Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Another Kind of Ink

I have a fair share of liberal ideas and would probably never be mistaken for a conservative. Like to think I’m open minded about things, and someone who can tolerate radical behavior in individuals, as long as it or they don’t hurt or threaten others.

Now ask me about tattoos. If the topic is the increasing popularity of tattooing, then for once you’ll find me on the conservative side of the fence. Like most, I have two or three friends with tattoos, have been acquainted with many, but getting a tattoo is not anything I would ever do.

Last week I was in a restaurant seated near a family, a mother, father and son. At first glance, they appeared typical, and they interacted in ways that reflected warmth and familial feelings. Looking across later, I noticed that the father had tattoos along both arms. I didn't think anything about it until I noticed a tattoo on the son’s forearm. He could have been no more than eleven or twelve. The tattoo gave every appearance of being the real deal.

Next, I hear a story from a friend about the family in the supermarket. According to the story, the boy holding onto his mother’s belt loop had a Chinese dragon tattooed on his neck.

That’s bad. That’s child abuse in my opinion. Not only does it inflict severe pain, but it doesn’t come off—EVER. What kind of person makes that decision for a child?

Today I read on the Internet the story of the Georgia couple who tattooed five of their six children, because the children “wanted to be like Mommy and Daddy.” Mom and Pop used a homemade tattoo gun. Know what I say? Send them to Judge Judy! She just might sentence these parents to a long stretch in the Big House.

Here in Florida I see a great many more tattoos than I saw living in Japan. The last four or five years has seen a spike in the popularity of tattoos, and it isn’t uncommon these days to see them on Japanese college students, though not to the extent we see in the US.

A few years back, during some repair work in the condo here, among the work crew was a young man of about twenty or so who had a Japanese word tattooed large on his forearm. Knowing I had come from Japan, he thrust out his arm rather proudly and asked if I knew what the inked characters meant. Little mystery there—CRIMINAL. But I held my tongue and waited to hear what the tattoo artist had told him.

“Outlaw…cool, right?”


1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you. That's nothing but child abuse. In this sense, you are not on the "conservative" side but in the "normal" or "sane" position. Tatooing on a little kid's body is unbelievable and is scarce even in Japan, I hope....


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America