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  • ca*singing tl;dr intro song* pa pa pa pa pa pa pa pa...

  • [Simon] Old school viewers will know what this pig stool is about.

  • [Martina] I'm quite tiny. Not really, I'm 5'7" and a half but Simon is very large.

  • [Simon] And I'm actually doing the splits as well right now in order for Martina to fit

  • [Martina] So it is the return of the pig stool. [Simon] Hey!

  • [Martina] This pig stool took us a long time to find, you know? It was the correct height for both of us.

  • [Simon] So I just finished getting my tattoo done here in Japan and we figured, since we both have tattoos

  • and we both live in Japan, we could talk a little bit about what it's like to have tattoos in Japan.

  • [Martina] To begin with, I know a lot of people seem to think that Japanese people are terrified of tattoos

  • [Simon] *gasps* OH! [Martina] Right?

  • It seems like everyone we see online – “I have tattoos and I'm worried about coming to Tokyo. Are people gonna run from me?”

  • [Simon] "I have a little butterfly on my wrist and I worry that somebody's gonna see it and they're gonna be really really scared,

  • and I'm not gonna be able to go anywhere and they won't even let me off the airplane."

  • [Martina] Ok so, that is a total false – I was gonna sayit's a false lie!” but doesn't that already mean false?

  • [Simon] This is actually perpetrated in music as well. [Martina] Oh yeah, that Frank-

  • [Simon] Frank Ocean, I love you to pieces. 'Blonde' is one of my favorite albums of all time,

  • but in 'Chanel' you saidHide my tattoos in Shibuya. Police think I'm of the underworld”.

  • Frankiewe're on first name terms now-, the police don't think you're of the underworld.

  • You're in Shibuya! You're in the tourist central! [Martina] It's like being in New York's Times Square.

  • [Simon] Nobody thinks that you're part of the underworld!

  • [Martina] Let's just dispel this mist immediately, ok? *silence* Well… I saidmist”, didn't I?

  • [Simon] You saidmist”. Dispel the mist! [Martina] Dispel this myth.

  • Let's dispel this myth immediately.

  • There's Japanese people that live in Japan, they look Japanese, they talk Japanese.

  • When you show up in Japan and you don't look like a Japanese person, they immediately think to themselvesYou're not part of the underworld”.

  • [Simon] Right?

  • [Martina] It doesn't matter if you're black and you speak Japanese, if you're white and you speak Japanese,

  • or even if you're East Asian but you don't look Japanese, they're gonna sayYou guys are foreigners”.

  • [Simon] People don't think that we're part of the yakuza, they don't think we're part of the underworld.

  • I'm not part of the Ducky Squad, you're not part of the Cupcake Crew. ([Martina] The Puppy Crew!)

  • [Simon] Alright? So don't be worried about people thinking that you're a bad person for having tattoos.

  • [Martina] In our neighborhood we have a lot of old people… [Simon] Yeap.

  • [Martina] And when they saw my tattoos, a lot of people were intrigued. They wanted to touch it or talk about it

  • [Simon] Older people! Not just people in their 30's and 40's, but people in their 70's, 80's… 170's…

  • People live to a really ripe old age here.

  • [Martina] Yes. But, for real, they're very interested. Somebody asked me onceoh, is this paint?” and they literally reached out and touched my arm,

  • and I remember a couple of times we went to izakayas, and there was a guy working there who clearly looked like HE was part of a gang...

  • He was Japanese and he had his sleeves covered up to here, but we could see his tattoos dripping underneath a little bit

  • and he was really stern faced. The two of us were kinda likeWe're new to Japan, where did we wander?”.

  • Actually, for those who listen to our podcast, it was on the dark side of Kichijoji.

  • [Simon] Yes. *laughs* LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST! [Martina] *whispers* Listen to our podcast!

  • When I took off my sweater this guy comes over, and then he wentKawaiiiiii!!!”.

  • Literally broke into almost a Honey Senpai voice and then he asked to see it.

  • And I had to pull up my sleeve further, and he was likeoh my god, this is so cute!”

  • So it doesn't even matter that he's got representation of his own tattoos that mean something to him. He wasn't offended that I had tattoos.

  • [Simon] So people visiting Japan, stop sh****ng your pants about this. You're not gonna have a rough time.

  • There are some things you might be limited from experiencing because of some archaic tattoo laws that a lot of people don't necessarily agree with.

  • [Martina] There are a lot of problems with going to onsens, which is the hot springs. A lot of them have that sign up that saysNO TATTOOS”.

