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Found 15 results

  1. Karmachanic

    Hakase - lose nib/feed

    Sent the pen off for a nib tune-up and the nib master commentented on how lose the nib/feed is. Hadn't checked it prior to sending. It is indeed lose. Is this a feature, or am I special? 😨
  2. My Hakase event write-up: https://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/topic/333737-hakase-event-at-kens-cafe/ Since my initial order, I changed the pen model as well as changing from a postable pen to a non-postable one. Model: gw15f -> gw15d with long waterdrop clip --~~-- Initial thoughts: Heavier than I expected. The pen has a substantial feel to it. Nicely balanced in my hand also. The threading is well done. The nib facing upwards lines up with the barrel nipple. Interesting choice of cap to body threading: when the clip and nipple line up to cap to pen, the following is made. I suppose it makes sense since the nipple replaces the function of a roll-stopper of the clip. This can be amended to line up the clip and nipple by moving over 90 degrees. The diameter of the grip section is thicker than I remembered. Wonder if I would prefer the size 10 version instead. Inner cap inside the cap. Clip a bit shorter than I imagined considering how large the cap is. The pen was shipped with the converter inside, and filled with water. Not sure why this was done. No water found in the cap surprisingly. The hammered gold is subtle in a good way. Very pleasant to look at. Nice writer. Quite similar to how I remembered the MF tester pen. --~~-- Album: https://imgur.com/a/8L7JwFg Writing on the box is Fountain Pen Hakase. Red seal being Ryo's signature stamp. Comparison pen is a Sailor pro gear slim mini.
  3. In the past I I read with interest write-ups about one's collection. I thought to share mine as I am reflecting on the hobby. I have been heavily invested into fountain pens since 2005. Do not ask me why. I just got the bug. Initially focused on collecting, then in more recent years trying to find the perfect writers. I think I can now narrow down my inseparable fountain pens into the following 15. Let me share with you what makes them special to me. I will start from the left: 1. Visconti Ripple in Blue Silver (BB Palladium nib): this is a classic early model from Visconti (not to be confused with the equally appealing Watermark) with a silver overlay that is colored in blue with a technique used in the auto-industry. At that time, it was quite a feat. One of Del Vecchio's creations. The added bonus is the double broad palladium nib, smooth and stubbish. It is an heavy pen but I do not mind. Provenance: Peytonstreet Pens (2018). 2. Visconti Ripple Carbon Fiber (M Palladium nib). This was a collaboration between Visconti and an Italian company specializing in carbon fiber for sport cars (Carbon Dream, the logo of Carbon Dream appears on the cap finial). The nib has a very good flow and it is a pleasure to write with. Provenance: private seller in China. 3. Visconti Opera Master Demo (18K F Nib). This is another classic model, quite heavy, and the surprise was the nib. I do not usually like fine nibs but this is really wet and leaves a satisfying line on the paper. Provenance: Eurobox in Tokyo. 4. Visconti Homo Sapiens London Fog (M Palladium nib). It is one of the most balanced models in terms of lenght and weight. Born to write. The gray swirls to me are very attractive aesthetically. The nib has a very good flow (almost a and comes with a hint of feedback that is not bad. Provenance: private seller from Spain. 5. Visconti Homo Sapiens Jade (14k B nib modified). This might look like a boring repetition of the previous model, but it comes with a nib with a story. It is an old 14k nib, super smooth, that was modified by Nagahara Jr, a famous nibmeister previously working for Sailor, with his signature cut that provides line variation according to the angle you hold the pen. Perhaps just a gimmick if you do not write in Chinese or Japanese, but the nib is even smoother than before. Provenance: Martini Pens in Germany. 6. Pilot Custom Urushi Vermillion (B 18k nib). I remember how this model was talked about back in 2015 in stores in Tokyo before its release. It was much anticipated. A new model from Pilot does not happen every day. It turned out to be an oversize version of Pilot's previous flagship, the 845 Urushi, with a spectacular new nib, a number 30 nib (smaller than the Emperor's nib, but larger than the nib on the Yukary's pens). The nib is very bouncy, leading to flex (which I am not interested) and I love the generous flow. Provenance: Morita Pens in Osaka (2017). 7. Delta Dolcevita Piston Filler Maraviglia (BB 14k nib). I generally like Dolcevita pens from now-defunct Delta. But this is phenomenal because of the combination of a very attractive material (a turquoise celluloid) and the stubbish smooth BB nib. Provenance: ebay auction (from a former member of this board). 8. Sailor King of Pen Urushi Vermillion (B 21k Nib). I find the minimalist style and the size of this pen very attractive. One special feature: it never dries! I left the pen inked and untouched for months and would always write even after a long period of non-use. Super smooth nib. Provenance: Aesthetics Bay, Singapore (2016). 9. Nakaya Neo Standard Arai-shu (M 14k nib, reground). I have several Nakayas, but this is my favorite because of the nib. It came with a cursive italics nib that I hated (too crisp). A nibmeister during an event in Japan was able to smooth it and now is a beautiful medium stub, with very distinct line variation. Only downside, a lot of turns to open or close. Provenance: private seller on FPN market. 10. Hakase green celluloid and white buffalo horn (18k "stub" nib). Hakase is an artisan company in Tottori. The current maker is the third generation and basically he runs one-man operation. I first read about Hakase in this forum and I was left fascinated. Then one day actually I included Tottori in an itinerary in Japan and I ordered my first one (the next pen). This is my last Hakase, ordered during an event in Tokyo back in March 2018. Ryo Yamamoto, the current maker, is a very able nibmeister. All nibs were adjusted to my writing posture and they are all incredibly smooth. The writing experience with these nibs is very pleasant. 11. Hakase green celluloid (18k B nib). This is the model I ordered during my first encounter with Ryo in his shop in Tottori in 2015 (and delivered in Tokyo one year later). Magnificent smooth nib. I probably exaggerated by adding the possibility to post an already quite long pen. It can work as a desk pen. 12. Hakase in black buffalo horn (18k M nib). This is a very sleek and balanced model. The nib is M with a hint of stub, another extraordinarily unique nib. I ordered it in Tokyo in 2016 during the meeting to take delivery of the first pen and got it again in Tokyo in March 2017. 13. Omas Paragon gray celluloid 90th anniversary (18k BBB nib). I have been a big Omas fan and collector. For many years Omas pens were the only ones I ever used. Now I have only one in this definitive list, but there might have been more. The gray celluloid has some incredible depths and the faceted Paragon is just a timeless elegant design, according to my taste. The nib is an incredible stub, but very smooth. Provenance: trade with a collector in Taiwan (2018). 14. Pelikan M1000 with aftermarket raden decoration (18k F nib). This is my first Pelikan and it immediately made it to the list. The first reason is about aesthetics: the raden work is so clever. The raden was cut to resemble small nibs and they are perfectly arranged on the body and the cap. I immediately liked the creativity of this decoration. The raden work was made by Mr Iwase, a Japanese maker that is quite famous nowadays for these modifications. The second reason is that the F nib actually writes like an M with a very generous flow and meets my requirements. Provenance: Mr Iwase from a pen show (2019). 15. Newton Shinobi (with Omas 18k BB nib). This was a custom pen commissioned to Newton using one of his most popular models. My goal was to re-create a pen with an Omas vibe (hence the semi-transparent celluloid) and to host a terrific double broad Omas nib. The pen had some problems. I had to send it to a repairer that fixed it. Notwithstanding the ordeal, it still makes it to the list because of the nib (that I may transfer to a regular Omas pen in the future). Now, reflecting on the hobby, I think that I reached my level of satisfaction. It is more and more difficult to fall for a new pen, especially with a large collection of pens that do not get any use sitting on the side. I do not regret anything about my journey because apart from the occasional adrenaline rush, thanks to this hobby I made friends and I learnt about cultures and crafts.
