If douchebags like Criss Angel and David Blaine are your type of heros, here is a video for you:


Sensei Mike Capaldi breaks some wood pieces in shopping center's parking lot without touching them. Of all places, including his own studio and dojo; why would he perform this stunt on a sidewalk of some shopping mall?

By the way, even if the character at the bottom right was not upside-down, the text still makes no sense in Japanese.

Alan's best guess is that they took the word Oseibo (meaning "year-end present"), added a couple other characters for seasoning and mixed and mashed for a Japanese word-soup puree.

Tai-San style mind break, indeed.

I call it bullshit.
A few years back there was a sitcom on NBC called Committed. In one episode, one of the lead character had some tattoo work done at New Orleans and it turned out to be something along the line of "of two men who love each other, you are the one plays the woman." Eventually he got the tattoo fixed to "Lemon Chicken."

www.hanzismatter.com/lemonchicken.mov (10.4MB)

Of course, that was only in a comedy sitcom.

No so!

Someone actually got Sesame Chicken tattooed on him and proud of it:

Mark & Rachel pointed me to Victor Mair's recent post about the latest cover of Max Planck Institute's flagship publication, MaxPlanckForschung.

To honor the theme of the issue [China], the editors asked one of the journalists who worked for the magazine to find an elegant Chinese poem to grace the cover. This was the result:

No sooner had the journal fallen into the hands of Chinese readers than it set off a frenzy of indignation, uproarious laughter, and animated discussion.

This is a rough translation of what the text says:

With high salaries, we have cordially invited for an extended series of matinées

KK and Jiamei as directors, who will personally lead jade-like girls in the spring of youth,

Beauties from the north who have a distinguished air of elegance and allure,

Young housewives having figures that will turn you on;

Their enchanting and coquettish performance will begin within the next few days.

When the powers that be at MPI found out what the characters on the front of their journal actually said — they immediately issued the following heartfelt apology:

Dear Colleagues,

The cover of the most recent German-language edition of MaxPlanckForschung (3/2008) depicts a Chinese text which had been chosen by our editorial office in order to symbolically illustrate the magazine's focus on "China". Unfortunately, it has now transpired that this text contains inappropriate content of a suggestive nature.

Prior to publication, the editorial office had consulted a German sinologist for a translation of the relevant text. The sinologist concluded that the text in question depicted classical Chinese characters in a non-controversial context. To our sincere regret, however, it has now emerged that the text contains deeper levels of meaning, which are not immediately accessible to a non-native speaker.

By publishing this text we did in no way intend to cause any offence or embarrassment to our Chinese readers. The editors of MaxPlanckResearch sincerely regret this unfortunate error and would like to offer an unreserved apology to all of their Chinese readers for any upset or distress they may have caused.

The cover title has already been substituted in the online edition, and the English version of MaxPlanckForschung (MaxPlanckResearch, 4/2008) will be published with a different title.

We would ask you to forward this information to all Chinese scientists at your Institute. Please find attached the new version of the title. Perhaps you can distribute this print-out within your institute.

Here is the replacement cover:

(more at Language Log)

Update: The Independent UK - The original cover was a flyer from one of Macau's brothels.

please interpret...

from: Jessica ***** <************@hotmail.com>
to: tiangotlost@gmail.com
date: Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 7:32 PM
subject: please interpret...

OMG - I have been looking for your site for years! I am so glad that I found someone to interpret and tell me how bad my tattoo really is. This is suppossed to say "SMS" - my ex's initials. I have never really known what exactly it said and would love to know that my body doesn't hold his name. Can you please help me! I would be very greatful to finally figure this mystery out. Thanks.

Congratulations, Jessica! The tattoo is gibberish.

Related: Gibberish Asian Font

"celebrate the knowledge of a dangerous, crazy father"

Reader Kat has emailed me yesterday this photo of her husband's back:


He got it done four years ago and the characters should be Knowledge, Loyalty, Courage, Warrior, & Father.