  • You can get around it in some ways if you have a small tattoo and you can put a bandage on it or a waterproof sticker bandage.

  • But just to be honest with you guys, if you have a teeny tiny tattoosome people are like “I have a small tattoo on my lower back”.

  • You're getting into an area with a towel on, you're taking this towel off, rinsing off and getting into hot water.

  • It's not like people are going -tah!- and zeroing in on your butt cheeks and then rushing off to the authorities at the front desk.

  • [Simon] There are some onsens, like the one we did a video about, that's totally okay with people having tattoos.

  • [Martina] There's Dogo Onsen, which is one of the most famous onsens,

  • apparently that's where Studio Ghibli had its inspiration for Spirited Away,

  • and in that place tattoos have always been fine, they've never placed a ban on it.

  • [Simon] And there are some onsens that kind of operate in the gray area,

  • for places that I haven't actually taken you yet, but I've been planning some secret places.

  • [Martina] *gasp* Is it for my birthday? Is it 'cause it's gonna be my birthday? Are you making plans for my birthday?

  • [Simon] ANDwhat they said is that they don't overtly say that they're ok with tattoos but they say they're ok with tattoos.

  • But it's always nice for you to call and make sure you check if they're ok with it beforehand.

  • [Martina] If you're living in Japan, one of the bigger problems can be getting a gym membership.

  • [Simon] Here in Kichijoji there are a few major gym chains that I tried to apply for membership,

  • and I was completely covered up, nobody saw anything, and on the form they saiddo you have any tattoos?”,

  • and Martina saidyou should just lie about it,” but I'm an honest person and I hate lying in every situation.

  • [Martina] Chotto matte kudasai (Wait a moment). Let me explain why.

  • Because Simon works out in long sleeve shirts and he wasn't planning on showering there,

  • I said if you're covering up your tattoos, which P.S., I looked up online-

  • many foreigners living in Japan lie about their tattoos and never show it.

  • But some people said they covered up their tattoos and then in the change room when they took their shirt off they were reported because they had tattoos.

  • [Simon] And there are people like me that operate with a moral compass and don't wanna lie under any circumstances,

  • [Martina] Ok... [Simon] so I couldn't get a gym membership here.

  • There are supposedly other gyms- I hear that Gold's Gym, from what people have told me, is ok with tattoos.

  • [Martina] in more of the foreign neighborhoods. [Simon] Yeah, that's a little bit too far from where we are

  • so I just built a gym in my backyard and I had my little rinky dink squat rack, rusted

  • [Martina] He works out in the snow

  • [Simon] Working out in the rain is sad. Let me tell you, it's sad.

  • [Martina] I go to the community center which is- every city and every local area will have...

  • [Simon] A rec center. [Martina] Like a rec center.

  • I was told that I REALLY have to cover up all my tattoos because it's considered to be an area for children and for old people.

  • They are gonna be a lot more uncomfortable and nervous if they see these tattoos,

  • so when I went to the gym I made sure that I wore hoodies, zipped up. AND IT WAS AWFUL!

  • [Simon] If you sweat more, you burn more calories, I guess…? It's good for you

  • [Martina] No, I was so sweaty, and I remember doing one of the weight things

  • and my sleeve went up and I was so terrified that somebody would notice.

  • [Simon] Actually, the music stopped, there was a record player scratch, and everyone was like *GASP* “Yakuza!”

  • [Martina] There was actually no music. [Simon] That didn't happen. Nobody did that.

  • [Martina] No. But I do go swimming, -That's a lie, I went once.- at my local rec center.

  • I plan to go more, ok? [Simon] You should go more, girl.

  • [Martina] I have to wear a- like a skinsuit. [Simon] a body condom.

  • [Martina] A body condom, that's the correct term. *joking*

  • It's a long sleeved one that goes from here to here. Zips up to my neck,

  • and I have to wear that when I go swimming, but you also have to wear a shower cap, that little- not a shower cap.. *laughs*

  • [Simon] Swim cap. [Martina] A swim cap.

  • [Martina] Asia loves their swim caps. Korea, obsessed with swim caps, Japan

  • [Simon] I have more hair on my chest than on my head, am I gonna wear a swim cap on my chest?

  • [Martina] The last time we went to Korea we stayed at a hotel and Simon got into the pool without a swim cap on.

  • –'Cause he's bald!- And they were likeyou have to wear a swim cap”,

  • and I'm like, *points at bald head* “butit doesn't… make sense”.

  • [Simon] Where is the logic in this right here?

