They not only have beautiful deep colors, but one smells delicious, too!

Japan excels in many areas, but the creation of cute and cool merchandise is definitely one of them. No less is this true than for their booming stationery industry, which produces unique, functional, and sometimes even collectible office and craft supplies like pop-up samurai message cards, waterproof notebooks, and anime fountain pens.

Our Japanese-language reporter Mariko Ohanabatake happens to be a fan of stationery and has recently become obsessed with ink. “I want one that, when friends see it on paper, they’ll know that it was me who wrote with it,” she told us, eyes shining. Luckily, she soon learned that her hometown of Nagasaki has a selection of inks based on its local delicacies, and she thought they’d be perfect as her signature color.

But these inks are more than just regular inks. Sure, they’re primarily meant to have colors inspired by food, but imagine her surprise when she found out that one of the inks is also scented to match the smell of Nagasaki champon noodles!

The inks are called Nagasaki Delicious Ink and are sold by Nagasaki-based stationery company Ishimaru Bungyodo. There are two different kinds available, but of course the one Mariko was most interested in trying first was the Champon Ink. Looking at the bottle, it looked quite dark, like soy sauce, so she wasn’t sure if the color would be right, since the broth of champon noodles is usually much lighter and yellower.

It turned out that her fears were unfounded, however, because once she opened it up and dipped a pen in, the color ended up being exactly the right color for champon broth. It’s slightly orange-y, but a little softer, more like beige. It definitely looked like she’d dipped her pen in champon soup broth instead of ink.

There was also a sort of mystery to this ink, because as she wrote with it, different colors seemed to appear within the beige, like pinks and blues. Perhaps that’s the ink’s way of including the other ingredients of champon in its design, like kamaboko surimi fish cake or assorted vegetables. It was pretty cool!

What’s more, the ink really did smell shockingly like champon! It was so realistic, it even had a wafting garlicky scent that seemed to come and go, as if you were actually eating a bowl of champon. Mariko almost wanted to eat it, but she settled for running out for a bowl of champon instead.

By the way, the other kind of ink they sell is based on Nagasaki castella cake, which is a popular snack that visiting travelers often buy as a souvenir for friends and family. This ink was also impressive, because it seemed to combine the two main colors of castella, the brown of the brown sugar on top and the yellow of the eggy cake on bottom, into one color.

The color of this ink is just as complex as the champon ink. It seems they’ve even added little white granules inside the ink bottle to make it look sugary, and apparently that’s what gives it the depth of color as well.

Mariko was excited to smell the sugary-sweet aroma of castella when she first opened it up to try…but as it turns out, this one is disappointingly not scented. At first she wondered why the heck they would choose to give the champon ink a scent instead of the castella one…but then she decided that she liked the sense of humor it showed.

If you want to try out one or both of these inks, Ishimaru Bungyodo’s online shop sells them for 2,200 yen (US$21) each. Ishimaru also sells 82 other different kinds of inks, some inspired by Nagasaki landscapes, cocktails, and other themes, so if you’re a fiend for calligraphy or writing with fountain pens, you’ll want to check it out!

Images © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!