Since Alan just got back from Japan, I forwarded this to him. Here is what Alan concludes:

Besides the terrible calligraphy, the character is missing a dot at the upper right-hand corner. Also, the stroke at the bottom center of 寿 is supposed to be a separate dot rather than the incorrect connected stroke pointing down and to the right that we see.

Anyway, the characters mean roughly as follows:
knowledge, consciousness
寿 congratulations, celebration, long life, sushi
danger, dangerous
crazy, insane, mad

Is this supposed to mean "celebrate the knowledge of a dangerous, crazy father" or something?

I don't get the whole picture but it doesn't sound very complementary to the "father." The characters do not seem to mean anything like they think they do.

Mirrored Death


Another gem from Rankmytattoos.com, it is a mirrored (death).

"Spiritual Strength"

HS reader Anna sent this photo to our attention:


Its owner, LuvBug, said she got this exact tattoo along with two other friends and it meant "emotional and spiritual strength. "

Besides the obvious botchery of two characters, the phrase is not 100% grammatically correct.

In my opinion, the proper version should be or . However, Alan is much lenient & thinks is good enough.

Post 21

where have i been? recovering from this.....

i'm fine, the car is not. new print will be up by monday.

Bushido Virtues Lost

User "Silat1" posted this photo in tattooartists.com:


The seven virtue of Bushido are so poorly done, many have left with missing strokes.

Rectitude ()
Courage ()
Benevolence ()
Respect ()
Honesty ()
Honor ()
Loyalty ()

The character for rectitude has been spited into two, & . Instead of representing righteousness, it is "king me" which sounds more like a term from Chess. Or "The King and I", if he is a musical type.

Both respect & honesty are missing a stroke.

Any self-respecting samurai would have committed suicide long time ago to defend his reputation and honor.

These pseushido (pseudo+bushido) douchebags are such pussies.

Stuff White People Like #58 - Japan


This photo's caption says "My girl's 'Bitch' tattoo. So fitting"


However, means "prostitute".

Why would anyone want that to be displayed on their body?

Even so, she should at least tattoo a price list underneath. It is so hard (no pun intended) to haggle, when all the blood has left the brain and gone into the boner.

Tit for Tat

From checkoutmyink.com:


Not a good looking tit or tat .


Facebook (remember the days when it was exclusive to students only?), aka. cum bucket of the internet, has so much to offer.

You can get reconnect with "friends" that you never had interest in real life, lose your privacy, get bombarded by clever data-mining advertisers, and blah blah blah...

It comes with no surprise there is a group called "CooLeSt TaTToo On FaceBook...." with this posted in it by Wayne Fright (go ahead and friendquest him):


Yep, it is an upside-down "Wendy".

Enola's Tattoo in Waterworld

io9.com recently posted something about futuristic bad-ass tattoos, one that received much attention is on the back of Enola in Waterworld (it was a shitty movie by Kevin Costner, come to think of it, were any of Costner's movies good?).

From Engrish & Hanzi Smatter
I thought Enola was a dwarf when I first saw the movie. Perhaps that was because the camera's angle that made her head huge and shrunk her torso.

The characters on the left of the circular thing is "latitude" and "longitude" on the right. I don't know why the movie people decided to break two characters into three. It is not like they are saving any flesh space.

The characters inside of the circular part is longitude & latitude's actual coordinates.

Latitude = 27° 59' N
Longitude = 86° 56' E

Spoiler alert: it is the location of Mount Everest.

Nov 2008 Wired - Lost, in Translation

In November 2008 issue of Wired magazine, there is an interesting article about underground (or should that be "under-net") volunteers that would add subtitles to popular American television shows for those who do not understand English.

The concept is interesting however the illustration accompanying the story is not so.

While both English and Arabic alphabets are up-right and correct, the four Chinese characters are upside-down.

means "serious laughter" in Chinese.

This is second time I have spotted Wired magazine making similar snafu.

Dad 9.15.94

Alan and I both can't figure out what this tattoo is about.


