Kenji’s Cat Pencil

Earlier this week I had to go to Preton’s1 city centre where I made two discoveries.

Helix Oxford

The Oxford series from Helix (which belongs to France’s Maped, with most or all products made in China) seems to have launched a new vintage range which is available in WH Smith stores.

Kenji

I also discovered what seems to be a local Muji copy: Kenji. The outside looks like Japan’s Muji, but the goods they sell seem to be at least halfway (if not further) between Muji and Denmark’s Tiger stores. When I asked the employee he said the store opened last October.

I assumed this is a bigger chain, but when I visited their web site I was suprised to see that there are only two shops, one in Preston and one in Bury (together Preston and Bury have 200,000 inhabitants). Even more surprising when keeping in mind that despite being small they have a large selection of items, seem to be good value for money, and their web site looks rather good, too.

 

The DS-508

I couldn’t resist and bought a novelty mechanical pencil for £0.80 (~$1; €0.90). It’s the DS-508 from D&S点石. Despite being from a Chinese company the pencil is labelled in Japanese. The push button is the cat’s tail.

 

Like another Chinese mechanical pencil reviewed in the past, the M&G m9, this pencil has a sliding cone. You need about 0.8N for the cone to slide, which means that the sliding mechanism won’t work for most users – unless you hold the pencil nearly vertically. To refill leads you remove the tail of the cat. There is no  eraser.

The jaws of the ratchet mechanism that holds the lead are even metal, so this pencil should last a while before breaking down. For a novelty mechanical pencil, and especially when keeping the price in mind this pencil is surprisingly good.


Please excuse the poor quality of the photos, this blog post only contains mobile phone photos.

Price and exchange rates: June 2017

I have added the DS-508 to my sliding sleeve table.

  1. where I live []

Pencil Pot Of The Month – June 2017

Description: Officially a toothbrush holder this item makes a great pencil pot, too.

Price: £2.50 in the UK. €2.99 in Germany$4.99 in the USA.

Material: A stoneware container with a rubberised surface. I bought the turquoise version.

Further information: IKEA’s Ekoln toothbrush holder has a rubberised surface. Sometimes these surfaces can turn nastily sticky over the years. I hope IKEA did a better job than many other companies, but only time will tell. The $4.99 version from IKEA USA is available in different colours.

 


Prices: June 2017


Ninety-Nine 7

Well, who would have thought that Apple will one day make a pencil case. As far as I can tell their £29 pencil case was released earlier this month. Before you start wondering how you can use it for your pen collection: It can only hold one pen – the £99 Apple pencil.

Time to turn this into a ‘lucky bag’ blog post1. In the UK the Apple pencil is £99, in the USA it’s $99, so let’s stay with the theme of 99 and look at how to say2 this number in different languages:

90 9 (English)

9+90 (German)

9 10 9 (Mandarin, Japanese, Korean)

4 20 10 9 (French)

10 100 1 10 (Roman Numerals)

 

  1. An expression I got from Gunther and like. []
  2. or how to write it, in the case of Roman Numerals []

American Vietnamese Monos 4

Even more Vietnamese Monos – this time the Mono without the 100.

Please don’t misunderstand what this blog post is about. It is not a complaint that Tombow’s Monos are now made in Vietnam. It is more of a complaint that Tombow seems to be misleading their customers.

The pack of three Monos from Tombow USA is labelled ‘Made in Japan’, even though the pencils are made in Vietnam.

I assume this is just an oversight, i.e. they forgot to change the print on the back of the cardboard, rather than a planned deception of their customers – but that still doesn’t seem right.