When cultural clashes occur between characters it isn’t always over big political/moral beliefs but can occur over small things that for one character might seem insignificant. For Jamie and Gou one area where the difference in their cultural beliefs stands out is over tattoos. For Jamie they are art, personal connections with the past or memories and more importantly not something to be hidden. While for Gou, his tattoos are linked to a strong cultural past and they are also the mark of his world forever signifying that he is Yakuza and the more ink he has covering his body the stronger he is seen to be. They are forbidden, kept hidden and invoke fear in those who do see them. This difference can be seen in the two extracts from Dangerous Love: Book Two in The Yakuza and the English Teacher series.
Following Kennosuke and Jamie out of the airport, Gou kept his mouth shut. Not speaking even as a wall of warmth hit him, making him regret wearing a suit. He grew more envious of the businessmen he could see abandoning their jackets and ties, no longer needing to look professional as they climbed into their cars. Gou wondered if he could do that too or would the ink etched into his skin be looked upon in fear as it was back home. Could he peel off his jacket and roll up his shirt sleeves exposing his tattoos to the world?
“Gou,” Jamie said, dropping his bags into the boot of the car. “If you’re hot, then take your damn jacket off. Roll up your sleeves if you must. No one will give a shit.”
His gaze followed Jamie’s hands, watching as his fingers curled around the hem of his t-shirt and tugged it upwards. The skin being revealed was not what Gou had remembered, but he had imagined it. Gou had wondered many times what Jamie’s back would look like with inked lines sprawled across it and now here it was in front of him, better than he could ever have imagined. He bit back the groan rising in his throat and struggled not to touch it, wanting desperately to trace his fingers along the lines etched on Jamie’s skin. Lines which created a design that mixed elements of Gou’s own tattoos and something unique to Jamie.
The tattooed skin of his past partners or those men who filled his bed for a short time, had never drawn the reaction Gou was feeling as he stared at Jamie’s. Never had he connected them with desire, only seeing them as being something that identified the men as being a part of his world. They were no different to the suits they wore or the weapons they carried. But with Jamie, it was different. He wasn’t of Gou’s world, yet the ink he now wore would forever identify him as such in Japan.
The Yakuza and the English Teacher series