I have a tattoo on my right ass cheek that looks like this:
It says dorei in Japanese. I was very particular about it: the font, the spacing, the size and more importantly, I knew exactly what it meant.
I’ve seen some people with just the first character tattooed somewhere. While the first character may have an stem meaning of ‘slave’, do doesn’t really mean anything. In English we have stems that often come from latin – like the stem ‘ped’. We know that ‘ped’ has something to do with ‘foot’ because we have words like ‘pedal’ and ‘pedicure’, but ‘ped’ itself means nothing to us. Similarly, just writing do would be like writing ‘ped’ and wondering why people were confused.
Last night Master and I went to dinner with my Japanese boss and his wife. During all the pleasantries of discussing raw fish we also had a funny conversation about people with funky Japanese tattoos. She said she’d seen a girl with: muryou tattooed on her arm.
We both had a really good laugh…although we could see where she’d gone wrong.
If you type ‘free’ into some online translation sites, one word it will give you would be the above characters which are read as muryou. But I’m assuming that the sort of ‘free’ that she actually wanted was: which is read as jiyuu meaning ‘freedom’….not muryou as in ‘free of charge’.
It was incredibly funny…unless of course the girl was a skanky ho and ‘free of charge’ was exactly the message she wanted to project to the world.
My advice? Never, ever, ever get a tattoo if you don’t know exactly what it says and how it is drawn (correct brushstrokes) – even if you think it looks cool. Oh, and for god’s sake, make sure you know which way it goes (I’ve seen too many mirror-images and upside-side tattoos.) Otherwise, you’re likely to end up on the graveyard of bad tattoos.
*end of rant*