Friday 19 October 2012

TATTOOS:  Is  this  the  smart  thing  to do?

The paragraphs that have white backgrounds are merely anomalies in the printing.

A tattoo is a form of body modification, made by inserting indelible ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change the pigmentation of the area of the skin where a design is being drawn by a tattoo artist and sometimes by the person himself who draws his or her own tattoo on the skin.

The word ‘tattoo’ was brought to Europe by the explorer James Cook when he returned in 1771 from his first voyage to Tahiti and New Zealand. In his narrative of the voyage, he refers to an operation called ‘tattau’. Before this it had been described as scarring, painting, or staining. The word ‘tattoo’ finally became the common word used in every English-speaking nation.

Tattooing has been practiced for centuries in many cultures spread throughout the world, particularly those found in Asia. Tattooing has been a  Eurasian practice at least since Neolithic times.

I have seen pictures of beautiful tattoos and even strange tattoos. The most beautiful one was inscribed on the entire back of a man and it covered the entire area of his back. The colours ranged from dark and light blue, red, orange, green and purple. The design was exquisite. The strangest one was of a tarantula spider. It looked as if it was actually a real one because you see its shadow imprinted on the skin.

I have seen some really gross ones also. The grossest tattoo I ever saw on a man was on his chest and his stomach. It was of a woman lying on her back with her knees up by her chest. His belly button was inked in to look like her anus.

 I feel nothing but contempt for anyone (and there are many of them) who tattoos the words Hate and Love on their upper fingers. What are these twits trying to prove? These twits are for the most part, ex-cons who did this act of stupidity while they were in prison. Some twits actually have tattoos on the tip of their penises. I bet that hurt.

Many girls and woman are getting tattoos also. However for the most part, they are smart enough to place it where it normally won’t be seen. A common place is at the small of their backs. The tattoo isn’t large but often it is colourful.

Tattoo enthusiasts may refer to tattoos as "ink", "tats", "skin art", "tattoo art", "pieces", or "work"; and to the creators as tattoo atists. These tattoo artists for the most part are trulyextremely good  artists.

Many tattoos serve as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, punishment, amulets and talismans. Many marines will tattoo the Marines motto on their upper arms.

Unfortunately during the Nazi regime, tattoos of numbers were placed on the arms of concentration inmates. Many of the survivors refuse to remove them although such numbers have gradually faded over the years. I think leaving them on is a their statement that all was not good in the 1940s.

Recently I saw a young man with tattoos all over his arms. They have already begun to fade and they don’t look as beautiful as they might have been if they retained their original colours.  I think by the time he is fifty, the tattoos will look more like a series of bruises on his arms.

Many wanted criminals have been found after their tattoos were published because the general public recognized them and reported their observations to the police. Most advanced governments have records of all the tattoos they have photographed when they arrested these criminals so when a victim describes a tattoo on the body of the perpetrator, that criminal is easily recognized by the police. During the Roman Empire, Roman soldiers were required by law to have identifying tattoos on their hands in order to make it difficult for them to hide if they deserted.

In a national survey in the United States, 163 tattooed men and women were asked about their tattoos. One-third of those men and women said they regretted their having the tattoo they chose on their bodies. I imagine one of the regrets would be having put the name of a girlfriend or boyfriend on their arms only to discover later that they have broken up and they are now with someone else. Of course, one cannot go wrong if they tattoo the word Mom on their arm and strangely enough, I have yet to see the word Dad tattooed on someone’s arm.

If you feel that you must have a tattoo somewhere on your body. There are precautions you should take. They are;

Broken skin and bleeding are involved so you want to make sure your tattoo session is going to be conducted in a safe and healthy manner. When choosing a tattoo artist, you should take a good look around his studio. Cleanliness is a must.  It should also be brightly lit. Does he have equipment for sterilizing his needles?  Does the artist wear rubber gloves? Never, ever settle for an inexpensive tattoo in less than sanitary conditions. If at all possible, talk first to others tattooed by the same artist to make sure he operates his business in a healthy manner.

In order to prevent infection, never allow anyone but a professional tattoo artist to tattoo your body. All tattoos should be drawn with the correct equipment and not pens, sewing needles or home tattoo kits. Remember, wise friends don't let their friends tattoo each other.

Never get a tattoo after drinking alcohol. Not only is it a bad idea to make such a permanent decision while impaired, but alcohol will act as a blood thinner and can cause extreme bleeding.

Because a needle is being inserted underneath the skin, anyone getting tattooed is at risk for diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. While there are no vaccinations to render us immune from HIV or Hepatitis C, you would be well advised to prevent contracting Hepatitis B by getting yourself vaccinated against this disease. Your doctor or local Department of Health will have more information regarding such vaccinations.

In addition to viral infections, one has to worry about bacterial infections and allergies to dyes and needles. In some cases, one can contract a mild, treatable infection; in others, the outcome is more severe. Toxic shock syndrome, tetanus and tuberculosis are other symptoms of a tattoo application gone badly.

Emperor Constantine I banned tattooing the face around AD 330 and the Second Council of Nicaea banned all body markings as a pagan practice in AD 787.

There was a recent crackdown in Osaka, Japan that was initiated by a small incident. A municipal worker working in a children’s home showed his tattoo to a child. The affair caused so much uproar that the mayor decided to take action.

Toru Hashimoto, the young and often controversial mayor of Osaka who shot to fame for his attacks on Japan's central government and bureaucrats, has chosen a new target but this time, his plan is attracting little sympathy from the Japanese youth.

Last March, Hashimoto decided to take disciplinary action against government employees who did not answer a rather surprising questionnaire that included questions such as: “Do you have body art?” and “What size and where?” The mayor also suggested those with tattoos should quit their jobs.

