Edit: if you’ve arrived directly here from a link (eg Pen Addict), you might be interested in the second part of the trip report, here!
Sometimes, the pen gods smile upon me. This is one such time. I write this from my usual haunt in Heathrow Terminal 3, shortly before boarding a Japan Air flight to Tokyo Haneda.
I expected to be spending this coming week in Illinois, but a sudden urgent project at work is leading me to Tokyo instead.
And wow, I barely kept my poker face in the office. TOKYO. Wow, TOKYO.
I own a book called ‘Geek in Japan’, and it’s safe to say that Japan is my grail trip. I love the language, anime, Studio Ghibli, mecha and kaiju, Japanese steels, samurai and sumo, brush writing and washi tape, capsule hotels, bullet trains, zen, tatami mats, sake and green tea, sushi (though I’m vegetarian), Nikon and Canon and Fuji, Sony and Nintendo, Honda and Suzuki, Grand Seiko, the works. It’s the culture I respect and adore most in the world. I am terrified and so excited all at once.
And then there’s the pen culture. Wow, if London is a pen desert peppered only with Montblanc boutiques, Tokyo is like a rainforest. I have filled my Google Maps saved places list with Itoya, Bungubox, Kingdom Note, Maruzen and dozens of other lush department stores and specialist stationers, and I full expect to return with a clinking suitcase full of Japan-exclusive inks, pen-friendly paper, and possibly a pen or two from the urushi masters at Nakaya and Namiki.
Embarrassingly, I currently own just one Japanese pen: my Nakaya Decapod Heki-Tamenuri. Naturally, it’s in my Nock Sinclair for the trip. With it? The Visconti London Fog, freshly flushed and reinked with the incomparable, shape-shifting Sailor Studio 123. And the Montblanc Petit Prince, inked with Kobe #51 Kano-Cho, one of my favourite near-blacks. So if I’m not taking all Japanese pens, at least I can take some Japanese inks.
I loaded up with movies for the flight, too: Lost In Translation, of course, plus Isle of Dogs. I may rewatch Batman Ninja, too.
Christ, I am SO EXCITED.
Look out for the part two recap at the end of the trip…
Oh! Forgot to ask. Any recommendations for stores, inks, sights, relatively affordable Japanese whiskies… please leave a comment or drop me a line!