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Urushi Lacquered Beauties from Japan, Handmade by Nakaya

Late August last year, I joined The Fountain Pen Network (TFPN)'s group page on Facebook — 'Singapore Fountain Pen Lovers'.

About a week or two prior to joining, I was in Singapore and had visited the Aesthetic Bay on Orchard @ ION. I've known about the 'Bay for many years and even popped into their branch at Funan Centre on previous trips, although I wasn't too serious on anything in particular.

In the past, I've seen snaps of beautiful maki-e pieces by Nakaya, Namiki, Danitrio online and thought to myself, 'one day, perhaps I'll get around to one of these...'. Since 2008, my other Japanese fountain pen has been my faithful Sailor Executive 1911 Naginata Togi.

Whilst perusing through the group page, one of the first posts I came across looked similar to this

...and my interest was piqued by her incredible penmanship. It's a cursive script with decent flourishes and is a form of penmanship I wanted to practice for letter and card writing. It wasn't long before I discovered the blog of Leigh Reyes...!

Going back to my visit of Aesthetic Bay — the shop @ ION was moderately sized, but the displays were filled with goodies; to the point of feeling quite light headed! The good stuff is on the shelves at the back

Credit: Leigh Reyes (image source)

The above represents a single shelf in a single cabinet and there were a lot more cabinets — just for Nakaya...! The shop assistant pulled a couple out as I was interested in something with a flexible nib, although I ended up walking out with a bottle of Pilot Iroshizuku Momiji ink.

Having returned home, connecting with Leigh, and after much correspondance plus the influence of her wonderful photography and blog — it wasn't long till I contacted Nakaya and placed an order for my very own.

/tumbleweed rolls on by...

...and two-months later in February 2013, the wait is finally over...! Wait, that's rather strange — I can hear a rustling sound from inside the box!!


This is a Nakaya Aka-tamenuri portable writer with a Sterling Silver Snake stopper with rubies set as its eyes and an Elastic (soft) Fine 14k Nakaya gold nib. The urushi lacquer on this pen is described as

"Tame" means "pool" and "nuri" refers to the lacquer coating process. You can actually see through the layers of clear urushi lacquer as if you were looking into a pool. When the process is finished, you can still see the base surface of red urushi. After this coating process, craftsmen polish the surface over and over by hand for months in order to attain greater transparency, allowing you to clearly see the underlying red usurshi surface.

In the following section, I'll detail a few more gorgeous Nakayas.

Nakaya Beauties

Nakaya Shu Chinkoku, Housoge

Credit: Leigh Reyes

Credit: Leigh Reyes

ishi-me kan-shitsu, is that you?

Credit: Leigh Reyes

For the year of the water dragon

Credit: Leigh Reyes

Credit: Leigh Reyes

Nakaya Long Piccolo, hairline finish, 2-tone music nib

Credit: Leigh Reyes

Nakaya Piccolo, "String Rolled"

Credit: Leigh Reyes

Nakaya Decapod in AO tamenuri and Nakaya Decapod Twist in heki-tamenuri

Credit: Leigh Reyes

Nakaya Piccolo String-Rolled in Black and Shiro-tamenuri

Credit: Leigh Reyes