Sunday, December 28, 2008

If douchebags like Criss Angel and David Blaine are your type of heros, here is a video for you:

Sensei Mike Capaldi breaks some wood pieces in shopping center's parking lot without touching them. Of all places, including his own studio and dojo; why would he perform this stunt on a sidewalk of some shopping mall?

By the way, even if the character at the bottom right was not upside-down, the text still makes no sense in Japanese.

Alan's best guess is that they took the word Oseibo (meaning "year-end present"), added a couple other characters for seasoning and mixed and mashed for a Japanese word-soup puree.

Tai-San style mind break, indeed.

I call it bullshit.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A few years back there was a sitcom on NBC called Committed. In one episode, one of the lead character had some tattoo work done at New Orleans and it turned out to be something along the line of "of two men who love each other, you are the one plays the woman." Eventually he got the tattoo fixed to "Lemon Chicken." (10.4MB)

Of course, that was only in a comedy sitcom.

No so!

Someone actually got Sesame Chicken tattooed on him and proud of it:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mark & Rachel pointed me to Victor Mair's recent post about the latest cover of Max Planck Institute's flagship publication, MaxPlanckForschung.

To honor the theme of the issue [China], the editors asked one of the journalists who worked for the magazine to find an elegant Chinese poem to grace the cover. This was the result:

No sooner had the journal fallen into the hands of Chinese readers than it set off a frenzy of indignation, uproarious laughter, and animated discussion.

This is a rough translation of what the text says:

With high salaries, we have cordially invited for an extended series of matinées

KK and Jiamei as directors, who will personally lead jade-like girls in the spring of youth,

Beauties from the north who have a distinguished air of elegance and allure,

Young housewives having figures that will turn you on;

Their enchanting and coquettish performance will begin within the next few days.

When the powers that be at MPI found out what the characters on the front of their journal actually said — they immediately issued the following heartfelt apology:

Dear Colleagues,

The cover of the most recent German-language edition of MaxPlanckForschung (3/2008) depicts a Chinese text which had been chosen by our editorial office in order to symbolically illustrate the magazine's focus on "China". Unfortunately, it has now transpired that this text contains inappropriate content of a suggestive nature.

Prior to publication, the editorial office had consulted a German sinologist for a translation of the relevant text. The sinologist concluded that the text in question depicted classical Chinese characters in a non-controversial context. To our sincere regret, however, it has now emerged that the text contains deeper levels of meaning, which are not immediately accessible to a non-native speaker.

By publishing this text we did in no way intend to cause any offence or embarrassment to our Chinese readers. The editors of MaxPlanckResearch sincerely regret this unfortunate error and would like to offer an unreserved apology to all of their Chinese readers for any upset or distress they may have caused.

The cover title has already been substituted in the online edition, and the English version of MaxPlanckForschung (MaxPlanckResearch, 4/2008) will be published with a different title.

We would ask you to forward this information to all Chinese scientists at your Institute. Please find attached the new version of the title. Perhaps you can distribute this print-out within your institute.

Here is the replacement cover:

(more at Language Log)

Update: The Independent UK - The original cover was a flyer from one of Macau's brothels.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

please interpret...

from: Jessica ***** <************>
date: Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 7:32 PM
subject: please interpret...

OMG - I have been looking for your site for years! I am so glad that I found someone to interpret and tell me how bad my tattoo really is. This is suppossed to say "SMS" - my ex's initials. I have never really known what exactly it said and would love to know that my body doesn't hold his name. Can you please help me! I would be very greatful to finally figure this mystery out. Thanks.

Congratulations, Jessica! The tattoo is gibberish.

Related: Gibberish Asian Font

Friday, November 28, 2008

"celebrate the knowledge of a dangerous, crazy father"

Reader Kat has emailed me yesterday this photo of her husband's back:


He got it done four years ago and the characters should be Knowledge, Loyalty, Courage, Warrior, & Father.

Since Alan just got back from Japan, I forwarded this to him. Here is what Alan concludes:

Besides the terrible calligraphy, the character is missing a dot at the upper right-hand corner. Also, the stroke at the bottom center of 寿 is supposed to be a separate dot rather than the incorrect connected stroke pointing down and to the right that we see.

