Does This Say "Love"?

Reader Sonja emails:

"Hi Tian!!! Ok, here is my tattoo that apparently says 'Love'. I think ill cry if you tell me it says horse... ;-( LOL I'm kidding... Sort of.... When I got it they said it was an ancient Japanese Buddhist dialect I think called... Kanji? Or something? Oh I cant remember anymore... I'm very excited to get my new ones now... !!! Ill send you pics of the new ones when I get them In the first week of June. xoxoxo"

After I saw the photo, I did not recognize the character. I then forwarded it to my associates and hoping at least one of them would have more knowledge about the "ancient Japanese Buddhist dialect" than I did. At the same time I emailed Sonja back asking her about where she got the tattoo, and if the design was an original or from a template.

"I had it done in Toronto on queen street west, downtown. At New Tribe... You're worrying me!! I picked it there.. I spent some time in Japan (6 months) and when I came back to Canada I missed it so much so I wanted to get something to remember my time there. Maybe when I go in to get my new ones done I can get them to photocopy the sheet that it came from? Would that help? Someone once told me it says sex......?? Oh gosh... Now I'm worried. Just please be honest.. I know you will... Take care."

The first person responded to my email was John:

"I think she was totally bullshitted. Looks like to me, but I'm certainly no expert at the more 草书-ish characters."

John does have a point there, especially when he pull out his 草书 book:

3500常用字索查字帖(草书) 上海交通大学出版社, 1999.

Ken Nishimura and Aaron Batty from Japan both agree with John:

"I thought it was distorted 'blue' . To me, this cannot be 'love' or any kanji I'm familiar with."

Jeremy from thinks "maybe the tattooist was trying to write ?"

= wheat, barley, oats;

Chinese translation for McDonald's is 麦当劳 or 麥當勞.


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