“The tattoo on my arm is a plum branch in front of the sun. The plum is kind of like my identity as a Chinese-American because my last name is Lee, and the surname written in Chinese is the character for ‘plum.’ I usually don’t explain the sun part because it’s a little harder to, but the sun is what I want my mentality and mindset to reflect; I want the feeling of having the sun warm on my back to remind me to always look out for bigger and better things, pick myself up, and get that happy feeling again. I get really happy when I step outside and it’s nice out, so I want to move forward in life knowing that the sun is behind me and I’m always looking forward. The cicada tattoo on my back is a little less personal. I studied Japanese for four years in high school, and I don’t have any Japanese roots in terms of ethnicity or anything, but whenever I go to Japan, I feel like I’m going home; every time I see pictures of it, I feel very nostalgic. I’ve always had a big fascination with Japanese culture—it’s intimate, close, and personal, and it’s so interesting to see how people interact with each other. I think, for me, people are very important, and within people, honesty is the most important. I value relationships and friendships very, very strongly. I like quiet people the most because they usually have a lot to say; they’re so interesting, and they only talk to certain people and only tell certain people specific things. I think it’s nice how you can get more intimate relationships with quiet people. Japanese culture is subtle, but there are so many nuances. Everything means something. I feel very connected to Japan, so I got this tattoo because in Japan, the one thing you’ll always hear in the summer is the cicada,” (Oxford, GA). 

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