|Kanji for gai-jin|
One of the earliest kanji that I recall learning when I moved to Japan was gai-jin which can be translated to mean foreigner or outsider. The kanji for gai-jin are relatively simple and therefor easy to learn to write. The interesting thing with the word gai-jin is that the more "formal" (as I understand it) word for foreigner is gai-koku-jin. Many commentators, especially gai-jin themselves have likened the use of gai-jin to that of jap as opposed to Japanese. Many people say that just as jap is just a shortened version of japanese, but still holds negative connotations, the same can be said for the word gai-jin as opposed to gai-koku-jin. I never felt any pejorative connotations to the word during my time in Japan, but obviously others do. (See GAIJIN" VS "GAIKOKUJIN by Dave Aldwinckle - http://www.debito.org/kumegaijinissue.html) Anyway, on leaving Japan I decided that when I turned 18 I would have the characters tattooed somewhere on my body. When I turned 18, my girlfriend at the time talked me out of it. She basically said that whenever she saw Chinese or Japanese characters tattooed on somebody, she instantly thought of them as a wanker. I argued at the time that it would be different for me because I understand the meaning of the word, and the tattoo itself would have meaning to me. In the end she managed to talk me out of it and I never got the tattoo.
I am now 24, I still have no tattoos and plan on getting one for my 25th birthday, but I am not sure what to have inked. I still love the idea of having gai-jin tattooed on my shoulder or bicep, but I still hear my ex's voice ringing in my ears telling me that everyone will think of me as a wanker. I know I shouldn't really care what other people think, but if this is something that will be on me for the rest of my life I want to be sure that I will be happy with it for the rest of my life. I have a few other ideas in mind, one of which is a carp on my back.
Anyway, what do you guys think about Japanese / Chinese characters tattooed on westerners? Would you judge somebody based on that? Let me know in the comments!
A big shout out to all the people following and reading my blog already, I am really surprised at the support I have received even before I have posted any content. I think that that is probably in large part due to Hom Diddly giving me a plug on his blog, http://humouratti.blogspot.com (check it out if you haven't already!) so cheers, Hom!
And to finish this, my first real post, some AWESOME Japanese tattoos!