Turning Japanese, I Really Think So…

27 06 2020

Big day today.

All the pen connoisseurs rave about the large Japanese brands – Sailor, Platinum, Pilot…

Personally, I tend to find them a bit boring and conservative on the whole, but I take nothing away from their level of quality or engineering technique. They just didn’t seem to be for me. And they don’t come cheap either, so laying out large quantities of my only theoretically disposable income on something I don’t absolutely adore seems, well, unwise.

But today things changed.

Today I spent bigly and bought a Japanese fountain pen. And I love it.

I spent over a thousand in fact! To be exact – 1,090. OK that’s in Yen, but in Canadian money it came to $27.89 with taxes. I bought a MUJI aluminium fountain pen with a fine nib, and it is significantly better than I might have expected for that price.

MUJI_pen

Image Source: MUJI.com

It is a thing of singularly straightforward, uncluttered yet smart design. It’s a simple cylinder of brushed aluminium with a steel clip. The section is machined with a fine hatching to give a nice grip, and despite the light metal construction I actually found it sat comfortably in my hand.

The cap is unusual in that it clips positively over both the nib and when posted not over the body, but into cleverly recessed grooves. This means that when the cap is closed or when using the pen posted, there is no interruption to the smooth cylindrical design. This looks like an engineering tool as much as a modern functional pen.

It came supplied with a single standard international cartridge. Black. I’m not a big fan of cartridges so on opening the low impact packaging I immediately tried to fit a standard ink converter instead. Neither of the two “standard” converters I own fit well though. I read in several places that this pen is a little fussy and that Schmidt K2 and K5 were good options but that a Pelikan converter was the most snug fit. One is now on order from Cult Pens, but in the meantime I’ll make do with the standard cartridge.

I hedged my bets and paid 50c at the local Save-On-Foods pharmacy for a syringe and needle so I can refill the cartridge with some more interesting colours while I’m waiting for the Royal Mail and Canada Post to get around to delivering the converter.

So what else can I tell you? Well, the business end is almost certainly a Schmidt #5 iridium point steel nib. Except for the omission of the word “Schmidt”, the markings are identical to the FH241 nib unit pictured below.

Schmidt_FH241

Schmidt FH241 nib unit. Image Source: JetPens

It writes very smoothly and being German as opposed to Japanese it really is a Fine and not one of those Asian fine Fines. I was also pleasantly surprised to find it had a bit of flex to it. I’m not a big flex user, but it was nice to know it was there if I felt the desire to invoke it.

Early days yet, but I think I’m going to like my new pen very much indeed.

 

img_1656

Some flex available in this straightforward nib.





Do we learn how to be mean?

27 06 2015

This is a neat little experiment from the Japanese Red Cross.

Adults drop their wallets next to kids to see what they will do. It’s a beautiful experiment.

Adults drop their wallets next to kids to see what they will do. It's a beautiful experiment.

It seems that perhaps we really do start out as little angels (one experiment showed a preference for “nice” behaviour as young as 3 months) and learn to be blue meanies later. At least it shows as a species we can learn. Some of us are really good at learning…





I’d be up for it…

11 09 2014

Would you?

Japan’s Burger Kings Sell Black Burgers Colored With Bamboo Charcoal And Squid Ink | Bored Panda.

Black BurgerKing





Vancouver’s Cherry Blossom Festival

26 03 2013

Last night driving home I was listening to CBC Radio 1, as is my wont in recent times. They were telling us about the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival and how the various Japanese restaurants in the Lower Mainland were putting on special Bento boxes and other things to celebrate the opening blossoms.

I forgot to follow up last night, but a member of our work’s Photography Club sent the link above in case anyone wanted to photograph the many cherry blossom trees around the lower mainland.

The map shows trees that are blossoming right now on Google Maps… one is on next door’s driveway. Soon, there should be many more around our crescent. It’s aflood with pink dead petals as the wind claims its prize over the next few weeks. The site is interactive and even tells you the variety of cherry, as well as letting people update it with newly blossoming trees.

Does your city celebrate the blossoms, or is it just a PNW thing inherited with our Asian immigrants?





That’s just not right…

31 12 2011

Good morning honoured reader. Of course, if you weren’t hanging on your inbox for this posting and are reading it later, or for that matter are currently in a timezone other than Pacific Standard, please replace with afternoon/evening/night as appropriate.

If this isn’t your first sampling of my postings, you’ll be well aware of the massive research I undertake before posting each nugget of irrelevance. (Yes… that was sarcasm. If it IS your first visit… you’ll get used to it). While looking for information about Aero chocolate bars (which I was devastated to learn is not available in France – thanks Laura, I’ll add one more item in the “cons” column for the French) I came across a variant of Kit-Kit from Japan. It’s green. Not NICE green. We’re talking anti-freeze green.

Chocablog: Matcha Green Tea Kit-Kat

Chocablog: Matcha Green Tea Kit-Kat

KitKat Matcha Green Tea Chocolate Review.

I was interested while travelling in Japan to learn that they’re not big on sweets and the like. They’re well known for their odd tastes in dessert too. But even so… this was a bit of a shock.

Personally, I don’t see it catching on elsewhere… even in cosmopolitan Vancouver!