Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Bevy of Browns

The season is turning in Tokyo, with evidence here and there in the natural colors around us. Leaves have almost completed their metamorphosis from brilliant summer green to the sere brown of winter, with many fallen and scattered on walks and pathways, or blowing along streets in cold susurrous whispers. The trunks of trees seem dryer now, hoarding their last stores of sap for the coming cold, and along the banks of the nearby Kanda River cattails tilt in bent postures, dried and brown.

There are still hints and remnants among the branches of autumn orange, of darkening gold and deepening hues, but to these eyes brown is daily becoming the dominant color. Could it be the reason for an infatuation with brown inks? For one not too fond of cold weather, the approach of winter is, in that sense a somber business, and may turn the head toward filling pages with warm, woody brown inks.

In an earlier post I talked a little about Iroshizuku Yama-guri, with mention of it’s brother ink, Tsukushi. This time — and partly for my own desire to see them aligned — I’ve put a splash of six different brown inks on a page. No critical, or review-like comments this time, but merely a side by side comparison of different shades. I’m going to fudge it a little by confining the browns to swatches, with the names and makers in a blackish favorite from De Atramentis, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. So, take a close look at all that brown and wrap yourself in the imagined warmth of wood, bark and thistle.

From top to bottom, left to right…

Sailor - Capricorn (special blend)

Hakase - Sepia

Iroshizuku - Tsukushi (Horsetail)

De Atramentis - William Shakespeare

De Atramentis - Ludwig van Beethoven

De Atramentis - Julius Caesar

On another note…

With regard to yesterday’s post featuring the Yama-guri ink, a question arose about my choice of the Pelikan Souverän 600 for showing off the ink. Was there a particular reason for choosing that pen? Apart from it being one of my earliest pens, with a B sized nib specially ground to my liking, I chose it because it handles all ink well, because it allows me to write without concentrating on the pen and what it’s doing. Kind of like being wrapped up in a story unaware of the mechanics. And I suppose that’s why I picked up the Pelikan 600 to show off the Iroshizuku Yama-guri.

In the southeast of Tokyo there is a tiny pen shop called, Fullhalter. The shop is owned by Nobuhiko Moriyama, who crafts fountain pens to fit the needs or idiosyncrasies of individual customers. Mr Moriyama worked for Montblanc for many years before opening his shop and turning his focus to Pelikan. Two of my three Pelikans, and the one Pilot pen in my collection were shaped especially to my way of writing by Mr Moriyama. None of the Fullhalter pens have ever failed to delight me, filled with whatever shade or maker of ink I choose. I often regret that my Souverän 1000 is one straight from stock and unshaped by the skills of Mr Moriyama. Certainly a fine pen, but one degree less without the Moriyama touch.

The photo above is a look at Nobuhiko Moriyama (left) in his tiny pen shop, Fullhalter.

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About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America