Traveling with tattoos in Japan

A follow-up to this blog from our Writer in Tokyo.

So I think we might have doubled the count since last I wrote and are up to 10 total people with visible tattoos.  Maybe there were a few more as today I spent some time in Daikanyama, which seemed to have a more eclectic, free-spirit vibe, and truthfully I was seeing so few tattoos here, it began to get too hard to count and recall period.

The fact does remain, however, that tattoos in Japan, visible at least, are not very common.  Living in Hawaii, a place without the historical negative perception of tattoos combined with people wishing to connect to different ethnic traditions that make up the islands, tattoos are common, accepted (for the most part), and as much as fashion as they are meaningful.  Another reason we are #luckywelivehawaii.

I must conclude that traveling with tattoos in Japan is not a big deal for foreigners.  You get looks but that could very much be because you look much different in general and that’s that.

Good luck fellow sojourners!  Rock your ink wherever you find yourself!

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Walking Around with Tattoos in Japan

Our Writer is overseas in Tokyo.  Here are a few thoughts about his journey and tattoos.

Entered Tokyo for the first time, ever, a few days ago!

For the most part, people keep to themselves, and are very helpful if you need help.  The food is epic.  I’d heard about how 7-11 is everywhere and amazing and for sure that is true. Actually, just follow your nose and you will find an iconic meal. If you are in Akihabara, visit Journey x Journey, and tell Shane, the Owner, and Akane, his partner (not wife, sister, girlfriend, or daughter) what’s up from Jason in Hawaii!  His mix of fusion food was inspired by his trip around the world where he took a picture of one meal/day that he ate and wrote about.

Other than food and a feast for the senses in general the one huge thing missing from this experience?  Taking in the tattoos!

As a Writer and Tattoo enthusiast having known Horiyume (Tattoo Adam) for many years, my appreciation for ink & the backstory behind it has grown.  Yet, not surprisingly due to times past, tattoos are nearly invisible here.  I was prepared for this by the research I’d done beforehand but I didn’t know how that would impact me, a hapa-haole gaijin (foreigner) from Hawaii, with clearly visible tattoos.

While looking for a place to stay on Airbnb, I saw one listing that suggested wearing long-sleeves while walking through the neighborhood.  I opted against that since August is the hottest month out here.  So I’ve mostly traveled as is.

An advocate for being yourself wherever you walk, I have found that I am treated humbly and largely left alone, which is probably more to do with my limited Japanese vocabulary than anything else.  I have even got a few compliments from miscellaneous vendors who point and say “nice” or “good” amidst my travels to my arms so despite the old tattoo, acceptance is welcome.

But that doesn’t explain where the tattoos are…

In total, I have been here part of 4 days and have seen 5 Japanese people with visible ink.  A quick check of the fingers indicate they probably not members of the Yakuza and 3 of those people, were in Harajuku, which is known for being out there.  4 were men, and another a woman.  3 of the men had half-sleeves, which could easily be covered up.  In fact, only the woman had sleeves, which is quite the opposite elsewhere!

There aren’t even a grip of foreigners with heavy ink work wandering about though I did chat with a mate from Australia who comes this way to get work done and had a sleeve that was created here, with the other back in Australia.  It was cool to talk, however briefly, about ink but despite having such a strong lineage to tattoo traditions and a huge influence the world over, I’ve yet to really discover much in the way of tattoos and the average Japanese collector.

General Note: I will have to return in the winter, with sleeves covering and see if my experience is any different.  Until then, I’ll keep my eyes pealed as I’ve still 6 days left here to learn more about tattoos.

Stay tuned…

 

#Throwback – Traditional Tattoos at the Hawaii Tattoo Convention 2016

The Pacific Ink & Art Expo, came, it saw, it conquered!  This year’s event once again brought together International Tattoo Artists, American Tattooists, and Hawaii’s own together for thousands of people over a weekend in Honolulu.

Here are a few photos from the event that pay honor & respect to Polynesian Tattoo & Japanese Tebori Tattoo Roots, including a shot of our very own Horiyume Tattoo Adam!

 

Getting a tattoo is meaningful because you wear it for life and it has depth for a great many.  If you want to explore further what the process is, consider collecting traditional piece.  It’ll be one of a kind and you’ll be linked to the ancestors of tattooing because of it.

If you weren’t able to make it the Expo or are interested in Tebori tattoo work in Hawaii, stop by and get covered in ink by us here at 434 Tattoo!  Our team of talented tattoo artists are happy to serve ya out of our tattoo shop in Waikiki and Horiyume has studied under Master Tattoo Artist Horiyoshi III for many years.

Come on by, we’re happy to serve ya!

434 Tattoo
Custom Tattooing LLC.

Directions:
434 Ena Road
Honolulu, Hawaii
96815

Contact:
mailto:adamsiehr@gmail.com
1-808-391-8287

This Weekend – The 5th Annual Pacific Ink & Art Expo

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Join your ohana here at our Waikiki tattoo studio434 Tattoo, for the 2016 Pacific Ink & Art Expo!  Horiyume (Tattoo Adam) will have a booth at the event, which is open to the public on August 5, 6, & 7!

Also known as Hawaii’s Tattoo Expo or the Hawaii Tattoo Convention, this is the 5th year of this exciting event, which features some of the top artists from around the world!

See you there!

434 Tattoo
Custom Tattooing LLC.

Directions:
434 Ena Road
Honolulu, Hawaii
96815

Contact:
mailto:adamsiehr@gmail.com
1-808-391-8287