C-c-c-combo Post!

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.

Spiritual

After a cancellation because of inclement weather, Horizakura and I were finally able to meet for our 86th appointment. Without any further preamble, I am delighted to say that he has finished shading the background on the deepest edge of my butt cheek/inner thigh. Regular readers will recall that this particular area is among the worst to experience, not because of the pain, but because of the undignified position required for the artist to access that area. For 30-45 minutes, I held my leg in the air while he tattooed this final bit of skin. Even though we have reached a very real comfort level with each other, there is no world where this position is comfortable, and I am delighted to be done with it. The remainder of the appointment was spent tattooing over my left hip area.

Prior to starting this appointment, we picked up the discussion of putting Fudo on my left arm. I have really warmed up to the idea overall, but I really wanted him to show me how the size and shape would fit on my arm. He took a minute before the appointment to sketch it out on my arm, and even in that rough outline, I could see the power of what he was going for. When I set out on this journey, a foreign deity was not on my list of subjects for this tattoo. While I always have and always will believe that these tattoos are given freely to everyone regardless of race or religion, I have to admit I felt a certain reservation about having a tattoo of a deity I had no connection to. Over the past month, I considered Horizakura’s explanation of why Fudo would be the right choice for my left arm. He said my tattoo is very spiritual and it needs something to unify it. I am not a particularly spiritual person in the sense of ritual, but I am fairly spiritual in the way I feel people interact with each other and the world around them. I also think that you can learn a little something from everyone, regardless of where you’ve come from. Even still, I wrestled with the idea of this tattoo going in this direction until I realized a certain aspect of the process that I had been glossing over. The true reason that I have been going through this process isn’t because I need to have a collection of personal medallions tattooed on me as talismans for my hopes or fears. I have been doing all of this because of my love for Japanese tattoo as a whole. Odd as it may seem, this isn’t about trying to lay bear my innermost being so the world can see. It’s about having and being tattooed and engaging with the mystery and energy that experience lends. Living the rest of my days with a tattoo from Shinji is really all that I have ever wanted. This is my path to engage with the culture of Japanese tattoo and I am not afraid to adjust my understanding of what that path actually entails versus my expectations for it.

2020 is Kill. Go 2021.

I was originally going to write up a wrap up post for the end of 2020, but I didn’t. I don’t really have a good excuse. It just didn’t happen. Instead, I’ll combine it with this post which will also detail my 84th appointment with Horizakura.

2020 was better for me than it was for most people, so I am always hesitant to complain. I had my fair share of heartbreak, I certainly wouldn’t call it a good year, but I came out the other side better than some. NYC was locked down for a few months, so in total we logged about 21.5 hours of tattooing over 14 appointments. These are my lowest tattoo numbers to date, but some of the work has been really exciting which compensates nicely. Moving onto my torso was huge for me. There’s really only a small portion of my suit that isn’t outlined at this point.

Here are front and pack photos of how I look after my last appointment of 2020. You would think that by now I would have been smart enough to be regularly taking full body shots so we could see the progress in a more “macro” sense, but I’ve never claimed to be very smart, so here we are. You get two pictures.

Sorry the legs are a little dark here. I wasn’t evenly lit. Here’s a leg shot since you won’t stop complaining.

Moving on. My 84th appointment was more tebori on my left thigh. The wave that was only half finished was completed and a good chunk of background around the koi was shaded as well. We’re running out of leg here… in fact, we’re running out of background to shade. There is a small strip on my right thigh/hip, the rest of the left thigh, and the area over my pubic bone. After that it might be time for more outlining! I say that with an exclamation because new outlines are exciting, but the process is terrible. Tebori is infinitely better.

Testify!

TIL Your Knees Can Cramp

My 83rd appointment with Horizakura started off pretty similarly to my 82nd appointment. To his credit, he tried to get me into several different positions to best access the area that needed to be tattooed, but none of them were giving him the space he needed to work. He determined that my least favorite position would be the best solution. Thus I found myself once again laying on my back, holding my left leg over my head. It didn’t last too long, but any amount of time in that position is enough for you to be happy when it’s over. Afterwards, I was in a bit more of a neutral position with my left leg kicked out to one side so he could continue to shade my inner left thigh. My right foot was flat on the table with my knee bent. Quite comfortable. Until the cramping began.

