Seen in the wild


Italian Stationery (and Hobonichi)

I hope you’re enjoying the Summer.

Last Summer East…West…Everywhere made me aware of Hobonichi Techo’s 2018 Advance Notice.

Well, this year there’s the Hobonichi Techo 2019 Preview Festival – and it started today. What a nice start for August.

My July also came to a nice end: our family was lucky enough to spend a few days in Northern Italy (to celebrate a special occasion). We were near Lake Garda and it was really beautiful. There were lots of Germans and Austrians in that area. I am not surprised. It’s not that far to drive from Austria or Southern Germany. There was of course also some stationery to see, which I want to share with you.

Once I ordered Cotoletta di Pollo. It came with fries which were served on a reproduction of an old British newspaper. 

Did you spot it? Let’s do a close-up.

There’s fountain pen advertising in the corner. Richt click and open in a new tab to see how much you can save on a Fleet Pen ;^P

In Verona, I also came across a shop selling posh fountain pens. I love the Pelikan sign outside the shop.

You might know that Staedtler’s Noris is my favourite. I was happy to see this Noris stand in Malcesine.

In that shop, they also sold other, nice stationery.

I couldn’t resist and brought these items back from my trip: Turkish paper clips,  Italian paper and German/Chinese pencils. I have covered Lyra’s Temagraph in the past, but now I also have one in 3B 8^D.

In a Pizzeria I managed to see a calendar hanging from the wall, much like the ones shown in the past. The one I saw seemed to be from the tax authority (I think). Stationery-filled holidays are even better than normal holidays 8^)


Lidl UK Supermarket Offer

When I went to our local Lidl1, I noticed a few nice stationery offers. If you’re based in the UK they might of interest to you.

Amongst other items Lidl UK is currently selling German-made Pelikan fountain pens for under £5 (~<$7; <€6).

They also sell pencil cases (including content) from Herlitz, a brand I mentioned in the past, for the same price..

..as well as German-made notepads from Hamelin, the company behind Oxford paper and other brands.


I did manage to resist, but the offers are quite tempting.

  1. A global discount supermarket chain, similar to their probably better known competitor Aldi. []

Albrecht Dürer in scharlachrot 2

On a recent trip to Manchester, I walked by a Pull & Bear shop. As far as I know, this chain is from Spain. I was quite surprised to see that all video screens in the shop and most printed posters displayed Faber-Castell pencils, specifically their Albrecht Dürer series in scharlachrot. Red = discounted prices, so it seems like a good choice. It’s nice to come across pencils in unexpected places.

There was also a German sharpener, but I am not sure which make it is so will not comment further.

Faber-Castell Albrecht Dürer in scharlachrot

I came across even more pencils when my employer, a university, had a graduate show next to my canteen. There’s just something about pencils that represents so many different concepts, like creativity, ideas, … you get the (happy) feeling that pencils are here to stay for a bit longer, despite the ‘digitalisation’.


Another visit to Shanghai’s Baixin Stationery Store 4

Today: another visit to Shanghai’s Baixin Stationery Store. This small1 chain of stationery stores used to be called Baixin Bookstore, but they are now known as Baixin Stationery Store. One of their bigger stores is on Fuzhou Road, whereas this branch in Metro City, in Shanghai’s Xujiahui area, is their smallest branch.

I’ll try to use this blog post to recreate the experience of visiting this store ..so there’ll be lots of photos. If you are on a metered connection (i.e. you pay for the data) you might want to leave now and revisit this blog post when you are on a better Internet connection.

Stinky Tofu

Stinky Tofu (yes, that’s the official name)

We (my wife, our kid and me) went to this Baixin branch after finishing our nice lunch (photo above) in the same building: at Shanghai Alley / Food Republic on Metro City’s top floor.

Baixin Stationery store

Baixin Stationery store

Despite it’s small size it has a lot of choice and you can always find special editions of pens there. Look carefully how small the shop is. This is not the entrance, but the whole shop! I don’t know how they managed to fit so much exciting stuff in there.

The employee was extremely knowledgable and helpful. A mix you don’t encounter often on the high street these days.

I bought one of my two Mannish line Pentel Orenz pencils there. Even though I am a big fan of the Orenz, I wasn’t too keen on the new special edition.

Pentel Orenz - Foxy Edition

Pentel Orenz – Foxy Edition

More Mechanical Pencils

More Mechanical Pencils

I am not sure whether this special edition of the Orenz mechanical pencil is aimed again at girls or whether there’s something more strange going on here. I’ll only show you the cover of Pentel’s brochure and the page with the pencils. Some other pages in the brochure are more extreme than the cover, so I omit them from this blog post.

Pentel Orenz Foxy brochure

Pentel Orenz Foxy brochure cover

Pentel Orenz Foxy brochure

Pentel Orenz Foxy brochure

This one is called Foxy (a cooperation with a Japanese artist). and was released in October 2017. There are six different designs and there are foxy themed lead refill containers available, too.

As is common in shops for ‘lifestyle stationery’ in Shanghai, there’s a big selection of Zebra’s Sarasa pens. Here’s a small selection of the Sarasa special edition corner.

Zebra Sarasa Special Editions

Zebra Sarasa Special Editions

At home I am using Lihit Lab products on a daily basis, so I was happy to see that they are popular in Shanghai, too.

There were also other pencil cases I have seen before, like the Zip It line (pictured below) I got to know at the Insights X 2016. They are popular in the UK, too. So much so that cheap knock offs (£2 each) even made it into British shops.

Zip It Monster Pouch

..and there were more exciting mechanical pencils in another corner of this very small shop (pictured below). Here in Europe 0.5mm seems to be the norm and many companies, like Lamy and Graf von Faber-Castell, seem to move away from 0.5mm and shift their offers towards 0.7mm. I assume this must be down to customers preferring bigger lead diameters. Seeing a nice choice of 0.3mm mechanical pencils in Baixin certainly made me happy and gave me hope that small diameters are here to stay.

A few months ago I wrote about the Pacatto sharpeners. I didn’t expect to see one in real life that soon, but there it was. Just another indication that Shanghai’s stationery shops are very up to date.

Pacattor sharpener

With so much nice stationery the Wopex is of course not missing from this store either. Many lifestyle stationery stores in Shanghai sell it.

If you want to try any of the pencils you can make use of Baixin’s sharpening station, which is basically an empty drink bottle with a sharpener screwed on top. I didn’t see the sharpener screw top for sale, though.

Since we’re talking about sharpeners: let’s move on to wood cased pencils and how to protect them. It was nice to see the Hi-uni pencil caps in real life. I read about them in the past, but never saw them on the high street in the UK.

Some of the erasers on sale looked very exotic.

Chinese inks are not that popular in the west (or should that be ‘not yet’), so it was nice to see some new Chinese inks I hadn’t seen in previous years.

Starry Ink

Kokuyo makes some great products. My favourite are their stapleless staplers, but I also like their paper. These multi purpose scissors were new to me.

Kokuyo also had this new product which reminded me very much of the Col-O-Ring.

The employee told us that six months ago Kokuyo started having problems getting the paper, so you can’t get this version with very nice paper anymore. There are still similar products from Kokuyo, but with inferior paper.

Schneider pens have been in Shanghai for many years. When I first saw them it seemed to come as a surprise, because they are not that popular in the UK (which is so much closer to their country of origin).

There was also an abundance of masking tape and related accessories…

..as well as other, more general accessories.

This being Shanghai ‘high tech’ stationery, like this bluetooth printer, is also popular.

It’s using thermal paper like a fax machine and people don’t only use it to print black and white versions of their phone’s photos and cute stickers and images (you can even get lace paper for it) – according to the employee of this store it’s also being used to print to do lists in schools, for the pupils to take home.

What a great shop. I wish there was something similar closer to where we live.

 

  1. I think they have four branches. []

Racing Ducks with Staedtler’s Minerva 4

Waddington Duck Race

When visiting the Waddington Duck Race, a duck race taking place once a year here in England’s North West, I was happy to see that the bureaucratic side of the duck race was run by Staedtler’s Minerva pencils.

Waddington Duck Race

The Minerva didn’t used to be common in the UK at all, but a few years ago it suddenly made it into lots of corner shops.

Staedtler Minerva

My employer, a university, also sold it in its shops. Unfortunately, since then the Minerva has disappeared nearly as fast as it appeared.

Waddington Duck Race

This made me even happier when I found many of them in the booth where the race tickets were sold (in the cardboard box in the photo above). They were used to record details of participants.

Waddington Duck Race

The race started at this end.

Luckily Staedtler pencils haven’t disappeared. They are still the staple pen of British schools. I hope this will be the case in the future, even after Staedtler’s switch to more Gmelina wood.

Waddington Duck Race

Goodbye, Waddington