From Japan (Part 2): From Tokyo with Tattoos


by Mark V on Jun 06, 2007 at 3:48 PM

Jet-lag has me waking up hella early and collapsing at 9:30 at night.

Today Angelo, Katherine, her Japanese bf, myself, and maybe our friend Min will go to this festival at one of the temples just south of the Imperial Palace. The big hook is that this the one time when the yakuza walk about with all their tattoos displayed. Other than that i have no idea what it’s about. Hopefully after that we can visit a bike shop with a bunch of keirin stuff.

Talking about tattoos and yakuza reminds me that i might have a problem on the bike tour…I was hoping to visit an onsen (hot springs) on the way, or at least try a public bath house (by the way, it’s a VERY different cultural role here compared to the united states). However, I have several tattoos, and tattoos are associated with the yakuza in japan. And yakuza are frequently barred from public baths. Still, the fact that i am an incurable gai-jin (slang for “foreigner”) might quell the idea that I am a Japanese gangster, but we’ll see.

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Hey, please email me the results of what happened. I have several tattoos and want to teach in Japan, but I am afraid I will be barred from bath houses because of my tattoos.

hi can you please let me know how you got on in japan as i and the wife are thinkin about goin but we are very heavily tattooed.. did you get stoped much
  thanks dave/liz


tattoos aren’t quite as heavily associated with yakuza as they have been in the past, but it depends on the bathhouse/onsen.  i didn’t get to hit any onsen on that trip, but I didn’t have any problem 2 yrs before in Toya outside of Sapporo.