Somewhere on the Eastern shore of Japan Let this be a lesson to all of you kids out there. Back when I was wee thing of 17 or 18, like most naughty teenagers, I had my heart set on getting a tattoo. Of course, being, well, ME, you can imagine what kind of tattoo I was planning to permanently etch into my young flesh. Obviously, it WAS a throwback Toronto Maple Leafs logo, and naturally being a ridiculous teenager, I didn’t have the sense not to want it placed in the tramp stamp zone, or slightly tramp stamp adjacent.
I don’t remember what prevented me from actually getting it done, but I tell you, I’ve spent the rest of my life thanking all things holy that I didn’t go through with it. As it turned out, my love for the Leafs was not unconditional, and even after our reconciliation a few seasons back, it’s still not what it was pre-MLSE employment. Plus I can only imagine the explaining I would have had to have done in certain “intimate” settings with that particular logo stamped on my hips. Yes, it’s definitely for the best that I didn’t get it done, and I’m sure part of the reason I didn’t was because I blew all my extra cash on going to far too many hockey games.
Of course, the desire to get a tattoo never really went away. Over the years I’ve struggled to come up with a NON-hockey related tattoo concept that I felt that I could live with for the rest of my life. I mean I have a hard time committing to a second date, so these lifelong commitments are definitely foreign territory for me.
Finally, I reached my peak of mid-20’s angst last month (re: my last post), and as a result I felt that I was ready to take the leap into the ink club. Culture shock, I’m sure, had a lot to do with it, too. It’s one of those things that you don’t often realize you are experiencing, but it tends of surface in foreigners in the form of health problems, depression, or just general grouchiness, and always after about 4-6 months in the new country. After my trip home, I suddenly became a lot more irritable. Probably because I didn’t know whether or not I had a few short months left in Japan, or if I was going to be in it for the long haul. Even today, with only a mere few weeks left on my contract, I STILL don’t know if I’ll be in Japan or Canada come March 31st.
Nevertheless, after I got back to Japan, I started to get annoyed in general. Mostly I wanted to be left alone, and was feeling quite inconvenienced if anyone even wanted to talk to me. This standoffishness lent itself well to a tattoo, as tattoos in Japan are incredibly taboo, and generally only members of the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) have them. Visible tattoos are supposed to be concealed and covered in public (for foreigners that is, as no self-respecting Japanese person would have one to begin with) because society, in general, has a strong aversion to them. So, yeah, a tattoo sends out a big FUCK OFF to the rest of the world.
Now since a tattoo is such an unsavoury thing in Japan, it is hard to find a non-scary place to get one done. It is also unlikely to find a non-Yakuza affiliated tattoo artist, and I sure as hell am no exception. So, in true epic Psycho Lady fashion my tattoo was scrawled into my shoulder in some dingy trailer on the side of the road while I laid on a fuzzy, and likely unclean, tiger print bed, as other “members” looked on while smoking their Japanese cigarettes. I’m happy to say that I ended up picking up a few new private students from the whole experience, so the tattoo has already paid for itself! Yep, that’s me, English instructor for organized crime. No big deal.
Anyway, I decided to get a Japanese tattoo. Typical, I know, and something I am pretty much against people getting back home. Mostly because they don’t even know what their tattoos say, and their tattoo artists are not skilled at Japanese calligraphy. Anyway, I feel that my tattoo is slightly less lame as I actually got mine done while I was living in Japan, and I know what it says, and yes, the kanji IS correct. I also figure that no matter what happens in my life, my experience in Japan will remain (and by that I mean that it has happened and therefore will always have happened – this isn’t Airstrip One!), unlike my passion for the Toronto Maple Leafs. My tattoo says, “Bōkensha,” which means, “Adventurer,” and I don’t think anyone reading this is going to tell me that it’s a totally inaccurate description of me.
Photos: What’s with the colourless photos, you ask? Well, A) Mac cam quality is shite, and B) my apartment has flourescent lighting, which makes the quality even more shite, and C) I don’t know how to take a picture of my back without my shite quality Mac cam. Also note that the kanji is inverted due to said Mac cam, and since I’m not tech savvy at all, I have no idea how to fix it! Thanks.