Thursday, December 23, 2004

Chinese Letter Tattoo

Hey, It is Christmas Eve-Eve. It is still warm in San Diego. Many people still enjoy jogging, biking, or beach volleyball in beach.
Last weekend I saw the man who has a unique tattoo in Pacific Beach. It was a Chinese letter tattoo. He might think it was cool. But I felt strange when I saw that tattoo.
As you know, Chinese people use Chinese letters. Japanese people also use both Chinese letters and Japanese letters for writing. Although the pronunciation for each Chinese letter is different between Chinese language and Japanese language, the meaning of each Chinese letter is almost same in many cases. (sometimes Japanese people and Chinese people can communicate by letter-writing, even both people don't know each other languages.)
But once the letters are combined as a word, the meanings of those words are sometimes slightly different between Chinese language and Japanese language.
The tattoo I saw is written as below word.

The first letter suggests "mixed", second letter is like "sloppy" or "disorder", and third & fourth letters show the mean of "condition". Then, what is the meaning of those letters?
I asked one of my Chinese friends the meaning of this word in Chinese. He said this meant "chaos". um... kind-a cool. But most of Japanese are inspired from this word as a "crowded place" like a traffic jam, a crowded store in holiday season, or a crowded train. This image is not cool at all!
If the man who has this tattoo wanted to put the letters meaning "chaos", he should put this word which means "chaos" in both Chinese and Japanese and maybe cool.

So, if you want to put on Chinese letter tattoo, I strongly recommend to ask both Chinese and Japanese people the meaning of the word before you do that.