sun wukong

Unmasking Sun Wukong

We were taking some pictures of Xixi when Sun Wukong decided to join us.

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Chong Chong at 22 Months

Earlier this month, Shanshan and I were taking Chong Chong on a nighttime stroll around our community. When we were passing by our favorite traditional Beijing restaurant, he wanted to break away from us. So, we let him, and here’s what happened.

He has a thing for stairs, so he climbed up some of them, and then started playing around. He caught the attention of one of the costumed greeters, who then helped him up to the top.

 

After she brought him to the top, the greeter went inside, and one of the managers came out to spend time with him, and coax him inside (I just love this shot of greater taking a picture of him).

After he was safely inside, one of the other managers grabbed him, and took him to the front of the restaurant to see the bian lian performance that was in progress.

He was just in time to see the performer as Sun Wukong!

And, took a photo with him after the show.

Yes, folks, this is Chong Chong’s Beijing Life.

Beijing Ink

Toward the end of 2008, I got my first tattoo in Beijing. It is a fairly elaborate piece featuring Sun Wukong (you can see a picture of it here). Since then, I’ve felt things were a bit unbalanced, and planned to get a tattoo on my right side.

I thought about having a tattoo of the Indian version of Sun Wukong (Hanuman) done. I also thought about having a large snake tattooed around my right arm, but my wife killed that idea.

The snake was because I was born in the year of the snake, as where my wife’s parents, my mom, my step-father, and, finally, my son Chong Chong.  As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, Chong Chong’s official name is Su Shao Long, with “Shao Long” meaning “Little Dragon”, which is another way to say snake.

We were having part of the discussion in the dining area, where I’ve got a scroll of a character for dragon hanging on the wall. The scroll was given to me by my friend Huibao, who is a third generation seal carver and calligrapher. Anyway, we agreed that I could get the character transferred to my arm.

An important part of the project was that the character look liked like Huibao had drawn it there. That is, that one could see the brush strokes, splotches, and cast-offs visible in the scroll.

So, with scroll in hand, I headed off with my friend Dan to Creation Tattoo.

The first step in the process of getting the character onto my arm was taking a picture of the scroll.

The image then was reduced and tuned on a computer, before being transferred to a stencil.

Tools of the trade. The tubes and the needles were individually packaged.

With the stencil applied, the inking began. (The printout of the reduced image to the right of my arm was used as a more detailed guide.)

And, here’s the finished work.

Some notes:

  • The cost was 25 RMB per minute of work, at a total of 100 minutes, or 2,500 RMB
  • Although she rarely does tattoos anymore, the owner of the studio was the artist behind my Sun Wukong tattoo
  • I got this latest tattoo on my dad’s 75th birthday
  • I though about calling the post “The Boy with the (Character for) Dragon Tattoo”