Archive for the ‘Nakaya’ Category

It has finally arrived, my fourth Nakaya – and my first direct order from Japan. Ishi means stone. The Nakaya craftsmen layered silver over a brown body. The result is a deep gray with light gray highlights that will become lighter. I expect the pen will look worn over time, like rocks in a river.

I ordered a fine flexible nib, and while it is not a full flex, it is certainly pleasant to use and capable of line variation with a light touch.

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There were three contenders for my affection in Aesthetic Bay last Sunday, all by Nakaya: a kuro-tamenuri Decapod, a cherry blossom Sumi, and a Piccolo with clip in arai-shu. The Piccolo won. It is the longer Piccolo, commissioned by Aesthetic Bay from Nakaya, because several of their customers liked how the Piccolo looked but were uncomfortable writing with such a petite pen.

Nakaya Piccolo in Arai-shu

According to the Nakaya website, “arai” means washed, or faded. Arai-shu is faded red. I have to admit it was the color that won me over. I have yet to find an orange ink to match this delicious finish. In the meantime, I am using Private Reserve Orange Crush, which for some reason is not orange but a dirty yellow. (It is possible that this is ink gone bad.) I think Caran d’Ache Saffron would be better. This new Piccolo has an extra-fine nib. Beside my original Piccolo, it looks like a Tuba.

Nakaya Piccolos

Who knew there could be so much variation amongst fine nibs? Here are the three nibs on my Nakayas: regular extra-fine, elastic fine, elastic super extra-fine.

Nakaya nibs

On a side trip to Elephant & Coral, after a lively merienda with the gorgeous Itsy, I decided on a Namiki maki-e. One of the women from the Floating World found her way to this pen, and several cherry blossoms followed in her wake.


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Thanks to a friend who’s in Singapore for a conference, my pen will be on its way home in a couple of days. I sent it out for a nib exchange – from a standard fine to a super elastic extra-fine. I can’t wait!


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So this is what I was up to, really, in HK. I wanted to see a Nakaya table! Other people fly to Tokyo to see Madonna. This is not a strange thing.

I registered as a buyer and waited until the fair opened at 9:30. When I reached the Platinum Pen Co. table, I gawked at the Nakayas on display in one corner of the booth. A man approached me, most likely wondering why I had a silly smile on my face, and he turned out to be Mr. Toshiya Nakata, the president of Nakaya. (Insert fan girl squeal.)

He said, “A Nakaya owner!” I pulled out my Chinkoku and proceeded to tell him about my purchases at Aesthetic Bay, and how much I liked the Sumi technique (only one Nakaya craftsman can do this) and he brought out a long writer model that had the story of Rashomon executed in Sumi. The Ascending Dragon desk pen was also there, and a raised-technique dragon pen rendered in gold and red on black. The humidity in Okinawa means it takes four months for pens in that style to dry. Also on display were a golden maki-e squirrel on a blue body, two siblings of my Piccolo, a spider in gold and silver on a black body with a golden butterfly on the grip, and another spider pen in a multi-layered technique that even to the untrained eye looks like the highest level of craftsmanship.

I also held my first kanshitsu (stone finish) pen, rendered in silver over deep brown. It was a non-standard Piccolo, longer than mine.

Mr. Nakata refused to sell me anything! And I thought, how wonderful. Instead, he got my name and set aside the kanshitsu for me, noting down my nib preference. I brought out my Omas Arco with the modified nib and he compared it with my Nakaya elastic fine, as I was asking if it was possible to achieve the same kind of flexibility with Nakaya nibs. In the process we got inky fingers; I was profusely apologetic (I had forgotten to wipe down my pen after traveling with it loaded).

After one of the most interesting talks I’ve had in ages, I asked him if we could have our picture taken together. (More fangirl action.)

He was very obliging. I left the HK Convention and Exhibition Center with the widest of grins.

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