Is it , "common laborer", or ?

Update: This tattoo belongs to "Joker" in Rankmytattoos.com

Scary Spice, tell me what you want?

While scanning through gossip site, The Superficial, I came across several images of Melanie Brown, aka. the former Scary Spice, modeling for Ultimo Autumn/Winter lingerie line.


I have no idea what the character circled in red supposedly to be.

Is it ? Or, is it ?

Oh, Melanie B, why can't you tell me what you want, what you really really want? According to the song, what she really wanted was "zigazig ha".

Sharing the Misfortune


is a Chinese idiom means "to share the misfortune together". If this was picked from a tattoo template book, I am sure there are many sharing this misfortune.

BBC: The Kremlin Digger

Alan noticed something odd about the photograph in BBC's article about Russian journalist, Elena Tregubova.


Alan says: "The Japanese in the background is obviously reversed. Perhaps the BBC published a mirror-image reversed copy of the photo. Although obviously intended to be Japanese, the text in the background is not exactly legible anyway and it does not seem to make any sense. Maybe the Japanese is reversed on the background image. Who knows? I’m not sure why such a journalist would want to be photographed in front of such a gibberish background. Is this fashionable in Russia or something?"

My guess would be it had something to do with paragraph 3 of the article:

"In one chapter, its author describes a flirty sushi lunch with Vladimir Putin, then head of the Russian security services, the FSB."

Sushi, #42 on list of things White people like.

Post 20- Prints are in

Yes, prints are in. Get ready....

Starting this month, new print or prints every month on the first of the month.

So, a set of 3 new prints in stock for the month of October.

3 rose studies, originally ink and watercolor

Printed on Arches Watercolor Paper

Each individual print is 11.43 cm X 16.51 cm ( 4.5" X 6.5")

Limited to 10 sets


Click Here to view and purchase.

Unfortunately, none of the prints will be available for pick up at Ink Machine. I'm running this operation from my newly reorganized studio at home. Please follow the link to purchase or to make arrangements if you would like to pick them up at the tattoo studio.

In other news, i have joined Y2K, and picked up an iphone. This has made my life 10 times more organized, and 1000 times more productive.

Lots of new tattoo projects on the go, prints every month, shirts will be up on the website soon, illustration projects....

Check back often, it's going to be fun!

Lebanese Tattoo by Moe Barjawi

Alan spotted this photo of what appears to be Kanji tattoo by Moe Barjawi in BMEzine's gallery:


Alan emailed me this after seeing it:

Let me see if I got this right. Some tattooist named “Moe” tattoos himself with his name in the “Gibberish Font” and, thinking this will be good advertising for his tattoo shop named “Lebanese Tattoo,” posts a picture of it on BMEzine.com… They never learn, do they?

What is even more astonishing is that someone has evidently tried to “improve” the original horrible calligraphy (especially on the partial 辶). Did they really think that bad calligraphy was the only problem? The mind boggles.

What is even more entertaining is definition for the term "Lebanese tattoo" in UrbanDictionary.com is the following:

A badly drawn tattoo, done at a 'professional' tattoo studio. The term first surfaced on the facebook group 'Actually, I think your tattoo is hideous'.

Name-dropping in American Philosophical Society's Publication

Reader Bryan points me to the latest issue of American Philosophical Society's publication, where this humble little site was mentioned on page 54.

The main article is titled "How Maya Hieroglyphs Got Their Name: Egypt, Mexico, and China in Western Grammatology since the Fifteenth Century" by Byron Ellsworth Hamann from
Department of Anthropology and Department of History, The University of Chicago.


The illustration shown above had this caption:

Car ornamentation with “Chinese” characters, photographed in Almería, Spain, in August 2006. The third character from the left is dao (“way” or “path”); the rest are nonsensical (or, as James Mathien put it, “Fakenese”). Mayanists might refer to these as “pseudo-glyphs.” Photograph by the author [Hamann].

The article is sixty-eight pages long, so be patient or get a few liters of beer in you before proceeding.


