Wednesday, April 08, 2009

How fish leads to Absinthe

Hearing about a friend's visit to Tsukiji, the largest seafood market in the world, I couldnt stop myself from searching for videos of it online. Enormous fish being brought in, sliced, packed and frozen for the sushi eating Japanese was pretty amazing!!!!

As usual I got caught up on youtube and watched a couple of big tuna fishing videos, which led me to read a few chapters of the online version of
THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA(you see, the old man used to catch marlins!!) Then I started reading about Hemingway ('cuz he was the author of OMS) and began wondering why he shot himself. This made me discover that he drank heaps of ABSINTHE (which causes mental instability) and that one of its cocktails is actually called DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON (cuz Hemingway shot himself in the afternoon). This led to articles on the origins of absinthe, how it has medicinal value but then it was banned cuz a couple of people started to go high on it, and what is its status quo.

Soon enough I realized I had spent an hour and a half reading/viewing/searching/finding stuff on the internet just as I used to flip through channels on the TV as a kid.

I have tons of weird information that can help me initiate good conversations on any of the above topics. But is it really going to help me anywhere??

God bless the internet, the new idiot-box.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Aesthetic alteration or a painful experience?

My first tattoo sprang out of a rush of heat in the summer of 2006.

It was the graduation of four of my closest friends and 3 of us, including me, had planned to get ourselves printed-on before D-day. The graduates were tied up in their packing and throwing away sprees of clothes, furniture and what not (everyone collects crazy stuff over 4 years of life in Japan), I was left alone.
It was a now or never situation and so... I went for it.

Deep Tattoo Studio is a small white structure behind Shidax karaoke. Even though the building looked unfinished from the inside with its revealed skeleton of grey pipelines and beams, I could feel the "hygiene" on entering the studio with the faint smell of antiseptic in air.

After 10 mins of brainstorm I decided it was safe to get a Japanese kanji cuz I didn't want to freak out myself more than anyone else by getting cats, snakes or any sort of creepy design, plus a kanji would represent my life in Japan. I didn't want the usual cliches 幸福、調和、愛、平和 (happiness, prosperity, love & peace) instead smth that looked cool yet complex with tons of sharp strokes and I settled for 優.
'Yu' can be written using different kanji characters and can have meanings that range from benevolent, amiable & fond to excel & superior.

A stencil with the kanji print was pasted on my right shoulder and then the outline, shading and filling started. For each of the three process there was a different kind of needle used. The process wasn't painful although I do recall it being similar to a million ants crawling over me. Once the tattoo was complete I was bandaged properly and given a small box of tattoo-goo for the aftercare.

I was excited like a newborn I galloped on my way home.

x x x

With puzzled "Did it hurt?" and "Why did you do it?" from friends and family it has been three years since. I still smile at these questions and look forward to getting a new one soon...