Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Koi tattoo: inking #01
My musings on Japan have mainly focused on some of the whackier and more annoying things that happened there. Consequently, readers assume that I’m not overly fond of the great country.
On the contrary, my confreres; I love Japan. So, to show my affinity, I have (after much research and reflection) decided to mark my body again for life with a quintessentially Japanese symbol. No, I’m not talking about a roaring Godzilla, a pimply Otaku, a giggly girl in a sailor’s uniform, nor a groping salaryman – I’m talking about a Koi.
The Koi is basically a good-looking carp. Sure, the Aussie versions are a pest and a pain in the Murray Darling Basin. But in Japan they are seen as a symbol of perseverance and success in life. These nuggety little characters are capable of swimming upstream against seemingly insurmountable currents in order to get to where they want.
According to Chinese mythology a carp which succeeds in swimming upstream and hurdling the upper rapids of the Yangtze River will be transformed into a dragon. I have no intention of evolving into a scaley fire-breather, but the koi is emblematic of my effort against particularly unrosey things that happened earlier in life. Memories of this time were submerged but raised their hideous head in my 30s. As a result, I was a bit blue for a while. However, I have long managed to burst out of that quagmire of gloom, to become a much shinier and happier me. And I want to celebrate this fact with the aforementioned tattoo.
You may have seen many koi tattoos with what appears to be a crown. These appear on the Tancho Koi; some of the rarest, and most expensive. The circle is believed to be representative of the symbol of the rising sun on the Japanese flag. For that reason, Tancho is the most coveted Koi in and out of Japan. Although, I’m intrigued by this element, I do think it reeks of elitism and materialism, so I chose not to have it included in my tattoo.
Many thanks and praise to Andy P, a master tattooist at the Tattoo Gallery, Rundle Street, Adelaide. Only 3 more inkings before my fishy friend is completed…