Pen Slump

I was going to translate one of the Japanese articles with Ishimaru Shigeru for my next post when I just got lazy and decided to shelf it. Not even sure if it’s okay to repost a printed article.

In recent days my passion for fountain pens waned. It seems that every year there’s always a period of time when I’m caught up with other stuff like work and I somehow lose the time and the attention for my fountain pen hobby and now is such a time again. I just came back from a long overseas trip and some of my pens are in my pen drawer still inked from before I went on the trip. I bet most of the ink have dried up by now too. I really need to get to cleaning those pens.

The biggest pen news in the last one month has to be the release of the Kaweco Parkeo. I am tempted to pick one up but could never muster the enthusiasm to actually order one. And the unfortunate thing with the pen is that it only comes with fine and medium, and not the broad or double broad Kaweco pens that I love on my Sports. I get that because it is a low cost pen Kaweco has to maximize profits by reducing the number of SKUs they have for the four colors, it is disappointing still. Maybe I will just not buy one until I have a chance to buy one along with another bigger purchase.

In somewhat bigger news, Pilot is going to release some updates to the Kakuno line in August. They will add a EF (meh!) option to the existing fine and medium, as well as a demonstrator model (OMG!). Cannot wait for the demonstrator model to be released. Like others these days I am a sucker for demonstrators. Coupled with a CON–70 I bet the demostrator Kakuno will look damn good. And since it is so cheap, I will probably buy a few of them just for fun.

Oh and a week or so ago I received a nice present from a good friend – Usagiya’s No.008 Kinojyo no Akaoni. Might review it here someday.

The Curious Case of the Pilot Metropolitan MR Misnaming

This particular pen, has been known as the Pilot Metropolitan in the western world and the Cocoon (the Cocoon actually have a different selection of colors and designs as compared to the MR) in Japan ever since I started my love for fountain pens.

However, its real name is the Pilot MR, and MR stands for Middle Ring, as the pens all have an interesting “middle ring” design. Somehow, somewhere, someone has been spreading wrong information about the actual name of this fountain pen.

Pilot USA’s website clear states that the the Pilot MR Metropolitan Series is the original three pens, and the later pens like the Pilot MR Animal Series includes the five pens with animal-skin styled middle rings, and the latest Pilot MR Retro Pop include five pens with retro-styling colors and prints for the middle rings.

Neither the MR Animal or the MR Retro Pop is a “Pilot Metropolitan”.

While the western world is now hooked on calling the MR a “Metropolitan”, is it a really good thing to continue passing the wrong information on?

I Don’t Understand EF Nibs

Sometimes I wonder why people like EF/F nibs. I understand if you need to write kanji characters on a regular basis and will have to have at least a few of those lying around. But most, if not all western script is better off written with a wider nib, like B.

I always start off a new pen purchase by checking firstly, how much more will the stub option cost, and if it is out of my budget, if they have a B or even C option. No Bs usually mean I give up buying the pen outright unless the M writes a fairly thick line.

Having been an social science student for most of my student life, it was usual for me to write four to six essays for every examination. Even during then, I noticed that there is always a contingent of students who will write really neatly and small, despite the stress of the exams and the lack of time.

I was the complete opposite of that contingent of students.

My favorite exam pen was the Pilot G2 in blue, in 0.7mm. I could never write as fast with the 0.5mm. Armed with two G2s I would churn out 5 to 6 pieces of foolscap every thirty minutes.

And while it might be a coincidence, the contingent of students with small and cramped handwriting never seemed to get better scores than those of us who wrote expressively. 

第18回世界の万年筆祭 a.k.a. Mitsukoshi Fountain Pen Show 2017

Like last year (and many years before that), this year’s Mitsukoshi pen show (translated as Fountain Pens of the World Festival) is held on the third week of March, from the 15th to the 20th at the Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Department Store’s event area.

The second of the only two major fountain pen shows in Tokyo every year, the Mitsukoshi pen show is a must-visit for any Japanese fountain pen lover if they happen to be in Tokyo in early to mid March.

Unlike pen shows of the West, you don’t really have independent collectors turning up to sell their private collection of pens, pen shows in Japan are strictly a manufacturer/vendor affair. The most “indie” one can get are the smaller pen makers like Eboya and Ohashido.

Sailor, as usual, turned up with their Ink Studio where one can sign up for a 20-minute session with Sailor’s Ink Meister Ishimaru san to make your own original ink. Until recently, one could order refills of their original ink colour directly from Sailor when the initial bottle ran out, but due to market changes (ChiNa tourists buying Sailor Ink in bulk to resell for 5 to 20 times the original price) this was no longer possible. This process is exactly how Sailor’s various shop exclusives are made too, thus when East Asian resale demand for those skyrocketed, so did Sailor’s ability to make refills for people who actually want and need the inks.

