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  1. This review is more of a pictorial representation of a pen that I believe is not represented well on the internet. Some months ago I fell for a maki-e technique called byakudan-nuri. See my other post on a Danitrio with a similar finish. Here is what Platinum has to say about this pen. "Byakudan-nuri is named from its body color changing overtime being similar to Byakudan incense wood (sandalwood) used in Kodo (traditional incense ceremony). The traditional Japanese technique has been passed on through generations.Yakumo, the floating clouds painted on the ceiling of Izumo Shrine, is used as a motif. The arising sea of clouds and the sky are painted on the barrel. It is a fountain pen featured in deep color of makie providing a mystic impression." IMG_2622 by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2625 by Ja Ja, on Flickr Anyway, byakudan-nuri is a neat maki-e technique that looks rather unassuming until you get it in the light and then it appears to glow from within. It’s a sophisticated aesthetic. IMG_2626 by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2627 by Ja Ja, on Flickr I was drawn to this particular pen but, to be frank, it appeared, based on online photos, that the quality of the maki-e left something to be desired. Consequently, I never pulled the trigger. Once I got the Danitrio, however, I knew I had to take a chance on this pen. Boy am I glad I did. IMG_2630 by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2632 by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2633 by Ja Ja, on Flickr This pen is a stunner and references an interesting temple that is periodically rebuilt so it has a cool back story. There is visual and tactile maki-e over a byakudan base so there is a little more going on than with the Danitrio I also posted about. The byakudan-nuri here has a slightly different effect (copper foil versus gold dust basement?) but it still has that magical inner glow. I hope you get a good sense of the beauty of this pen here, I really tried to capture it better than anything else I’ve seen online. IMG_2623 by Ja Ja, on Flickr I ordered the pen with a cosu or course nib, which is really a fat almost double broad. It’s a fun nib and the pen is a perfect writer; I mean freaking magical. There is no real line variation, it just writes a juicy consistent line the first time every time. The nib is very stiff but no pressure is needed at all so it does not matter. I just love the Izumo pens, they are totally amazing and I think under appreciated. There are three Izumo in my collection now and each is its own version of writing perfection. IMG_2628 by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2629 by Ja Ja, on Flickr writing samples by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2634 by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2635 by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2636 by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2638 by Ja Ja, on Flickr
  2. This is a Danitrio Takumi pen with byakudan-nuri or sandalwood maki-e with the design of shishi (Chinese) or perhaps komaniu (Japanese version). These are the the so called lion-dogs or lion-like creatures that guard things like shrines and tombs. They are always represented in pairs, yin and yang. In this case I reckon the male is on the cap with his mouth open and the female on the pen body with her mouth closed. IMG_2642 by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2646 by Ja Ja, on Flickr Despite having turned into a collector of urushi and maki-e pens, especially Danitrio pens, I was first introduced to byakudan-nuri by a watch, the superb 2018 Seiko Presage limited edition Presage Ururshi Byakudan-nuri SPB085. The subdials on that watch have an inner glow thanks to the byakudan-nuri technique of using semi-transparent urushi over a gold/sliver/copper foil/very fine metal dust base. Sure, I had seen byakudan-nuri pens before, Danitrio in person, Nakaya online, and Platinum online but I guess I was not ready for that finish until now. Supposedly, the byakudan-nuri technique was reserved exclusively for use in places and on objects of high status, including temples, shrines and on the armor of Shogun warlords. Well, if that’s true my tastes, which are that of a commoner, took some time to catch up. IMG_2641 by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2640 by Ja Ja, on Flickr It’s easy to forget that the Takumi is a big pen on the order of a Pelikan M1000. Many Danitrio pens and indeed other high end urushi pens are as large or larger but the Takumi has a manageable size and weight. Due to the ebonite construction the weight is not much at all and the #6 gold nib is well suited to long writing sessions. IMG_2639 by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2637 by Ja Ja, on Flickr From a distance the smooth glossy finish is a bit brown and unassuming. Up close the features nearly explode seemingly with a light from within. With a little sensitivity this finish is remarkably beautiful and enjoyable. I like the finish so much I turned around immediately and bought a Platinum Izumo with byakudan-nuri that I was on the fence about. I care to know who painted my Danitrio pens but I cannot match the signature to craftsman despite having the Danitrio maki-e book that shows the signature of most of their artists. Nor can I find a reference online. Same person made my other Takumi so if you recognize the signature and know the artist please comment below. IMG_2645 by Ja Ja, on Flickr IMG_2644 by Ja Ja, on Flickr When I bought the pen I had the fine nib swapped for stub. In this case a RS “flame” nib that are/were made by Bock for Danitrio. RS is for regular stub so there is no appreciable flex or even softness. That said, it is not a nail either, there is some give if you press down some. The pen was a bit of a hard starter at first whereby I had to press down harder than I wanted to to get the ink to flow. This behavior is a clear sign of the tines too tight so I gently faired the nib to spread the tines a tiny amount and viola it writes beautifully now. Ink flow is just right, not too little, not too much and the line variation has about a three-fold difference between down and cross-strokes. Very nice. IMG_2647 by Ja Ja, on Flickr writing samples by Ja Ja, on Flickr In short this is a beautiful, functional, and nicely sized pen that should age very gracefully. Highly recommended. Indeed, I hope Danitrio will be with us long term.

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