A few months before the death of their revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, I was able to visit the island of Cuba with a friend. The idea was to experience the country, with its communist history and anti-West tendencies, before globalisation and capitalism changed it forever.
In The Land of the Rising Sun, not everything is as it seems. A place known for its rich ancient history, its cultural delicacies, and more recently for its superb standard of life, Japan also has a darker claim to fame. A secret that I was told is “very, very underground.”
With the writing of my (non-tattoo related) first book out of the way, I have found time to return to the topic of ink on skin, and an issue which I have been wanting to write about since the moment I heard about it almost exactly 12 months ago.
Whilst walking around The Great British Tattoo Show last year, my cider in one hand, and my notepad in the other, I came across a stall and an artist who we shall call Barratt (he wanted to keep his true identity a secret for reasons that will become clear later). He was working out of Scandinavia at the time, but he had been an apprentice in Japan for a number of years, and it was he who told me about the shady world of Japan’s human canvas industry.
One lazy afternoon, following another discussion with my Girlfriend, and a viewing of the film Howl, we decided to try our hand at poetry.
My Girlfriend is far more poetic and flowery with her words than I am, and so I knew I had to come up with something quite unique in order to not face being laughed at.
What I decided on was, what I believe to be, creating an art form of poetry.
We were to find a well known book, flip to a page within that book and look at a sentence or a handful of sentences, using these, already famous lines, to create our poetry. The line/s we chose would be expanded upon and a short poem would come from the authors words.
The example we settled on was from the book “Before I Go To Sleep” written by S. J. Watson.
As is obvious by the title of this post, the sentence we choose was “We sit there for what feels like hours”.
Here I will post what I wrote, and after I will show why I feel this was particularly poetic.