There's a website devoted to that: http://hanzismatter.blogspot.com/Most of the tattoos have characters that are simply meaningless, sloppy, upside-down, or backwards. Occasionally there are ones that mean something amusing or unfortunate.
Hanzi smatter proves you're right...http://hanzismatter.blogspot.com/
My MIL has a Chinese friend who once corrected someone who had a "serenity" character hanging on her wall in a lovely frame...turns out it was a "Ladie's Room" sign...LOL...
Years ago my sister had a dress with a "Japanese" symbol that looked like stick figures doin' it. Maybe it was just me. I was 17.
"Yeah, I got a tattoo, 'cause I want to show how counter-cultural I am. The Chinese symbol proves that I'm like, really, cool and into culture and stuff....It's unique, ya know?"
My daughter majored in Mandarin and East Asian studies and spent a couple of years in Asia.Yeah, she's seen some doozies.Believe me, there are LOTS of people walking around out there thinking they are proclaiming "serenity" or something else profound, when they are actually permanently tagged with something, ah, entirely different...
Aforementioned daughter believes most of these tattoo victims are practioners of the martial arts.
FYI, Cat, I'm having a hard time voting in your sidebar because I enjoy it all about the same...maybe not the grammatical errors.
I can imagine the snickers at the tattoo parlor......silly white boy....now his right arm says, "Manure" in Chinese. HAHA.
Oh, it isn't "white boy," it is Kai Dai, or "white devil." There's not much love lost there, believe me.
Or it translates as 'you want pan-fried or soft noodles?'
An idea for chinese tatooists:"Hit here" in Chinese
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