Every time I see signs for Sierra Mist, I laugh. It is because "mist" in German slang means "[something] with terrible quality".


This person probably think his/er tattooed means "lotus", but that depends how it is read.

In Japanese, it means "burden".


I was showing a visiting friend parts of northern Arizona over the weekend, when we encountered this young lady at Sedona.

She probably has no clue what the three characters on her t-shirt meant, nor the fact there are mirrored.

Update: August 24, 2008 - Reader BH pointed out that Sinful is a brand of women apparel & this particular shirt is available for US$40.

RIP- Ray Underhill

wow... did not expect to come across this this morning.... teagan and i have just been watching tons of old bones brigade videos, and my mom just gave me back a ton of my old skate boards, one of which is signed by ray.... huge part of my youth....

Aug 1, 2008- "Ray Underhill spent the past two years battling a Chordoma brain tumor. Despite the condition’s debilitating effects, Ray maintained the kindness and strength he was known for. He was an example to his family and to his friends of what it means to be a father, a husband, a friend. Throughout his ordeal, Ray never let his spirit succumb to the cruelty of his condition.

After surgery, and several radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Ray passed away on Friday morning, August 1, 2008, at a hospital near his home in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Ray will be remembered by some as the Powell-Peralta Bones Brigade pro of the late 1980s with the smooth style and deep bag of tricks. He will be remembered by others in the skateboard industry as the Gullwing Team Manager or Web Master at Eastern Skateboard Supply. To those of us who knew Ray, he’s remembered as the guy we wish we were. The one we wish everyone else would emulate—his candor, his kindness, his sense of humor an example to us all. If everyone in the world were just a little more like Ray, what an amazing, peaceful place this would be.

His wife Kerry, and their children Keaton (13) and Olivia (8) lost a husband and a father on Friday. And skateboarding lost a brother—one who made his mark on his board, but who went on to affect us all in far more profound ways for who he was off his skateboard. Quite simply, he was the best of us, and is tremendously missed.

Post 19

"Hey, Wha' Happened?" ... yea, i know.... i went on vacation and took the week-and-a-bit off the blog. i have tons of photos from that week, but they seem to be taking a while to resize and edit. so for now, you get this.

when we got back from our vacation, i checked my email and was amazed to see that an old friend had emailed me about getting tattooed. if you've been involved in the edmonton music scene in any way the last 10 years, you probably know Nik 7 of the mighty Shout Out Out Out Out. i had run into Nik about a year ago at the Little Caesar Pizza by the studio, but other than that, i hadn't seen Nik in probably 10 years.

not only was it great Nik wanted to get tattooed, but it was an amazing tattoo.

Tattoo of the Month-

"Pobody's Nerfect" wow.... in fancy script. wow..... amazing. i love doing fun tattoos. i should have taken a photo of the amazing Big Business shirt he was wearing, but hey, poboby's nerfect....

i had a great time tattooing and hanging out with ya Nik! it's always great to catch up with old friends, but it's extra special to see someone that you were doing creative things with 10 years ago, still working hard and creating. i believe Nik even has a song about this... but it's true. Nik's been working hard making music in Wilf's basement for over 10 years now and still manges to produce new, and amazing projects. Truly inspiring for me.

soooooooooooooooo......... let's take a jaunt down memory lane for fun. you may know and love Nik 7, electronic wizard and front man of shout out out out out, however, Nik has played in many other bands. i'm going in reverse chronological order, because it's more fun that way....

alright, so the first and probably most remembered will be The Cleats. Nik and Chris in a hall

then let's go back a bit further to a lackey's reunion show

same show, different band. i believe Nik played in 3 bands that night. who remembers The Skeptics?

different show, same band. i do remember this being a day show, so Nik is not wearing his sunglasses at night.

so these last 2 are special to me because this was the first show i had been to. i would have been 14 or 15 at the time, it was Defiance in a basement across from Kingsway Garden Mall, and Nik's band The Lackey's opened. it was all down hill from here for me.... in a good way.