  4. Mew

    My First Hakase

    This is by no means a review. Just some quick pictures from the phone camera. On 22nd November 2016, I emailed Hakase while traveling, requesting them to make a pen for me. On 28th November 2016, after coming back from the trip, I emailed them my order form. Waiting period was a little more than 13 months at that time so my pen would be with me by 1st week of January 2018. The model was WT15D, Tortoiseshell with Buffalo Horn. Today, then pen arrived. A bit late than the promised delivery date, but that was me traveling again and not able to receive the pen. Yamamoto San kindly agreed to keep it with him until I was back to receive it. To the pictures: The box: http://i.imgur.com/or08zhE.jpg The pen: http://i.imgur.com/8xHElHr.jpg The signature production date engraved at the end of the barrel: http://i.imgur.com/qwUizLn.jpg I'm not sure whether those are lathe marks or streaks of the material. White steaks on the buffalo horn http://i.imgur.com/pifGgP9.jpg http://i.imgur.com/bXW4h1T.jpg http://i.imgur.com/YoxDEsV.jpg The solid 14k hand beaten gold clip http://i.imgur.com/l64OY4n.jpg The main attraction: Turtle shell. It's not Tortoise. http://i.imgur.com/4K2jikl.jpg The nib: Pilot #15 Fine nib, tuned to my writing style. I have a few Pilot #15 nibs and they are good in general, but this one was smoother even in dry writing. http://i.imgur.com/44ekwxn.jpg Thank you for reading.
  5. http://i.imgur.com/R9qfTpB.jpg *I apologize for the poor quality iPhone photos taken in my poorly-lit apartment -- I'll borrow a dSLR to get some decent ones before I do a full review. After 13 months my Hakase is finally here! Since I ordered it last December, I've been anxiously awaiting this little ebonite barrel with a cocobolo shell. My model is called CW15C, which stands for cocobolo wood, large size nib, flat-top and solid 14kt pyramid barrel stopper band (no plating here!) For those unfamiliar with Hakase, I'd highly recommend watching the Masters of Fountain Pen series video on Harumi Tanaka. The current craftsman of Hakase is Ryo Yamamoto but he builds pens using the same techniques as Harumi Tanaka, who retired 6 or 7 years ago. Since I ordered it last December, I've been anxiously awaiting this little ebonite barrel with a cocobolo shell. I was so excited to receive it when I checked the tracking to find it was out for delivery yesterday but I wasn't home to sign for it. Today, in between appointments, I rushed to the post office, where I almost had to leave before getting my package so I wouldn't be late to class. Not entirely relevant, but I think some FP-users might appreciate this: On Tuesdays, the novelist Salman Rushdie is my professor and I think he's an FP user! Today, he was holding on to what looked like a vintage vest pen. I didn't see him uncap it but I'm fairly certain it was a vintage FP. I'm going to have to ask him about it next week, if he brings the same pen. http://i.imgur.com/6fGCwto.jpg Arrived in the pretty wrapping paper. http://i.imgur.com/kcO9APs.jpg The nibs on the large size Hakase pens are #15 size Pilot nibs, with the Hakase double-nib logo embossed on it. Similar to the nib on the Custom 823, Custom 845 and several other pens. The smaller Hakase pens use either a #10 Pilot nib or a Sailor nib. http://i.imgur.com/U2we1XT.jpg Box is just like the pawlonia wood boxes used for Nakaya and Danitrio pens. The calligraphy on the box is supposedly done by Ryo's mother. http://i.imgur.com/iQPsQOL.jpg The pen came with a Con-70 converter and was wrapped in very delicate tissue paper. http://i.imgur.com/tj4Fzak.jpg Not sure how many leads the cap has but at least one of them causes the grain to line up when capped. I know Hakase does the same pattern matching on their clipped pens, so the finial of the wood or ebonite matches that of the main part of the cap. The wood has an oil/wax finish and feels wonderful to the touch. The cocobolo blank Ryo chose is incredibly beautiful with a gorgeous grain pattern. http://i.imgur.com/CneyRtV.jpg Nib is about equal to a #6 size nib. From top: Danitrio Mikado, Edison Pearl, Hakase CW15C, Hooligan kingwood/titanium pen. http://i.imgur.com/nXjS9Ei.jpg From top: Danitrio Mikado, Eboya Kyouka (medium-size), Hakase CW15C, Hooligan kingwood/titanium pen, Edison Pearl. Now to ink this up ....
