Tattoos in WOVN and Japan
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Tattoos in WOVN and Japan

WOVN MAGAZINE en

My story

I'm Kseniya, or you can call me by my Japanese name - Kasumi, and I'm in charge of the sixth day of advent calendar. I'm a backend engineer, and I've been doing this job for 8 years.

I was born in the city near which the first human who went to space has landed. I like Star Wars movies and anime, and my other hobbies are rock music, motorcycles, books, writing code, and doing what women are not stereotypically supposed to do. 

I was 19 when I got my first tattoo, and already have been working as a software developer. At 17 with my parents I had a trade — I can do whatever I want, but only if I earn my living by myself. I moved to the so-called cultural capital of Russia, St.Petersburg, and my appearance-wise started there with dreadlocks and piercings, and pretty soon got the tattoo. I was shy in school so I guess the only way it could have ended.

I haven't finished university because I felt I can learn more from my colleagues than from university professors. I have always enjoyed trying new approaches to studying, such as studying subjects in non-native languages. I learned programming in English, learned Japanese in English, and I continued on to learn about programming in Japanese.

Tattoos help me to express myself and meet people. It serves as a good conversation starter, and immediately makes me closer to others who also have tattoos. Japanese also show their tattoos when they see mine, but the big difference is that they often have them in hidden places and I purposefully made them so that everyone would see them most of the time. 

I always thought of them as art. Also, I guess, if tattoos had a bad image in the past, who else then someone who was in top of class in school should start to change this? I think freedom brings creativity — a necessity for a startup which is WOVN. We have goals, and achieve them in our own way.

Stories from our colleagues

I asked several colleagues at WOVN what they think about tattoos, and do they have any. 

Rogerio, Product Owner of New product
I got my first tattoo at the age of 17. I have four now. Three of them are in tribal style, and I draw them myself, and another one has my and my wife’s names. 

I can't remember for sure why I decided to get them, but I think I was influenced by my older brothers’ example and heavy metal bands and motorcycle groups that I am a big fan of. For me tattoos are a unique way to represent your artistic “fingerprint”. 

Steven, QA team 
I've wanted to have tattoos since 10 or 12. Probably the trigger was the TV series Renegade. I got my first one after I finished my time in the army. 

I have 7 tattoos now. Several first I got in Germany, and last ones — in Japan. They are in different styles from Japanese motifs to nordic runes, and I have a tattoo of a name of a bar in Tokyo called Tasuichi, where I met most of my friends in Japan in my first years here, and a tattoo with the prefecture symbol of Tokyo. 

When I get a new tattoo I usually think a couple of weeks about it before I make an appointment. I plan to continue getting more tattoos, I guess one day I will be covered in them.

Kendrick, Designer
I got my first tattoo at the age of 18 in the Philippines. Now I have a tattoo which relates to my job, and about a country I have been to — Japan, and a tattoo which is just a beautiful picture. 

I want to get more tattoos which will relate to my hobbies and interests. I thought I may have problems finding a job in Japan because of tattoos, but I didn’t have any. I’m glad that nobody cares about tattoos as much anymore.

Eli, Frontend Developer in New product
For me, it feels rare to see tattoos on Japanese people but rather common to see them on non-Japanese people. The Japanese people I know who have tattoos have really unique styles and are extremely skilled at their jobs (all are devs), so in the working environment I associate tattoos with confidence or creative positions. 

I like that WOVN doesn’t make a big deal about it, because it really isn’t a big deal.

Sayuri, CS
Tattoos are attractive! Although when I was a child I was scared of people with tattoos in my hometown.

Satoru, CS
Tattoos are cool! People get things that matter to them as tattoos, and I like looking at them. Among Japanese who are 40-50 years old there could be resistance towards tattoos. But I think they really are the same as clothes or makeup, everyone can just get what they want!
I also am thinking of maybe getting an easily coverable tattoo, so that I will still be able to go to onsens.

Makoto, Corporate
I think tattoos are part of fashion. As you can't erase them, you have to think carefully what to get. It may not be convenient because some places in Japan don't allow people with tattoos. It seems painful and expensive, but I am thinking of getting a small one in the future.


# Writer Profile
Name :Kseniya, or Kasumi
Division:Product Engineering
Time at WOVN:A year and a half


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