Category Archives: First Time Tattoo Stories

First Time Tattoo: Kanji at Porn Conference

'Lazy' Kanjy

I was always thinking that tattoos are just something that people do to look like bad asses. Never thought it would mean something totally different.

While living in Athens I started dating a Canadian chick that was full of tattoos. After a while she explained me why she had all these tattoos and what they meant to her.  Soon enough I starting feeling the craving to get a personal tattoo also.   I just wanted to get one. I thought it could all be summed up into one tattoo.

One weekend she took me to the 1st Athens Adult Expo.  Didn’t really know what went on there but in Athens this was a big deal being that the country is so Orthodox Greek.  It was crazy and while my chickie was upstairs drinking and watching the ‘live’ show, I snuck down to the tattoo kiosk and browsed through the flash books.  I had a few too many drinks, the tattoos were cheap and with the help of a skinny blond in just a g-string and see-thru top, I chose my first tattoo.  The result was a kanjy that means LAZY. A word that used to represent me  a lot.  What can I say – it wasn’t big or tough but it said it all.

I bet lots of you out there have an embarrassing tattoo story!

TattCafe Member ID:  saio13, Vancouver, BC

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Big John Bates: My First Tattoo’s

I’m Big John Bates & I got my first ink in 1984 when I was in Annihilator – the bassist and I got inked in a basement apartment in Val D’Or, QC on a dare – needles thru a Bic pen and some kind of toy motor. It was a rose that looked more like a palm tree with an initial in it. That got covered by the “moon is made of green cheese” piece on my right arm at Isis in Montreal in the late 80’s. I keep adding to both arms (I guess you’d call them half-sleeves) while on tour in Europe and North America. As you can see I mainly go for a style that is part traditional and part cartoon with all of the images linked to my life or philosophies.

The images are mainly original, under the moon on my right arm there’s a skeleton rocker playing a Gretsch – an alteration from the cover of Rockabilly Psychosis and the Garage Disease album. The desert island, waves, tiki, bottles and erupting volcano around the guitarist are all about my personality and were done in Wilhelmshaven, Germany by a guy who didn’t speak a word of English – just German and Russian. We had a hell of a time communicating it all to him but he did exactly what I wanted.

Anyway the rocker himself was done by Isis in Montreal, as was the gothabilly girl, on my left arm. She came from Ottawa, a strange story too long to tell. The frame around her was done in Munster, Germany around 2003 and the spider-webbing inside was by Bryan Glatiotis at Dark Day in Vancouver (Main & 30th). Bryan is a close friend of mine and he’s working on my next piece – a ship made out of a stone castle for my right forearm. He also completed the compass rose on the inside of my right wrist (to keep me going in the right direction and because I live on the ocean). It was initially done in brown ink in Hamburg but it was shite so Bryan fixed the wreck in black. Brandy has the matching tattoo on her left wrist.


Everyone in Vancouver, BC, Canada – Catch Big John Bates playing Friday, December 23rd Big John Bates with guest DB Buxton

Doors at 8:00pm / Tickets $13.00 (+ service charges) in advance at Champion Jack’s, The Biltmore, Red Cat, Zulu

Tickets online at:


C: (604) 729-4161
Also find us on Facebook, MySpace & Reverbnation.
Big John Bates is proud to support the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society!
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My First Tattoo – Greece

I used to work for the government in a country where tradition is everything.  Having tattoos was not acceptable at work or with family.  At work it was actually a requirement NOT to have one!  In my country, not even ten years ago, tattoos were a sign that you were a bad person or had spent time in prison.
I met the woman of my dreams through  She was the first guest I had from another country.  She came, she surfed, she stayed.  We have been inseparable ever since.  Couchsurfing isn’t an online dating site but it worked just as well for me!
This Canadian had many tattoos.  I was intrigued.  How could this woman live and have jobs with these tattoos?  Canada started sounding like a pretty cool place.  She inspired me enough to break the rules of my work.
I got my first tattoo at a porn conference in Athens.  I snuck away when my wife was drinking in the lounge with her Austrian friend.  I had it done in my upper back so nobody would ever see it.  Now that I have quit that job and moved to Canada those limitations are gone.  I can do whatever I want.  Makes me feel a little more free.  I have since added two more and can’t wait for all the next ones that are going to come.
This ‘Ink Not Mink‘ tattoo is my second.  Bill at Adrenaline on Granville Street in Vancouver did this for me.  It is a conversation starter with the guys at the warehouse for sure!
TattCafe Member ID:  saio13, Vancouver, BC
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