In a seemingly similar world, the act of standing out from other people is important for young adults, including many at UW-Whitewater.
According to a 2006 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 36 percent of people between the ages of 18 and 25 had at least one tattoo.
For freshman Emma Hagen, her tattoo experience was anything but ordinary. Hagen began the tattoo process at Fink Ink in downtown Whitewater by getting a cherry blossom tattooed on her left wrist. while in Japan, Hagen had her tattoo retouched and added the word “Sakura,” the Japanese translation for cherry blossom, to her wrist.
“I wanted ‘sakura’ to be written in the only Japanese alphabet that I can read,” Hagen said. “It was really special for me to have part of this tattoo done back home.”
Hagen’s home away from UW-Whitewater is in Tokyo, where her father is currently stationed for the air force. Hagen, who is originally from Maryland, has lived in many other places around the world, including Belgium and Las Vegas.
“I wanted a tattoo symbolic of Japan because it is one of the only places I have felt at home,” Hagen said. “The cherry blossom is also my favorite flower and is a big deal back in Japan.”
Hagen’s tattoo only took about an hour total, with 30 minutes spent on the flower done in Whitewater and another 30 minutes in Japan. the tattoo cost Hagen $60.
“Getting the tattoo done really didn’t hurt that much until it hit the bone,” Hagen said. “It was just an annoying feeling.”
Hagen said she can definitely see herself getting more tattoos in the future. A possible idea Hagen has is getting an anchor tattooed on her foot to represent how much she has moved throughout her life.
Besides her tattoo, Hagen also has seven piercings: three in her left ear, one in her right ear, a nose piercing, a tongue piercing and a bellybutton piercing.
“I think tattoos are really pretty and very addictive,” Hagen said. “After each new piercing or tattoo I think ‘that wasn’t so bad, let’s do it again!’”
Junior Leah Beutler is also big on the tattoo scene, having three tattoos herself. Beutler got her first two tattoos done when she was 18. She has one tattoo on her foot of a swallow bird with the words “love and perseverance” written next to it in Spanish.
Beutler, who is double majoring in marketing and Spanish, said she wanted “love and perseverance” written in Spanish because she speaks and enjoys the language.
Another of Beutler’s tattoos is the number 14 behind her ear with two hearts. Beutler said she got this tattoo done to represent her and her sister’s birthdays.
Beutler’s third tattoo is a tribal lion design with her zodiac sign, cancer, incorporated into it. Under the lion is the phrase, “Hakuna matata.” Beutler got this tattoo done when she was 19.
“I really liked the idea of a lion tattoo because they represent strength and courage,” Beutler said. “I incorporated the cancer sign because I follow the zodiac sign and I like what ‘hakuna matata’ stands for.”
Beutler got all three of her tattoos done in downtown Waukesha. her first two tattoos cost $120 total, including tip, and took about an hour and a half to complete. the tattoo on her back cost her $240 and took about two hours to finish.
“I have all of these ideas and a lot of room left on my body,” Beutler said. “I am sure I will think of more tattoos to get.”
Beutler said she plans to get a matching tattoo with her younger sister once she turns 18. the sisters want to get a picture of a young girl tattooed on them with lyrics from a band they both like, Atmosphere, around it.
Beutler said she also wants to go with her mother and sister to get matching puzzle pieces tattooed on the three of them, and to get her favorite Bible verse somewhere.
“Tattoos are a really great form of expression,” Beutler said. “Each tattoo tells a different story and I think that is really cool.”