  6. Dhruv_Sood

    Hakase Pen Purchase Help

    Hi, Feel free to call me mad/idiot/foolish etc, but I am planning to purchase a Hakase some time in the next 2 months, placing the order for one that is. I got my Nakaya barely 2 weeks ago, which will prompt you to use the adjectives i mentioned above. I was initially not planning to make this thread but the Hakase catalogue is really confusing, for me at least. They have the following pens: 1. Tortoise Shell - Not possible since the maker won't ship and i don't want any animal to die because of this. 2. Rose Wood Burl Urushi Coating - I understand that this has urushi applied over it, so can it be customized to black urushi? 3. African Ebony - What is ebony? some kind of wood? Does this have urushi? 4. Rose wood - Again, wood. Is urushi applied over it too? 5. Cocobolo Wood - Again, wood. Is urushi applied over it too? 6. Black Water Buffalo Horn - Not interested, for the same reason as Tortoise shells. 7. Ebonite - Not interested 8. Celluloid - Not interested. Also, is saw a sandalwood one somewhere here in the forums. Why is that not in the catalogue? Can some one also post a picture of how this pen is packed? The packaging, if anyone took those when they received their pens. Do you get a kimono too, like the Nakaya and Platinum? :3 I can buy any of the pens i am interested in right away, apart from the Rose wood Burl Urushi Coating, that would require some saving. i am not interested in Flat tops. Thanks & Regards Dhruv
  7. This is my first review on the Fountain Pen Network and I still consider myself a fountain pen notice since I have only been using them for a little over a year. So please bear with me as I stumble through this review. I received my Hakase fountain pen on or about April 27, 2016. I ordered the pen in early July 2015. So its taken approximately ten months for me to receive my pen. I believe that this wait time is standard for a Hakase. That didn't make the amount of time I had to wait any less excruciating as all I could do was fantasize about my pen. I am not a patient man. My Hakase order started off as an order for a torpedo ebonite pen with a fine nib. I really wanted to order one of the more "exotic" materials, but couldn't bring myself to seriously contemplate paying close to an extra $1,000 on top of the cost of my present order (approximately $800). I sent in my order to Mr. Yamamoto, the current owner (and as I understand it, the only maker) of Hakase, and then proceeded to watch the time slowly, slowly pass. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I am not a patient man. I fretted about my choice in material for months. I already had pens made of ebonite (I have several Nakayas with urushi lacquer) and could not justify waiting such a long period of time for a pen that wasn't "special" or distinct in some manner. I looked at my budget again, sold some pens and then made the decision to change my order to one of the more exotic materials that Hakase offered. The hard part was choosing which one was exotic enough for me. I thought about going with water buffalo horn, but didn't like the fact that it came from a previously living animal (I'm not a pacifist, vegan or card-carrying member of PETA). This also ruled out tortoise shell (I didn't like the pattern any way). This left one of the wood offerings from Hakase: African Ebony, Cocobolo or Rosewood. Eventually, I "settled" on African Ebony as I liked the fact that the wood was dense and had substance. The dark aesthetic of the wood also appealed to me. After resolving most of my questions and concerns through weeks of research, I emailed Mr. Yamamoto to let him know that I wanted to change the material for y pen to African Ebony and the nib to a fine-medium stub with flex. After verifying the price difference, Mr. Yamamoto confirmed the change to my order. In early March 2016, I received an email from Mr. Yamamoto letting me know that he would be starting on my pen in April 2016 and that I should pay the remaining amount due. With my PayPal account sadly depleted, I patiently waited. In late April 2016, I received an email that my pen had shipped! My major concern now was whether the pen would make it through customs and if I would have to pay any customs. After a couple of stressful days waiting, I found a package waiting on my work desk. My Hakase came in a plain cardboard box with the word "Hakase" on it. I opened the box to find a smaller box wrapped in a grey Hakase gift wrap. The box was expertly wrapped and I thoroughly enjoyed unwrapping my "gift" (coincidentally my birthday is in April, so I considered this my birthday gift). Inside the gift wrap was a beautiful wooden presentation box with Japanese writing. My Japanese is rather rusty so I couldn't decipher the writing, but I imagine it says "Hakase" and "fountain pen" somewhere in there. It should also mention something about master pen craftsman somewhere in the writing, but I doubt it since the Japanese tend to be rather humble. Inside the wooden box was what I initially felt was a rather small pen. For some odd reason, I was expecting a pen about the same size as a Montblanc 149. A feeling of disappointment washed over me and intensified given the long wait period. The pen looked insignificant on first glance. I forced myself to set aside the feeling and reached inside for the pen. The pen felt small at first, especially for the amount of money I paid for it. But there is absolute truth in the old adage "bigger is not better." Once I took the time to examine my pen at length, I was pleasantly surprised by how the pen seemed to just "fit" into my hand. I've owned a lot of fountain pens and some of them have been really uncomfortable to hold and use for long periods of time (I'm looking at your Montblanc 149). The Hakase just fit and is extremely comfortable to use. The African Ebony adds heft and density, but the pen is magically light. The pen looks uniformly solid black, but when you look closely, you can see the wood grain which adds character and personality to the pen. It's rustic and modern, and the pen begs to be handled. I elected to have solid gold furniture on mine and it complements the dark African Ebony. The gold furniture is unique and emphasized the uniqueness of this pen. People who are not even pen enthusiasts understand that this pen is custom and special. The workmanship is expertly done. I'm not a craftsman, but even if I were, I think I would be hard pressed to find anything wrong with this pen. Everything has been shaped perfectly and all the parts fit together. The pen body and cap are made of African Ebony, while the section is highly polished ebonite. The ebonite matches well with the African Ebony wood. The nib and converter are from Pilot. The nib has minimal etching (the word Hakase and their logo) but its simple design conforms with the rest of the pen. I ran Bung Box Ink of the Witch through my pen and the fine-medium nib glided smoothly across my Tomoe River paper like a seasoned figure skater on ice. There was minimal feedback, but it was not unpleasant. The only issue I would have with this pen is that the nib does not flex much. I'm not sure if its because Mr. Yamamoto forgot to add flex, or if the nib only supports minimal flex. It doesn't bother me at all, but it is something I wanted to ask Mr. Yamamoto at a later date. I have no regrets about purchasing this pen and I love, love using it. I find myself reaching for it all the time and I can't believe I own a Hakase. I am actually looking to get another Hakase, this one in Rosewood with a flat-top design. I have two kids, and it feels fundamentally unfair to bequeath one with a Hakase, and leave the other without. Or at least this is what I tell myself as I find myself reaching for my wallet to put in the order. I can unequivocally recommend getting a Hakase if you are a fountain pen enthusiast. I am not responsible for the sizeable dent it will put in your wallet and bank account .
