My 97th appointment with Horizakura was a relaxing hour and a half of tebori shading on my left forearm. Nothing much of note here, just a nice time to chat and listen to music. I’m very late with this post as I have another appointment tonight. So there will be another update tomorrow, likely with more shading.
You will also notice that these pictures are perhaps not as uniform as what I usually post up here. I totally forgot to take pictures after the last appointment, so I had to snap these at work on an unfamiliar camera with a less than ideal setup. They’re good enough for archive purposes, but you’ll notice one is out of focus. It is what it is.
Perhaps my title is a touch dramatic, but Thanksgiving travel is the only explanation for the traffic I hit on the way to my 96th appointment with Horizakura. A normal drive into the city should take around 45 minutes for me, but this commute (despite it being a Tuesday) took an hour and 45 minutes. It was absolutely brutal and so incredibly frustrating to be late on a day when work was finally not an obstacle in the way of me making it to an appointment. The bright side is that the holiday season tends to be a bit more calm in my industry so I’m optimistic about the appointments we have going forward. Getting there when I did only left Horizakura an hour to work, and I suspect that is why he opted to shade some of my arm instead of continuing with the outline. The background outline often takes some time to draw on and work out the flow and it’s my guess that he opted to maximize our time together by going with some shading which he can start right away. You might be wondering why I didn’t just ask him for his reasoning. I don’t have a very good answer to that question other than to say it doesn’t really matter to me. Sure I’m increasingly excited about being near the end of the full outline, but it all has to get done eventually. The order it gets done in will be largely inconsequential when we cross the finish line.
From an outsiders perspective there probably isn’t anything exciting about the results of this appointment. From my perspective, having full sleeves has been a goal since I started getting tattooed nearly 15 years go. Seeing this take shape is very exciting to me, no matter how small the step forward is.
After three months of cancelled appointments, Horizakura and I were finally able to meet up for our 95th appointment together. Work has just been unbelievably busy for me and I had no choice but to cancel my appointments in September and October to accommodate. In fact, I was in danger of having to cancel this appointment if not for the willingness of my colleagues to cover me on a job last Tuesday. We were booked on a show in Soho so I was able to dip out around 5:30, walk over to the studio for a quick hour of tattooing, and then had to jet back to work to help the guys load out the show. I was in and out so fast there wasn’t too much time for chit chat or beer like we usually do, which was a huge bummer… but there wasn’t any other choice. Nonetheless, Horizakura was able to spend an hour or so drawing out and tattooing some background on my forearm. Not exactly the kind of content that will get me 10,000 likes on Instagram, but background is such a vital part of any horimono design that I am always very excited to see it come together. I was a little late taking the photos below and the lines have started to heal, so you may see some irregularities that won’t be there once the healing is complete. Not much else to say here other than I am so happy to be getting tattooed again and so happy to be writing updates here.
Also, the day after my appointment I had some interesting bruising in my elbow ditch. I don’t recall ever having bruised like this before and I thought it was noteworthy.
My 93rd appointment with Horizakura was one hour of outlining flames and rocks on my Fudo sleeve. There were a couple spicy spots, but overall the whole arm is so much easier (by comparison) than some of the other areas that I’ve had tattooed. It was pretty breezy. I have to say that seeing this sleeve come together has been exciting. Longtime readers may recall that I had some reservations about getting a Fudo Myoo sleeve, mostly because I didn’t think my arms were big enough to communicate the power of the image. Each appointment has shown me more of the power of the image and I’m really stoked to see these flames in color (feels like that’s 100 years away). We chatted a bit about the future of the tattoo and about how he would like to tie my two sleeves together visually. He illustrated this by putting his two forearms together in front of his body, palms up. I proceeded to do the same so he could see what the areas would look like side by side and maybe sketch it out…. but I couldn’t do it. I’m either too fat or not bendy enough, but Horizakura’s reaction was simply, “You can’t touch?” Can’t wait to add this to the list of failures I go over every night before bed!
I almost forgot, something incredible happened during this appointment. I was told that I could keep my shorts on. First time in almost 6 years I didn’t have to wear a fundoshi. What a milestone!
This post will cover work done during appointments 91 and 92. Horizakura spent these appointments outlining a standing Fudo Myoo on my left arm. Normally I would post immediately after an appointment, but because he was only able to complete Fudo-san’s upper half during appointment 91, he asked that I not post anything until the entire figure was outlined. If there is one thing that has really developed in me during this bodysuit process, it’s my patience. I’ve always been fairly patient with people, but being patient with myself or the things I’m excited about isn’t always so easy. In light of that, it wasn’t too much to ask that I be patient with making this post.
We have chatted a bit about what’s to come. Namely, surrounding Fudo Myoo with fire and rocks. I’m really really excited to finally be working on my sleeves. Most people start with sleeves these days, and I fully admit that this sounds childish, but if I’m being totally honest I always kinda felt “left out” for not having my forearms tattooed. Not in a literal sense of course, there’s no club or group that could actually exclude me, but it always bummed me out a little to be at conventions or around tattooed people knowing that my own sleeves were still a long ways off and thus not visible to others. I know it’s an immature way to think, and I also know that many people I’ve been around probably never gave it a thought to begin with, but there has always been a part of me that felt hidden by not having my arms tattooed. I have been ready for this part of the process for a very, very long time and I’m just so happy it’s finally here. That is as much honesty as you will be getting from me this week, and maybe ever, let’s never discuss it again. Instead, perhaps I can interest you in these photos:
Side note: I’m also super happy to not have to be hiding my junk for these photo shoots in the immediate future.
