Tag Archives: books

“On Fountain Pens”

A short essay written by Sōseki Natsume, as detailed in the book Reflections in a Glass Door: Memories and Melancholy in the Personal Writings of Sōseki Natsume, by Marvin Marcus. I like it—-it’s like taking a peek into the personal diary of a fellow fountain pen enthusiast. (Unlike Natsume-san, I adore my Pelikan. Hmm! His “Pelican” pens must be an inferior imitator of some sort! XD)

I don’t have the book, but now I’m interested in getting it because of this essay alone. Hahaha. And to think, I found it by accident while doing a Google search for “Maruzen fountain pens”. =p

Selected excerpt:

“I was speaking with Uchida Roan the other day on the subject of fountain pens. Roan mentioned, in the course of our discussion, that Maruzen sells around a hundred of them on a good day…In view of the fact that so many of these remarkably durable items are selling at Maruzen, one could conclude that the demand for fountain pens must be witnessing a robust expansion.

One noteworthy segment of the expanding market consists of hobbyists and collectors. They will purchase a pen, use it for a while, then feel compelled to have a different one, which in turn they’ll tire of and crave some new brand or style. Consider the pipe fancier, a common breed in the West, who will proudly display his collection—pipes large and small, in all sizes and shapes—neatly arranged on one’s mantelpiece. He is driven by the same mania for collecting that afflicts those with a passion, say, for sake cups, decorative gourds, or—fountain pens.

They all place great store in the special power, lost upon the uninitiated, to detect and appreciate the fine gradations of difference among objects that appear virtually identical to the casual observer…”

Google Books Link here:

http://books.google.com/books?id=fHXUAw-IjVYC&pg=PA126&lpg=PA126&dq=Sōseki+Natsume,+%22on+fountain+pens%22&source=bl&ots=xAgmhpKNKP&sig=UBDLTI4jV5TVd6WbusCYfVConCY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=l8RBUu6VG8er4AOC1YCoDA&ved=0CEQQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Sōseki%20Natsume%2C%20%22on%20fountain%20pens%22&f=false

*Note to Self: Learn how to integrate hyperlinks into posts so they don’t look like gibberish. Yeesh.