  8. Hi Guys, I have a question about Japanese design, i.e., what do Japanese people actually like in a pen? I'm getting more and more interested in Japanese design and from what I can see, there seems to be a certain "dicothomy" in design styles, not just in terms of pens. In a way, it seems to me that there is something that we "Westerners" like and associate with Japanese design, namely, the minimalist-looking, Zen-ish stuff such as this, this, or, to stay in the field of pens, this, or, more broadly speaking, this kind of aesthetics. This seems to be reflected in a lot of high-end Japanese pens, such as Nakayas, Hakase, the Namiki Emperor series, the Sailor King of Pens, and pretty much everything that is urushi-coated or maki-e: very minimalistic design, maybe with highly elaborated decorations, but on very plain background. We're all quite familiar with this kind of aesthetics from movies, books, and of course, drooling over pictures of amazing urushi pens that most of us probably cannot afford. I'll call this the "Samurai" tendency. However, my theory is that this is probably not what Japanese people really like/want/seek. This is because if one looks at what Japanese companies offer in terms of mid-to-high-range pens (i.e., below the level of things like the Sailor KOP or the Namiki Emperor, but within the range of what most people can probably afford), it's hard to stumble across anything minimalistic/Zen-ish: look at the range of Pilot customs, or Sailor's pens. Everywhere one sees a lot of gold hardware, a clear reference to Western pen design, re-interpreted in a form that remains rather unique, without the ostentatious design of, say, a MB 149, an Omas or a Pelikan M800: Japanese pens tend to be smaller (probably only the larger Pilot Customs or the Platinum President can compete with the MB 149 in length), very rarely show off their logos, and sometimes have rather "kitsch" details (such as the new clips on Sailor pens or the clip of the Platinum President, or the cap band on the Sailor king professional gear) or use colour combinations that are either long out-of-fashion in the West, or are of questionable taste to say the least. I'll call this the "Businessman" tendency. So, considering that... - The current Japanese aesthetic seems to be more oriented towards the post-modern (and the Kawaii) style than the traditional styles usually associated to Japan; - There are probably 1.000 "businessman" Pro Gear with their kitsch cap band sold for every super-elegant minimalistic "samurai" Namiki Emperor Urushi, even though... - ... minimalist/"Zen" design is not necessarily more expensive (quite the opposite: look at LAMY!) and could therefore be easily used on mid-to-high-range-end pens; urushi is not always needed, after all; - There seems to be a lot more variety in the design of mid-to-high-range pens, looking at least at the experiments done by Sailor on their Sapporo/Pro Gear lines; - Maki-e coated pens were initially popularized by Dunhill for the Western market; - Companies such as Danitrio and Nakaya that clearly target primarily the non-Japanese market specialize in "Samurai" design; - The pens in maki-e and urushi seem to have boomed in the period of the Japanese economic stagnation after 1991, when the internal market contracted and manufacturers had to look for alternatives; ...I tend to believe that a Japanese person would probably prefer something like a Pilot 845, with its 6 (six!) gold rings, than a plain Sailor KOP, regardless of the price, and probably sees our beloved "Samurai" pens as something that "only foreigners like". I'm talking here of what people like, not what people can afford. After all, if the "Samurai" style really were the "best" in terms of tastes in Japan, shouldn't we see a lot more pens being offered in minimalist designs? Shouldn't we see Platinum, Sailor and Pilot behave more like Lamy or Faber Castell, with their cheaper, affordable Studio or Ondoro lines? Maybe I'm just talking nonsense, but I'd love to hear what you think about this (especially if you are Japanese or live there). Cheers, Fabio
  9. There is a wise catch-phrase coined by the seminal 90s British sitcom Spaced. "Skip to the end." And so I will: This is the single best pen I have ever owned, ever held, ever used. It is so good that it has made me believe - maybe just a little bit - in the old, oft-told myth of The One Pen. There. Good. I uttered the sacrilegious words. Now that they are free and I am free too we can backtrack a bit (as I take a deep breath) and I can attempt to explain how this little cylinder of rosewood, ebonite and gold caused the furnaces of hell to freeze to ice. As some of you will remember, this is not my first Hakase. The first - a rather fetching buffalo horn torpedo - confused initially, before wrapping its tentacles firmly around my heart. This pen too came as something of a shock (no, slow down - I am getting ahead of myself), but even then there were no, even fleeting, feelings of disappointment. I had long wanted a wooden pen and after being gently guided through the options by Hakase's Mr. Ryo Yamamoto, I slowly narrowed my choices to the shape (flat-top), size (large) and wood (rosewood). I paid my deposit and began my wait. The photographs I recieved from Mr. Yamamoto in answer to my questions - 1. l-r: buffalo horn torpedo, RW15C, RW10C; 2. l-r: ebony, rosewood, cocobolo http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8245/8453562872_0895dd1ae4_c.jpg http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8374/8454014328_d5e5fd7e28_c.jpg The pen arrived with little fanfare as all Hakases do: a small wooden box wrapped in the company's steel-grey wrapping paper. Open the paper, pull the lid off the perfectly-fitting box and there was the pen. It was, and is, absolutely gorgeous. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5332/9291677875_14717ca64c_c.jpg http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3742/9294461724_e30aaa18ab_c.jpg http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5451/9291690423_71cb73d81f_c.jpg The shape is highly unusual but deceptively simple - a large cap worked to a slightly conical summit allied to a voluptuous barrel that narrows to an abrupt end (where the signature Hakase production date is carved into the wood). This allows the cap to post comfortably and securely. The pen, though large, is light and comfortable, and is is perfectly balance whether the cap is posted or not. Only the gold roll-stopper breaks the clean, unadorned lines. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3669/9294417512_51ffeb0247_c.jpg Although the pen is exactly what I expected, some details still manage to surprised. Google translate being what it is, I intended to ask Mr. Yamamoto how one could possibly fill, empty, clean and care for a pen constructed entirely from wood but could not reduce the question to sufficiently simple syntax. Not that it would have been necessary, for the apparently wooden section turned out to be the most glorious, warm, sensual ebonite, polished to a lustre that would make even the old vintage gods of yore weep. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7322/9294426386_d224a96b57_c.jpg The wood itself as I wished: it smells deep and sweet and organic and is pockmarked with veins and crevices and seams. It feels as I expected the buffalo horn to feel: rough and intimate; perfectly flawed as only a once-living, experiencing thing can be. It has been masterfully worked, from the hand-carved threads that screw on and off with the faint rubbing sound of rope being fed through an old loom, to the nearly imperceptible join where the cap's hollow section and rounded top meet. http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2831/9291638983_01167814e7_c.jpg The furniture is as to be expected of Hakase: solid, hand-beaten 14k gold. I understand from Mr. Yamamoto that white gold and sterling silver are now options but I cannot think of a single Hakase model that would benefit from a more monochromatic palette. As my buffalo pen had a circular nipple roll-stopper, I chose a pyramid for variety, and I am glad I did for it seems to catch the light and gleam in a more three-dimensional, more dramatic, way. Hugged lovingly within its trough, the band is neither loose nor tight and I find myself absentmindedly rotating it around the barrel as one would a wedding-ring on a fleshy finger: smooth as olive oil and hypnotically satisfying. Reassuring even. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3686/9291648137_16a2a0c5f8_c.jpg Nib, converter, feed: all Pilot. Off-the-shelf, yes, but of the highest quality nonetheless and perfectly integrated. For this pen I requested a fine nib and once again Hakase delivered. It is without a shadow of a doubt the single best nib for me and my illegibly cramped style of writing that I have ever used. Even by Japanese standards its line is fine, but it is so consistent and predictable, so smooth and forgiving of angle and pressure, that I have not been able to put it down. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7351/9291640201_2457222466_c.jpg http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7309/9291637557_c24549a04a_c.jpg http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2840/9299899748_67982fbe0e_c.jpg I have an obsessive methodology that governs my writing. Ever since I began work on the second first draft of Unpublished Novel #1 ™ I have changed both pen and ink every day. This was not only an excuse to amass and horde, it had at its root a practical purpose. Not all writing days are created equal, and altering the visible signature simplifies the thankless transcribing process months later. General rule: if a colour (day) begins eloquently, it will most likely remain eloquent. If not, skip ahead to the next colour (day) and fill in the blanks later. This simple regimen has remained unbroken for nearly five years, through two and a half novels and countless edits and rewrites. Until now. Since I received this pen, held it in my hands and first filled it with Iroshizuku Shin Kai, I have used no other. This is not out of necessity - I am not currently travelling (even then I carry between three and seven pens) and I have over a hundred pens and probably a good deal more inks easily to hand. No. I have, quite simply, not wished to use another pen. Size comparison - MB149, RW15C, Buffalo Horn Torpedo http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7382/9294428972_69eaea5cae_c.jpg To add insult to injury, the price is also shockingly resonable. No, you're right - calling a pen that retails for ¥162,000 (~$1,600) good value is a sure sign of insanity, but stay with me. First, because of the lack of embellishments (read: gold), this pen is several magnitudes cheaper than most of Hakase's creations. Then, when we remove immediate family from the contest and look at alternatives based upon price, all are big brand variations on a mass produced theme. And so the question becomes: would you rather pay for a fancy finish (raden on an M1000 for instance), elaborate gratuitous embellishments (MB POA 4810s, themselves 30%+ more expensive), or a unique, handmade product of singular skill and obsession where your fingers can sense the love and attention in every touch? Before we reach the foregone conclusion, allow me a brief addendum, for I bought a Hakase case with my pen and must include at least a mention in this review. Outsourced to these people, it is constructed of the most beautiful fragrant leather and is crafted as immaculately (and with the same methods, last and all) as hand-made shoes. Although I ordered it as a separate entity, it has been custom-made (without me asking) to fit this pen and this pen only. There is no strip for a clip (visible on the website here), and a little hole has been cut at exactly the height of the roll-stopper. It holds my pen, and my pen only, perfectly and it is impossible to appropriately describe how lovely it feels to have the pyramid slide into place and to see it poking out through its rabbit-hole into the light. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3767/9294445330_4ee178e111_c.jpg http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5460/9291636735_d11edc8c2c_c.jpg But forgive my brief digression, for now we've returned full-circle back to where we began. This is the single best pen I have ever owned, held or used. It is so good that it has made me believe, maybe just a little bit, in the old myth of The One Pen. Perhaps now you will understand why.
  10. Hi Guys, I have a question about Japanese design, i.e., what do Japanese people actually like in a pen? I'm getting more and more interested in Japanese design and from what I can see, there seems to be a certain "dicothomy" in design styles, not just in terms of pens. In a way, it seems to me that there is something that we "Westerners" like and associate with Japanese design, namely, the minimalist-looking, Zen-ish stuff such as this, this, or, to stay in the field of pens, this, or, more broadly speaking, this kind of aesthetics. This seems to be reflected in a lot of high-end Japanese pens, such as Nakayas, Hakase, the Namiki Emperor series, the Sailor King of Pens, and pretty much everything that is urushi-coated or maki-e: very minimalistic design, maybe with highly elaborated decorations, but on very plain background. We're all quite familiar with this kind of aesthetics from movies, books, and of course, drooling over pictures of amazing urushi pens that most of us probably cannot afford. I'll call this the "Samurai" tendency. However, my theory is that this is probably not what Japanese people really like/want/seek. This is because if one looks at what Japanese companies offer in terms of mid-to-high-range pens (i.e., below the level of things like the Sailor KOP or the Namiki Emperor, but within the range of what most people can probably afford), it's hard to stumble across anything minimalistic/Zen-ish: look at the range of Pilot customs, or Sailor's pens. Everywhere one sees a lot of gold hardware, a clear reference to Western pen design, re-interpreted in a form that remains rather unique, without the ostentatious design of, say, a MB 149, an Omas or a Pelikan M800: Japanese pens tend to be smaller (probably only the larger Pilot Customs or the Platinum President can compete with the MB 149 in length), very rarely show off their logos, and sometimes have rather "kitsch" details (such as the new clips on Sailor pens or the clip of the Platinum President, or the cap band on the Sailor king professional gear) or use colour combinations that are either long out-of-fashion in the West, or are of questionable taste to say the least. I'll call this the "Businessman" tendency. So, considering that... - The current Japanese aesthetic seems to be more oriented towards the post-modern (and the Kawaii) style than the traditional styles usually associated to Japan; - There are probably 1.000 "businessman" Pro Gear with their kitsch cap band sold for every super-elegant minimalistic "samurai" Namiki Emperor Urushi, even though... - ... minimalist/"Zen" design is not necessarily more expensive (quite the opposite: look at LAMY!) and could therefore be easily used on mid-to-high-range-end pens; urushi is not always needed, after all; - There seems to be a lot more variety in the design of mid-to-high-range pens, looking at least at the experiments done by Sailor on their Sapporo/Pro Gear lines; - Maki-e coated pens were initially popularized by Dunhill for the Western market; - Companies such as Danitrio and Nakaya that clearly target primarily the non-Japanese market specialize in "Samurai" design; - The pens in maki-e and urushi seem to have boomed in the period of the Japanese economic stagnation after 1991, when the internal market contracted and manufacturers had to look for alternatives; ...I tend to believe that a Japanese person would probably prefer something like a Pilot 845, with its 6 (six!) gold rings, than a plain Sailor KOP, regardless of the price, and probably sees our beloved "Samurai" pens as something that "only foreigners like". I'm talking here of what people like, not what people can afford. After all, if the "Samurai" style really were the "best" in terms of tastes in Japan, shouldn't we see a lot more pens being offered in minimalist designs? Shouldn't we see Platinum, Sailor and Pilot behave more like Lamy or Faber Castell, with their cheaper, affordable Studio or Ondoro lines? Maybe I'm just talking nonsense, but I'd love to hear what you think about this (especially if you are Japanese or live there). Cheers, Fabio
  11. brahe

    Which Hakase To Order ?

