Friday, April 30, 2010

Sho ga nai

Driving around town each day here in central Florida, a part of me is always alert for places selling pens and stationery goods, always hoping that the next turn might reveal the surprise I hope for—a fountain pen dealer. But I’m beginning to think this is a blank spot on the map of fountain pens, ink and quality paper products. In six days of looking about I’ve turned up nothing. It begins to look as though feeding my hobby will be via the long distance of Internet shopping.

Of course, there are the two huge stores which I imagine are common to most mid-sized US cities and their shopping centers—Office Depot and Staples. And maybe there are some who can be pleased with what they find there. Unfortunately for me, both stores are a big yawn. I visited Staples yesterday and Office Depot today. Each store has aisles crammed with what we classify as office supplies and for which I have little interest. I asked one employee in Staples if they carried any fountain pens at all, and after scratching her chin for a moment she led me over to a display of $1.25 ballpoint pens, blue or black. Granted, I am probably the oddball in the room, but this situation depressed me. Office Depot was the same except for its different name and different location.

You fountain pen lovers in New York (and Tokyo), count yourselves lucky in the number of places you can find to indulge your passion. I fear that here in my new sunshiny Florida setting there will be many fewer opportunities to pass an occasional hour in a pen shop where more than blue and black ballpoints make up the inventory.

I will have to rely on what I can get from online shopping, but regret the condition created by distance that doesn’t allow for trying out a fountain pen or particular ink BEFORE purchase. In this case, The Japanese shopper might say something like, “Sho ga nai.” It can’t be helped.

Photos: The empty store, and completely unrelated, a very pretty fabric.

1 comment:

  1. You can alway head down to Levenger in Boca Raton and the Miami Pen Show is coming up soon - July 18-20.


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