As if I have not said this enough this trip – today exceeded all of our expectations! All of them. Brian impressed me once again as he soldiered through a nine hour tattoo session. Yeah. Nine hours. We arrived @ Horizaru @ 2pm and he showed us the redone version of Jiraiya. It was great. And he got to work immediately. I think Brian should write this portion of the blog as it was his experience, but let’s just say that he traveled on a mental journey that included waves of pain, happiness, fear, joy and I don’t even know what else. The result of which is a truly spectacular traditional Japanese ½ sleeve that goes from shoulder to just above the elbow. It is fantastic. And very sore, I think!

I also got a little ink of my own in the form of the cutest, most colorful little hummingbird feeding on some pink cherry blossoms. It was sweet – Brian explained to Horizaru-san that I was his little hummingbird and that I was very colorful and the tattoo should reflect that. I love it. And now I want more.  Not too much more. Maybe a ferret and/or a monkey and/or a frog… In what seemed to be the shortest 15 minutes ever, Horizaru-san added some ink to my ankle in what is quite possibly the nicest little ankle tattoo I have ever laid eyes on. It’s exactly what Brian described and nicer than I could’ve imagined!

We stayed at Horizaru-san’s studio until 11pm! We met his wife, a friend and saw some for-real Yakuza style tattoos on this gentleman that we had met the day before. He hung out for a while to watch Bri’s work. It was funny to see the two of them, shirts off, comparing ink in 2 different languages. (Kireina = beautiful & watashi wa nei re desu = I like that.) Bri’s work turned out to be a real event! A sort of spectator sport as Horizaru told his wife and friend that he was the comic writer (manga sakka) that gave him some books. It was pretty trippy to see this Japanese guy sitting in the tattoo studio reading Silent Assassin. I wish I could explain it better but there is just a true, deeply embedded cultural difference in how comics (manga) are viewed in Japan. Everyone reads them. They sit (or stand) on the train either playing portable video games or reading manga books. The shops sell them with patterned book covers so that you can read whatever ya want discreetly – but the books are being read by everyone, everywhere.

We made it home on our trusty Yamanote Subway line and grabbed some ibruprofen from the front desk & some biru from 7 Eleven before settling in for our latest night yet. We were up til 1:30am! Good times.

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