If the mayor of a city in Canada or the United States made employees answer such questions on questionnaires, he would have a mob by the thousands battering the main door to the city hall down so that they could drag him out onto the street and tar and feather him.

Of the 33,500 public servants who answered the survey, about 100 admitted to having tattoos. The 500 or so who refused to answer the question could face a job transfer or be denied promotion. They are not the only ones who should start to worry if such a "tattoo witch-hunt" is implemented. Those admitting to having tattoos on their body could be subjected to the same punishment.  In Canada and the United States, the city would be facing law suits and no doubt the Human Rights people would be clambering for the mayor’s blood.

Tattoos are popular among young Japanese. But now those looking for a job fear that, following in the footsteps of Osaka’s mayor, companies might start thinking twice before hiring a body art aficionado.

If I was an employer, I would be rather suspicious of anyone that had a tattoo on them that is gross and can be seen by the general public. Would you hire a man as a salesman who has the words “Fuck You” or a Nazi swastika tattooed on his forehead? I hardly think so. But try firing someone in Canada or the United States who has a tattoo of a butterfly on their arm. The flack you would get would make the flack the Allied planes flying over Germany during the Second World War were subjected to seem like leaves blowing in the wind.

In any case, because of this Japanese mayor`s warning that those who have tattoos on their bodies risk punishment, an increasing number of Japanese workers have been trying to erase their tattoos over the past three months. In fact, the number of such interventions has gone up 20 percent in cosmetic surgery clinics.

Many facilities in Japan (swimming pools, sports clubs, public baths, hot springs etc.) refuse to let people with tattoos in their facilities. "It is a form of harassment from the government and a violation of human rights," says Mizuho Fukushima, head of the Japanese Social Democratic Party. No law prohibits tattoos in Japan.

In Japan, tattoos are still assimilated to the underworld. Many yakuza (members of organized crime syndicates) are tattooed. But so are ordinary people, like government employees, manual workers, truck drivers, porters to rickshaw pullers, blue-collar workers, carpenters, firefighters and yes, even mobsters. Almost everybody in Japan has a tattoo. Both men and women who have no link whatsoever with the Japanese mafia have tattoos.

Japan’s traditional tattooing is a minor art that was once closely linked to the world of woodblock print. Its iconographic richness, aesthetics and techniques date as far back as the 18th century. Body art then became ornamental. At the beginning of the next century, it matured into a genuine social phenomenon, taking on the expression of non-conformity of the individual identity of those who chose to put images on their bodies.  

The first real tattoo artists were wood engravers who worked for the country’s greatest painters. Tattooed pictures were at that time still called horimono engraved thing and not yet called irezumi (injecting ink), which is more commonly used today. They drew their inspiration from traditional images: mythical figures, dragons, carps or flowers —symbols full of with meaning.

This trend was born with beautiful tattoos that sometimes covered the entire body, characteristic of a time when man honored the noble virtue of frivolity.  

Such 'brocaded skins' were a fascination for the first foreigners to land on the Japanese mainland. Some of the visitors even chose to get a tattoo on their own, such as the French writer Pierre Loti, Tsar Nicolas II of Russia, the Duke of York (future King George V), and Queen Olga of Greece.

But for most Japanese people, tattoos still remain the prerogative of disreputable mobsters. Getting inked was part of a traditional initiation rite since getting g tattooed was a proof of resistance to pain and a sign of belonging to a group. As for criminals, body art could even become a threat: unveiling it was enough to instill terror — a recurrent image seen in movies about the yakuza.

Not everybody in Japan gets their `tattooed bodies celebrated in fiction since it more or less remains the prerogative of a small minority of tattooed people, who are proud to belong to a 200 year-old tradition. This is not the legacy claimed by the Japanese youth, who usually opt for more discreet tattoos. Long ostracized for being a mark of the underworld, tattoos have managed to break the barriers over the past 10 years with the promotion of the tattoo craze that came from the United States.

Tattoo parlors in Japan are no longer hiding in back alleys, and now they can be found in Tokyo’s trendiest neighborhoods (Shibuya, Takeshita Street).

Tattooing in the United States is still very popular and now they have a television series dedicated to tattooing.

How do you remove tattoos from your body? I only know of three methods of removing tattoos.

1.    Apply a tattoo removal cream to the ink and allow it to sit for several minutes (may range from 10 to 30 minutes depending on the cream you are using). This cream essentially burns off the image, so you have to expect it to sting your skin. Wash off the cream and wait several weeks before repeating the process. It may take multiple attempts to remove the tattoo from your skin. Each container of cream—which is good enough for one large tattoo or several applications on a smaller tattoo. It costs around $80.

2.    See a plastic surgeon and have the tattoo ink removed via laser beams. This also essentially burns off the tattoo. This process is more effective than the removal cream. You may need anywhere from one to ten sessions to completely remove a tattoo and that of course depends on the size of the tattoo you want removed.

3.  Intensive pulse light therapy process works. It uses an electric pulse to remove the tattoo ink. However, it is the most expensive process because it takes thousands of pulses to remove the tattoo ink. Each pulse may cost anywhere from $10 to $25.

I knew a woman who burned off her tattoos with cigarettes. The scars on her arms were hideous.

 If you want to put a tattoo on your body, I suggest that you accept the following tips.

1.    Don`t put them on your face, neck or hands.

2.    Don`t put the name of your sweetheart or wife on your body.

3.    Don`t put any obnoxious or racist words on your body.

4.    Don`t put them on your genitals.

5.    Don`t make them too large. It will cost you a fortune to remove them.

I can appreciate why some people feel that they can make a statement by placing a tattoo on their bodies. But if that is your wish, make sure that the statement you choose is one that you really believe in because you are going to live with that statement all your life.

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