    Dear FPN friends, Last week I received my first Hakase: NJ10B New Green Celluloid. WOW ! Having an Ohasido, two Nakaya’s, a Fred Faggionato, a Platinum Izumo and several MB’s, I thought I had some experience with good pens. Was I surprise after filling my Hakase with their dark Sepia Ink: amazing. The smoothness is beyond believe. Needless to say that the craftsmanship of Mr. Ryo Yamamoto is impeccable. The pen is perfect from every angle, nothing and absolutely nothing I can find that might indicate even the smallest imperfection. I had the pen made 1 cm longer, for me the pen feels perfect for my hands: the balance, the weight, the smoothness when writing, well, everything actually shouts: Perfection. I have shown it to a friend who is absolutely devoted to his Louis Cartier Fountain pen. After a minute I had to take it back when he started drooling over it. Now I’m faced with a dilemma. I’m about to order a new Hakase and I can use some advice. To make it clear: I’m not interested in a solid golden rings or clips. For me it is about the pen and it’s writing characteristics. The Hakase should stay simple and straight forward. That said, this Hakase should make mouths drop. My two questions: 1) With a budget of app € 1.000,-- ( JPN 120.000,-) I am considering ordering either: Black water Buffalo Horn WB 10ARose Wood Burl Urushi Coating QB10A2) What nib should I take: NX or DX ? What should I choose? Does anyone have one or maybe even both fountain pens ? Your help and advice will be highly appreciated. Thank you. Bram
  12. So, after individually reviewing two of my three Hakases (buffalo horn and rosewood), my Romillo Nervión and my custom Nakaya, I feel it is time to draw together some disparate threads. For many, the prospect of a fully custom pen is both alluring and daunting. With so many options the process seems fraught with danger, and the reassurance of an off-the-peg alternative, liberally reviewed and photographed here on the forum, turns the 'maybe' into an eternal 'maybe next time'. So here I will attempt to remove the mystery from the process, to shine a light on these three well-known if enigmatic makers, and to give a holistic and subjective overview of the process and the final pens. Maybe then I will help push a few of you over the edge into the abyss. Romillo Nervión, custom Nakaya, Hakase Rosewood, Hakase Buffalo Horn Communication: A friendly and knowledgeable contact is crucial, both in easing anxiety and assuring that there are no misunderstandings along the (sometimes long) way. Yet, oddly, it is the experience with the most scope for error that has proven to be the most rewarding, and then by a large margin. Hakase is a tiny company located in Tottori, a middling city in the north of Honshu, Japan's main island. If I say that its locale is known only for its pears and a sand dune, perhaps you will understand how remote Hakase is. Mr. Ryo Yamamoto is the proprietor and, now that his father and patron has retired, also the maker of Hakase's pens. From what I understand, he speaks little-to-no English, and yet... My three experiences with Hakase have been absolutely without flaw. Mr. Yamamoto's infinite patience, his pride in his products, and his devotion to his customers, has shone through in every interaction, no matter how minor. Questions were answered almost instantaneously (via Google Translate but, miraculously, still comprehensible), often including comparative photos of great skill, as well as personal guidance and impressions of the options under consideration. The little questionnaire (filled out once and then kept on file for future reference) asked for certain writing specifics and preferences, as well as a writing sample, and was always mailed back anew upon receipt of an order with an exact to-scale picture of the expected pen. Ryo even allowed my second pen to jump the queue to ensure it arrived in time for my birthday... Aftercare has also been sublime: a new nib was ground for me to match my pen (as each pen is constructed entirely by hand, it was necessary to send it back in its entirety to ensure a clean marriage between section and barrel); turnaround from Israel to Japan and back again was barely three weeks. I have had less contact with Álvaro Romillo at Romillo, but so far the signs have been good. eMails were usually promptly serviced (with a few lapses), and answers have been friendly, open and comprehensive, though they lack the overwhelming thoroughness of Mr. Yamamoto at Hakase. So where does this leave Nakaya? Not very high, unfortunately. I have had several experiences with Nakaya, both personally and through Classic Fountain Pens in California. Whereas Hakase exemplifies that friendlier nature of the Japanese national personality, Nakaya inhabits the realms of the introverted side. Even as a repeat customer, several exploratory communications with the company in Tokyo were politely rebuffed; a request for more details about the urushi craftsmen in Wajima (a town I was to visit as my latest pen was being produced) was ignored. It is no coincidence, therefore, that upon undertaking a custom design, I chose CFP to act as middle-man. Romillo size 9, Nakaya ruthenium plated F, Hakase F, Hakase F Scope for Customisation: I suppose this is the most important issue, for what is the definition of a 'custom' pen? Of the three, only Romillo is entirely made by hand, the other two relying on certain parts sourced from other manufacturers. Needless to say, this limits their creative scope somewhat. On considering a Romillo, I asked Álvaro what existed within the realms of possibility. His answer: the daunting "anything". I am not sure this was meant literally (I doubt I could order a telescoping piston without footing the bill for the necessary R&D upfront), but in dimensions and furniture, it seems that anything goes. He was even open to custom end-buttons, clips and nib engravings too, although strangely not to any material bar ebonite. A celluloid model has just been added to Romillo's website, so perhaps that is about to change... Nib, feed and filling aside, Hakase have been more than willing to alter their signature pens. Mix-and-match details from their plethora of designs, as well as a (new) choice of 14k golds or sterling silver, all to create your pen, then have Mr. Yamamoto tailor the dimensions and details to suit your taste. Materials are limited to those traditionally utilised by Hakase, but the canvas proves vast: celluloid, ebonite, various exotic woods, buffalo horn and even turtle-shell for those more adventurous, and possessed of deep pockets. With Nakaya, alterations are limited to the surface: the garnish rather than the meat. One must first choose a basic design from those already offered by Nakaya (or, as in my case, allow them to suggest one), and then work from there. Even then, there are seemingly arbitrary limitations: a request to include western text on the pen was quietly refused, as was a second nib and section. Pedantic and pointless, especially when undertaking such a project at such an expense. 'Specialness': You can find my thoughts elsewhere, but it goes without saying that one orders a custom pen for something more than brand image. More, even, than objective attributes. A handmade pen should sing in an ineffable manner alien to an object spat out by machine. It should not necessarily be without flaw, but those flaws must be evidence of the divine fallibility of man rather than lax quality control or the inadequacy of design. It is here that the Nakaya absolutely fails. It is a beautiful pen, a fantastic pen even and, imbued with so much personal resonance, I love it dearly. But it is a (relatively) mass-produced product with very beautiful embellishments. I do not pick it up and feel it was made for me, that it embodies some indelible connection between the craftsman and I. I do with the other two. Even the nib: yes, it is a good nib. Great even. But it is the work of John Mottishaw and is comparable to any of the other Nakayas or Platinums that I own, all on off-the-shelf pens and no poorer for it. The Romillo is the complete antithesis. It would not exist were it not for me, and everything about it screams 'anachronism' in the manner of an heirloom film camera or a car with a manual transmission. It is the very definition of what a custom pen should be - not a single part outsourced or produced by robot, and that nib is quite simply a marvel of character and grace. How a cottage manufacturer on Europe's periphery can do what the big boys cannot is beyond me, and for many that nib and that nib alone will pronounce the Nervión the absolute and uncontested winner here. I would not argue with that conclusion... But it is not mine. In my humble eyes, Hakase is the master of the custom pen. Everything, from the communication to the ordering to the blissful agony of the wait is exactly what I want the experience to be. The choice of materials and styles is comprehensive, and the skill exhibited in the manufacture (the threads are cut by hand!) is peerless. Yes, for some Hakases will forever be hobbled by the Pilot nib, feed and filler, yet the proof is in the writing and Ryo Yamamoto has still succeeded in translating my desires into nib form (three times on three separate pens) better than any nibmeister, let alone manufacturer. Yes, other Pilots in my collection may share the 'same' size 15 nib, but none dream to compare upon the page. I am happy to own all three and would consider none a mistake. But were I to only have one, there would be absolutely no doubt: Mr Yamamoto and Hakase would be the one to receive my only order.
