“So…scratch my name on your arm with a fountain pen
(This means you really love me)”
-The Smiths, “Rusholme Ruffians”
Everything old is new again. This holds true for so many things, but today it’s the venerated fountain pen.
“Over the past 10 years, during which the world has adopted smartphones and social media, sales of fountain pens have risen.” The Nakaya Fountain Pen Co. in Japan saw this trend brewing and jumped on it.
I’ve written about fountain pens and their aficionados before, mostly because I find the passion people feel about this so fascinating. Apparently it can be addictive, as all my conversations with fountain ‘penthusiasts’ attest, and even the article linked above, which describes the “handfeel” of holding a pen in your hand as though it’s a transformative experience, even for the novice (not to mention the overwhelming sensory experience of being confronted with the massive choice in the stores, as described):
“The ideal way to experience a Nakaya, though, is to hold it and feel it in your hand*. The best way to test the pens is at one of the many impressive fountain pen emporiums in Tokyo: the vast Maruzen bookstore, a few blocks from the Imperial Palace; the airy rooms of stationery superstore Itoya, hidden among Ginza’s luxury boutiques; or the well-stocked specialist shop Kingdom Note in bustling Shinjuku.”
*The ‘feeling it in your hand’ entreaty is a part of the Nakaya tagline: “For your hand only”. Each pen apparently takes a minimum of three to six months to craft – just for you.
“But even a novice can identify products from Nakaya. The first clue is the color palette, which explodes in reds, greens, pinks, ochers, cornflower blues, even bright oranges, all so shiny the pens almost appear to be underwater.”
Quite sincerely, as you read about the craftsmanship that goes into a Nakaya, it starts to become clear, even to someone almost unmoved by the quiet ‘explosion’ in fountain pen ownership and use.