And like all other years, there were show-exclusive inks and pens, like Sailor’s Edozakura Nenrin ink and Edozakura Pro Gear in Pink, Pilot’s Capless Art Deco, among others.

There was also a Sailor-made Mitsukoshi pen and ink available at the show, Mitsukoshi’s Hana-Hiraku pen and ink. The name Hana-Hiraku comes from Mitsukoshi’s wrapping paper of the same name. SquishyInk (of Hippo Noto) has a review of the ink.

Edit: Post edited to correct some info that I misunderstood about SquishyInk’s Hana-Hiraku ink review. Thank you Krystle for letting me know.

Germs

Sometimes I wonder why i bother maintaining contact with people who I used to be able to call “friends”, especially when a decade down almost none of them live the same life you live or see things in the same light you do.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to live a life being shielded from everything that is dark and gloomy.

When they start condemnimg you for not being able to see things their way and refuse to even debate you, it is probably time to think of these people as nothing but germs.

Germs that only contact you when they need a favor.

Murashita Kouzou 「Hidamari 」/ 村下孝蔵 「陽だまり」→

Since I am on a Maison Ikkoku roll, this is my favourite opening theme song in the whole series.

Murashita died way too early.

蝉時雨 遥か すだれごしに
水を打つ 夏の夕暮れ
石が川面を跳ねるように ときめいた君を想って

陽炎がゆらめく街 この場所から遠く空を見て
ああ 君に会いたい 今すぐに声を聴きたい

きらきら夕焼けの中 微笑みなげて
望みを祈りにかえたら
一番大事な事忘れずに 輝いていて欲しいよ

早く会いたい たった一言
心から叫びたいよ
きっといつかはめぐり逢い結ばれると 信じていたと

歩きだせばこの背中を 追いかけてついてきて欲しい
ああ 僕は君一人のためだけのひとりぼっちさ

ひらひら花びらの舞う春の午後には
祈りを誓いにかえるよ
二人で陽だまりの中 光あつめ やさしさをわかちあえるさ

一番大事な事忘れずに 輝いていて欲しいよ

Alone Again (Naturally)

In a little while from now
If i’m not feeling any less sour
I promise myself to treat myself
And visit a nearby tower
And climbing to the top will throw myself off
In an effort to make it clear to who
Ever what it’s like when you’re shattered

This is such a beautiful song, but you have to wonder what was going on in the producers’ minds when Alone Again (Naturally) was selected as Maison Ikkoku’s second opening theme song all those decades ago.

Are there production problems with the Zoom H1?

Ahh….. The Zoom H1.

Considered to be the evolution of the Zoom H2 with a smaller and much sexier looking body (thus much more portable) with a fantastic price to boot (just USD$99!!!), the Zoom H1 was announced and demoed at Musik Messe 2010 (March this year), the Zoom H1 was slated for a June release.

I was looking to buy the Zoom H2 when shipping for a portable recorder earlier this year, saw the Zoom H1 announcement, and decided to wait.

June came.

But no Zoom H1.

It was however, announced in June that the shipping date for Zoom H1 will be 31st July.

I thus forgotten about it for a while, until recently (a week ago) when the shipping date on Amazon shows that the Zoom H1 will ship on the 21st July (today!).

Made a pre-order, and guess what?

Just yesterday I noticed that all sites (Amazon, B&H, etc) doing the Zoom H1 pre-orders suddenly list 20th August 2010 as the shipping date instead.

Imagine how pissed I am that the shipping date slipped again, for the second time this year.

From June to July and now to August.

Granted that the Zoom H1 isn’t as high profile as the iPad so this probably won’t make big news, but with the slipping of iPad shipping dates earlier this year in April, 2010 marks the year of gadgets with slipping shipping dates (at least for me). DAMN.

Which makes me wonder, since I don’t really think that the Zoom H1 is as popular as the iPad to warrant a “limited supply and overwhelming demand” situation (it didn’t even go on sale anywhere), there must be a production problem.

Maybe the battery life couldn’t perform up to specs? (But seriously I doubt anyone other than Apple actually tries to live up to their battery life claims. Take for example any of the hundred “7 hour batteries” from Dell and HP that can’t last more than 2.5hrs per charge)

Maybe it’s a problem with the mics? (It’s a tried and tested configuration. Plus demo units have already been available for a while, or well, at least I believe the peeps at sites like thieving Gizmodo actually has a working demo before doing up an article? So it’s unlikely that it’s hardware. If they have hardware production problems they could always release in smaller numbers first.)

Which brings me to the conclusion – the most important part of the recorder might be having problems – the software. If there are serious bugs in the software it will affect not just a few but probably all of the sets, and these flawed sets can’t probably go on set, especially when Zoom has a superb reputation for low-cost high-quality portable recorders.

I wonder if @Zoomfx will tell me the reason for the slipping dates if I tweet him/her.

Canceling my pre-order now.

Shame. Cause I really wanted it.