Nik7 and Nik5

"support your local scene"

just to show it's all in good fun.... Nik made us want to learn to play music and start bands, period. to this day, i still screen print all my own shirts in my house, because Nik got me into it when he worked at a screen printing studio. 100% DIY, punk rock, forever.

me and my best friend peter, back in the day....
this is where i should have taken a photo of me and Nik together, 10 years later, to document the passage of time. but again, hey, pobody's nerfect....

ps- this is a SMALL sample of my old Nik photos. Nik, you're lucky i couldn't find any of my old Edmontons photos, featuring Nik and Chris playing surf rock in only jock straps, if memory serves correct.... let's go skate some time soon!

Amor, Dios, Familia

A couple of days ago I received this photo link in Flickr from Sara in Canada.


Its caption in Spanish said:

Amor, Dios, Familia
Traduccion literal
Ama a Dios cmo a tu Familia

Which means,

Love, God, Family
Literal translation
Love your God & family
Love God the way you love your family

Nice sentiment, however there probably will not be much love for the tattooist. Love & Family are mirrored.


Here is another reason why it is a bad idea to tattoo a person's name onto your own flesh:


利娅 is the Chinese transliteration for "Leah".

Post 18

....we're on a roll!

as promised, i touched up rebecca's back today. you can see the cover a bit over in the grass, it was scared so the outline gets all puffy when i touch it up. can't wait to get a better photo when it's healed.

i also worked on taryn's sacred hearts for two hours or so. i can't even imagine getting behind my knees tattooed, so when we're done i don't push for pics. i just bandage her up and get her home asap. one more session and we'll be done.

Post 17

... second day in a row, is that a first for this blog? i'd have to go back and check..... which i do not feel like doing.....

let's get right down to it. this is how i wanted to "come back" to the world of blogin'......

i don't actually want and explanation at all, but i could not believe when i rode past this billboard on my way to work.

amazing, has marketing come to this? we're going back to fido dido? this is the best the pespsi corp could come up with for the new 7UP adds? really, someone got paid to make the decision to bring back fido dido? wow.

i'm not sure if a horrible thing can even get worse, but it does......

so he's CGI now? really? fido dido was a LINE DRAWING. so someone else got paid to render a 2D, line drawing of fido dido, into the new CGI fido dido '08?

notice in the above "renderd" fido has multiple levels of hair which fall down like dreadlocks... however in the lower photo... he has basically a CGI, two dimensional head, and his hair goes up. the poor graphics department were so confused by the task at hand, they couldn't even decide one, final look for fido dido '08.

his hands are pretty awesome too...
nice work pepsi! i really wanted to make a comparison to bringing back what i remember to be "red eraser" clothing. i couldn't find any pics.... maybe that wasn't the name.... but if you remember fido dido, you probably remember a clothing line with a line drawing of basically the same thing, but with...

...wait for it.... red hair.....

let's bring that jackass back too to sell kids some crap. wow... he'd have....

...wait for it....RED CGI hair.

crap, i should get that job, i can remember tons of late 80's- early 90's crap to revamp and bring back to the youth of today.

kids these days are getting screwed over.... they don't get any thing new, they don't even get to enjoy my youth the way i remember it. they get crappy, watered down, CGI fido dido and such...

...*heavy sigh*.....

again, i really wish i could have found a photo of "red eraser", it probably would have been funnier. so instead, i'll have to compare the fido dido comeback to....

.... the new hypercolor toilet seat.

moving right along....

i tattooed my friend dan today. we outlined a ton of smaller traditional stuff last session, so this time 'round, we colored them all in. i took photos, but only for drawing reference. they're blurry and crappy and you don't get to see them.

then i tattooed nicole's other foot.

the "dad" side was still healing, so thanks to the magic of photoshop, some copy , paste.... we can see them together.

that's all for tonight. i'm touching up a really cool cover up tomorrow, hopefully i'll get some good pics.
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