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April 4, 2006 08:33 AM

Broken: Faux-Chinese tattoos

The New York Times reports that many Chinese character tattoos, although fashionable, don't actually mean anything. (Shocking, I know.)

From Cool Tat, Too Bad It's Gibberish:

Christina Norton of Redondo Beach, Calif., is also getting her tattoo lasered off. At the tattoo parlor, "I asked the guy, 'Are you sure?' " Ms. Norton recalled. "He assured me, so then I went ahead and did it." Now she knows that her tattoo is meaningless out of context with other characters. "Ever since I found out, I was like, I have to get it off," she said.

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The only thing broken here is someone who will permanently mark their body with a symbol they don't know the meaning of. Oh, and "FIRST!"

Posted by: Craven Moorecock at April 4, 2006 08:49 AM

Isn't this further proof of the addage, "Let the buyer beware?"

Posted by: Tim at April 4, 2006 09:53 AM


Posted by: Ilan at April 4, 2006 10:34 AM

Puts me in mind of when I was waiting tables, and I noticed that the woman had a word in Japanese tattooed on her neck. I'd been taking Japanese lessons, but my katakana has never been very good, so I was staring a little while I tried to remember what the symbols meant, and she noticed me looking at her. Her response was along the lines of, "Do you like my tattoo? It's in Hebrew." I tried to tell her that no, that was definitely Japanese katatkana writing, but she assured me that her tattoo artist had told her that the two looked the same, but one was thicker than the other. Bzuh? If it had been Chinese I might have bought it, since they share some of the same characters, but HEBREW?

I never did get to figure out what it said. It might have been enlightening.

Posted by: SilvorMoon at April 4, 2006 10:58 AM

I've always found it the funniest thing that there are people who just waltz into a tattoo parlor, flip through some books, go "Oh, this one's cool/pretty/neat" and then have it forever etched into their flesh.

I'm not against tattoos, I have one myself. However, I designed it and had maintained it as my personal symbol for a decade (roughly) before getting it inked on my body. If I get another one, I might not stew on it for a decade, but I would make sure it was something I thought deeply about and that it had sufficient importance to me to be a permanent part of my life.

I just can't understand people who will decide they want a tattoo and then put so little thought into what they're going to be stuck with forever (barring painful laser removal that is)

Posted by: SillyGirl at April 4, 2006 12:15 PM

I feel Coke.

Posted by: Engrish Speaker at April 4, 2006 03:31 PM

This is payback for all the 'Engrish' posts.

Why don't you always get the same exchange rate from yen to dollars? 'Fluctuations!'

Posted by: Carlie Chan at April 4, 2006 03:34 PM

_@_v - favourite 'tat'? "please let's don't tell anyone about all this sh** we wrote on this guy's back - he thinks it's a pirate ship!"

Posted by: she-snailie_@_v at April 5, 2006 12:33 PM

I've seen some really bad grammar in latin on people's tattoos. Luckily before my son got "Faith Forever" tattooed around his "Chi-Rho", he passed it by his Latin professor.

Posted by: Scott at April 6, 2006 01:42 PM

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