Sunday, May 8, 2005

Airbrushed Tats at Cornell's Slope Day 2005

Reader Elliott Back emails:

"My girlfriend and I were at Cornell University's Slope Day today, and they were offering airbrushed tattoos, some of which were in Chinese. Of course, she told me that half the descriptions didn't match the characters at all. I'm a longtime reader of your blog, so I snapped a photo so I could send it to you. Thanks."

The character labeled 34 appears to be a poorly written , which means "trust", but it also means "brood over eggs; have confidence". The bottom partial should be , not .

#35 means "beauty", not "hope" as the caption says.

I have never seen "peace" written like #40 before. I don't know if it could be because it is written so badly.

#39 means "real, actual, true, genuine", not "hope".

My personal favorites are #38 and #41. That is because the person did not even bother to remove the horizontal bars above the characters. The bars used by the template's manufacturer to indicate "this way up" on the package.

#38 is the same as #35 which means "beauty" despite the misleading captions. I have seen #41 before and it was featured here in Hanzi Smatter last October. When will these idiots ever learn...


  1. I think the 安 one is written more like 愛 I think I saw a 心 there...and the structure looks like 愛.
    愛 can mean love, right? Also love can make peace...
    Is that their logic?

  2. 美孚 is Chinese name for the oil company Mobil. For those who have been to or live in Hong Kong, you know that there's a subway station called 美孚 (Mei Foo) on Tsuen Wan line (the red line). This is where Mobil used to have its oil plant more than 40 years ago. Of course, Mobil closed the plant and a number of apartment buildings had been built. Now, that area is home to many people.

    So, I guess you can get a 美孚 tattoo and then I call call you Mobil.

  3. Oops! Tian, I typed the word "call" in the last sentance twice! My mistake. I'm sorry.

  4. Due to the thick strokes I think it's hard to tell whether the bottom of number 34 is 子 or 于.

  5. the peace character I think it is meant to be 平 which I guess is often used with 和平 or 平安 which means peace, but really by itself only means 'equal' or 'flat'. I don't think it's a badly written 安.

  6. Am I the only one who gets a sick, childish, and decidedly wrong laugh out of the combination of Chinese tatts and "slope" day?

  7. i was at this slope day event too and noticed the same stuff... too bad i don't have a digi-cam, I was gonna send it to this site too. ^_^

    i'm pretty sure the #40 is supposed to be love (愛), like x852456 says. The bottom is just *really* messed up.

    to anonymous, 'slope day' refers to the huge slope at Cornell campus, Libe Slope, which leads from Central campus down to West campus. On the last day of classes, all of Cornell goes to the slope to drink watered down beer, party, enjoy the sun, and watch some live music.

    This display was at an airbrush tatoo stand that the Slope Day committee had organized for the non-alcoholic carnival section, Slope Fest.

  8. More proof that going to a big university doesn't make you smart =D I'm sure their Asian Studies Department got a kick out of it.


  9. I laughed out loud at the Slope Day and the post of "asian tattoos." Too funny.

    I have a tat of 永, not ice or whatever that "central ice" dork had on his arm. But I am fluent in Chinese and can hold my own in Japanese. I cannot tell you how many times I have bit my tongue when I see some ass with some garbled "asian" tattoo on them. One chic had a chinese poem on her which was correct (she got lucky), but she insisted it was japanese, as the tattooist had "taken out the Chinese parts." Whatever! She also had what she claimed was her name going down her leg. I did not have the heart to tell her it was gobbledy gook and not a name at all. it was a mixture of katakana, some characters and some chicken scratch. nice try, idiot!

  10. For some reason that manglage of 'peace' reminds me of the character for 豪, albeit missing a few strokes.

  11. Go Big Red! They offer tattoo now? Back when I went to Cornell Slope Days was pretty muc hjust pain drinkin'! :)

    Oh yea, I was an Asian Studies (and chemistry) major too.

  12. I'm from Hong Kong and used to live in 美孚, and my grandparents still live there.
    The badly written "character" or thing, that meant peace I think its an 安. And I agree with {I}

  13. You say, "When will these idiots ever learn..."...sadly, Tian, they don't WANT to learn...if they did, they's have gotten them correct in the first place...they are only concerned with separating people with their cash by offering them a minimal (and poorly executed) "service" to people who are ALSO ignorant and just want to be "cool"
    It's a shame.