  13. shuuemura

    Hakase Cocobolo Flat-Top

    Hakase Cocobolo Flat-top The Hakase Cocobolo resting in its paulownia box. The calligraphy on the box is done by the mother of the current owner of Hakase, Ryo Yamamoto. Yamamoto-san is the grandson of the original founder of Hakase. Introduction As a lover and user of Japanese pens, owning a Hakase pen has been my goal for the longest time ever. Ever since I read reviews of this brand four years ago, I fell in love with the mystique of a small family-owned shop on the west coast of Japan churning out hand-turned custom pens, one every day. They have no distributor and in order to purchase a pen, one has to either order in person or send in a form with a sample of your handwriting, your writing/grip preferences, and your choice of pen material and design. With the waitlist previously two years long and now shortened to approximately a year, Hakase pens are not something you can simply walk into a shop and buy! At this rarefied level, everything is custom and Hakase can accommodate most preferences. Pen materials include ebonite, celluloid, buffalo horn, different exotic woods including rosewood, cocobolo, African kingwood, sandalwood, ebony and more. They also offer real tortoiseshell as a pen material. Metal trim on these pens is usually solid 14K yellow/white gold or sterling silver, although gold-plated trim is also an option for the budget-conscious. Finally, urushi lacquering is available but will add to the time needed for pen construction. Hakase uses Sailor- and Pilot-made 14K gold nibs and converters for their pens. I scour the auction boards regularly to look for Hakase pens, but had so far been unable to obtain a suitable piece for my collection. So this year I finally bit the bullet and ordered myself a buffalo horn Hakase pen with the works. Imagine my surprise when this particular specimen came up for sale two months into my wait period! I couldn't resist but purchase it. See how the wood grain lines up nicely when the pen is capped. The metal trim on this pen is all solid 14K yellow gold. Pen construction Hakase pens are expertly hand-turned with a manually-operated lathe (see video posted by VirtuThe3rd) and handling a Hakase pen makes one deeply appreciative of the workmanship that goes into crafting each pen. On this pen, it is immediately apparent that the cap and barrel are crafted from a single cocobolo wood scantling (read: wood blank) and the cap and barrel have been threaded so that the wood grain will line up when one of the thread starts is used to cap the pen. I love this attention to detail that Hakase brings to their pens. The metal trim on this pen is all solid hand-wrought 14K yellow gold which goes well with the minimalistic design of the pen. The date code on this pen is 012014, meaning January 2014. Each pen comes with a date code, tastefully and subtly engraved on the barrel end. This particular pen was made in January of this year. The tapering of the barrel end allows one to post the cap securely, although for now I prefer to use the pen unposted. This pen has almost the same length as the Pelikan M800 capped and uncapped/unposted, which was a pleasant surprise to me. It has approximately the same mass as well, weighing 30 grams capped and 18 grams uncapped, comparable to the Pelikan M800 which is 29 grams capped and 21 grams uncapped. The Hakase is almost the exact same length of the Pelikan M800 capped and uncapped/unposted. It is just a bit shorter than the Montblanc 149 on the right. Comparison of the Hakase to the Pilot Custom 845 and the Namiki Yukari Royale. The Hakase is shorter than the other two pens but slightly larger in girth. I include the Pilot Custom 845 and the Namiki Yukari Royale in this review because of their extensive similarity to the Hakase pen. The Custom 845 and Hakase use essentially the same nib, while all three pens depicted above come with the CON-70 converter. Hakase usually includes the silver trim CON-70 converter with their pens; I have outfitted my Hakase with a spare black CON-70 converter instead. Not much to say about the CON-70 converter except that it has a high capacity of ~1 mL and it works well. Note that the section is made of SEM ebonite from Germany instead of Nikko ebonite and the wood grain ripple pattern blends well with the cocobolo barrel. Ebonite is the perfect choice for constructing a section which will be occasionally dipped into ink during refilling of the pen. The Hakase uses a Pilot CON-70 converter and a Pilot-made 14K gold nib with the Hakase logo. The section is made from wood grain ebonite (SEM ebonite) which can be safely immersed into ink during filling. Writing experience This nib is purportedly a fine size, but had been adjusted to give more of a medium-broad line. I was taken aback at first during my first filling with Iroshizuku Tsuki-Yo, but have since grown to enjoy the luscious line of ink that this pen leaves on paper. My favourite nibs are the Namiki Yukari Royale medium nibs because of their springy feel, responsiveness to pressure, and extensive shading characteristics, but this pen writes extremely well too, putting ink down at the slightest pressure. Glassy smooth is an apt description for this nib. I have seen very little shading with Tsuki-Yo ink, allowing me to use this nib on paper that would normally give bleed through with other pens (such as the paper currently used in the TOPS and National Brand Computation Notebooks). Notice the similarity of the design between the Hakase 80th anniversary nib and the Pilot Custom 845 nib! The two-tone nib on this pen is part of the limited edition run of 100 nibs made to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the founding of Hakase. Notice how similar the design is to the Custom 845 nib? Honestly I feel that Hakase should have arranged for an original design instead, but since I bought this pen pre-owned, I can't complain too much. Conclusions Hakase pens keep their value and are very hard to find on the secondary market. I particularly enjoy the fact that I'm using a pen that very few people will recognise or even own. These pens are not the most expensive out there, but are valuable because of their relative scarcity and the knowledge and craftsmanship that goes into making each pen. Finally, this pen has sated my current desire for a Hakase pen, and I look forward to receiving my buffalo horn Hakase soon!
