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. One last note, this site may be considered Not Safe for Work. You may not want to browse in places where the naked male form is considered offensive. I’m serious. You’ll see my butt.
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.
Horizakura and I met for my 57th appointment on Tuesday, the second appointment in 2 weeks. Feels great to be back into a schedule! I’m not sure how long it will last as he has some travel coming up and work is getting busier and busier for me… let’s enjoy it while we can!
Nothing too wild here. This was about an hour and a half of tebori on the rocks around my right ankle. Easy breezy!
Seven weeks between appointments is just too much. You should see the walls of my house… they’re covered in tally marks counting down the days like a prison cell at the Château d’If.
Despite my long absence, I don’t have much to say. Below are pictures from my 56th appointment with Horizakura. He began shading the background of my right leg, including thickening the rock lines. I really love the way those thick rock lines contrast with the thinner lines of the waves and cherry blossoms. It makes me all the more excited to see how the cave on my knee will look once those rocks are THICC.
No tattoo appointments until next week (Horizakura and I have been like ships in the night), but in the meantime I thought I would give a little share of a new tattoo podcast I’ve been listening to. It is called Books Closed and is hosted by Andrew Stortz. The content centers around changes and trends in the tattoo world and is also just chock full of fun personal stories from tattoo veterans. I’m sure the content has a deeper level of interest for actual tattoo artists, but even as an enthusiast I have had a great time listening. Give him a follow on YouTube or something. Tell him Jordan sent ya!…
Last night I had my very first appointment of 2019. Horizakura spent an hour drawing and about an hour tattooing a bonji inside a cave around my right knee. I am happy with the results and feel his idea of putting the bonji inside a cave is pretty unique. I can’t say that I’ve ever seen it done before. He also added water and waves at the top of my shin and the sides of my knee as well. I returned from Japan two days ago, and I have to say the exhaustion from jet lag made this harder than it needed to be. Overall, not too bad, but a good reminder of why a good night’s sleep before a tattoo is important!
Speaking of Japan, I did get to visit the Yokohama Tattoo Museum. I’m not sure that I have much more to say about it that hasn’t been said in other places around the internet. My personal favorite parts of the collection were the very old photographs of tattooed people. I really love seeing how the techniques and motifs have stayed the same or changed through the years. It sort of gives me a sense of connection to something larger than myself and this personal experience. There are lots of pictures of the museum online, and I didn’t see any signs in there saying not to take pictures, so I will add a couple of my favorites here as well. If you’re into this stuff the way I am, I highly recommend checking it out if you ever find yourself in Tokyo. Yokohama is an easy train ride and worth the time. Get some ramen too!
My trip was great but I am really glad to be home and back into my day to day. Coming home to a tattoo appointment was a great way to cap the trip off.
This appointment concludes my third full year of getting tattooed by Horizakura. It feels like it has been much longer than that, but I suspect that has more to do with how much has happened in my life in the last three years than it has to do with the tattoo process. If the start of this journey was a snapshot of my life at that moment in time, I am glad for the realization that things have generally only improved since. It’s been fast and furious, but it’s been good. I’m sorry I started this post with a retrospective, but you’re the one sitting there reading it so I feel like you are partly to blame. On to tattoo things!
Below are pictures from my 54th appointment with Horizakura. You will see he added some cherry blossoms, water, and waves around the sides and back of my knee region. After uploading the photos to my PC, I realized I forgot to take a picture from the front to show how the waves on each side sort of wrap towards each other… we’ll call that a little manufactured suspense for my next post. I did, however, have the presence of mind to take a picture of both legs to show how he designed the waves to create a natural symmetry between each leg. I am really pleased with how it looks!
Christmas is right around the corner and I will be in Japan for 10 days, so our next appointment is set for mid January. The trip is not tattoo related, but I am hoping to maybe visit the tattoo museum in Yokohama if I have time after my work is done. Perhaps I’ll have something interesting to write about here afterwards. Until then, look upon my works ye mighty, and despair.
My most recent 2 hour appointment came with more rocks and some new plant life for my tattoo’s ecosystem. You can see the turtle is now standing on some rocks and we have some seaweed-y type plant life waving around. I love it! It may seem a little odd to love weeds so much, but with such a consistent water/cherry blossom background, I really enjoy little additions here and there to give variety. Also, if you look at my left leg in the photos below, you can see the line Horizakura drew around my ankle in order to measure the border for my right leg. I didn’t even notice it until I reviewed the pictures. I guess I forgot to scrub it off. Let’s pretend it was on purpose for a “behind the curtain” look at the process.
Horizakura and I discussed what comes next. Looks like we’ll do another bonji on my knee with some fire around it, then the head of a dragon will be on my inner thigh with its body extending up to my torso. I am beyond stoked. I am also beyond furious that I already had to cancel my next appointment because of work.