Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Could this be you?

English instructor

My hat is off to the Hanguk Ilbo for this illustration from an October 2006 article about the arrest of Korean Americans and Koreans deported for the U.S. for gang activity who were in Korea teaching English.

I want that as a t-shirt.


Brian said...

They ripped off my tattoo.

kushibo said...

Brian, that must have hurt.

Serious question: If you do in fact have a tattoo, have you experienced any difficulties in Korea because of it?

Brian said...

No, actually, an unqualified foreigner is not my tattoo. Actually I don't have any tattoos, although I toyed with the idea years ago.

I see "tattoo" parlors around Suncheon and Gwangju, though I thought I heard somewhere that tattoo parlors were illegal? Maybe that's another foreigner myth.

Every now and again I'll see Koreans with tattoos---or "tattoos"---and these aren't your average yakuza type guys. Yesterday in Gwangju I saw a younger-looking guy with designs on both his forearms, and on Monday on the bus back to Suncheon I saw a woman with a tattoo between her shoulders and something written from shoulder blade to shoulder blade. These are just two recent examples that come to mind. I don't know if they're real or what.

I suspect they might cause some difficulties to a person with tattoos, but then again you can expect some trouble in an American professional setting as well. I haven't known anyone here with obvious tattoos---just some on the back or upper arm---but I did know a guy at orientation in 2006 who had huge studs in his ears. Not sure what they're called, but he would put incrementally bigger ones in and I met him with half-dollar-sized ones. Dude. One of the guys at orientation told him it was not a good idea to wear them around so he took them out . . . and instead went around in Korea with huge holes in both his earlobes.

So to answer your question kushibo: "no."

Anonymous said...

Certain gyms won't let you in with tats. When I stayed recently at the Imperial Palace hotel there were signs posted in English that people with visible tats were not allowed in the gym. Although they did allow, and encourage, people to wear their club supplied sky blue tshirt and baggy work out shorts. Hrmph.

Darth Babaganoosh said...

I've never been denied any type of service due to my tattoos, whether here or in Japan. And I am specifically referring to places where they do post "No Tattoos" signs (onsens, clubs, hotels). Even after workers in such places have seen my tattoos, they didn't so much as lift an eyebrow or give a second glance.

I take it the signs are geared more toward keeping out the Japanese/Korean gangsters sporting their gangs tats, and not me with my Superman tat or person with a Hanja tat that orders them Kung Pao Chicken.

Anonymous said...

yeah I can totally tell the guy on the bike is a Korean-American gangster...