I Dedicated my Left Arm to Japan

by Caven Cade Mitchell

I love tattoos. The end. This is going to be an ongoing and updated blog entry cause my arm is still a work in progress. For now, keep reading.

So, yea, as I was saying, I love tattoos. I don't have as much on me as some, but I think I have more on me than most. My first was a tribal black panther on my back. My second was the words "Dream Chaser", which I got on my right chest plate a week or two before moving to Japan. (a dream come true for me). Since I've been in Japan I've had a infinity linked chain done on my left chest plate. (For the family that I haven't made yet. Wouldn't it be fucked up if I died before I had a kid? All that pain for nothing lol.)

Anyway, I've been in Japan almost 6 years and I love this place for a lot of reasons. Recently I've decided to dedicate my right arm from the shoulder to the wrist to celebrating my time in Japan and the things I love about the country and culture.

It's a work in progress, but I finally finished all the main pieces.  All thats left is the background and secondary elements.

Kabuto Mask

This was my first piece to celebrate my time in Japan.  The completed version looks a lot better but I don't have any good photos of it. One of the first things I fell in love with about Japan was the concept of bushido. Kabuto masks are great representations of bushido in my mind.


This is my favorite piece. Totoro. Everyone knows the Totoro character is my favorite of all time. So this was a must do. I'm beyond happy that my tattoo artist was able to do such an amazing job with it. I was half expecting him to laugh in my face at the request. It just goes to show how talented/creative artists are.

Cherry Blossoms

My favorite time of the year is Hanami Season. Hanami a verb and it means to watch flowers. In general and in Japan during the peak season, it means to sit underneath cherry blossom trees while their blooming and drink with your friends and/or family. It's my favorite time of the year and my favorite reason to drink. These gears are made in the shape of cherry blossoms.


I think this is my second favorite tattoo. Love, my favorite word, even in Japanese I like the way the character looks. Kind of complex but really simple when you really look at it.

Black Moor Goldfish

My goldfish. I have 3 goldfish. My favorite and oldest is a big-eyed black moor fish. I named him Blacky. It's like 3 years old at this point and I got this tattoo to essentially celebrate him.  Plus goldfish, koi, is a big part of the asian and specifically Japanese culture.

(In Silhouette)

This is probably tied for my second favorite piece. A non-descript geisha in silhouette. She's sitting in her room and you can pretty much see everything except her. I'll leave it at that.

I'll be updating this post as my arm gets closer to completion. I have to take nice pictures of the already complete pieces as well, so keep checking back. From now on it's essentially just backgrounds and fillers for the rest of my arm until it's done.

My artist's name is Dali. He run's Graphic Tribe Tattoo studio in Ebisu, Tokyo. As you can probably imagine, he does amazing work but his speciality is in 'black and gray, fine-line, realistic designs, prolific in tattooing styles such as portraitsbiomechanics, lifelike floræ and faunæcompositionsdragons and kitsch art'. If your looking for some work done, especially if you like biomechanics or dark tattoos, or if you have darker skin, I definitely recommend you hit Dali up.

Sometimes the most beautiful people are beautifully broken.
Robert M. Drake

love life to live, live life to love

Caven Cade Mitchell