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Monday, September 23, 2013

Just Wondering... Tattoos

I was sitting around looking at my friends walk past my desk here at work... tattoos everywhere... lots of flashy color... but, and I asked... none of them have any Chinese or Japanese kanji on themselves.

Yes... some of the women have fairies, butterflies and dolphins on themselves... stuff that would make me puke if I wasn't so intent on looking at them rather than their tattoos... but... no Japanese writing was present... trust me... I looked (and continue to look) long and hard for evidence to the contrary.

And yet... there are a whole mess of people - westerners - who have tattoos of Japanese kanji inked on their person.

Something that they think means "strength and passion"...

I always find the use of Japanese kanji intriguing, especially when I know that the people who tend to have such tattoos have never been to Japan and have no interest in going to Japan, but know that having Japanese kanji tattooed on themselves will look far cooler that using English.

After all... curious people will ask them what that kanji means... and a conversation is born.

But I was just wondering (hence the title of this here blog)... do rebellious Japanese youth go and get themselves inked with English words?

"Yeah, Kimiko-chan... that tattoo is the English word "horny"... in Japanese, it means 'heavy ambition'."

Or:

"Brad-kun, dude... my tattoo says "passion peachtree youth" which is English symbolic representation of Japanese tree of life."
"But Japan does not have a tree of life mythology."
"Don't be a hater, Brad-kun, dude."
So... what do you think? Do Japanese people innocently ink themselves with English they don't understand?
Proving you can't trust anyone, he wanted "Loyalty" and got "Noodles". I like Noodles. He's the lead guitarist from the punk rock group The Offspring, right? Noodles and Loyalty - ya gotta keep'em separated.

Is that possible? Sure... we do it with Japanese kanji.

And besides... since everybody loves stories of my past almost as much as I like bragging telling you about them... I recall one of the women I was trying to sleep with (Very little sleep would actually be involved. None, in fact.), who coyly asked me to explain the English writing on her shirt. English on anything is cool in Japan.

I had stared long and hard at her shirt, and then because I needed a closer look, I helped her remove it (and her bra accidentally). (I have very deft skills of stuff.)

Smiling at her large dark brown... eyes, I informed her it was not English, but Italian.

Horrors! Not English!? She was embarrassed.

Shocked and stunned, and not less than a little amazed, I comforted her a few times and ate a sandwich.

I promised I would go shopping with her to find a new shirt with real English words on it.

On the plus side, at least it wasn't a permanent tattoo.

I never saw her again. Or maybe I did. In my city of Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, there were so many shirts with bad English on them, and I was on a tight schedule.

And, on the truly plus side, I didn't have to go shopping with her.

And... it's a true story, though I may have become more sexually potent in my memory. Maybe.

Anyhow... if you are going to get a tattoo... and are enough of a wanker to get one in a language you know nothing about... make sure you learn something about what you want inked. There are enough books, magazines... and even this new thing called the Internet... you may have heard about it? To some effing research you lazy fug.

I write an essay a day in these blogs. You can spend five minutes looking up something that will be permanently marked on your skin.

Obviously... my cutting remarks aren't a swipe at those of you who got inked pre-Internet... marked with tattoos featuring ethnic images and or words in a language or mythos you know nothing about. Okay I am swiping.

For those of you who did do some research - bravo.

Cheers
Andrew

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