Those well acquainted with the tattoo acquisition process know that the more permanent body art you get, the more likely you’ll be to royally screw it up. Welcome to the club, Ariana Grande!
Riding high off the success of her most release album, Sweetener, and upcoming album, Thank U, Next (out February 8), the pop singer recently got inked to commemorate her new single, an ode to shopping with friends called “7 Rings.”
The diva extended her hand for a little kanji—a method of Japanese writing that uses Chinese characters—but sadly fell victim to a mistranslation: Instead of the phrase “7 rings,” Grande wound up with symbols that roughly translate to “small charcoal grill.”
Like anyone who’s been in this sort of situation, Grande seemed embarrassed and immediately made moves to rectify her mistake when the goof got signal-blasted all over social media. Last night, after consulting with her Japanese tutor and receiving a shot of lidocaine from her physician to cope with the pain of sitting for back-to-back hand tattoos, she added to the design to get the message right.
But it seems her tattoo artist messed up again.
“The tattoo still has the word 七輪 (shichirin, meaning ‘small charcoal grill’) looking you in the face,” reports the site Kotaku. “It’s right there. You cannot miss it. Underneath that, it clearly reads, 指 (‘finger’) with a heart. So from right to left, the ‘fixed’ tattoo now reads, ‘Small charcoal grill, finger *heart*.'”
What started off as a mildly silly English-to-Japanese whoopsie has somehow morphed into something almost… sinister? Grande unwittingly now has a glowing endorsement for grilling fingers etched on her palm, accompanied by a cheery, emoji-style heart. True, as the undisputed celebrity queen of Halloween, Grande does love blood and gore, but this is probably too literal even for her.
The lesson to be learned here: If your planned tattoo is not in your first language, you’d better be absolutely sure not just of the spelling and symbolic meaning of the phrase you’re getting inked, but of the way in which it’s read. Japanese is read right to left, as opposed to left to right like English—which was ultimately Grande’s tattoo downfall. Fortunately, one group of people was absolutely overjoyed about the snafu: the social media managers and branding specialists at Kingsford Charcoal.