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Tokyo: Nakaya And Tottori: Hakase


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26 replies to this topic

#1 rhk

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 15:24

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Japan to attend a conference in Tokyo and give a seminar in Osaka. Fortunately, I had some spare time that I used to admire part of Japanese culture, i.e., fountain pens.

First, I visited fountain pen boutique Shokaisan in Tokyo. It is a somewhat dark store, with an incredible stock of pens. Three friendly young ladies were there to help customers, and were kind enough to let me walk around and admire their stock. Probably the best part was a glass case with Namiki maki-e pens, not one or two, but one or two cars worth of maki-e pens. I asked if it would be ok to take a picture and that was no problem. I bought a bottle of Iroshizuku black ink, and two postcards. These pens are out of my budget, I am afraid. Note the clip on the simpler maki-e pens on the right, it seems Namiki is using an alternative to the characteristic clip-with-ball clip.

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The next day I could visit Nakaya, that is, mr. Yoshida. I had emailed before with Nakaya and it turned out that mr. Yoshida was attending a spring fair in Mitsukoshi Department Store in Nihonbashi. I had received instructions how to find it, only to get lost within the store. That department store has a Grand Staircase, and other interesting sections, as well as an annex where the fair was held. It consisted of two parts: a display of porcelain dolls from Spain, with an artist from Spain making ones on the spot. The other part were pens, many, many fountain pens. Mr Yoshida was in the Platinum booth, together with five or so sales ladies. I had not realized it was so busy: the lady told me she would write down my name and in three hours time he would have a slot. After three hours I could sit down and he ground a nib for a new Nakaya order. There was stunning three dimensional Nakaya maki-e work on display. I was very happy to see how busy it was, a good sign for fountain pen makers and collectors.

Finally, I went to Osaka to give a seminar and had one day after that to go to Tottori. Again, I had mailed with mr. Yamamoto of Hakase whether it would be convenient if I would come, and he told me he would pick me up at the railways station. Tottori has approximately 200 thousand inhabitants, and the Hakase shop is walking distance from the station. Mr Yamamoto told me he appreciated that I had scanned their catalogue and posted it on the web. After an excellent lunch he showed me the store, it is a family business. It was very nice to talk to them. Production has increased so the waiting time is not that long anymore, even though some pens that are lacquered with urushi are made only in certain months of the year. They ship perhaps one or two pens a month abroad. I bought a stand (see picture below) and Hakase sepia ink. As that is particle ink, I should clean the pen if it is not used for an extended period of time. They showed models with tortoise shell, that cannot be exported. I made some pictures.

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Mr Yamamoto is the man on the right. They carry a full range of pens and inks.

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The tray on the desk has rods of all the materials they use to make the pen and the section.


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The pen that does not fit in the tray is a desk pen with tortoise shell.

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My current Hakase collection. The pen at the bottom is made of Mysore sandalwood, and it resting on a metal pen pillow, given to me by mr. Yamamoto. The pen pillow is made by the same man as the one who makes their tools. It was a great visit.

Ruud

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#2 Skyppere

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 15:35

Wonderful Pen/Travelogue! Thanks!
skyppere



#3 sarahfar

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 15:56

exquisite, great review and thanks for sharing.

#4 marie9999

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 16:33

Wow o wow! Thanks for sharing -

I love that pen pillow and those Hakase Tortoiseshell pens are just exquisite!

Ordering a Hakase pen is in my top 10 wish list items and I know that the tortoiseshell are not available to ship so I might go with the jade/ivory look.

#5 hari317

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 16:56

My current Hakase collection. The pen at the bottom is made of Mysore sandalwood, and it resting on a metal pen pillow, given to me by mr. Yamamoto.

Wonderful report Ruud. High grade sandalwood can be purchased in India at at a cost, but the turning seems to have been flawlessly executed. Does the pen still give out the aroma if sniffed?

Best
Hari
In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

#6 JLS1

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 17:15

Wow - I wish I could have come with on that trip...meeting people from Nakaya, Hakase - just amazing! Thanks for sharing that with all of us! :thumbup:

#7 Pen Nut

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 17:17

Dont you wish you travelled more seeing stuff like this !

Money may not make you happy but I would rather cry in a Rolls-Royce

 

The true definition of madness - Doing the same thing everyday and expecting different results......


#8 mpkandan

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 17:35

Dear rhk,

Thanks for Sharing. Beautiful pens. Enjoyed the reading very much. Got the feeling of traveled to Japan.

Thanks,
Kandan.M.P
Ranga Pen Company

#9 RLD

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 17:59

Thank you rhk for an excellent and informative report! Sounds like you had a great time visiting Hakase and the Shosaikan shop looks really interesting (note typo in your spelling by the way). I have browsed the Shosaikan website but never been to their store in Aoyama. I will definitely have to drop by there the next time I visit Tokyo.

