Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another Look at Stationery Hobby Box

On December 23 of last year, I introduced a Japanese magazine devoted to pens, inks and other stationery goods. The name of the magazine is Shumi no bungu bako, or in English, Stationery Hobby Box. To my regret the magazine is published only three times a year, and the wait between issues seems terribly long. In the earlier post I expressed my opinion that Shumi no bungu bako is at the top of the heap as far as magazines about stationery go. You won’t find better.

The latest issue, released on March 19, has as its main theme, or topic, stationery goods convenient for travel. All of that is beautifully presented in many of the magazine’s 152 pages, but I am more interested in showing two pages on another subject.

More and more these days, ink specialists are moving into the area of subtle and natural, perhaps even organic shades of ink. Basic colors are now taken for granted. We all know, can name and have in our collections the standard blues, blacks, reds and greens. Now the ink blenders are showing us more adventurous shades. Imagine an ink described as ‘Young Nightingale.’ The name all by itself makes me want to own a bottle.

In connection with the photographs here, I want to introduce some of the new and adventurous shades of ink from Sailor. The Voltaire and Ishida Bungu inks are both under the Sailor Jentle Ink label. In the middle photo to the right you can see two vertical rows, with four bottles on the right, four on the left. Starting with the Sailor inks on the right, at the top is something called Sakura-Mori, or Cherry Forest; below that is Miruai, and the best translation I can come up with is Deep Green-Black. The color is described as coming from the darkening pine trees growing along the rocky seacoasts of Japan. Third is the very beautiful, Waka-Uguisu, or Young Nightingale Green. The bottom example on the right is named Nioi-Sumire, which in English becomes Fragrant Violet. The description makes no mention of a fragrance, though the word is in the name.

In the same photo, but on the left hand side, are four Voltaire colors. The top ink is called Kôbai-Iro, which becomes something like Plum Blossom Pink in English. Below that is Hana-Asagi, or Pale Flower Blue. Third in line is Moegi, which implies Early Spring Green. Last in the Voltaire four is Kuro-Tsurubami, a difficult translation that I have made into Iron Black.

Looking at the next photo you will see three inks from Ishida Bungu, but carrying the Sailor Jentle Ink label. The colors are originals of the Ishida Bungu store in Hokkaido, and my guess is they have been licensed to Sailor. The theme is ‘a taste of the local’ referring to the city of Hakodate in Hokkaido, Japan’s northern island. From left to right, the colors are: Hakodate Seaweed, named for a brownish green seaweed common to the area; in the center is Hakodate Curry, which recognizes the brownish-yellow curry sauce at a curry restaurant which opened in the city in 1879. On the right is Hakodate Twilight Blue, said to resemble the blue of twilight in the area.

In time, I expect these inks will be exported to stores outside of Japan, and that probably includes the Voltaire as well as the Hakodate colors. Voltaire is a store located in Kyoto, and they do have online shopping, but I doubt that they ship overseas. Voltaire

1 comment:

  1. As if I need more ink!! LOL! Thanks for the awesome post and info.


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