Tokyo, during the season of Awesome, is an excellent place to walk around with a perfect stranger. In my case, the stranger was imported.
A guy I know only through social media and bulletin boards involving pens and paper, managed to manipulate his way into getting to work in Japan for a couple weeks. Since I had the day off, I volunteered to show him places he could spend his money whilst using the “I’m totally just being a good Samaritan, dear, and totally no going to buy anything” excuse with She Who Must Be Obeyed.
Her response was “I know you’re not going to buy anything” and then she gave me instructions to buy something. (Note: She meant “you’re not going to buy anything fun”.)
I met the stranger, lets call him Pen Master Dan, at his hotel, which is conveniently located across the street from the Pilot Pen Station (link in Japanese) which was inconveniently closed for Silver Week. His hotel is also conveniently located down the street from Ginza and the vintage pen shop Euro Box (link in Japanese), which is inconveniently closed on Wednesdays.
I did get him to the fountain pen floors of Ito-ya and through a quick tour of the new Ito-Ya building where we played a game of “You can play with mine if I can play with yours” with fountains pens at the notebook testing table.
I then took him to Loft to try out a few more notebooks.
The entire time we were traveling, Pen Master Dan was giving me a master class on pens and notebooks. (I didn’t know how little I actually knew until we started chatting about various pens.) Luckily I had several pens and notebooks and could take notes.
After that I took him to Shinjuku and one of the most dangerous place in Tokyo for pen addicts: Kingdom Note (link in Japanese) which is especially dangerous as they were having a sale on used pens. Once there we encountered a friendly pen addict from Hong Kong who told us the exclusive inks had already sold out. This was a bad start to this part of the trip as Kingdom Note doesn’t sell its custom inks on line. It also meant the only inks on sale were inks Pen Master Dan could get anywhere and that’s not what he wanted.
The devil took me and enabled my enabler powers and I pointed Pen Master Dan to a set of Kingdom Note exclusive pens. The devil suddenly took him and he asked to see one.
I had to play translator at that point, which was a questionable decision as the handful of questions I asked the clerk resulted in Pen Master Dan being forced to buy the pen. (Something like that.)
The clerk then tortured us with samples of the ink we couldn’t buy (unless we camp out early in the morning on Saturday when the next batch is more or less scheduled to arrive). She did give Pen Master Dan a converter full of one of the inks with specific instructions to finish it before he got on the plane lest he or his luggage end up decorated with it.
Finally, I took Pen Master Dan to Yodobashi Camera where I had to buy the item I’d been instructed to buy and Pen Master Dan bought a part for his camera.
At this point, there was a near disaster. It ended happily, though, and left us both with the lesson, “If you love something, don’t freaking set it down in the middle of the store and then walk off.”