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Fitting in, tattoos

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Fitting in, tattoos

Postby Kinjo » Tue 09.19.2006 2:49 am

Hi guys, my first thread here.

I've dreamt about going to japan for a long time, I just never put enough effort in to it, today I'm 23 and from all out of the blue I got a joboffer as a bartender in Tokyo.
All of a sudden the dream seams like reality and thus it got my thinking about a few things.
Mostly about my tattoo.
I used to study some japanese but the ckasses didnt work out for me timewise since I work in the Swedish nightclub buissness. However, he told me that if you have tattoos you're not allowed to go to the local bathhouses and so on, sure, he was down there during the 80s but I still wonder how the situation is today.
Is this still a fact? If so is it more common to have a shower in your own apartment in modern time tokyo? As if it wasnt enough that I'm blond and blueyed, this tattoo is a very complex and detailed tribal from my elbow and up to the middle of the side of my neck, it's a homejob that was done in my 17s so it looks like some crappy jailjob.

So I've had thoughts about having it removed.

What do you think? Will I be accepted in the workplace, sociallife and so on?
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby keatonatron » Tue 09.19.2006 2:57 am

If you had a normal job things might be tough, but in a bar you should have no problems.

It's still quite true about the bath houses, but you don't have to worry, everyone has their own baths. It's not a third world country you know! I have an extremely tiny apartment, and even I have my own shower. If you happen to live in a place that has a shared bath (like a dorm or shared house) tattoos are fine; it's only the public bath houses (the ones you pay money to enter) that don't allow them.
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby Harisenbon » Tue 09.19.2006 3:01 am

While there are a number of places that won't let you into public bath houses, there are a number of places that are just fine with it. Additionally, being a foreigner sometimes gives you a little lee-way into breaking the no tattoo rule.

Most people shower in their houses, and go to the public baths for relaxation or recreation. You don't have to worry about not bathing for months on end. ;)

There are a number of posts about this already in the Culture section. I'd suggest looking through them. There's a lot of good information to be had.

EDIT
Damn you're fast, Keatonatron
Last edited by Harisenbon on Tue 09.19.2006 3:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby keatonatron » Tue 09.19.2006 4:37 am

*makes pistol-shooting action with hands*
"Pow pow!"
*blows smoke from the barrels*
"Whew, whew"
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby Kinjo » Tue 09.19.2006 5:47 am

Thanks, I found the thread using the search, it was however not very indepth so I'd like to take it a bit further. Is it ok here in the general section or should I move it to the cultural section?
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby paul_b » Tue 09.19.2006 5:53 am

Kinjo wrote:
Is it ok here in the general section or should I move it to the cultural section?

Tell you what, I'll move it.
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby Kinjo » Tue 09.19.2006 6:20 am

Thanks, so like I pointed out earlier my tattoo is kinda big and I'm planing on going to Tokyo for more then just a vacation, hence my concern. Would a girl for example be willing to introduce a gaijin with half his arm covered in a tattoo for her parents? In since
it reaches the midsection of the right side of my neck it's kinda hard to conseal aswell. And I'm not a fan of turtlenecks. So is there anyone curently residing in Tokyo or an exresident who could give some feedback? If it turns out that my life would be to complicated as a tattooed gaijin in the japanese comunity I might just save enough money to have it removed, it's that of a big deal to me.
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby coco » Tue 09.19.2006 8:39 am

1)Have you already got a job offer, right?
yes : good.
No : Never mind, you should ignore my post.

2)Does your employer know you have big tattoo?
yes : good. So you don't need to worry about it.
No: I think you should tell him/her about tattoo. or you may need to send a photo around your neck.( where you can not hide it by cloth.)

3)Do you already have a Japanese girl friend?
Yes : Ask her about your tattoo. Do not worry about it too much.
No: You can find a girl who don't mind about tattoo or she may be tattoo lover too. Hopefully she has parents who don't mind about tattoo either.
When you start to love someone who mind your tattoo, it will not be too late to start thinking about it, I guess.

By the way .... Don't you mind if I ask what kind of design your tattoo is ??
Wasn't it 漢字? or dragons?
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お呼び出し垂オ上げます。Mukadeさ〜ん。いらっしゃいませんか?
一番的確な助言ができるのはMukadeさんじゃないかと思いますが、いかが?
I hope our member Mukade-san will help you. He seems to handle his big tattoo well.
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby AJBryant » Tue 09.19.2006 9:17 am

Would a girl for example be willing to introduce a gaijin with half his arm covered in a tattoo for her parents? In since it reaches the midsection of the right side of my neck it's kinda hard to conseal as well.


While there are going to be exceptions, as a general rule you have already shot your foot off. For most people, that tattoo thing is rather ingrained -- especially on big, showy tattoos.