Anyway, the characters mean roughly as follows:
knowledge, consciousness
寿 congratulations, celebration, long life, sushi
danger, dangerous
crazy, insane, mad

Is this supposed to mean "celebrate the knowledge of a dangerous, crazy father" or something?

I don't get the whole picture but it doesn't sound very complementary to the "father." The characters do not seem to mean anything like they think they do.

Mirrored Death

Another gem from, it is a mirrored (death).

Thursday, November 20, 2008


This one was fucking fun as hell to do. I will be pressuring him into turning it into a sock. If he does not, I will kill his dog. If he doesn't HAVE a dog, I will buy him a puppy.

And then kill it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

"Spiritual Strength"

HS reader Anna sent this photo to our attention:

Its owner, LuvBug, said she got this exact tattoo along with two other friends and it meant "emotional and spiritual strength. "

Besides the obvious botchery of two characters, the phrase is not 100% grammatically correct.

In my opinion, the proper version should be or . However, Alan is much lenient & thinks is good enough.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bushido Virtues Lost

User "Silat1" posted this photo in

The seven virtue of Bushido are so poorly done, many have left with missing strokes.

Rectitude ()
Courage ()
Benevolence ()
Respect ()
Honesty ()
Honor ()
Loyalty ()

The character for rectitude has been spited into two, & . Instead of representing righteousness, it is "king me" which sounds more like a term from Chess. Or "The King and I", if he is a musical type.

Both respect & honesty are missing a stroke.

Any self-respecting samurai would have committed suicide long time ago to defend his reputation and honor.

These pseushido (pseudo+bushido) douchebags are such pussies.

Stuff White People Like #58 - Japan


This photo's caption says "My girl's 'Bitch' tattoo. So fitting"

However, means "prostitute".

Why would anyone want that to be displayed on their body?

Even so, she should at least tattoo a price list underneath. It is so hard (no pun intended) to haggle, when all the blood has left the brain and gone into the boner.

Tit for Tat


Not a good looking tit or tat .

Monday, October 27, 2008


Facebook (remember the days when it was exclusive to students only?), aka. cum bucket of the internet, has so much to offer.

You can get reconnect with "friends" that you never had interest in real life, lose your privacy, get bombarded by clever data-mining advertisers, and blah blah blah...

It comes with no surprise there is a group called "CooLeSt TaTToo On FaceBook...." with this posted in it by Wayne Fright (go ahead and friendquest him):

Yep, it is an upside-down "Wendy".

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Enola's Tattoo in Waterworld recently posted something about futuristic bad-ass tattoos, one that received much attention is on the back of Enola in Waterworld (it was a shitty movie by Kevin Costner, come to think of it, were any of Costner's movies good?).

From Engrish & Hanzi Smatter
I thought Enola was a dwarf when I first saw the movie. Perhaps that was because the camera's angle that made her head huge and shrunk her torso.

The characters on the left of the circular thing is "latitude" and "longitude" on the right. I don't know why the movie people decided to break two characters into three. It is not like they are saving any flesh space.

The characters inside of the circular part is longitude & latitude's actual coordinates.

Latitude = 27° 59' N
Longitude = 86° 56' E

Spoiler alert: it is the location of Mount Everest.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Nov 2008 Wired - Lost, in Translation

In November 2008 issue of Wired magazine, there is an interesting article about underground (or should that be "under-net") volunteers that would add subtitles to popular American television shows for those who do not understand English.

The concept is interesting however the illustration accompanying the story is not so.

While both English and Arabic alphabets are up-right and correct, the four Chinese characters are upside-down.

means "serious laughter" in Chinese.

This is second time I have spotted Wired magazine making similar snafu.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day Of The Dead Flamingos ROCK.

This is on Vic from Sharp Tattoo (i think that's the name) in the new orleans area. This was fuckin fun as hell to first lower back tattoo on a man. It isn't a tramp stamp....its a MAN STAMP.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Scary Spice, tell me what you want?

