Not everybody who read my the article on my first tattoo experience also watched the accompanying 13 minutes video. This is too long and too much asked to a stranger who is passing bye. Especially if the article is quite long as well.
This said, I want to share this little story with you.
It’s mentioned by Ilaria during the filming and it’s from my dear friend Pedro. He told me this story about his workmate during one of our Wednesday (beer drinking) evenings we hold since 15 years at the time of writing this.
Pedro had this workmate who showed up at work with a sleeveless shirt showing his fresh and gleaming new tattoo. It was a tiger with a black Chinese character right beside it. They had the usual chat about pain, costs and meaning. I can’t remember exactly what Pedro told me the Chinese character was saying, but it really doesn’t matter as you’ll see in a second. However, it should have been something cool and tiger related.
The next day Pedro’s workmate came to work and looked pretty disappointed and kind of nervous. Pedro asked him what was going on and he told that he went home by train the day before. While he was waiting on his train to arrive a Chinese girl came to him and asked very politely: Excuse me, but why is your tattoo saying a quarter to five?
Pedro’s workmate immediately protested and said that she must be mistaken as his tattoo said something powerful, tiger related. The girls shrugged and went away smirking.
Pedro gave his workmate the clever advise to go to a Chinese restaurant, showing his tattoo to an employee there and then he would knew it for sure.
The guy admitted that this was very wise and after work he decided to take a meal at the local Chinese. He asked the waitress if she could read the character on his arm. She said no (she was born in the Netherlands, could talk the language but didn’t knew all the characters) but she would ask if the chef had time to look at it.
After a while the chef came and he said with a friendly smile that it said a quarter to five. Pedro didn’t tell me if the guy finished his dinner, but he wasn’t that happy when he came back to work the next day.
If you like tattoos at all is a question of taste. If you like Chinese characters as a tattoo is a question of taste as well. Personally I find Chinese characters in a tattoo beautiful and esthetic. The problem with them are stories like the one above.
What amazes me the most when I hear or read a story like that is that people don’t do any research beforehand.
In the first place you know that a tattoo is for life. If you think about a tattoo and you think at the same time that you can let remove it later if you don’t like it anymore, here is an advise I want to give you: don’t let anyone tattoo you. Just don’t do it if you are not for the fully 100% confident that you want to have it on your body for the rest of your life. Think before you ink!
In the second place people tend to spend a lot of money for their tattoos. Of course it’s in the eye of the beholder what you consider a lot of money. My Chinese character tattoo had a price of $ 100,- back in 2008. Not expensive and it’s the quality you can expect from a top tattoo parlor as East Side Ink in New York.
If I wasn’t confident at the time of getting the tattoo that the characters are exactly saying what I thought they were saying, no needle had been put in my arm. I can assure you this for the fully 100%.
I was lucky that Ilaria’s adorable Chinese friend Ching was so nice not just to translate the saying for my tattoo but also to gave me the advice to take another saying what’s an Chinese idiomatic equivalent of it. This is the help you need if you are not Chinese and want to have a proper tattoo consisting Chinese characters.
When I came home my girlfriend confirmed that she couldn’t find anything weird in my tattoo. It was after the inking was done but this gave me the final security as my girlfriend had studied the Chinese language.
But be aware! Even if you know a Chinese person who is keen to help you doesn’t say that this will work without failure. You see, translating a text from one language into another takes more than just the skill of translating words one by one. Even sentences isn’t enough. Why should I’ve made the decision to translate a text into Chinese that no Chinese person would ever use? You see what I mean?
Again, if I hadn’t had the assurance of an accurate translation and advice I wouldn’t have this tattoo today. If I had known about the Chinese tattoo artist Yingying at this time I would have invest $30 or $50 extra to make sure my tattoo isn’t a failure and a waste of my money all together. This is even more true if we talk about tattoos that cost a couple of hundred bucks. Removing a misspelled tattoo is painful and much more expensive than the tattoo itself.
Yingying’s service is no automated stuff. She delivers custom translated Characters for your tattoo. Her design makes you stand out from the crowd with zero risk of misspelling. Besides this she works secure and fast. Within 24 hours you get your translated design delivered. She also provides the stencil outlines what can save you the money for this as well.
You should consider this if you are up to get a Chinese character tattoo.
Thanks for reading and have a nice day!