually ones whose hobbies are taekwondo, hapkido, or komdo, with six packs and thighs looking like they regularly squat.  You see it in the faces of students as they trudge, bleary eyed from school to haggwon and on to another haggwon and then to the reading room, life a constant round of tests and assignments. Pain and tenacity are features of Korea which are engraved into the education system, their martial arts, encapsulated by the popular phrase ‘fighting!’ and also a reflection of their history. Penis Paradise was intriguing because wrought in the bodies of each penis, in both  the nature of the wood and  their design, was a sense of that  pain-and tenacity – the struggle for life and triumph at its persistence.

'Tenacity' is often a key concept in Taekwondo, Hapkido and Komdo tenets

A reflection of Korea on many levels

Only one cock stood, an epitaph to its vanished members. Where had they gone? In fact, they’d been sold for  exhibition at the Haeshindang Folk Village, Samcheok,  also known as Penis Park.

Family Fun at Penis Park

Penis Park, Samcheok, A Collection of colossal Cocks

With only one cock standing, the juicy aroma of barbecued smoked duck, attracted my attention. Putting my camera away, I went and enjoyed a wholesome meal. It’s no substitute for the real thing, but here is the menu:

Smoked barbecued duck a specialty

That Fiery Little Penis and Cocks of Greater Dimensions

Posted in bathhouse Ballads, Korean children, Korean language, podcasts by 노강호 on April 27, 2010

고추산 Just opposite Penis Paradise in Palgongsan National Park. Daegu.

Last year the place was full of cocks, some of the biggest  I’ve seen in Korea and at one point a great number of them were loitering about outside an adjacent restaurant just waiting to be picked up. Some were even for sale and as I have little self-confidence, the thought had crossed my mind that, the only way I am going to get to chomp on Korean cock, is to pay for it.  Cocks in public! Not the sort of behaviour you expect in Korea! The choice was amazing, young ones, old ones, thin, fat, bent, tapering. Well, you can read about my ‘adventures’ in Saturday’s Post, Palgongsan National Park – Penis Paradise, where you will also find some photos of gigantic Korean cock!

Needles to say I was salivating, not from what you’d expect, but because next door the sizzling aroma of barbecuing duck wafted on the spring breeze.  Now, the other day, using my limited Korean, and despite all my studying, limited it is, I was telling a shop assistant that my hobby was food. I ‘d been walking around town with one of those bright yellow E-Mart bags from which sprung three enormous tendrils of burdock (우엉) . As it’s the first time I’ve bought whole burdock, I’m a bit surprised at the flexibility in those tendrils, having presupposed they were more rigid, and so they bounce about crazily. Korean passers-by give my tendrils a second glance because no foreigner buys those weird  roots. I’m quite proud of my bouncing burdock and am on the look out for one of those unfriendly westerners who constantly pass me by without ever saying hello or smiling. Smug wankers don’t talk because they like you to feel they’re totally at home in Korea even though they all eat in MacDonald’s and speak little Korean. Anyway, my burdock is a trump card, a sort of ‘fuck-you!’  However, there are no foreigners about and so I make a mental note to walk about town on a regular basis with burdock sprouting from my bag, like I’m taking out a pet.

Lee Hee-ho (이히호), my friend's youngest son

The shop assistant is bemused at my burdock and I tell her I’m making a side-dish with it. She’s even more impressed when I tell her I can make kimchi. She asks me if cooking is my hobby so I stroke my belly, ‘of course,’ I reply. ‘Can’t you tell?’ And as I laugh the burdock in my bag is wibbling, like it is laughing too. Well, my point is that food is probably my greatest hobby and I doubt many people prefer some culinary pleasure to sex but I do. I once wouldn’t answer my door to gratify the sexual urges of a very handsome boy because I was tucking into a curry. Of course, I could have let him in, we could have shared it but I don’t like threesomes. He banged on the door for a while then gave up and probably went and had a wank, or found someone else to do stuff with – of which there was never a shortage in the army. When you’re young you think that sex with an Adonis will always be available, that your pulling power will never be diminished. It’s only when you are older you regret letting such things slip past. If I could go back in time I’d have chucked the curry  in the bin and opened the door.  I stroke the burdock reminiscently and note their almost semi-rigid state. His name was Lance Elcock!

So, back at Penis Paradise, the barbecuing duck smells delicious and I am starving hungry.  I can catch up with the cocks later.  Now, I’m with my Korean friend David (이영선) and his family. I’ve known David for ten years and he’s one of my best friends. I’ve been taking a few photos of his sons, one aged 5 and the other is almost a year old in western reckoning. After feasting my eyes on those fat cocks around the corner, I find it a little amusing when his youngest son begins to chomp on a cock he’s picked up and so I grab my camera ready for some hot shots. He licks the end a few times, a little unsure what to expect, then removes it  from his mouth and looks down on it with apprehension. A strand of saliva slips onto it which my camera is too slow to capture. Then he begins sucking on the tip and I await the moment when I might capture his surprise. Oooo, here it comes!  He grimaces a few times but doesn’t stop sucking until the full force hits him, when suddenly, he starts wailing.

Mmm...not too sure!

Another nibble!

Whang! It's hot!

I feel quite bad because I’d sat, watched and photographed as the little boy munched on a very hot, small chili, the hot ones generally being the smallest. So now you know that in Korea, a ‘cock’ (고추)  refers to both the vegetable and a penis. Actually, Koreans have an idiom which I know intimately well as I repeat it  when feeling inadequate in a bathhouse: the  smallest chillies are the fiercest! (작은 고추가 맵다) Because I’d only just entered where we were eating, my friends busy poking and prodding the barbecue while I had been ‘around the corner’, I assumed they knew what he was doing. Maybe I wasn’t thinking… Eating a chili! Quite natural for a Korean, I thought.