While scanning through gossip site, The Superficial, I came across several images of Melanie Brown, aka. the former Scary Spice, modeling for Ultimo Autumn/Winter lingerie line.

I have no idea what the character circled in red supposedly to be.

Is it ? Or, is it ?

Oh, Melanie B, why can't you tell me what you want, what you really really want? According to the song, what she really wanted was "zigazig ha".

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sharing the Misfortune

is a Chinese idiom means "to share the misfortune together". If this was picked from a tattoo template book, I am sure there are many sharing this misfortune.

BBC: The Kremlin Digger

Alan noticed something odd about the photograph in BBC's article about Russian journalist, Elena Tregubova.

Alan says: "The Japanese in the background is obviously reversed. Perhaps the BBC published a mirror-image reversed copy of the photo. Although obviously intended to be Japanese, the text in the background is not exactly legible anyway and it does not seem to make any sense. Maybe the Japanese is reversed on the background image. Who knows? I’m not sure why such a journalist would want to be photographed in front of such a gibberish background. Is this fashionable in Russia or something?"

My guess would be it had something to do with paragraph 3 of the article:

"In one chapter, its author describes a flirty sushi lunch with Vladimir Putin, then head of the Russian security services, the FSB."

Sushi, #42 on list of things White people like.

So, I know I've Been Slacking....

But hey, sometimes we get busy, and sometimes we get lazy, and sometimes we get World of Warcraft at home....

So heres some more tattoos for you to peruse at your leisure.

I did this on a former Miss Deaf America. Flowers on a hip.

Laugh now, cry later tattoo, custom drawn.

Neo-traditional rose tattoo, custom.

Here's a monkey tattoo I did on my brother's girlfriend. It's for her son that likes to scoot around on the floor with his cars.

And I'm gunna toot my own horn here a little. This guy came in with a video of a soccer player with his name in big black roman/greek-esque lettering on his arm, i think, and he wanted his name just like that. I told him how much it was gunna be, and then said I could do it for a little bit less if I could do it in a way that he would like that would be fun for me to do as well. He agreed, and I got to do this, which I think is the best tattoo I have ever done.

All tattoos I do are custom drawn. You can contact me at Myspace, or you can call Freak Show Tattoos at (210)673-7325

Freak Show Tattoos ( is located at

310 Valley Hi Dr, Suite 203
San Antonio, Tx 78227

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lebanese Tattoo by Moe Barjawi

Alan spotted this photo of what appears to be Kanji tattoo by Moe Barjawi in BMEzine's gallery:

Alan emailed me this after seeing it:

Let me see if I got this right. Some tattooist named “Moe” tattoos himself with his name in the “Gibberish Font” and, thinking this will be good advertising for his tattoo shop named “Lebanese Tattoo,” posts a picture of it on… They never learn, do they?

What is even more astonishing is that someone has evidently tried to “improve” the original horrible calligraphy (especially on the partial 辶). Did they really think that bad calligraphy was the only problem? The mind boggles.

What is even more entertaining is definition for the term "Lebanese tattoo" in is the following:

A badly drawn tattoo, done at a 'professional' tattoo studio. The term first surfaced on the facebook group 'Actually, I think your tattoo is hideous'.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Name-dropping in American Philosophical Society's Publication

Reader Bryan points me to the latest issue of American Philosophical Society's publication, where this humble little site was mentioned on page 54.

The main article is titled "How Maya Hieroglyphs Got Their Name: Egypt, Mexico, and China in Western Grammatology since the Fifteenth Century" by Byron Ellsworth Hamann from
Department of Anthropology and Department of History, The University of Chicago.

The illustration shown above had this caption:

Car ornamentation with “Chinese” characters, photographed in Almería, Spain, in August 2006. The third character from the left is dao (“way” or “path”); the rest are nonsensical (or, as James Mathien put it, “Fakenese”). Mayanists might refer to these as “pseudo-glyphs.” Photograph by the author [Hamann].

