Review: Nakaya Negoro style "Nuno kise Hon Kataji" Arai-shu

The Numbers:
Weight: 23g
Length (capped): 134mm
Length (uncapped): 114mm
Price: USD$950
Body Material: Ebonite
Nib Material: 14K Gold
Filling Mechanism: Cartridge and converter
Colours: Various

So, I won't lie and say this Nakaya is everything I dream about. This is my 3rd Nakaya. I placed an order for this pen way back in December 2016. I received pen in roughly late May 2017. Don't quote me on that, I am not quite sure of the timeline. Regardless it is safe to assume I waited about 6 months for the Nakaya. Not new. 6 months is a standard waiting time for a Nakaya.

I ordered the Nakaya Negoro style "Nuno kise Hon Kataji" Arai-shu version. It is a long name so henceforth you will see me refer to this pen as the Nakaya Negoro. Let's cover the standards first.

The Nakaya pen comes in the standard Nakaya wooden box with the pen kimono. Included is a Platinum converter as well as a box of either blue black or black cartridges.

The Nakaya Negoro is a piccolo length. However it's girth is just slightly wider than the regular tamenuri models. I suspect this is due to the finish. See, the Negoro style is a standard piccolo but the artist would deliberately exposes the base. In a way you are buying a pre-crack pen. In a way it is a distortion of the concept of wabi-sabi since I am receiving the pen already imperfect. The “cracks” put into the finish will likely be different from pen to pen. This is the black base, red exterior finish while there is a red base, black exterior. I refer this version. It looks less like the cracks of hell opening up in my pen.

Comparing the photos on Nakaya's site and my pen, it seem it is standard to have one crack spanning the cap and the barrel, at the end of the barrel and one other crack on the opposite side of the longer crack. Inside, once uncapped, you will find similar treatment on the grip section.

Due to the cracks that needed to be added to the pen, the urushi is probably slightly thicker than usual. My regular Piccolo models fit the Dudek Block in the larger holes (5/8”) but the Nakaya Negoro couldn't fit the same the others did. It doesn't go all the way down.

Like the other Nakaya fountain pens I've reviewed, this is a cartridge and converter pen. It fits the regular Platinum converter and cartridges. That's standard for Nakaya pens after all you are buying the workmanship on the pens not the filling system. The balance is similar to the other Piccolo model I've reviewed so there is nothing new I want to add.

For this particular Nakaya, I opted for a regular M nib. I already have the SF and SM so I didn't want to get the same nib again. The M nib writes well if a little boring but it is after all a medium nib. It is kind of meant to be boring. I guess.

Here comes the problem. I was always under the impression that the Nakaya Negoro has a matte finish. This is entirely based on the picture found on Nakaya's website. I realised this is my mistake for not doing my research more carefully. Regardless, I am still disappointed. After all this isn't a cheap pen. Let this be a lesson to me and you to research a pen properly before buying. Pictures you see on one site may look one way but the same pen might look different under different lighting conditions.

Overall, I am not entirely satisfied with the pen. In large part due to the difference in expectation and reality. This I accept as wholly my own fault. The M nib I choose didn't help matters. I do enjoy writing with it. It works very well for me. It is just a little meh, if you get what I mean. My intention is to get the nib grind to something more interesting when the Nakaya nibmeister next comes to Singapore.


  • Beautiful workmanship
  • The same piccolo shape you love


  • Buyer being stupid

Posted on February 16, 2018 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

Review: Monteverde Topaz

My thanks to Cityluxe for providing the ink for review.

Topaz is an orange ink. It feel quite dry in both my Pilot Murex and Monteverde Aldo Domani fountain pen. Monteverde inks are advertised as lubricated but this one seemed contrary to that statement. This is my 4th experience with Monteverde inks and this is the only one that’s dry. Topaz shades, it’s not the brightest orange. Topaz is more of a faded orange. It shades from an orange-yellow to an orange-coral colour.

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Posted on February 9, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Monteverde Charoite

My thanks to Cityluxe for providing the ink for review.

Charoite is a strong purple ink. It doesn’t shade much. Charoite is on the borderline between blue and purple. It doesn’t feel as lubricated as Capri Blue. I filled it up in my Nakaya Negoro and it feels good. It has a light green-gold sheen as well. This kind of purple isn’t realy my cup of tea but for everyone else, do check it out.

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Posted on February 2, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Monteverde Capri Blue

My thanks to Cityluxe for providing the ink for review.

Capri Blue is a bright blue that’s great for corporate use. I like how lubricated the ink is. It makes my Visconti Van Gogh nib feels smoother than before. Capri blue shades slightly. It’s a blue that reminds me of Pilot Iroshizuku Kon Peki. I really enjoy the vibrancy of Monteverde Capri Blue.

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Posted on January 26, 2018 and filed under Ink, review.

Travel: TY Lee of Taiwan

I've travelled to Taiwan late last year and I made a trip down to 小品雅集 TY Lee in Tapiei, Taiwan I've travelled there by public transport. In Taipei it isn't hard to navigate their train system. The nearest train station is Daan station (大安站), I exited the station using Exit 3 but I think there are a number that would work too. That station is both on the Tamsui-Xinyi and the Wenhu lines. If you are walking over from the train station, all you really need is to pre-load Google Map and just following the map. You might think you are going the wrong way or think the address might be out of date but I assure you, it's not. The route I took was straight forward but the surrounding buildings didn't look like a fountain pen shop would fit right in. It's not along the main road but rather along one of the smaller roads inside. Regardless, trust the map.

However if you are in a rush for time or rather take a taxi, Taiepi's taxis are rather cheap and readily available. So if you are not a Mandarin speaker, I'll suggest showing the driver the address.

This is their address:
No. 76, Lane 208, Rui'an Street, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

Their opening hours are Monday to Saturdays from 12noon - 10pm. They are closed on Sundays so plan your trip down accordingly.

Now that logistics is out of the way, let's get down to the details. TY Lee has a wide variety of fountain pen and related goods. They carry all the standard brands including Opus and TWSBI both are Taiwanese brands. It's a two level shop. The ground level has all the pens on display while the lower level has all the inks. And that's in my opinion where the good stuff are. Firsttly, they carry Kobe Nagasawa inks. They have a shelf's worth of Kobe Nagasawa inks. It's not that you can't buy Kobe Nagasawa inks from Rakuten but you get to look at swatches there. Secondly, they have a few series of De Atramentis inks that are shop exclusive. I purchased 6 of these bottles, 5 of which are gifts. I kept only 1 bottle.

They do have a small section for notebooks and a in-house notebook. I didn't pay too much attention there. Enjoy the photos and drop by if you have a chance.

Oh yes, I spoke to the shop attendents in Mandarin. I am not sure how good are their English but with the common language of pens between them and the customer, language is no barrier.

Posted on January 25, 2018 and filed under shopping, Stationary, travel.