My First Tattoo

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I was supposed to get my tattoo three years ago, on my 25th birthday, to mark my "quarter life." 

I was quite prepared already: I have a design in mind, I found a good tattoo artist, got advice from friends, and I even have donated blood. Okay, the last item is not really a usual thing to include in a "tattoo preparation" list (if there’s really any). I just wanted to experience donating blood before getting tattooed because it would take years after I’ll be allowed again. 

But alas, it didn’t happen. There’s really no particular reason, it just didn’t.

Fast forward to 2019, Kevin and I booked tickets to Seoul. I remembered that I have been following a famous Korean tattoo artist, and that’s when I have decided that he’ll be my artist for my first tattoo!

I spent a considerable amount of time searching for the design I want. I didn’t go for the design I first thought of in 2016 because the design doesn’t suit the artist’s style. I really took my time because it’s going to be permanent on my skin. I need to make sure it is significant for me, and I won’t eventually hate it. When I have made up my mind, I immediately messaged the artist to book for an appointment. I first messaged him in May 2019, but he was not yet accepting bookings for November, so he asked me to message him again one month prior. I messaged him again in October, and finally, my booking was confirmed — 16th November at 2PM.


16th November was a Saturday, and it was our last full day in Seoul. I got engaged to the love of my life just four days prior, and then I got my first tattoo. This trip was really memorable for me.

My tattoo artist is Playground Tattoo, and his studio is located in the neighbourhood of Sangsu-dong in Mapo-gu, Seoul. It’s quite easy to locate his studio, and when you talk to him on KakaoTalk, he will give you detailed directions. By the way, he won’t entertain bookings on Instagram; you can only contact him on KakaoTalk. When booking, make sure you have decided the exact date and time, and the design you want. His rates depend on your design; he quoted me 130,000 won for mine. 

Playground Tattoo is just a one-man team. I believe his name is Diki. When you arrive, he will usher you to the waiting area especially when he’s still working on someone. Once it’s your turn, he will ask you to show your conversation with him on KakaoTalk, and the design you want. Afterwards, he will head over to his computer to print the design. He will, then, ask you to pick among the 3 sizes of your design. Since I’m going to have it on my wrist, I chose the medium-sized one. After you choose, he will go back to his computer again, and print the tattoo stencil.

I was quite nervous when I was on the seat already. To ease my nervousness, I was trying to do small talks with him like telling him I am nervous because it’s my first tattoo. But he didn’t respond, and just eye-smiled (because he was wearing a mask lol) at me because I think, he cannot speak English.

My tattoo was finished in just 15 minutes. He took a photo of my tattoo afterwards, and he gave me a small tub of cream and after-care instructions.

My tattoo is so pretty! I was so happy, and I didn’t have any regrets at all. I picked this design because of my love for travelling. Now, I also see it as “travelling gave me my love.” It became like a permanent mark of our engagement because it happened while we were travelling, well, aside from the engagement ring, of course!

So there yah go! It’s true what they say that you won’t stop at just one tattoo — I am already thinking of what to get next! My sisters and I are planning to have matching tattoos; I hope it will materialise soon!


Thanks to my fiancé for always supporting me! And thanks to Irish for the inspiration; her blog about her tattoo inspired me to also share my tattoo story.

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