The article is sixty-eight pages long, so be patient or get a few liters of beer in you before proceeding.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Every time I see signs for Sierra Mist, I laugh. It is because "mist" in German slang means "[something] with terrible quality".

This person probably think his/er tattooed means "lotus", but that depends how it is read.

In Japanese, it means "burden".


I was showing a visiting friend parts of northern Arizona over the weekend, when we encountered this young lady at Sedona.

She probably has no clue what the three characters on her t-shirt meant, nor the fact there are mirrored.

Update: August 24, 2008 - Reader BH pointed out that Sinful is a brand of women apparel & this particular shirt is available for US$40.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Been A Bit Busy....

I've been a bit busier at the shop, and havent really had time to update this, so here, have some new stuff.

Have a rampaging turtle:

A simple reaper tattoo:

A winged sword...uh...thing:

This one was fun. I did it at the 4th annual Alamo City Tattoo expo 2008, on a fellow tattoo artist (although still aprenticing) Named Cale, from Oklahoma.

This guy came in wanting tribal. All he had was $500 to work with, so I told him to let me do something a bit different that he would like. When he said yes, I busted out the sharpies, and draw this on his ribs.

This was another drawn on with sharpie.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Amor, Dios, Familia

A couple of days ago I received this photo link in Flickr from Sara in Canada.

Its caption in Spanish said:

Amor, Dios, Familia
Traduccion literal
Ama a Dios cmo a tu Familia

Which means,

Love, God, Family
Literal translation
Love your God & family
Love God the way you love your family

Nice sentiment, however there probably will not be much love for the tattooist. Love & Family are mirrored.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Here is another reason why it is a bad idea to tattoo a person's name onto your own flesh:

利娅 is the Chinese transliteration for "Leah".

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Nereida Gallardo's "Ass-Guard"

Nereida Gallardo, the hot girlfriend of football star Cristiano Ronaldo, has some characters tattooed on her lower back.

I would assume there are more characters tattooed below her bikini bottom, otherwise the exposed portion of means "armed friend", or in this case: "ass-guard".

It sounds like a punchline for some anti-anal-sex joke.

(Thanks, John)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Key to Harmony

I went by a local Blockbuster store today to rent There Will Be Blood (good character development, a bit slow for my taste, could've be an hour shorter) , and saw this plaque in the garb section:

The first two characters and are correct, but I don't know why the character for "key", , is referred as "harmony".


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lost Soul Tribal Tat

Alan points me to one of the latest photos in BME:

The caption suggests this is a tribal style tattoo, however it is not true. This is just another ill-informed individual got quasi-Chinese gibberish tattooed on his arm.

Interesting enough, this same tattoo design has appeared before. We are not certain if it is the same person who likes to flaunt his tat or great minds (or lack of) think alike.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Not my favorite dogs. But by far the favorite tattoo I've done lately.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mom's and Tattoos

Nothing really to say today, just wanted to post some of the tattoos I got to do for other mothers.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Randy "Rambo" Grady R.I.P.

This Saturday, May 10th, during regular business hours Freakshow Tattoos will be hosting a benefit for Randy Grady, (a.k.a. Rambo).

This young man was in a skateboarding accident last week and passed a few days later. Unfortunately, the family needs assistance with expenses. Therefore, the artists at Freakshow Tattoos will donate 100% of the proceeds to the family.

Even if you don’t wish to get tattooed, all donations will be greatly appreciated.

We would like to see as many people out here at Freakshow Tattoos as we can get. The more money we can pull together, the more that we can do for the family. Help us instigate the kindness of others and come support the Grady family and the Cody kids in their hard time.

Many thanks,
Freakshow Tattoos

310 Valley Hi Drive Suite 203
San Antonio, Texas 78154
(210) 673-7325

Sunday, May 4, 2008

What is it?

This photo was posted in BME's gallery on April 17, 2008 with caption of "poem".

However, I have no idea what it suppose to be.

Please feel free to comment if you know what it is.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

So I Was Looking At My Traffic Stats...

and I see this:

No. Absolutely not. Printer ink is NOT tattoo ink. It probably isn't even non-toxic, turbo. See, this is the reason there is laser removal, and cover-ups, not to mention infections and other nasty things that happen to skin after putting something in the skin that definitely is NOT tattoo in. Like printer ink.

