Lifestyle | Kateigaho International Japan Edition

Mix & blend Tokyo: Invent your own color of ink

Nowadays, all we have to do to communicate with each other is tap the screen of a smartphone and type in a message. But whatever happened to the physical act of writing?

One drop at a time: At Inkstand by Kakimori, the shop staff measure out and mix the ink with pipette, beaker and graduated cylinder, like some laboratory experiment. | RYOICHI OKAZAKI
One drop at a time: At Inkstand by Kakimori, the shop staff measure out and mix the ink with pipette, beaker and graduated cylinder, like some laboratory experiment. | RYOICHI OKAZAKI

Kakimori is just the place to rediscover the pleasures of handwritten expression. The popular stationery shop is always thronged with people drawn to its mesmerizing array of writing implements; paper products; and made-to-order notebooks with a choice of customizable covers, pages and fasteners. Kakimori’s aim is to make writing fun — an objective furthered by the cornucopia of colors offered at its nearby annex, Inkstand by Kakimori.

Embracing inksperimentation: When your ink is mixed, you may find it comes out in an unexpected hue, one a bit different from what you had in mind. Such serendipitous discoveries are part of the fun. | RYOICHI OKAZAKI
Embracing inksperimentation: When your ink is mixed, you may find it comes out in an unexpected hue, one a bit different from what you had in mind. Such serendipitous discoveries are part of the fun. | RYOICHI OKAZAKI

From a selection of over 10 pigment-based inks, customers can choose up to three tints to mix — a drop of green, two drops of yellow and a drop of purple, for instance. Color charts and the helpful staff are on hand for consultation. You can mix the colors in different proportions and try them out with pen on paper. Once you obtain a hue that’s precisely to your liking, the staff will mix the inks in the desired proportion and fill you a bottle, producing a color that is yours and yours alone.

Ink that won't dye-out on you: Inkstand's inks are pigment-based, which makes them both water- and light-resistant. | RYOICHI OKAZAKI
Ink that won’t dye-out on you: Inkstand’s inks are pigment-based, which makes them both water- and light-resistant. | RYOICHI OKAZAKI

“Communication with customers is vital,” says proprietor Takuma Hirose. “To get the exact tint the customer has in mind, we require personal consultations by appointment. The process of creating your own custom color can help make writing a special experience.”

While many of Kakimori’s clientele come for personalized inks for their fountain pens, Hirose notes, “More and more customers are now buying ink not only for writing but also for drawing. They say our inks have the clarity and expressiveness of watercolor paints, but are easier to take along for outdoor use. All they need to do is carry a few pens filled with their choice of colors. Our shop concept has always been about writing, but now we seem to be expanding into drawing as well.”

Fill a bottle: If you don't have time to blend your own color, Inkstand also offers limited-edition colors on tap. | RYOICHI OKAZAKI
Fill a bottle: If you don’t have time to blend your own color, Inkstand also offers limited-edition colors on tap. | RYOICHI OKAZAKI

Just as a few drops of ink can be combined into an infinite variety of hues, a palette of new colors to write with opens the door to endless possibilities for personal expression.

Inkstand by Kakimori: Kuramae Bldg. 1F, Kuramae 4-20-12, Taito-ku, Tokyo 111-0051; 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; 050-1744-8547; closed Mon., except on hols., in which case closed Tue.; inkstand.jp. This is the second installment in a four-part series on shops in Tokyo where you can “mix” your own products.

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