A Declaration of Intent

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.

Tender Background Stuff

Attend the tale of my 62nd appointment with Horizakura!  This was a brief one hour outline session during which he drew on and outlined some background elements around the koi that was tattooed two weeks ago.  Despite his tattooing me in nearly identical locations as last appointment, I was noticeably more twitchy this time.  I cannot explain why.  I felt really great after the last appointment, but this brief jaunt down my thigh and the back of my knee was not great.  The human body is a mystery.

Looks like we will have one more appointment in two weeks to connect some of the background on my left and right thighs.  The goal (I think) is to achieve that typical “V” pattern that you often see in the armpit area of sleeves.  I’m not at all looking forward to the position I’ll be in for him to tattoo me there or the compromising, unsightly photos that I will have to take of the results.

Here are some awkward photos to prepare you for that:

A New Friend

For my 61st appointment,  Horizakura outlined a new koi on my right thigh and began the process of outlining background and connecting the leg to my backpiece.  I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I really get spoiled by the silence of tebori.  It’s so much more meditative and soothing than the machine is.  That said, I do enjoy how much gets done in our usual two hour session.  Feels good man.

We grabbed a couple beers after the appointment and while I was telling a story about my last trip to Japan, it sparked a whole new idea for my torso tattoo.  I feel like I’ve already spilled so many ideas for what we were going to do there and it keeps changing, so for now I’m going to keep it secret until we know for sure that this is what we’re doing.  It’s different than what I thought would go on my torso… but it’s also a really cool idea that ties to a personal experience and still fits with the overall suit.  My next appointment will be the back of my knee connecting to the backpiece and the following appointment could very well be the start of my torso.  I hoped to lose a little weight before I had to start posting pictures of my gut here, but that ship has sailed.  I’d rather be fat and tattooed than skinny and not tattooed.

Bop it!

Session 60 and a New Look

If you’ve been here before, you may notice that I have changed the look of the blog.  The more I look at it, the less happy I am with this new look.  I’ll have to spend some more time on it, but the real reason for the change was based on feedback I got from an internet stranger.  That person said they were trying to find quick access to specific parts of the tattoo, but were unable to do so because I didn’t have any sort of short cuts or pages set up for that.  This new format has allowed me that opportunity, as you can see on the left side of the page.  This will have to do for now.

Below are pictures from my 60th appointment with Horizakura.  More tebori on the top of my shin/below my knee.  Not much else to say about this.  He did some doodling on my thigh/torso and suggested that next appointment he will start outlining another koi on my thigh and a dragon on my torso.  Until next time!

A Short Interlude

Oh! I didn’t see you come in.  Have a seat, won’t you? Let’s talk about my 59th appointment with Horizakura!

We chatted a lot during this appointment, so the time really flew by.  Horizakura shaded a clump of waves on the inside of my right knee and laid down some black in the rock under and behind the turtle’s leg.  This will be my last appointment until early June, but I feel really good about the progress that has been made in the last two appointments.

Looking ahead, we discussed some more ideas for the rest of my suit.  There is still maybe three or four appointments left before we really have to decide what is going on my thigh, so hopefully inspiration will find us before August!  This year feels like it has started out really slowly, but according to my spreadsheet (shut up) it is pretty normal to have logged five appointments YTD in mid April.  I’m optimistic that we can finish the year strong!  Until then, I took a couple extra pics this week to earmark our overall progress to this point.

Cowabunga!

Just when I thought I was out…

At the beginning of my last post I was filled with the excitement of having two appointments in a row.  Shame on me!  I ended up having to cancel an appointment because of a work trip in LA, so our run of 5 appointments has become 4 appointments.  Could be worse!  As work gets busier and busier, I’m becoming more and more thankful for the opportunities I actually have to get tattooed now.  One of my greatest fears in life is losing my momentum and not finishing this thing.

That got dark…

…Dark like the background Horizakura laid down during my 58th appointment!  It should be fairly obvious to see what is fresh in these photos.  It’s the shiny parts.  Not much more to say here.  We have one more appointment in two weeks which will likely continue the background/rocks around my knee.  After that appointment, we’ll be on hiatus until early June.  Infinite sorrow.  Ok maybe not infinite.  Several weeks of sorrow.  Looking forward to our next appointment nonetheless!

Witness me!

On a Roll!

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!

For Freedom!

I’m Back, Baby!

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.

Look upon my thighs ye mighty, and despair…