Come on people, common sense need not be a thing of the past. If you want a tattoo THAT bad, go to someone who KNOWS what they're doing, with real equipment, in a real sterile area.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tribal Tattoos

I know what you're thinking. You want to get a "sweet tribal tatty" right? Wrong. Unless you go in and say I want a maori tattoo, or you bring in references and history and meaning about the tribe a certain design means, you are getting blackwork. Here's a quick how to guide.

Go into a tattoo shop, talk to the artists. Don't pick something off the wall, or the internet, most likely someone already has that. Ask them to draw something for you, or better yet, draw something on you. A good artist that knows about muscles and how they move in your body can generally draw you one that will fit your specific body.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Like Mariah Carey, Only.....Better?


People are wierd. Some people are weird and dumb. Some people are just plain dumb. Yesterday started out fine, and then shit started rolling downhill, like a snowball gathering mass.

First customer that comes in is an eighteen year old kid, wanting his first tattoo. I'm always down for that. But kids, don't start with your neck. You not only limit future employment forever, but you limit yourself other ways too. I tried to convince him that it wasn't the best idea. I say it could keep him out of a job he really wants. His answer? I have a job already. So it's okay. After about half an hour of talking to him, I say fuck it, gotta feed my kids, and do it, shaking my head internally the whole time.
So then, I walk outside to smoke a ciggarette. There's three guys out front of the restaraunt next door (Mama Lee's is THE best soul food ever. EVER.), talking about tattoos. One says that he's thinking of walking in the shop and checking us out. His friend says "No man, don't go there, I gots a friend named 'Dirty Dave' that did my tat fo ten dollas!" Dirty Dave? Ten dollars? No shit? Did it come with free AIDS and hep c as well?
Later, I'm outside again, and this 60ish woman walks up and looks in the door. "is that a LADY getting a tattoo??" she asks. Why I say yes, she says "Seems to me that she'll regret that in a year". I turn, and all the tattoos down my left arm become visible to her. "I don't regret mine" I say, and her eyes get big and she asks "Oh my, do you WORK here?" and walks off.
She comes back later with two kids, takes them to the big window, and starts lecturing them. We ALL wave from in the shop, and she gets scared and walks off.

Good times man, good times.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Kanji Tattoos, and How To Find That Phrase In Latin.

Seriously people, why get a tattoo of something in a language you don't know from a random source on the internet? I can definitly see if it's part of your heritage, has something to do with a larger tattoo (i.e. you have an oriental dragon, holding an kickass orb, a scrool with kanji on it and other badass elements), but why get something so....random? Anyways, my little rant on kanji being over, here's what the post was goingh to be about originally lol.

Tips on finding a tattoo in a different language.

1. Go to the library. Contrary to poular belief, there is plenty of sources more reliable than online translators at a library.

2. Go to a local collage, find a teacher that specializes in languages, or better yet the language you are looking for.

3. Make friends with someone from a country that speaks that language you want as their first language.

4. (one of the most unreliable ways) the internet. Try to find at LEAST three different sources that give the phrase, word, whatever it is you want in exactly the same way. You don't want a menu do you?

In the event that you find what you're looking for, make sure you get it checked out. If you DO find out someday that the beautiful kanji you have that you thought said "love" turns out to mean "lover" meaning "whore", don't come blaming me. I do not speak or write in any other language besides English, and mostly, I pretend I can't even speak that.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Kosuke "It's Gonna Happen" Fukudome

At a recent baseball game between Chicago Cubs & Milwaukee Brewers, fans of Cub's Kosuke Fukudome (福留 孝介) decided to make some signs to show their support for the Japanese player.

However the phrase they wanted was mistranslated by machine translator seen here.

The resulting 偶然だぞ is not flattering at all and is actually rather insulting, implying that Fukudome’s successes were merely a result of pure chance and not talent at all.

Related: Cubs pull racist fukudome t-shirt