While they might be able to overlook a small, subtle one that could be concealed by a sleeve, this is, typically, going to be a deal-killer for you in just about everything from dating to getting a job. If it were something you could easily conceal, that might be one thing, but if it goes over where your collar would conceal it, you're screwed.


Tony
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 09.19.2006 9:28 am

this is the one thing that I have always counciled people on about tattoos. No matter how cool they are/look, sooner or later the stigma will follow you around. However, having said that, if you are up front with people and don't try to hide it from them, you will find that most people are more willing to deal with it/put up with it, where if you try to be sneaky about it, it will inevitably bite you in the arse.

within the bar tending i don't think there will be too many issues. and some bathhouses don't care one way or another if you have a tattoo. but as far as generalizing to ask if there are any japanese girls that would be ok with it and wouldn't mind show ing you off to their parents? well, I am sure there are, it is up to you to find them..

we can't help you past what has been posted..
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby keatonatron » Tue 09.19.2006 10:04 am

It kinda depends on what world you live in. On the set of the Dir En Grey video I was in, EVERYONE had a tattoo. There were a few girls there who were bartenders and totally punked out with lots of piercings and tattoos. I also go to a lot of small, indie concerts (you know, where the musicians still have day jobs), and a few of them have pretty large tattoos. They are usually concealable, though, so that might make a difference.

If you already have a job, and they don't care about the tattoo, then great. When it comes to girls, I'd think if you just find one with a tattoo bigger than yours you won't run into any problems! ;)
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby Kinjo » Tue 09.19.2006 2:47 pm

Ok, i guess that should cover it. Thanks alot for the heads up guys, guess I'll rome around stockholm for a while to compare prices on laser surgery haha.
Take care.
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby revolutionary » Tue 09.19.2006 6:41 pm

I have a tattoo, as well, on my shoulderblade. Over summer semester, I was in a math class that was about 25% Japanese exchange students. One day I wore a halter top and the Japanese guy sitting behind me randomly told me he thought my tattoo was beautiful, and that he especially loved the way it was sized and placed on my body. His friends were very impress with it, too. Now, these are younger college kids my own age, so I can't speak for everyone else. I'm working on a TESOL program right now, and I honestly don't think a tattoo that tiny will hurt my chances of getting hired in a Japanese language school. Personally, I think a Japanese person in a bar might even enjoy having a blonde, blue-eyed bartender with a tattoo. It would be exotic. Kinda.
Last edited by revolutionary on Wed 09.20.2006 12:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby Mukade » Tue 09.19.2006 10:29 pm

I have a large tattoo, as well. It's traditional Japanese style, too, which is very directly associated with gangsters (and the origin of the stigma).

I haven't had any problems blending into Japanese society, however (insofar as a blonde, green-eyed white guy can blend in here).

My in-laws had a bit of a problem with it initially, and even asked me to have it removed. Nowadays, however, they don't even blink, even when I'm wearing a sleeveless t-shirt.

My employers have no idea that I have a tattoo - and why would they? I don't come to work shirtless, and I've never gotten drunk enough at a company outing to get naked in front of everyone, so it's really not an issue.

I do work part-time at an eikaiwa, and would wear short sleeve shirts where the ink showed through just a bit near the elbow. My employer noticed it, asked me to wear a shirt with slightly longer sleeves, and that was the end of that.

As far as bathhouses go - I've been to several all over Japan, and I've only been asked to leave once. Some places are very, very strict. Others have bans on tattoos just to keep out gangsters (which I clearly am not). Some don't have bans at all. And like Harisenbon mentioned, you can sometimes play the gaijin-card and be exempted.

I spent most of the summer walking around in sleeveless t-shirts, and I did get more looks than I usually do when I'm wearing long-sleeves, but you are starting to see more and more younger kids (around college age) with tattoos. I do think the times are a'changin.

Anyway, I would say that you don't have to worry. Just be aware that some people still attach negative impressions to tattoos, and dress appropriately to each situation.
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RE: Fitting in, tattoos

Postby Shibakoen » Wed 09.20.2006 7:45 pm

I wouldn't worry about it too much in Tokyo. Can't speak for the more rural areas, but it seems to me most people in Tokyo have no problems with it. I mean check out the "ganguro" thread. They're almost normal, at least around Shibuya. I've got Japanese and gaijin friends with tattoos and they don't seem to have problems. They cover them up as best they can, but sometimes (especially with dress shirts) they still show through but it hasn't been a big deal. I mean here in the States employers are pretty picky about covering up tattoos, too, so I don't see Japan as being especially strict about it. Just don't act like an ass, and I doubt most people would care that you have it.
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