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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

   More on the tattoo
Many thanks for the comments and such on my last post! (Wow, maybe I'm on the road to actually being active here again.) Since it was requested, here's a little info on the koi's significance to me.

There is a folk tale from Japan and China (slightly different incarnations in each, but with a pretty obviously common origin) about how if a carp swims all the way up the Yellow River in China and passes through the "Dragon's Gate," it will be transformed into a dragon and will ascend to a higher state of being. (Find one retelling of this story here.) The story is an allegory for a couple different things. Historically, it once represented how, in China, even a person born to a common family could attain a position of high power in the government through a lot of study and hard work (for several centuries in China, government positions were appointed based on how well you did on a series of exams, which anyone could take). Spiritually, it represents the Hindu and Buddhist cycle of reincarnation, wherein if you build up good karma through your actions in this life, your next life will be better than your previous one. Finally, on a very generic level, it's a cultural story that we're all told, no matter who or where we are: if we strive to work hard and improve ourselves, we will be rewarded (by wealth, status, happiness, or whatever appeals to us individually). Obviously I'm a big fan of East Asian culture and philosophy, so this design represents both the thought behind the myth and my affinity for the regional philosophy in general.

Also, I seem to have a thing for koi and fish in general. That sounds weird, I know, but they keep coming up in my various creative endeavors; the two-man acoustic cover band that my brother and I will someday do stuff with is called Dead Fish Symposium, and my hypothetical non-traditional instrument project is called Fishkilter, so it's something of a motif. Besides, koi are really darned beautiful.

The koi is just the beginning of a bigger design that my artist and I have planned; it'll involve several stages of progression from koi to dragon and will involve other symbolic elements found in the story. The whole thing'll be a "sleeve" style design, taking up my entire left arm. So, yep, the koi is on my left forearm. And yes, I just had it done on Saturday night, so it's still healing, and I need to apply a special petrolatum-based lotion twice or three times a day. It'll be getting to the peeling stage pretty soon, I figure, and it ought to heal completely within another two weeks.

Anyway, that's all I've got on that. Again, I'm glad that you guys like the design - I know I'm really thrilled with it, and I'm proud to have it be a permanent part of me.

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