  • [Martina] Another place where we had a little bit of problem with our tattoos is when we went to the beach,

  • and we were able to sit on these little tiny café side huts and they were serving food and beer and snacks and stuff,

  • and when I went to try to go into one of them, the guy at the door said I have to put a towel or something just to cover my tattoo.

  • [Simon] As did I. I had to cover mine up as well.

  • [Martina] Yeah. And they had sings that saidNo Tattoos”.

  • [Simon] The logic behind it is thatall yakuzas have tattoosso if you just ban all tattoos no yakuza will be able to come,

  • but that also winds up hurting the people that aren't yakuza.

  • [Martina] What was interesting was the guy that was telling us that we can't come in

  • also said to us when we were leavingCan I see your tattoos?”, “I really like it, it so cute”. ([Simon] He was totally cool with it!)

  • [Martina] So even though the Japanese people know that the tattoos aren't necessarily taboo or worrisome,

  • they still have to enforce these kinds of archaic laws . [Simon] that people don't fully agree with.

  • When it comes to getting tattoos in Japan, you might've realized that I haven't actually told you where I got my tattoo in Japan

  • because I actually asked the studio if it's ok for me to do so and they said that they don't want that much publicity.

  • A lot of tattoo shops, when they become too popular get raided by the police because there's a weird law in Japan

  • that kind of makes it illegal to do tattoos, even though it doesn't necessarily target tattoos themselves.

  • [Martina] It is NOT illegal to have a tattoo parlor in Japan, it's NOT illegal to get tattoos in Japan.

  • The illegal thing is that Japan has made it a law that in order for you to give tattoos,

  • to do hair removal, and to do chemical peels, you have to have a doctor's license. ([Simon] Yes)

  • [Martina] But tattoo artists are saying, “You want me to go for 5 to 6 years to get my doctorate so that I can give a tattoo?”

  • and on top of that, just because you have your doctorate's degree doesn't mean you're an artist. And that doesn't mean you can draw.

  • [Simon] So the big argument in Japan is: Are tattoos a medical procedure or are they art?

  • I tend to think it's art, you think it's art, a lot of people think it's art, but according to the law

  • they're still treating it like a medical procedure so you're not allowed to give or do tattoos in Japan.

  • [Martina] So, in 2015 there was a famous court case that was going on in Osaka.

  • A tattoo artist was raided by the police, and they charged him $3000, so he decided to go to court and fight it.

  • Unfortunately, he did lose his court case.

  • He ended up halving the price of the fine, but he said he's still not giving up on this fight, and so there are a lot of websites that are petitioning

  • and trying to get people to talk more about Japanese tattoo culture and trying to keep it going.

  • And one thing that I read that I thought was actually pretty moving was that people keep thinking of it as just, like, a tattoo thing,

  • but people in Japan are sayingThis is historical, this is part of our culture”.

  • This aspect of Japanese culture is going to get lost as this law is causing people to shut down and close their shops.

  • Japan's been tattooing for hundreds and hundreds of years, and they've been tattooing- and it WASN'T illegal. And it wasn't even made for criminals.

  • [Simon] But this is just our perspective form the research that we have.

  • I'm sure there're many more nuances to the argument that we're not aware of, so please let us know in the comment section bellow.

  • We wanna have a healthy discussion about this and see what you guys think about it as well.

  • [Martina] So what do you guys think about tattoo culture?

  • Even if you don't have a tattoo, do you think that tattoos should still be banned in the onsens and on beaches?

  • [Simon] So that's it for our video on tattoos in Japan.

  • For those of you that wanna know what this tattoo of mine means, because I just got it done,

  • make sure you click on the link here and then I'll tell you my very emotional story about what this tattoo means to me.

  • Do you know what was a fun memory? Doing these videos again. We haven't stood up and done a TL;DR like this in

  • [Martina] I know! [Simon]… a very long time.

  • [Martina] And look! It's our old- it's a kitchen, it's kinda like our old one.

  • [Simon] we used to sit in the kitchen when we did our first

  • [Martina] If you guys are joining us and you're new, when we were in Korea we used to do these videos

  • in our kitchen and then it slowly moved depending on the houses. ([Simon] I had red hair back then.)

  • [Martina] You had hair back then [Simon] … True. [Martina] Yes.

  • [Simon] It's gone now. [Martina] It's gone!

  • Now let's edit this monster of a video. Ha! It's so long, we talk so much.

ca*singing tl;dr intro song* pa pa pa pa pa pa pa pa...

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Tattoos in Japan - What You Should Know

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    Summer posted on 2020/08/21
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