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.
Last night’s appointment was a quick 1 hour tebori session. Horizakura finished filling in the rocks on the back of the turtle and thickened the lines near my ankle. EZ PZ.
Next appointment is in 2 weeks and the plan is to do more outlines on my leg. Can’t come soon enough!
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.
Cry havoc and let slip the turtles of war!
Forgive me father for I have sinned, it has been 1 month since my last appointment.
I had to cancel an appointment due to a work trip, but we’re back baby! Hopefully no more cancellations, but due to the nature of my work, it does happen. During this appointment Horizakura spent 2 hours thickening the lines all around the rocks on the turtles back (compare them to the weight of the other lines to see how they started) and then filled in with some shading. Not much else to say here. Back of the calf is EZ-mode as tattoos go. The plan is to continue with the outline on the next appointment.
Exciting results from my 50th appointment! Horizakura began outlining my right leg! “O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” For my right calf, he drew up a Dragon Turtle. You can see the shell of the turtle is covered in rocks and plants, and of course he has a dragon’s head. You may also notice that the poor guy is an amputee. I’m pretty sure Horizakura is going to add the fourth leg later on, or perhaps it will be covered by water or waves. We’ll see! I’m really jazzed up on this design though. It has kind of a hard or rigid look to it compared to the goldfish on my left leg. As for the rest of my right leg, Horizakura has a couple different ideas but still hasn’t decided on the layout. There is a possibility that whatever is on my right thigh will be an extension of the dragon he wants to put on my torso. Or maybe there will be something else altogether up there. Either way, I’m just happy to be here.
As my most recent post was more about “playing catch up” with my progress, here is the most recent work from my 49th appointment with Horizakura. The primary focus here was the back of my knee. I think about a third of this was already done on appointment 43. As I said in that post, the back of the knee was not as bad as I was hyping myself up for it to be. This whole appointment was pretty easy breezy. You will notice in the picture of the inside of my leg, the only unshaded portion left is that wave under the Koi’s chin (do fish have chins?). I am not sure if my appointment this Tuesday will be shading that or if Horizakura will begin outlining my right leg. Either way, I’m super pumped!
We have started talking about the content for my right leg, but considering we live in a culture of immediate gratification, I’m going to make you wait. HA! Check back in a week.
Without further ado…
Below you will find photos of my white hairy man thigh. Once your eyes adjust to the glare, you will notice that the waves around the koi fish have been shaded! The other thing you might notice is a different background. In between my last post and this appointment, my wife and I bought and moved into our first house. I’m hoping to have a better lighting situation for these photos going forward, but in the meantime this office is what you get.
My last post mentioned there would be a substantial gap between posts because of some cancelled appointments. This appointment was actually from July and the large gap in appointments has passed as well. I had an appointment last night and I have another scheduled for next week (to make up for lost time), so you can expect two more posts very soon.
For session 47, Horizakura continued on his merry way up my leg shading water and waves. The longer I’m in this process, the more enjoyment I get out of seeing the background come together. It’s amazing how a dynamic background can elevate the subject matter in the foreground. If I was a more artistic person, I’m sure I would find a way to apply that.
Artistic theory aside, getting my knee tattooed was just not any fun at all. The memory of pain fades with time, but I’m pretty confident the ass hurt worse for me. Probably due to the delicate nature of the skin over my knee cap as compared to the “ample” areas of my butt. My understanding is that thicker areas require more force to saturate with color/shading. This might be specifically for tebori… I don’t know anything about applying a tattoo, so I should probably just shut up.
The good news is, my knee is done and besides for some flower petals, I won’t ever have to get tattooed there again. The bad news is, I have another knee.
Of course, no matter what, I’m stoked with the progress! This will be the last update for a few weeks since I had to cancel my next appointment for a work trip. See you in late July nerds.