Sunday, January 21, 2007

Those of you interested in Japanese woodblock prints or ukiyo-e should check out my latest acquisition: a series of 29 prints depicting the story of the 47 Ronin. If anyone happens to have more info on this series, please contact me. I purchased it from a vendor at an antiques market who did not know much about it.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi. Your tattoo is incredible. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and experience with us and for exposing Shinji in this way.

I've been waiting a long time to get tattooed again, and just when I thought I was ready, I had to think again. I picked up "Bushido", "The Japanese Tattoo", and came across your blog. I'm so glad I did. It's very insightful and has that sobering, ceremonial feel that can't be reached through a few shots of a complete tattoo.

If you don't mind, I have a question. I have 2 tattoos from when I was younger, and like you, I regret them. I would also have them covered up, but you mentioned that the old tattoo on your back is still visible. Would you recommend laser treatment to fade an old tattoo, or would that create too much scar tissue and make the cover-up difficult? Did this conversation come up between you and Shinji?

Thanks. - Justin

Mike said...

Hi Justin,

Thanks for your comments. Regarding laser treatments to fade tattoos, I'm not sure how that might impact future tattoo work on top of it. I've actually seen someone in the shop before who was attempting such a thing, removing a large and very brightly colored sleeve no less. I do know that with laser removal there can be some scarring, dependant on the tattoo being removed, the number of sessions required and your body type. IPL removal sounds promising - it's supposed to be less painful and slightly more effective, but at a higher cost. The best thing to do would be to speak with a tattoo artist who is familiar with such things. It was not a conversation I had with Shinji. We were both happy that he was able to work over them in such a way that they do not detract much from the overall design. I'm sure the scale of my tattoo helps quite a bit in that respect. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thanks again, Mike. The story of the Ronin is pretty intense. Has the fact that so much of the traditional Japanese tattoo is rooted in myth changed you in any way - aside from all the ink living in your skin? The whole bushido thing?

Maybe it's just a phase, but as I get deeper into this I feel as if I need to deserve the tattoo. I'm trying to get in better shape, get my mind right, conquer annoying addictions, etc. It seems to take a certain amount of respect for something bigger than ourselves, the ability to give into that, and a willingness or desire to evolve through this process. Is that close, or am I making this out to be bigger than it is? - Justin

Mike said...

Hi Justin,

I'm not so sure that the fact that Japanese tattoo is rooted in myth changed me so much as it simply resonated with me right away. Perhaps being raised in a fast-food culture made me especially hungry for myths and legends. And yes, the tattoo is part of a transformative process - when I started it I had a strong desire to change myself in many ways, and I still do. But in the end it's only skin deep, and the tattoo itself cannot help you reach your goals. Perhaps the process can help you evolve in some ways, but it might just as easily be nothing more than an act of vanity or an act of submission without purpose.