Asian character tattoos have long been in style, with millions of brooding youths, aging hippies and pseudo-intellectuals seeking to express their world view via a couple of exotic-looking symbols etched into their skin.
But many of the body art enthusiasts with a taste for the ‘Orient" do not bother to research what is it exactly they are having permanently inked on their ankle or lower back, to disastrous - and hilarious - results.
The Hanzi Smatter blog, run by Tian Tang, has been trying to set the record straight by chronicling the ‘misuse of Chinese characters in Western culture' and translating would-be ‘Asian' tattoos for the benefit his readers.
In the best-case scenario, the symbols turn out to be meaningless gibberish designed to look like an actual word, or a poor translation of a Western name into Chinese.
But at times, Tian encounters real head-scratchers. In one case, a fierce ‘Outlaw' tattoo ended up translating to the less-than-threatening ‘Hiding Criminal,' or alternatively, a ‘Snitch.'
In a more macabre twist, a tattoo that was supposed to say ‘Fear No Man' improbably turned out to be ‘Coffin Man.
On a similar note, one young lady wished to have the word ‘Bitch' carved into her skin, but the artist took some liberties with the language and instead inked the words ‘Cheap Whore'.
In many cases, the calligraphy is so poor and the combination of symbols appears so random that it is hard for Tang to figure out what exactly the person getting the tattoo had in mind when he or she went to get inked.
Among the more colourful examples in this category is ‘Golden Pig' (with the symbol for ‘Pig' upside down); ‘I Am slow/Pregnant' and ‘My Abusive Husband Pimps Me Out.''
But nothing captures the predicament of getting a tattoo in a language you don't know than the case of the person who meant to get inked with symbols for ‘Loyalty,' only to end up with ‘Noodles' permanently carved into his body.