(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
I’ve come to the conclusion that my all-time favorite fountain pens are Nakayas. I simply adore them. I love their simple aesthetic, balance in the hand, incredible nibs, and the way they sing when I write with them.
I found this Nakaya on the nibs.com “pre-owned” page and snapped it up. I don’t have a long cigar in my collection, nor do I have any Nakayas with Kanji or gold zogans.
Nakayas are packaged in a softwood box (Paulownia wood) with a red velveteen insert. Included are a kimono (not pictured) and a box of Nakaya cartridges. The pen comes with a Nakaya converter as well.
The Long Cigar is just that: long. It measures 165mm capped and 145mm uncapped. Nakayas aren’t really meant to be posted. Even so, it is not a heavy pen at all, weighing only 27 grams capped and 20 grams uncapped (with converter inked). The pen is perfectly balanced in the hand.
This Nakaya has the Aka-Tamenuri finish, which is a red urushi. You can best see the subtleties of the color when you look at the cap edges and the grip section (pictured below).
In addition, this Nakaya has two extra special touches: Kanji and a gold zogan. The kanji, ikemori means something like “guardian of the pond.” A friend on Instagram explained that it refers to a person in charge of irrigation ponds in medieval Japan. Since this is a pre-owned pen, I don’t know what the Kanji symbolized to the original owner, but I decided to think of the pond as my poetry and this pen as a guardian, since I write out my poetry long hand first.
The gold zogan inlay is a diamond shape, hand painted in 24k yellow gold. It adds an extra touch of zen-like beauty to the pen.
This is my second Nakaya with an elastic nib. I reviewed my first here. An elastic nib is a soft nib that has been modified with cutouts.
This makes the nib separate from the feed in such a way that it feels like you’re writing with a paintbrush. The elastic modification does not provide flex, so you won’t see much line variation with this nib. But, the elastic nib is my favorite nib to write with. It is bouncy, soft, and forces you to maintain a consistent, flowing rhythm as you write.
I realize that Nakaya pens aren’t for everyone. They are quite expensive, especially when you add features like Kanji, a zogan inlay, and a specialty nib. But, these pens speak to me like no others. The urushi warms to your hand and the smooth lines and earthy colors evoke peace.
(I purchased this Nakaya with my own funds.)
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