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Tattoo Disguise

From this display at a trendy shop near Nakano Broadway, you’d think there was an epidemic of tennis elbow going around the yanqi-ish young men prone to wearing leopard fur accessories and clothing emblazoned with Our Lady of Rude Kustoms. In fact, this particular demographic tends to have something to hide, especially in summertime.


During the rest of the year, when they go home to visit the folks or want to have a nice  soak at a hot spring bath* they can cover up their ink with long sleeves. In summertime, though, they need something that looks like a normal piece of clothing without being as hot as a normal piece of clothing. Hence, these little stretchy tubes that can be passed off as fashion accessories.

* Tattoos are routinely banned at water parks and hot spring baths. Originally it was because only gangsters had tattoos, and nobody wanted troublemakers. Now that tattoos are becoming an edgy fashion statement, though, you’d think things would loosen up, but no. Anybody who doesn’t want to get kicked out puts bandaids over the offending skin, just to be safe.

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Tokyo

When Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death wasn’t an accident, his life begins to unravel…read more

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

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