A few years ago, a repeat client of mine walked into the shop seeming quite disoriented, which was unusual for him. he shows me a geometric design he wanted to have tattooed and asked for a price quote, all twitchy like.
i could tell by the psychotic glint in his eyes and his self-inflicted rantings that he was off of whatever meds he was supposed to be on. i quoted him the minimum charge and he proceeds to dig around in his pocket. he procures a bunch of twigs, leaves and bottle caps. he tells me that they are magical and sacred and wants to know if he can trade them for the tattoo.
at this point i have to giggle to myself and when i tell him no he continues to tell me how powerful they are and that he got them from a shaman. i tell the guy "cash only" and feeling defeated & possibly realising the lack of monetary value, he gives me the sticks, leaves and bottle caps because he "wants me to have them" and he leaves the shop. i actually kept them for like a year, cause they made me giggle every time i saw them, so in a way i guess they were kinda magical.
now, off-handedly in our discourse i made the mistake of complimenting dude on his dope vintage leather jacket. so half an hour later he comes back to the shop wanting to know if i would trade the jacket for the tattoo. i woulda come out on top on this deal and it WAS a tempting offer, but i just couldn't bring myself to take advantage of the guy in his debilitated state. i was kinda hoping that he would see the lack of monetary value in his jacket and give that to me in defeat also.
i learnt that day that i do have morals and that no matter how hard i tried i would never be able to pay my rent with sticks, but at least i could make a fire, adorn myself in leaves and drink out of battle caps. i always get the crazy ones.
date: Sat, Apr 24, 2010 at 2:21 PM
subject: So I got a tattoo...
Hey guys, my name's Mari. I've always been a fan of the blog, and I was wondering if you could verify my tattoo's meaning.
I'm a foreign language major, and I've studied both Mandarin and Japanese in the past. I decided to translate the meaning of "strong willed woman" into 英気女 (eiki onna). So... is this correct? I sure hope so!
I sent you a pic, too. Thanks a lot.
Unfortunately, 英気女 does not mean "strong-willed woman" in Japanese.
It is more like "brilliant woman" or "woman of excellent ability" if they were to translate it literally. But even this is not a proper translation because 英気女 is not grammatically correct in Japanese.
It lacks the proper grammatical bits and such, so it sounds very brusque and looks sort of "faux Chinese" to a Japanese person. To be proper, they would need to be written 英気に富んだ女性 [eiki ni tonda josei] if "brilliant woman" was intended.
But it cannot be proper Chinese because the simplified character form 気 is used only in Japanese. In Chinese, only the character forms 氣 (traditional) or 气 (simplified) are used.
Another problem is that it seems quite inappropriately boastful and prideful for someone to tattoo themselves with "brilliant woman" in a Japanese context. One would only say this sort of thing about someone else, or as a goal to strive for, and not as a label on your own body. The most common usage of 英気 in Japanese is in the phrase 英気を養う [eiki wo yashinau] which means roughly to "rest up to be able to demonstrate one's full ability."
Certainly there are other, much better, ways of saying "strong-willed woman" in Japanese. One might be 意志の強い女性 [ishi no tsuyoi josei].
Alan & Tian
For a country which has its own government agency to ensure linguistic purity & accuracy, one would think France would have same standard for other languages as well.
Apparently not so, as seen here at the official website for Eiffel Tower.
The button for Japanese [日本語] is missing first character.
(Thanks Ulas for the tip)
date: Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 8:22 PM
subject: Lady Gaga's Japanese Arm???
I love the site and I came across this picture of Lady Gaga in Japan and I was hoping that you could figure out what she had written all over her arm. Knowing Lady Gaga, I can only imagine. Thanks a lot!
Alan, who is a long time Lady Gaga fan (just kidding), has this to say:
Anyway, the text on the handbag, which looks a lot like the text on her arm (which is partially obscured) reads:
The text on her arm is actually different from that on her bag:
アイ ラブ リトル モンスター [I love little monster]
So no doubt she meant リトル モンスター [ritoru monsuta-] to mean her Japanese fans. Now she just has to fire the person that wrote "small monster" on her handbag. :)
By the way, that is a Hermes Birkin bag priced
date: Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 12:16 PM
subject: NY Daily News: Photos: Tiger Woods' alleged mistresses Joslyn James, Loredana Joli, Cori Rist, Rachel Uchitel
Hi Long time fan! I was looking up stuff on Tiger Woods and came across this gem. The caption says her (Joslyn James) tattoo says "betrayal" in Chinese.
First line: "coming" in Japanese?
Second: In my dreams
Third line is something like karmic retribution written incorrectly (yin guo bao ying) and below that "highest satisfaction" Last line not sure. Any ideas?
夢中 [in dream/dreaming]
因果応報 [cause & retribution]
date: Sun, Apr 11, 2010 at 8:17 AM
subject: Hanzi Smatter submission
Just stumbled onto your site and have been laughing my ass off for the last hour! I have a friend with a lame Chinese/Japanese/something-or-other character tattoo that I'm dying to know what it actually means.
He tells us that it means "Mighty Whitey" (and while i could explain to you its non-racial origins i would probably just be wasting your time), but i can only imagine that it actually says something along the lines of "anglo-saxon douchbag dick-licker"
Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated!!!
強勢的色 is a word-to-character translation of "brave's color".
Duane called us this week and asked if we were down. We agreed... I (Art) was in Mexico and changed my flight back to Canada, to a flight to L.A. The gig is APRIL 10.. FOR MORE INFO GO TO: http://www.ocpunkrockpicnic.com/
Some of the set will include :
Radio Birdman´s "Breaks my heart"