I have a tendency to cramp when I sit motionless for long periods of time. This pretty much only happens when I get tattooed, but my diet/water intake doesn’t seem to ever change it. When I’m getting tattooed, I do my damnedest to not move at all unless I’m asked to. During this particular appointment, somehow, my knee cramped up. I did not know that this was possible, but sure enough, after about an hour of lying there with a bent knee, I could feel a cramp develop under my kneecap. It felt really, really weird. I try to never interrupt the appointment because I consider my time there to be precious, so I just kinda bit the bullet and willed the cramps away. Really, there is probably no need for me to endure that, but when you don’t have anything else to do during a tattoo appointment, any diversion can be a fun one.

Not much else to say here. My next appointment is in two weeks and I’m sure it will be more sweet tebori action. I am perpetually fired up!

Oss!

In Deep

My eighty-first appointment took place on the tenth day of the eleventh month of Year of Our Cthulhu 2020. It has taken me many days to make this post because… well frankly I’ve just been kinda busy. Also, the content wasn’t particularly exciting. Unless deep crotch tattoos are your jam. If so, have I got some exciting news for you! Horizakura continued to shade the inner thigh of my right leg. Accessing this area once again required the sort of undignified positions that are seldom considered when beginning a large tattoo like this. That said, I really feel like somewhere in the past year or so, my relationship with Horizakura has moved to a different comfort level. I can’t really explain why it took this long or even if perhaps it was like this all along and I’m only just becoming aware of it. But I have to say that I find myself looking forward to our tradition of getting beers after the appointment as much as the appointment itself.

Anyway. We’re nearly done with the background of this leg. I imagine all that’s left is about an hour or so. I’m not sure if he will want to continue up to the right hip or start on the left leg. Time will tell.

Peer deep into the crevasse. Pray it does not peer back.

Quick Update

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:

Back to Tebori

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.

That’s all I got.

Houju for Your Thoughts?

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.

Excelsior!

Are You Nervous?

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:

 

I’m back, baby! (Again.)

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While thinking of a name for this entry, I looked back at the titles of my previous posts and discovered that I had used “I’m back, baby!” in Feb 2019.  The first line of that post reads: “Seven weeks between appointments is just too much.”  What a sweet, naive little bumpkin I was…

In case you’re some sort of eldritch horror that has just arisen from an eons long sleep, you are probably aware of the global pandemic that ground most of the earth to a halt (some places longer than others, wear a mask plz).  Here in the NY metro area, tattooing stopped from mid-March to the end of July.  That’s a whopping 19 weeks between appointments.  Needless to say, I’m happy to be back at it.

This post actually covers two appointments.  Session 74 was on July 21st, Session 75 was last night.  I didn’t write this post after the first appointment because of a variety of stupid technical reasons, but also partly because our first appointment was just kinda “getting back into the swing of things.”  Horizakura spent a quick hour shading a couple of clouds around the phoenix, then we went and got food and beers.

As you can see, not earth shattering stuff, but all progress is progress.  “All progress is progress” is almost as dumb as saying, “It is what it is.”

Last nights appointment was a little more exciting.  We are full steam ahead on getting the rest of this suit outlined, and as such we began the somewhat awkward process of outlining the background elements on my upper/inner thigh.  This blog has always been about keeping a record of this process for myself, but I’ve also realized that if anybody was interested in embarking on this sort of journey themselves, this could be a useful resource.  With that in mind, you’re going to have to get comfortable with your tattoo artist seeing your naked body.  It’s going to happen.  The fundoshi I wear during these appointments is a disobedient and unruly garment.  No matter how we tied it, moved it, tugged it, held it, my guys were flopping all over the place.  This area also required a lot of body positions that, candidly, did not make me feel like a real cool tattoo boy.  Made me feel more like an ungainly, thirsty, wannabe Instagram model.  It’s all part of the process and it doesn’t take long at all to be at peace with the awkwardness of it all.  Other than that, no part of this area was particularly unbearable and it was certainly exciting to be back into outlining this suit.

I have nothing else to say to you.  Look at these photos: