Wednesday, June 30, 2010

from: Kim B.
date: Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 8:43 AM
subject: Tattoo

Your blog is fascinating. I have attached a picture of the tattoo I have on my left shoulder blade.

I got it while in New Orleans and like the shape of it, I'm just not sure how it translates. When people ask, I usually tell them: Stupid American (although at the time I was told it means beautiful or beauty).

Thanks for any help you can provide.

Kim B.


If this character is intended to be "beauty", , then it is missing a horizontal stroke. However, the joke does not stop there.

Chinese character for sheep is , and what Kim B. has on her shoulder blade does indeed look like sheep with a little dropping.
from: mike h.
date: Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 11:28 AM


I have a similar story to those posted on your blog, my sister allowed a trainee to practise his 'art' after a day of indulgent partying and likewise has no idea what this 'disaster' means.

I really hope you can help.

Many thanks.


Whoever got this probably over-stretched a book on a copy machine. The characters size are inconsistent. My favorite part is the tattooist even included the period behind .

is Lotus Sutra.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

from: tim
date: Fri, Jun 11, 2010 at 2:32 PM
subject: tattoo interpretation

A coworker of mine has a tattoo he got while he was out partying a couple a years ago and has absolutely no idea what it means. Can you tell us?




Why would anyone be proud of tattoo that says: "to commit any imaginable evil"?
from: john r.
date: Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 2:58 AM
subject: tattoo translation help please...

Hi There

I have enjoyed reading through your blog a few times and this weekend talking to my girlfriends sister, I felt need to ask you for help. She was showing me her tattoo, that she had a few years back which is supposed to be Heavenly Girl in Chinese. Having looked at the characters, I recognised the first as being the Japanese Kanji for Heaven, Im not sure it means the same in Hanzi or not, but I could not recognise the last two characters as anything related to girl or woman. Although I can recognise the first character as - (sky, heaven) and the last character which I think is - (government official, official), the middle character is awkward. I think it is - (leaf, block, cake), giving 天丁吏, which I don't know how this would work combined, but all these are Japanese translations anyway. Any chance you can shed a little more light on this?

Thanks very much for your time



It is 天使 or "angel" with 使 not clearly written.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

from: Alexandria C.
date: Thu, Jun 17, 2010 at 2:24 AM
subject: tattoo translation help please...

I heard about your blog from a friend and decided to check it out cause i am worried about a tattoo i have personally. It is supposed to mean " live for today" but i would really appriciate it if you could help in translating the picture of it attached. Thanks do much for your time!


Alan and I saw tattoo template of this for sale back in 2007:

生現 “Live For Today”

As is, this gibberish means nothing in Japanese or at least nothing like “live for today” and I don’t think it means anything in Chinese either. The only meaning I can guess is that if it were written 生きて現れる, this would mean “to show up alive” or “turn up alive” as if someone thought dead had appeared alive. Anyway, it sounds pretty spooky, like seeing a zombie!

I think the person who made this up just looked in a dictionary for the word for “to live” and a word that means something like “now” and thought you could stick them together to make “live for today.”

It doesn’t work like that.