The display of Pilot pens in Shosaikan is really impressive. I recognize in the foreground of your picture the Polar Bear LE, the Crane Emperor, and the Goldfish Emperor. In the middle, just to the right of the Namiki sign, is the Chinkin Owl. The Emperor maki-e are indeed astronomically expensive, though Shosaikan's prices are actually 75-80% of the price in the US.

Interesting observation about the clips on some of the Namiki pens. I don't know what's up with that, I can't find anything on the Pilot website. Does anyone have any idea about this?
Nihon no urushi ga hitsuyo de!

#10 JustinJ

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 18:24

Ruud,

Thank you for taking the time to do a write up with pictures. I enjoyed reading your travel report. I am impressed with the hospitality of the Hakase owner, who took you to lunch. It must be nice to have such hospitality shown to you.

When I go to Japan one day, I plan on stopping in the Hakase shop. I like their pens but prefer to pick one out in person.

I like the pen stand that you have. It has a nice rustic appearance that works well with the pens.

Edited by JustinJ, 24 March 2013 - 18:25.


#11 Calabria

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 18:39

Wow thank you for letting me go on that trip vicariously
"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."
– Lin Yu-T'ang

#12 rhk

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Posted 24 March 2013 - 19:24


My current Hakase collection. The pen at the bottom is made of Mysore sandalwood, and it resting on a metal pen pillow, given to me by mr. Yamamoto.

Wonderful report Ruud. High grade sandalwood can be purchased in India at at a cost, but the turning seems to have been flawlessly executed. Does the pen still give out the aroma if sniffed?

Best
Hari



In fact, that one came in a wooden box with a tiny bag with some sandalwood residu. A nice, fragrant touch. This pen s from a log of Mysore sandalwood of 1965, and it is lacquered. Ruud

#13 Nikolaos

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 02:30

Greetings from Shanghai Ruud,

Looks like you had a fantastic trip to Japan. Thank you very much for the photos and description. I really like the Hakase pen stand and the metal pillow you got. Great accessories for your beautiful Hakase pens

Nikolaos

#14 mongrelnomad

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 16:18

Wow Ruud - thanks so much for the travelogue! May I ask - what do you lecture in?

The tortoise desk pen looks gorgeous, as does the rosewood selection. I think i'll be very happy with my latest pen, as you must be with your (apparently growing) collection...
Too many pens; too little writing.

#15 hari317

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 16:33

This pen s from a log of Mysore sandalwood of 1965, and it is lacquered. Ruud

That answers my question. Thanks Ruud.
In case you wish to write to me, pls use ONLY email by clicking here. I do not check PMs. Thank you.

#16 drgoretex

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 21:33

Beautiful Hakase pens! I would dearly love to order one myself, but alas, don't speak or read Japanese, so can't make enough sense of their website. :crybaby:

Ken

#17 marie9999

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 22:02

Beautiful Hakase pens! I would dearly love to order one myself, but alas, don't speak or read Japanese, so can't make enough sense of their website. :crybaby:

Ken



Have you tried Google translate? Hakase translated...

It's not perfect but works enough to know which products can not ship internationally etc.

#18 ethernautrix

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 01:47

So glad you visited and took photographs! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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#19 mchenart

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 05:13

Thank you Ruud for taking the time to share this information with us. Since I am only aware of the range of pens in cocobolo wood by Hakase, It is wonderful to see the Mysore Sandalwood pen you have ordered.

I went to Mysore a year ago and bought some sandalwood products there, like small carvings and soap. The wood, with its incredibly subtle smell and medicinal properties, has become, I think, the major export item for Mysore. Although your sandlawood pen has been lacquered, I am sure the scent is still noticeable when you unscrew the barrel for inking. Needless to say, I am green with envy!

Michael

#20 rhk

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 06:42

Thank you Ruud for taking the time to share this information with us. Since I am only aware of the range of pens in cocobolo wood by Hakase, It is wonderful to see the Mysore Sandalwood pen you have ordered.

I went to Mysore a year ago and bought some sandalwood products there, like small carvings and soap. The wood, with its incredibly subtle smell and medicinal properties, has become, I think, the major export item for Mysore. Although your sandlawood pen has been lacquered, I am sure the scent is still noticeable when you unscrew the barrel for inking. Needless to say, I am green with envy!

Michael


I have passed Mysore a few times on my way to Kabini, one ofthe very beautiful nature reserves in India. Once we visited Mysore on those trips, a very impressive city. That is why I like that pen so much: Japanese writing comfort using Indian wood from an area that I really like. Ruud






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