So, I Got a Tattoo
In a modern-history nutshell, the Japanese government used to tattoo prisoners, which led to tattoos being a symbol of criminals (perfect! I know). In the 18th century, released prisoners would seek out an Irezumi-shi –a Japanese tattoo artist who could cover their criminal past with new tattoos. The Japanese Irezumi style evolved from this past and is now considered the most artful in the world. Visiting dignitaries like King George V had a tattoo placed on his forearm in 1881. It helps too that
I cannot claim that my tattoo is in the Irezumi style, as it lacks color and is not elaborate or intricate. After resigning myself to the event, I spent a lot of time on the design, taking inspiration from these two pictures among others.
(The artwork on the right is by Barbara Psimas)
My goal was to get a small tattoo placed on the inside of my right arm and high enough that that tattoo would not peek out from under a short shirtsleeve. Here are the drafts, including the final one in the middle.
I took these drafts to a appointment at Chopstick Tattoos in
Before I knew it, Sachi and I were in a clean room and he was going at it on my arm. For those that may have been confused, this video is of me reacting to the pain of the tattoo (I didn’t know Sachi was recording it).
The pain wasn’t negligible, but it wasn’t excruciating either. I have to say, like many do, that there is a bit of pleasure in the pain. What freaked me out a bit was looking over at my skin after Magoshi had done the shading and seeing every pore leaking a tiny spot of blood. I could have done without seeing that.
See also: Why a Koi Tattoo?