  14. daoud62

    My Visit To Hakase

    A month ago, at 4:10 on a very chilly morning in Tokyo, I got into a taxi for the quick ride through traffic-less streets to Haneda for a 6:40 flight to Tottori, capital of the least populous prefecture in Japan. I have been a loyal customer of Hakase for the past few years, and decided personally to pick up my two new additions to the collection so that Ryo Yamamoto, the owner of Hakase and the current pen maker in a company started by his grandfather, could tweak the nibs and make any last-minute adjustments. This was the pretext. Of course, I was also curious to see Tottori for myself because I always wondered what it was about the place that could produce such beautiful writing instruments. Ryo-san explained it to me: "I am inspired by the tranquility." Indeed, the work table where he tweaks the nibs is in a window overlooking the street. As the plane banked over the famous sand-dunes of Tottori a minute or two before landing, I looked around. The waters were very rough. Snow covered the snow and the bamboo roofs of the houses. It seemed an idyllic picture of what I had always imagined Japanese rural life to be. Tottori, of course, is not exactly the country. It is a city, albeit a very small one. It took about 20 minutes in rush-hour traffic to drive from the airport to my hotel, the New Otani, which is located directly across the street from Tottori Railway Station. I chose it expressly for that reason, because the next day I would be taking the express train to Himeji, and from there the Nozomi Shinkansen to Tokyo. Trains cover the 711 km trip in just under 5 hours. I had a vision of Hakase's shop from photos I had seen on the web and, specifically, here on FPN. I always imagined Tottori to be akin to a Southern California beach town. It is not. Coming from Tokyo, one can be forgiven for thinking that the downtown area looks a bit gray and dusty. Perhaps it was the weather that day...it was freezing cold, and within 3 hours, it would be snowing and hailing, after which the sun would shine despite a fierce wind...but as I turned right at the Mister Donut shop directly across from the entrance to the railway station, I passed some shuttered restaurants, grocery shops, mechanics' garages, and pachinko parlors with the music blaring even at 9:30 am until I came to Hakase's familiar brick facade. Ryo-san was waiting for me inside at a table, and beside him sat Kyoko-san, a Tottori native who served as our translator because my Japanese could certainly not be relied upon to get us through a day's conversation. Shortly after I walked in, Ryo-san's parents came in: his father worked for many years as a pen maker for Platinum, and his mother is the one who runs the shop and is solely responsible for the beautiful calligraphy on Hakase's signature boxes, which she does with a fude (brush pen). The shop is very small: on the left-hand side is the table where we sat to discuss my pens and another table on which sample pens and materials are laid out for prospective customers to examine, while on the right-hand side, there is a small pen counter that sells several well-known brands, as well as Private Reserve and Hakase Real Sepia inks. In the front window overlooking the street is a table, like a draftsman's table made of wood, at which Ryo-san does his nib work. The lathes and other machines, all operated by foot, with which he turns the pens are in the rear of the shop. This is a one-man operation: there are no apprentices, no helpers, no division of labor...Ryo-san makes all the pens from beginning to end. The only thing that he does not do is the urushi finishing, which is sent out, and the tortoise shell (in Japanese, "bekko") barrels are made by a single artisan in another part of Japan who is in his 90s and is allegedly the last one who can work in tortoise shell by hand according to traditional techniques. Once I found all of this out, I could understand why there is such a long waiting list. Ryo-san took the entire day off to speak with me about my pens, and we were together until lunchtime, when he led me and Kyoko to a nearby restaurant which served a fabulous meal based on crab, for which Tottori is famous. In the evening, we went to an amazing sushi restaurant in a small house which had six seats at the bar and was run by a single family. There was no menu, of course: every meal is omakase, "what the chef selects." I have been eating sushi for at least 30 years, and have been to Japan a few times, and never before have I eaten sushi that was this good. I came away with a black buffalo horn pen with tortoise shell barrel. The material has a depth that is beguiling; the tortoise shell seems to be liquid. It was explained to me that tortoise shell is composed entirely of keratin, and it is scraped off in extremely thin layers by an artisan who then molds it around a ceramic tube by steaming it; in this way, one layer literally glues itself to the next. As a natural product, tortoise shell, like buffalo horn, is subject to all sorts of unpredictabilities. For example, buffalo horn tends to contract when it gets cold, and expand when the weather is warm and humid. Thus, I learned, the ring around the barrel can become loose or tight. There is no way to fix this without risking a crack in the barrel. I also came away with an African ebony pen with a sterling silver band. Both pens are magnificent, but the nibs required a lot of work, and Ryo-san had endless patience. They are great nibs, but still not perfect...one is a B, the other a B modified stub. They will require time to get used to my peculiar way of writing, perhaps, but I cannot help but use them everyday. I love the pens. They remind me of an unforgettable detour to Tottori to visit people whom I consider not only artisans, but friends. I hope you enjoy a few pictures. The shrimp, called ama-ebi, was twitching even as we ate it.
  15. Last year July, I received an email from Hakase that sandalwood pen model 52230 had been shipped. The significant day is 14 July 2012. As you know, Hakase pens are not to be bought from stock, but made to order. I ordered this particular pen on 14 October 2010. Almost a two year wait before the pen was delivered, so perhaps it is not too bad to have one year after delivery a review.... It is one of the 50 pieces produced. Mysore Sandalwood I go regularly to Chennai, so I am familiar with sandalwood. Sandalwood is rather expensive wood, and harvesting sandalwood is heavily regulated by the Indian government. Because this pen has two elements that are important to me: India, and the quality of Japanese pens, I decided to order this pen. This pen is made from a log of sandalwood of 1965. By the way, should anyone be able to visit Mysore (and the palace of Maharadja), I would recommend doing so. To the south of Mysore, are the former hunting lodges of the Maharadja, currently available for tourists. This is one of the few places where one can see a tiger. http://www.rhkoning.com/penpics/hakase/52230/kabini-tiger.jpg Anyway, the material is sandalwood, a beautiful, light wood. The pen The pen was delivered in a box, well wrapped, with a leaflet describing the wood. All my (four by now) Hakase pens have been sent in a little wooden box, wrapped in soft paper. All pens come with a Pilot con 70 convertor, a pleasure to use. http://www.rhkoning.com/penpics/hakase/52230/hakase52230-in-box-at1000.jpg The description has information about the material of the pen. In the box was also a small pouch with sandalwood residu. http://www.rhkoning.com/penpics/hakase/52230/hakase52230-description-at1000.jpg One option with Hakase pens is to have the date engraved in the barrel of the pen. I have done so, the first pen had a date in number of years of the reigning Japanese emperor, the last three have the date as in the 'usual' calendar. The date on this pen is 20 July 2012. That is later than the actual date of delivery. It is my impression that Hakase plans production by month, and this pen is from July 2012, so the final date is the 20th. Production dates on other pens are 20 June 2011 (model 01014) and 20 April 2009 (model 29018). http://www.rhkoning.com/penpics/hakase/52230/hakase52230-date-at1000.jpg The pen has a regular torpedo shape, with a clip and ring at the end of the cap. The gold furniture is 14k gold, not gold plated, and is hammered gold. http://www.rhkoning.com/penpics/hakase/52230/hakase52230-closed-at1000.jpg Opening the pen, one sees a darker section, this is ebonite. The nib is the size of a Pilot #15 nib (as found in Pilot Cutsom 823 and Pilot Custom 845). The pen is ground by Hakase, this one has a fine nib, and it writes as in a dream. The nib has no flex, so it has a consistent line. http://www.rhkoning.com/penpics/hakase/52230/hakase52230-section-at1000.jpg Evaluation I have had this pen for a year by now. Do I like this pen? Let me say that this pen has gone with me every day for one year, it has been inked all the time. Mostly with Sailor Grenade or Pilot Iroshizuku Asa Gao. It lies a wet line and is so comfortable to use. The pen does not look very pretentious, but sandalwood and 14k golden trim is not standard. I love this pen, a highlight in my collection. Ruud





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