I sat down tonight with the purpose of writing about Irezumi, trying to explain or at least open the door so that you can glimpse what I see in there. I fumbled around with the words, but they seemed uneasy, not wanting to settle down and become.
Then I realized that it was an exercise in futility, this trying to share in words something that can only be experienced first hand.
The becoming of a single human being, transformed into color and shape during hours upon hours of hard labor and testing of the will to complete. I've read many explanations and theories regarding Irezumi, its character, its heart and mind, but they form at best only patterns of facts that in the end become meaningless without that personal experience.
"What is the meaning of this and that?".
If I tell you, would you understand? Really understand? The Ryu (dragon) should have three claws on each paw, I tell you, but how does it feel when that fact is a part of your body? Whenever I am with a client and great progress has been made on that persons Irezumi piece, we do not analyze or dress it up in words. It is what it is. Regardless. We nod, acknowledging and smiling. We'll see each other next week. Same time, same amount of time, using time to create time. It's without beginning or end. Before Irezumi there was everything else. Now Irezumi is everything else.
Go and have some tea,
as Josshu would have said