Here I have some photos from my 82nd appointment with Horizakura. I’m actually writing/posting this a week after the appointment, Thanksgiving and a very busy work schedule got in the way. This appointment was more shading on the inside of my legs. When we were first getting ready to begin, Horizakura looked over the outlines and noticed that the only remaining unshaded background on my right leg was a small spot very high into my crotch, where my butt cheek meets my thigh. I don’t remember his exact wording, but he basically said something like, “There’s a small spot there…” As if he was asking me if I wanted to work on that spot today. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but I later realized the implication was that since it would only take a short while to finish off that spot, he would be tattooing both my legs during the same appointment. My response at the time was, “Do whatever you think is best.” He did. The net result was me hobbling around like I had shit my pants for about two days while both my legs were healing. Whoops.
Anyway! Not much more of note from this appointment. In order to access the small spot, I once again had to lay on my back and hold my leg up in the air. Super cool tattoo guy pose! It’s pretty exhausting holding your leg over your head for like 45 minutes. The only good to come from that was once he finished with that area and moved over to my left leg, it was so relaxing that I dozed off for a bit. Of course, that’s after the initial shock of crossing over to the other side of my body went away. I’ve mentioned this elsewhere on this blog, but whatever natural pain management systems your body has, it doesn’t work moving across the center line of the body. It’s basically like starting the appointment from the beginning again. Inner thigh is a pretty easy area to get tebori though (for me), so no real drama there. Afterwards we grabbed a couple beers like usual. It’s getting cold in NY though, so I’m not sure how much longer we’ll be able to keep that up!
I have another appointment coming up next week, but before that, I’m hoping to get up a post or two about some of the books I’ve received in the past few weeks.
Session 80 with Horizakura brought more shading of the water and waves of my right leg. Not a bad appointment at all. We chatted a bit about seasonal tattoos like sakura fubuki, momiji chirashi, and kikusui. Mostly, I’m putting that here so I have a place to reference it if I forget later. I got nothin’ else! These pics will have to do:
My 79th appointment with Horizakura marked a return to shading all the outline that has been added since we were able to start up again in July. My dream of finishing the outline of the tattoo was left to die on the vine as Horizakura still wants to consider the elements of my left arm and ribs/chest. My instinct is to charge forward and his is to slow down and hold back. That’s pretty much how it has always gone with us, and it’s worked out pretty well so far. Who am I to get in the way of the process?!
ANYWAY. All that preamble was just to say that for the next 8-10 appointments (I’m totally guessing here), this will be the All Tebori, All the Time Blog. No particular notes here. He spent an hour and a half shading the background of my right inner thigh. Not a bad area to be tattooed in my opinion. It’s nice to be back to the quiet sounds of tebori. I know for a lot of people the sound of a tattoo machine fills them with excitement, but having experienced a fair amount of both, I have to say the peace and quiet of tebori is far superior.
My 77th appointment with Horizakura was very similar to the 76th appointment. For this hour, he tattooed the same area as last time but on my left leg, adding a houju to my inner thigh and another to my left hip. I really like them as little pops of color and I think it’s going to look great when everything is shaded and colored… in like 10 years.
I’M NOT CRYING! YOU’RE CRYING!!!!!
In terms of the experience itself, well it was also very similar to last appointment, although I have to say the compromising nature of the position wasn’t as bad having already experienced it once before. The only thing really worthy of note is that I had truly forgotten just how violently painful the ass is. He put a line on that thigh/ass fold that was like white lightning and instantly reminded me why I hated getting my ass tattooed so much. Fortunately, it was just the one line.
We briefly discussed next steps as well. Seems like the plan is to finish outlining/connecting the thigh and background around the phoenix, then he want’s to switch over to shading again before he does my arm outlines. Part of me wants to ask him to just finish the outline of everything first so I can be done with it. It’s arbitrary, but it does feel like having the whole suit outlined will be an “item crossed off the list” in this process. We’ll see what happens… it’s all got to get done eventually anyway, so I guess it doesn’t matter.
There have been parts of this tattoo process that I have to admit I had never really considered when I decided on this path. One of the most grievously overlooked aspects was the physical requirements of tattooing some of the more “hard to reach” parts of the body. Up until appointment 76, laying down with my leg in the air so Horizakura could tattoo where my thigh meets my butt cheek was the most compromising position I had faced. Turns out it gets worse.
This is the first time lines have been tattooed on me that I can’t fully capture without becoming horrifyingly immodest. You’ll get the jist of it in the pictures below, but the edge of this tattoo on my inner thigh is literally where my leg ends. During this appointment, I considered such questions as “Does having my leg tattooed this close to my twig and berries make me cooler or more committed than others?” and “Where does my leg end and my taint begin?” I may never have the answers to those questions. For educational purposes, I will tell you that the mechanics of giving Horizakura access to that area of my body involved me pulling my fundoshi wrapped junk out of his way while he sat on the table and I had my leg stretched out wide and resting on a stand. It was, without a doubt, the least sexy I have ever felt.
Why is this post entitled, “Are you nervous?” Horizakura put that imposing and foreboding question to me just as he was getting the machine ready to begin. I put that high on the list of questions you don’t want to be asked while you’re laying in the position I was in. I couldn’t help but laugh, but the truth is I wasn’t nervous. It was certainly awkward, but no part of my leg has ever been as painful as the center of my chest or parts of the ass have been. Speaking of which, he also did some more feathers and such around the phoenix. I’m starting to think the chest is worse than the ass. Every line felt like I had intense heart burn.
Appointments like these are the ones that make me glad I started this blog. Many of you, and the whole of social media culture, likely just want to see a picture of the few lines done over this one hour appointment and move on. But this one hour appointment has yielded more laughs and thoughts than some of my longer appointments ever have. I’m glad that I will have a way to go back and remember what this part of the experience was fresh after it had happened to me.
It’s virtually impossible that I have kept your attention this long. Just look at the pictures and be on your way: