Tombow


ippo! x MONO 3

Thanks to Shangching from East…West…Everywhere my family got a parcel with some nice stationery surprises and our son, and by extension I, were able to try out Tombow’s ippo! pencils for school children as well as the corresponding eraser.

My understanding is that the pencils from this set aim at being easily erasable, so they have soft leads that produced nice, dark lines and the special eraser makes it easy for kids to erase any mistakes cleanly and nice, making the page ready for the next attempt.

Like many other Tombow pencils, the ippo! pencils, this set came with two in red, two in blue, two in yellow, are all made in Vietnam. The eraser was manufactured in Japan.

Hats off to Tombow, this set definitely achieves what (I think) it set out to do.

The eraser performs very similar to other dust free erasers, but feels softer, so makes for pleasant erasing. The pencils, being (Japanese) 2B, are very soft. The softness of the lead will probably help in making the user press less hard, so the writing is more likely to be on top of the paper whereas a harder lead might have made the user press down more, resulting in compressed paper where the line was. No compressed paper -> no deep lines, which will still be visible after erasing as a sort of crevice on the page -> the erased area looks very clean.

I also like the fact that the eraser sleeve is perforated, so you can easily shorten it when the eraser gets used up.

Compared to another dust free eraser on paper from the Monocle by Leuchtturm notebook

Overall a very nice pencil and eraser set. Similar to other Kakikata pencils the pencils have an area for labelling with your name and are uncapped.


This and that (hexagonal cedar eraser edition) 2

A parcel from Japan

Last month Tombow released a new eraser (Japanese announcement, Google translation). It’s quite similar to an old, familiar friend, the Staedtler Mars plastic, but with a Tombow Mono inside. The eraser stick has a diameter of 6.7 mm and a length of 100 mm.

Tombow’s new Mono Stick and Staedtler’s Mars plastic

Tombow isn’t the only company with new erasers. Look at this special eraser from Seed. Seed’s Radar is one of their famous erasers. This version has a sleeve made from 300 year old cedar wood.

Cedar Seed

Here it is again, next to some other Seed erasers.

Comparison: different Seed erasers

Since we are talking about Japanese erasers: in case you were wondering about the symbols you can find on them: have a look at this document from JEMA, the Japan Eraser Manufacturers Association (Google Translation). It also contains explanations regarding testing.

from the JEMA document (Image © JEMA)

I also noticed the Orenznero, discussed previously, in the Bun2 magazine…

 

..as well as a nice sharpener and organiser from Nakabayashi. There’s an automatic (~£28; $39, €31) and a manual version (~£9; $13; €10) of the Pacatto sharpener.

The Stationery King [1]Sean rightly wonders whether he shouldn’t be the emperor of stationery. did of course have several appearances, too).

…and now for something completely different. I dare to include it because it has hexagonal in the title: Hexagonal Phase.

The computer animations from the TV series were actually hand drawn.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is back. The Original Cast of the Original Radio 4 Radio Comedy in new episodes, written by written by Eoin Colfer.

Image © BBC Radio 4

 


I would like to thank Yumiko for the nice parcel and Gunther and Sola for the additional information.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy images in this blog post are from the BBC series of the same name. I believe that the use of the image shown in this blog post falls under “fair dealing” as described by the UK Copyright service.

References

References
1Sean rightly wonders whether he shouldn’t be the emperor of stationery.

American Vietnamese Monos 5

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.


More Vietnamese Monos

The bottom of the box

This is just a quick follow up, linked to my previous blog post about Lexikaliker’s investigation into the Vietnamese Mono 100s [1]English translation here..

The familiar box…

The Vietnamese Mono…

If the Mono 100 is now made in Vietnam then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Mono (without the 100) is now made in Vietnam, too.

You can see the Made in Vietnam blind stamp against the light (open in a new tab to see clearly)

..and the Dong-A Fable

I would have liked to compare the Japanese and Vietnamese Mono, but everywhere where I thought I’ve seen a non-100 Mono in our house it turned out to be the similarly looking Dong-A Fable [2]To me the Fable is more common than the Mono. A fate I probably share with very few people outside Korea., a pencil that has made a few appearances on this blog since 2009.

The Tombow Mono and the Dong-A Fable

Mono’s history

Well, 1963 is not only the year Terry Farrell, Jadzia Dax in Deep Space Nine [3]I just had to add a Star Trek fact. , was born. It is also the year the Mono was released. It was ‘kind of’ a successor to the Homo, which was released in 1952, but wasn’t liked by Tombow anymore, or should I rather say: they didn’t like the name anymore, after the

‘diparaging slang-term “homo” became well-known in Japan’ (Tombow Pencil 100 Year History Project Committee, 2013:p.38).

Mono display from the 1960s. ¥60, seen on the display, was the original price, later lowered to ¥50. (Picture from Tombow)

In 1967, for Tombow’s 55th anniversary, the Mono 100 followed ..and two years later there was a Mono eraser, too. I don’t want to bore you with more details, but if you’re really interested, let me know in the comments and I’ll write up more when I have time.

Mono box from the 1960s (Picture from Tombow)

References

Tombow Pencil 100 Year History Project Committee. (2013) The 100 Year History of Tombow Pencil. Tokyo, Tombow Pencil Cp., Ltd.


I bought this dozen straight from Japan and paid just under £9, I think.

Unless otherwise stated pictures in my blog are taken by me. Well, this is one of those ‘otherwise stated’ occasions. The pictures marked as such are from Tombow’s book “The 100 Year History of Tombow Pencil”. In January 2015 Tombow Europe granted me permission to use them in blog posts.

References

References
1English translation here.
2To me the Fable is more common than the Mono. A fate I probably share with very few people outside Korea.
3I just had to add a Star Trek fact.

Mysterious Mono 100s 8

Sean and Gunther are the detectives of the pencil world. While Sean has specialised in solving cold cases Gunther is investigating up-to-date issues.

In Gunther’s latest blog post (in German / automated English translation from Google here, from Bing here) he is having a closer look at the new Vietnamese made Tombow Mono 100s.

Mystery solved – thank you, Lexikaliker.

I support his hypothesis that the blind code on the pencils is in the format YYMM. I bought most of my Mono 100s in 2009 and the blind codes of my Monos start with 08 and 09.

In case you wonder about my photo: After some of the original occupants of my Mono 100 case moved out the remaining Monos invited the two Faber brothers to move in.