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Review: Nakaya Neo-Standard SF (wakakusa-iro)

Introduction

Hi everyone! ๐Ÿ˜€

I had the chance to try out a masterpiece of a pen thanks to Daniel Berecz. You may know him as one of the co-host of the Fountain Pen Companion podcast. If you haven’t heard of them yet be sure to check out their show!

Dani lent me his Nakaya Neo-Standard for a couple days and I decided to take the opportunity and do some pretty photos and do a quick review of the pen.

I wrote this review all the way back at the end of 2019 but never gotten around to posting it. Unfortunately in the meantime I lost my scans of the writing sample so I won’t be able to showcase how the pen writes. I know this greatly reduces the usefulness of this review but I still wanted to post it because everything else is there. I will update the review once I get the chance to hold the pen in my hands again.

Packaging

First let’s look at the packaging. Like all Nakayas this too comes in a beautiful wooden box, it clearly demonstrates that this pen is not your run of the mill everyday pen. The use of a wooden box, the sensation it provides brings you closer to nature which I believe is one of the goals Nakaya wants to provide with their gift boxes. Their pens are covered with urushi lacquer which is also a natural product originating from the urushi tree. I think the presentation, quality and overall aspect of the box goes well with the aesthetic of the pen. It is also big. It makes a statement.

Once you open up the box the pen is revealed to you, sleeping comfortably in a red velour bed, held tightly by the a velour band.

The Pen

The pen is simply awe inspiring. I like the interesting color, I think it’s very unique and beautiful. In Japanese the color is called “wakakusa-iro”. Of course the lacquer finish is perfect. Once you pick it up you will be surprised by the “softness” and smoothness of it. I mostly have experience with Pelikan pens but those in comparison feel hard, heavy and you can clearly feel the difference in smoothness between the lacquer work. Our sense of touch is really amazing and I promise you WILL notice how perfectly smooth these pens feel. It’s obvious to me that one actually needs to hold a Nakaya pen in their hand to understand why they cost so much money. It also clearly shows that we humans are capable of making incredible things since these pens are coated and polished by the artisans over at Nakaya over a period of time.

What’s also surprising about the pen is how lightweight it actually is. This obviously makes it great for long writing sessions and combined with the smooth finish, excellent nib it all comes together to offer a sublime writing experience.

As you can see, it’s a screw cap which I always prefer over the snap-on caps. Being a Pelikan guy, one thing I personally didn’t like in everyday use (although this is really a non issue) is that the cap won’t unscrew with one twist of the wrist. On the other hand if you prepare yourself for a longer writing session than the the longer thread length and unscrew time is part of the experience. You often see in documentaries about Japanese calligraphy where they always prepare all their supplies in a ceremonious way. They use calm movements throughout, grinding their pigment and prepare for the calligraphy session. This longer unscrew time for me is just like the ceremony these Japanese calligraphy masters perform and makes me feel just as special as them. Unfortunately the end result in my case is not as pretty ๐Ÿ˜› but it’s a soothing experience that I enjoyed.

The clip on the cap is robust with a strong grip, it’s also gold plated of course. I personally don’t clip my pens ever but I like to have them because they stop the pen from rolling off your desk and since all pens are heavier at the nib you can bet they will always fall nib down. I think I would die if a Nakaya would fall in front of me.

As mentioned before, the lacquer on it is perfect, it has a soft, pleasant touch, there are no rough edges anywhere. You have to hold to hold it to get it.

Here is the gorgeous Soft Fine nib with drops of ink (Rohrer & Klingner Cassia). Like all Asian nibs they are ground finer than what you are accustomed to with Western pens and while I prefer Pelikan F or maybe even EF, I think this Soft Fine borders on what I would call acceptable for my taste. I have an UEF Platinum Kumpoo and I have a love and hate relationship with it. If I would ever get my own Nakaya (a Decapod <3 ) I would only get it with an M or bigger nib.

And here is the pen in his kimono just chilling and looking cool. I really like that they also have a pouch for the pen. It’s a nice touch, it feels very premium and I think cloth is superior to leather when it comes to storing expensive high end pens.

Conclusion

The pen is awesome. I don’t think I need to say anything more and if you ever decide to get a Nakaya you won’t be disappointed by the craftsmanship on it.

Gallery

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