Remember when it was big to get Chinese symbols as tattoos? It was all the rage in the late nineties and then people started realizing that maybe their tattoo didn’t mean exactly what they thought. The idea is pretty cool, as a symbol in ink on your body is kind of like a little secret that you don’t necessarily have to share with the rest of the world if you don’t want to.
But, what happens when someone knows exactly what that symbol means and it turns out to be much different than what you expected?
While on a flight, one man noticed that the woman sitting by him had a Chinese symbol tattoo on her angle. Being of Chinese descent, Alton Wang knew exactly what the symbol represented and he didn’t have the heart to tell the woman. Instead, he shared it on Twitter for the rest of the world to see. It turns out that the small symbol that could be seen in black ink on her ankle translated to “Miso.” Wang assumed that the woman didn’t intend on getting a symbol that signified the popular low-calorie soup, but then again, maybe this woman really appreciated the soup considering it is getting scooped up by the barrel-load in London and California.
Or, another theory is that a Mandarin/Cantonese-speaking tattoo artist was just having a little fun with the Westerner.
Evidently, this isn’t the first time a person has been a victim of false tattoo meanings. One commenter came across another food-related tatt…
“I sat across from a guy on the train a while back who had “shrimp fried rice” written on his calf in Chinese. Maybe it’s a trend to mark your lower legs and feet with Chinese menu items?”
Imagine going through your entire life thinking that your tattoo had a deep and powerful meaning? One commenter witnessed a woman who thought that her tatt was a reminder to be ‘mindful….’
“A friend of mine was in a workout class and the lady in front of her had “bbq pork bun” in Chinese tattooed on her shoulder. Said it meant “mindfulness” – my friend cackled.”
And then there are others who believed that they had a relative’s name on their body. Little did they know, it was far different…
“Met a guy with a tattoo in Chinese characters. He said, “it’s my son’s name – Jesse.” From limited study of Mandarin at school, I recognized that it actually said “dog boy” but I thought that was quite a cute translation so I said nothing.”
Commenters had some harsh words for tattoo lovers…
“Well, no-one said you had to be intelligent to have a tattoo.”
“Big surprise! Daft to have a tattoo anyway but one in a language you cant understand ranks as stupidly.”
So, it turns out that some people who thought that they were getting a permanent meaningful symbol on their body, were actually getting anything but and the joke was on them. It’s always best to spend a lot of time thinking about what you want to tattoo on your body before you make the big decision.