I just came across a blog called “Hanzi Smatter,” which chronicles the butchering of Chinese and Japanese writing in the west.
Oh. My. God.
I can’t stop repeating that over and over as I see some of the tattoos people have gotten. They’re so horrible they’re not funny.
Let’s use this one for an example. It’s no better or worse than any of the others, and that’s what’s so horrifying. It’s really, really bad.
First we have an old character for “money.” One of those big ancient coins, I think. Next, “fugu,” “buku” which means “poisonous blowfish.” absolutely nothing. Next, “a.” (Just the sound “ah.” No meaning whatsoever.) After that, “ouch.” And finally, “love”. Roughly translated, this means, “I’m a complete imbecile.”
Not even to mention the font. It looks like it came out of an inkjet printer.
Honestly, I don’t know what to say. I mean, I see people all the time here wearing T-shirts with English gibberish on them, but for chrissake, they can take the damn things off at the end of the day and throw them in the wash.
If anyone out there has a kanji tattoo, please, don’t ever ask me to translate it. Don’t even show it to me. After seeing so many really, really bad ones, I get the feeling that there’s probably no such thing as a “good one.”