April 2, 2018
So, this post has two different videos in it. The main one is about tattoo culture in Japan, and the second one is about the meaning of my tattoo. I don’t think I can do a full post about my tattoo itself, because I don’t know what else I can say about it that isn’t more depressing. I don’t think my story is as relatable as Martina’s, or even as helpful. I lost at life and was saved. Deus ex machina. I wasn’t able to get out of my pit alone. But I’ve been there, floundered there for a long time, and it’s something that stays with me to this day. Not prominently. Not even noticeably. But it’s there, whispering from time to time. As some of you know I grew up really poor as well. And now I’m not super poor anymore. But the fear of going back into poverty licks at my ears once in a while. I’m often worried that this life can be taken from me at any moment. So, I’m doing my best to enjoy every experience that I can, before a tidal wave hits and brings me back to where I once was.
My only guess as to what I can say that’s useful to others is to cherish every moment you have, to not take them for granted. I’ve been with Martina for close to 15 years now or so, and I still look at her and at our lives with the shallow-breathed wonder of a kid first going to Disneyland. I married the greatest person I’ve ever met. To this day she’s still the most amazing person I’ve ever spoken with. And I want to do everything in my power to make her happy, to show her how much she means to me, and to pay her back for the insurmountable debt I owe her.
Ok enough sappy talk. Emotion time is over. Back to useful information. I can’t name the tattoo studio I went to in Tokyo, but I can tell you how I found a suitable artist. There are lots of tattoo shops in Japan, and many of them have websites and Instagrams. Basically, I knew what I wanted to do for my tattoo, so I looked for an artist whose style suited my needs. Namely, I was looking for someone comfortable with water-colours and splatter work and waves. The artist I found has all three in their gallery, so I thought they were a good fit for me. I sent them an email and asked if my tattoo idea was something they’d be interested in doing, and they responded positively, so we met and discussed the tattoo some more and hammered out the design and plan. That’s a lot more of a convoluted process, I’m sure, than many of you might need. In the many sessions we had together, I saw lots of walk in customers that just said they wanted something small, and so many of the artists there were able to handle the task. I’m sure you can probably do the same if you’re interested. If you’re looking for a bigger piece, though, you might be interested in going the route I went.
I’m currently working on more tattoo stories I want to tell on my body, and once I have those decided upon I’ll get more done. Ideally I’d like to be inked neck to toes, but it’ll take a while, and I’m in no rush. We’re still discussing how high on the neck I want to go. Never the face, I’m sure, but high up the neck seems alright to me.
One last resource I want to share with you is Save Tattoing Japan. That’s where we learned more about the issues tattoo artists in Japan are facing. Check it out if you want to learn more. Or, check out our TL;DR on Tattoos in Japan below. We’ll tell you how our neighbours react to our tattoos :D