I think most people in the USA get them for decorative reasons.
Sure they look good, but there is much more to the story.
Yea, I know... this isn't the discovery channel and you are not here for an education on the symbolic reasons for a koi tattoo...
This guy was a friend to a guy who had just finished getting a large multi session tattoo done, so when he came in for his first tattoo he wanted something semi big, but not huge.
I like it when people start out that way.
They don't waste body space, but they also don't bite off more than they can chew.