Sunday, November 08, 2009

Yakuza Moon

I opened one of the albums on the table, and looked at photos of what must have been the tattoo master's work. One in particular caught my eye. It wasn't just a tattoo: it was a piece of art using the human body as a canvas, with delicately curving lines representing graceful koi leaping up a foaming waterfall. I'd grown up surrounded by men with tattoos, starting with my father, and I'd never felt there was anything wrong with having one. Ever since I was a kid I'd loved to draw, and I was sure I'd been inspired by the beautiful work of art on my father's body. But nothing had ever spoken to me like the work of this tattoo master.

Shoko Tendo, Yakuza Moon


I don't know why I chose this quote, as most of the book is about Shoko's addiction to drugs, a series of violent, especially brutal relationships, and her struggle to "grow up", even in her thirties. There's not much substance here, IMHO, but I have to say the insight into the yanki lifestyle (punk kids) was an eye-opener: never in my life had I imagined any kids in Japan behaving so disobediently, skipping school, inhaling paint thinner, ordering gang members to rape girls...

Every time I consider getting a tattoo I always come back to my first concern: Japanese hot springs. If I were denied entrance to even one, it wouldn't be worth it to me just for a little piece of macho art. Do women really go for that on guys? Discuss.

3 comments:

Emily said...

I like tasteful (key word - tasteful), and tattoos that are meaningful to the wearer. For example, my mom has three. A yellow rose on her ankle because she loves those, a black widow on her butt (that's her biker name), and two butterflies on her back to represent me and her, evolving away from a life with my dad (those were the first ones). But you have all of your life to get a tattoo, why risk getting rejected from hot springs just to have one? I say wait it out, see where life takes you.

Joshua Zimmerman said...

There are heaps of Yakuza in my area. I teach many of their children. As some might expect, they're the worst students at school. The teachers tell me they can't do anything because they're afraid of the parents.

Kyle said...

If you want a tattoo, get it on your upper arm so you can wear a band over it in the onsen/sentou.