Today's Popculture
June 3 2001 at 6:33 AM

While standing in line for laser tag, I noticed the cashier, a young 'gangster' looking black man, had three kanji tattoed vertically across his arm; Friend, Love, and one unrecognizable to me. As I approached the register to pay for my ticket, I told the man his tatto looked pretty cool. "Oh..Thanks.", he murmered back in a reply. I then asked what they meant. Pointing, he 'translated' the three words for me. "Uhh this one means friend, love, and uhhh... Soldier.", he answered.

Friend, Love, Soldier. Friendship soldier? Just what message exactly was he trying to convey? Or was he really trying to express himself using words in another languge? Undoubtedly, I feel he was only trying to have a couple symbols that in his mind looked 'cool' drawn over his body. I was really tempted to ask him the significance of those three words, and just exactly why he felt they were important enough to scribe permently on his body.

Recently, I've seen similar things written on everything from tshirts and jewlry, to baseball caps and handbags. Everything from a simple character that means love, to a string of 'sentances' supposedly advertising a ski resort written on tshirts, and even an alloy 'geisha messengerbag' with a blownup cakewhite face of a 'geisha girl'.. These days, ethnicly spiced items are cool to own, to flaunt, especially if they have something to do with Asian culture. I wonder if they ever stop to think just exactly what the significance, if any, of what they wear or purchase.

I've also seen some interesting clothing being either advertised or worn by teens while I was in Japan. I remember Dennis showing me a picture of a young Japanese girl smiling and proudly showing off a tshirt that said "Generation F**k You" In bold letters. Both he and I got quite a chuckle as we both thought "Why the hell would they even print that on a shirt? Don't they even know what that means?". I also remember another girl's 'booksack' which was pretty much a plastic woven potato sack with some incoherrant 'Japanglish' rambling about how the future was going to be a happy place...something silly like that. I asked her if she even understood what it meant and she no she didn't, it just looked 'cool'. I sometimes wonder if, before they print up these crazy slogans, they wrote it out in Japanese and used something like "WorldLingo" to do a sloppy English translation to use. Heck, no one would care what it said...Just the thought of it 'looking cool' was enough.

Anyone care to share any thoughts on the topic?

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