Saturday, April 7, 2007

Beware of Bulls Eye Tattoos

My good friend Alan writes:

Hi Tian,

I thought we had pretty much covered all of the really silly tattoos out there so far, but evidently not. We have seen a lot of them already on their unknowing victims, but I just happened upon some of the tattoo “flash” with bogus Hanzi actually being sold on the Internet.

Here is one site:

The scary thing is that they are advertising that they have “thousands of professional tattoo designs.” I guess the hapless tattoo consumer is supposed to “download full size tattoos with the line art stencil a tattooist will need to transfer & ink the perfect tattoo.”

The tattoos in the “Kanji” section are hardly perfect.

Not only are there many kanji with poor brushwork, lots of them have completely wrong English translations like:

“Wild” – really means “color”

“spirit” – really means “child” but with an extra unnecessary stroke at the top

“child” – really means “evening”

“To Die Young” – really means “sky, heaven”

“Passion” – really means “rough, violent, coarse”

But the one that really cracked me up was this one:

生現 “Live For Today”

As is, this gibberish means nothing in Japanese or at least nothing like “live for today” and I don’t think it means anything in Chinese either. The only meaning I can guess is that if it were written 生きて現れる, this would mean “to show up alive” or “turn up alive” as if someone thought dead had appeared alive. Anyway, it sounds pretty spooky, like seeing a zombie!

I think the person who made this up just looked in a dictionary for the word for “to live” and a word that means something like “now” and thought you could stick them together to make “live for today.”

It doesn’t work like that.

The worst thing is that this tattoo appears on their “best sellers” page.

Expect to see these tattoos on gullible people near you soon!

I can’t believe they are actually charging money for this stuff.

Thanks for everything as usual.



Dodgy tattoo supply dealers are everywhere, buyers please be aware of that. After all, it is your skin these designs would end up on, these dealers could care less if you have made fools of yourselves.