Saturday, June 5, 2010

Back Issue Hobby Box

Something stuck in the back of my mind, something bothering me most of the day, and so other thoughts and ideas took a holiday. It occurred to me that I might come up empty when later I sat in my usual spot by the window and put on my blog thinking cap.

Eventually, my eye fell on a stack of old back issues of that beautiful magazine published in Tokyo, Shumi no bungu bako, Stationery Hobby Box. So, I flipped through several of the magazines and from the many well done pages chose a couple to display here.

The magazine’s cover, seen in the photo here, is the spring 2009 issue, and the cover article is, very roughly translated, “Things I like about using a fountain pen.” The pen front and center on the cover is a Montblanc Meisterstück 1468. The article is a look at the favorite pen and ink of various writers, teachers and fountain pen specialists in Japan.

The second photo shows some of the pens and related items used by teacher, Akinobu Sugiyama, and the pen in the center of the page is his favorite. It is a special order, handmade pen by Hakase. He says that one of his favorite inks is Sailor yellow green.

The third photo is of well-known nib master, Nobuhiko Moriyama of Fullhalter Pens in Tokyo. Moriyama-san notes that the Montblanc Meisterstück 1468 is the pen he used for years and one of his favorites. I don’t want to hazard a guess about the pen in this photo. It looks a little like a Pilot, but what looks like terminal nib creep sort of disguises the nib. The green ink in the picture is a special blend mixed (and sold) by Moriyama-san. He calls it only ‘special blend green,’ but the color is a perfect match for matcha, the bitter tea used in ceremonies.

Around the time I was preparing to leave Japan I realized that I might be saying goodbye to this Rolls Royce of magazines for pens, paper and ink. In conversation over dinner one night with my friend, Sawane-san, I got an assurance from him that he would happily mail to me each new issue of Stationery Hobby Box.

Details on the magazine are once more:

Shumi no bungu bako

Published three times a year by Ei Publishing Co., Ltd.

2-13-2 Tamagawa Dai, Setagaya-ku

Tokyo, 158-0096 Japan

Chief Editor: Shigeki Shimizu

Price: ¥1500 (approximately US $16.00)

Available at better bookstores throughout Japan

If you are interested in seeing more pages from other issues, look here and here.

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