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...