Saturday, November 4, 2006

"It means 'Eternity'"

These three photos were posted in BMEzine's Kanji tattoo gallery on Oct. 30, 2006, with the caption of:

It Means "Eternity". Muster Said. I Don't Know Exactly, But Any Way. Whatever.
(by Sheremetyev, Golden Dragon, Omsk, Russia)

Since all three of the photos had date stamp on them and they appeared correctly, it was clear that the character been tattooed was mirrored. Also, the character does not mean "eternity", it means "[to] choose" or "select".


  1. "I Don't Know Exactly, But Any Way. Whatever."

    I think that sums up the ignorant attitude some people have really well.

  2. Uh, at least the bearer of this tattoo could read this piece of work in the mirror correctly!

  3. Uh, at least the bearer of this tattoo could read this piece of work in the mirror correctly!

    Maybe if she is a contortionist.

    The tattoo is on her back, so if she stood in front of a mirror and took a picture of her own tat, only then could she and everyone else read it correctly in the picture.

  4. Alan, evidently you are not thinking it through. A person could easily check how his backside looks like by 1) (if he is young and flexible) looking while turning quarter way around, or 2) (if he is not too flexible,) using a hand-mirror and create a 2nd reflection in front of him.

    In this girl's case, I am sure she is young and flexible and only needs to do a little backward glance at her dressing mirror to get the picture!

  5. Ivy - Tee-hee, you got me. You are quite right. I must admit that I am no longer young or flexible and certainly have not viewed my own backside in the mirror in a while! (g)

    But even without being not so young or flexible, I did just now manage to look at my own back in the mirror and if anything was written there in mirror-writing, I could have read it.

    I must mention that unfortunately your method 2) would not work, because using another mirror in front would invert the image again, making it again backwards and not legible.

    Maybe the tattooee is a narcissist and had the tattoo put on backward for her own private mirror viewing pleasure...



  6. This tattoo was obviously a bad 'choice.'

    Sorry, somebody had to say it.

  7. Hi Tian, This is a very amusing and interesting site. I thought you'd like to know that I've featured it in my blog Fusion View, an East/ West blog on writing, culture and the arts - see I've also contrasted it with later in the week.

  8. Let's be humorous, maybe they're trying to say the inversion/mirror image of 'select' or 'choice' is eternity...yeah right!

  9. "I Don't Know Exactly, But Any Way. Whatever."

    Weirdly, a very common attitude it seems. I'm in the habit of searching out bad kanji tattoos, and people frequently caption them "it means XXX supposedly" or "I think," or "I hope" !!! Bizarre.

    By far the most common problems are poorly written, unbalanced kanji and incorrect strokes, but wrong meanings and bizarre combinations are pretty common too.