Can you help tell me what my tattoo says?

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monpac
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Joined: Mar 7, 2008 11:27 pm

Can you help tell me what my tattoo says?

Post by monpac » Mar 7, 2008 11:41 pm

I got this tattoo over 20 years ago. Picture was of a warrior in standing position with Sword and underneath was this symbol and in engilish "courage".

I was going through a tough time in my life & needed to remind myself to have courage..... now during my 1st time to Hong Kong & while wearing shorts, I was told it does not say courage... I guess I may need courage more now, than before... can you help?[img]

Sorry for the bad picture, trying to get better image to upload...
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is_this_courage_106.jpg
20 yr old tattoo
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Gary
The Boss
Posts: 6091
Joined: Oct 30, 2007 11:30 pm
Location: San Diego / Beijing

Post by Gary » Mar 8, 2008 12:46 am

Well, I am just going to be the bearer of bad news then.

This is actually two characters kind of smashed together.

Big Mistake Tattoo

The first one (on the left, since I believe it was intended to be read left-to-right) means "big" or "great". The character on the right can mean "excessive", "cross over", "passing by", or in this case, "mistake".

In short, your tattoo literally reads "gross mistake" or "big mistake".

This is a universal two-character word, and has the same written form and meaning in Chinese and Japanese.

Here are several ways to write these two characters (written vertically from top to bottom on this page):
http://www.orientaloutpost.com/charimg. ... 2823+36942

I'm kind of hoping this was a joke you are playing on me. Otherwise, some jerk of a tattoo artist really screwed or played a joke on you.

You could have someone add a dot to the "big" character in the upper right. This would make the word that means "hound" or "dog". It would not make a lot of sense, but it would vaguely mean "traveling dog". This is not a great solution, but it would remove the negative meaning.

This dog character that I am talking about can be seen here:
http://www.orientaloutpost.com/dictiona ... =%E7%8A%AC

In Japanese, this can also mean a snoop or a private detective, but it's a stretch to expect everyone to read it that way if you make the change.

Sorry that we didn't have our tattoo image service 20 years ago.

-Gary.
Last edited by Gary on Mar 1, 2011 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

monpac
Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 7, 2008 11:27 pm

Big Mistake...

Post by monpac » Mar 9, 2008 8:52 pm

I wish I could say I was joking, however I am not!

I saw this symbo underneath the Image of a Warrior and the english word "courage". Since the tattoo was a full body, I opted just for the symbols only. I watched as the artist placed the stencil on & the image is exactly the same as the stencil.

I guess the BIG MISTAKE I made was doubting my courage or myself 20 years ago. In hindsight, it is simple to see that courage was not something I needed to wear on the outside to ensure it was worn on the inside. Over the last 20 years I have been in many situations that required me to have courage and, I can honestly say, I have acted with courage (but not always with out mistake).

With that said, I will not change the Tattoo!! It will remain as is! It will serve as a reminder that the Big Mistake is to doubt myself.

However, after I get back to the US in 2 weeks from Hong Kong, I will be stopping by the Tattoo parlor to make sure they see this post, & your website, and to remove the character/symbol from the art wall. No need for any other Gross Mistakes. :D

Thanks again.

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Gary
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Location: San Diego / Beijing

Post by Gary » Mar 9, 2008 10:12 pm

I imagine they've changed their flashers/stencils in the last 20 years.

One bit of warning for anyone reading this:
Never trust the flashers or Asian character artwork you see in a tattoo parlor. I've walked into several parlors and flipped through the Asian selections. There is always some misrepresentations or errors.

I imagine there are exceptions. For example, a tattoo parlor owned by a native Chinese or Japanese will probably have an accurate selection of characters (and will render them correctly on your body).

We've even offered some basic, but nicely-printed Asian symbol notebooks to a few parlors, but they were rejected by the parlors, who believed their flashers were correct.

-Gary.

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Gary
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Joined: Oct 30, 2007 11:30 pm
Location: San Diego / Beijing

Post by Gary » Aug 16, 2011 8:46 am

This saga goes on and on...
http://www.orientaloutpost.com/forum/vi ... php?t=4418

This bad tattoo template is out there everywhere being labeled as "courage".

-Gary.

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