My purpose here is to keep track of my experiences with Japanese tattoo. My perspective isn’t completely unique (many non-Japanese people have or appreciate the art), but it will be unique insofar as it is happening to me and to no one else. It is my hope that I will be able to provide not only a journal of my experience and updates on the evolution of my tattoo, but also interesting cultural anecdotes, information, or articles about this art. I will not discuss the cost and I cannot help you get a tattoo appointment. Before proceeding, please note:
1) This site may be considered Not Safe for Work. You can expect pictures of my butt and (mostly covered) crotch region.
2) The only photo adjustments I make are for white balance and exposure. Contrast, black/white, and saturation levels are never adjusted in an effort make as accurate a representation of the work as possible.
This blog is inspired by and dedicated to Mike, a man I have never met. Mike’s blog Munewari Minutes served as a constant source of inspiration early in my tattoo journey. His blog was a touchstone for my goals and an assurance that what I wanted was worth patient pursuit.
That title is stupid, but I don’t care. With last nights appointment (number 70 for those keeping track at home), Horizakura has wrapped up shading on my legs for the foreseeable future. In light of this completely arbitrary milestone, I thought I would take some extra photos to give us all a sense of where we are at now.
Looking ahead, the plan is to start my torso outline in two weeks. My excitement outweighs my concern for the amount of pain staring at me from the horizon. If starting my torso wasn’t enough, we also discussed the possibility of just outlining the rest of the body suit over the coming appointments. In the past I think we have rotated between shading and outline so we (I say we, but it’s mostly him. I just sit there and nod vigorously.) can figure out what content should be added to other parts of the suit. Besides a couple details, I think we are mostly set for the rest of the content though. It’s possible that 2020 will be all outline… but we’ll see. Plans change all the time and getting a bodysuit is no exception. This has been a very exciting way to begin the New Year, but for now I am back to my usual activity: Eagerly awaiting my next appointment.
My leg is different now!
And here is a more all-encompassing look at both of my legs:
For my sixty-ninth appointment, Horizakura continued shading the background on my right leg. I’m not sure how common this is with heavily tattooed people (this might sound crazy, but I don’t really consider myself heavily tattooed), but I’ve noticed that any tattooed area that I can’t see daily often becomes a bit of a mystery to me. When he began working on the side of my leg just above my knee… well I could have sworn that area was already shaded. It wasn’t. Then he moved on to the back of my knee which I knew had some unshaded spots, but I really couldn’t remember how much. It wasn’t until after the wrap came off and I was able to compare these pictures with pictures from previous weeks that I realized what he worked on. Our next appointment isn’t until mid January and should be the last appointment on my leg before we move to my stomach. Time will tell!
Since this is my last appointment of 2019, I thought I would also include some photos that show where the year started.
For my 68th appointment, I have a tattooed thigh and zero puns. It’s the day before Thanksgiving. Gimme a break.
Horizakura spent about 1.5 hours shading the background on my right thigh. Generally speaking this is a pretty easy place for me to get tattooed… and if I’m being honest I actually fell asleep at one point. The shop was warm and quiet, the jazz was buttery smooth (I was also super tired), it put me right out for like 10 min. I was a little startled when I woke up and I think I might have kicked him in the leg. Being the forgiving man that he is, he didn’t mention it. Consequently, I felt like a million bucks after my power nap and the rest of the appointment was a pleasure. It looks like there is maybe 2-3 hours of shading left to do on this leg before we’re out of outlines to fill. We only have one more appointment on the books for this year, so hopefully this means we will start outlining my stomach at the start of 2020. I’m very excited for that portion of this tattoo and the moment it captures in my life.
Damnit! I could have called this post “The Thigh’s the Limit!”
For this, my sixty-seventh appointment with Horizakura, we finished my right knee. I will never have to have my knees tattooed again. Hurrah! As you can see in the pictures below, Horizakura shaded the last two rocks of the cave and shaded the hollow of the cave as well as the bonji inside. From what I remember, almost all the shading on my body is using different values of sumi, but for the bonji, Horizakura used pure sumi. I was really curious how he was going to handle all the shading of the rocks, the darkness of the cave and the color/shading of the bonji. You can see how raw my skin still is in the pictures, but I am super stoked to see what this looks like when it heals. Not much more to say here…. 3 appointments without cancelling. We’re on a spree. #feelsgoodman
During my 66th appointment with Horizakura, he continued thickening the cave lines and shading the rocks. I mentioned earlier how tedious and time consuming the thickening is. Well I’m very happy to report that all the lines of the cave have been thickened, so hopefully from here on out the shading will go a little quicker. I would have to go back and check my previous posts, but I believe my left knee was done, front and back, in only 2 or 3 sessions.
Nonetheless, all progress is progress. Frankly, I’m just thrilled that we haven’t had to cancel an appointment in 6 weeks. That’s the first time that’s happened this year! Anyway, here are some pictures of my swollen knee:
For my sixty-fifth appointment on October fifteenth, year of our lord two thousand and nineteen, Horizakura thickened the outlines of the cave rocks around my right knee and filled some of them in. It was an hour and a half, though it probably looks shorter because the process of thickening rock lines is really tedious and time consuming. When he first outlined that part of my tattoo, I knew this day would come. A day when he works and works and works but it seems like very little actually gets done. Pesky rocks!
Nonetheless, I am thrilled that we were able to make two appointments in a row. There is a good chance we can get another appointment in two weeks from now as well. Hot dog!
After another month of travelling and work cancellations, Horizakura and I were finally able to meet again for another appointment. He poked me for one and a half hours shading some waves as seen below. It feels great to be back! It feels even better to know that we are locked in for another appointment in two weeks! It’s been a slow year for tattooing, so I’m happy to take the opportunities that are available.