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Miniature Mascots – Stationery Toy Capsule Fun

Toy capsule vending machines can be quite fun.

I saw these toy capsule vending machines in Manchester's Chinatown (photo from 2007).

I saw these toy capsule vending machines in Manchester’s Chinatown (photo from 2007).

In Japan there is a series of toy capsules, called ‘Miniature Mascots’. They are released with specific themes, e.g. sewing machines, camping gear, etc., as well as season.

Toy Capsules X Stationery cross-over = fun.

You can now get the first season of the stationery with products from Carl, Mitsubishi-Uni, Nichiban, King Jim and Max.

Have a look at this Carl Angel 5 Royal: You can even turn the handle.

Carl GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

(This should display as an animated GIF in most browsers, if it is static you might have to click on it first.)

Here’s my little collection.

Carl’s Angel 5

Carl's Angel 5 Miniature Mascot

Carl’s Angel 5 Miniature Mascot

The star of the collection (because it’s pencil related and the handle can be turned).

Carl's Angel 5 Miniature Mascot

Carl’s Angel 5 Miniature Mascot

There’s also a blue version.

Carl's Angel 5 Miniature Mascot

Carl’s Angel 5 Miniature Mascot

Nichiban’s tape dispenser and refill

Nichiban's tape dispenser and refill

Nichiban’s tape dispenser and refill

Also available in yellow.

Max’s HD-10D stapler

Max's HD-10D stapler

Max’s HD-10D stapler

Max’s HD-10D stapler, with refill 10-1M

Uni’s Posca markers

Uni's Posca markers

Uni’s Posca markers

Uni’s Posca markers, also officially available in the West.

King Jim’s Label Printer PRO SR970

King Jim's Label Printer PRO SR970

King Jim’s Label Printer PRO SR970


I’d like to thank Yumiko for these Miniature Mascots.


The Monami 153 – outside Korean, inside German

Today: a quick follow-up post about one of the pencils, the Monami 153, from the recent giveaway.

A few weeks ago the Monami was sent to the winner, but before I sent it I had a quick look at the pencil. What to expect from this ‘review’? This blog post is rather short, as I don’t have the pencil anymore to take more photos. It basically just links to the video review and gives some simple information about the 153.

By the way, if the giveaway winner of the Monami 153 reads this: please let me know whether the pencil has arrived. I kept the receipt from Royal Mail, just in case it’s lost.

Monami

Originally the Monami 153 was a humble, cheap plastic ballpoint pen. This mechanical pencil is part of a release of the Monami 153 in ‘posher’ materials. You’ll find a more detailed explanation about this re-release and Monami’a anniversary in the video review.

The previous Monami pencil I reviewed, the MP-4003, was quite bling. The 153 is much more understated and shouldn’t make you feel embarrassed if you bring it to a meeting at work.

By the way, Monami seems to have switched writing their name to upper case on products. The older MP-4003 is labelled in camelCase, not as MONAMI, but as MonAmi. I guess there’s a good chance that it is supposed to be pronounced French, presumably being based on the French Mon Amie (‘My Friend’), but this is just speculation on my part.

The Pencil

The pencil itself is fairly heavy…

…and it is longer than other mechanical pencils I looked at recently.

The ‘posh’ version of the Monami 153 is based on Schmidt’s system mechanism. You can see more details about this in the video review. The system mechanism means that there only needs to be one type body being made which can then be filled with a ballpoint refill or with a mechanical pencil mechanism.

This ‘one body for different types of pens’ idea is not so unusual. Staedtler’s Concrete, their pen with a ‘high performance concrete’ body, is, as far as I know, also using one body with different ‘refills’ depending on whether you buy the ballpoint pen or the mechanical pencil. I might buy myself one for my birthday. If I do I will report back.

 

There’s not much more I can add, especially because I sent the pencil to the giveaway winner. Please have a look at the video review for more information.

Well, not only is this Korean pencil gone from our home. Around the same time, I also used up some nice Korean tea I had. I’ll leave you with this image of two nice items from Korean – until next time.

Korean Pen and Korean Tea

 

 

 

 


Smelly Pens – Zebra Sarasa Chupa Chups Edition 1

Welcome to what is probably my first gel pen focussed blog post: a quick look at the Zebra Sarasa Chupa Chups Scented Pens – and at the Staples gel pens.

Staples Sonix gel

The Staples Sonix gel pens were on offer and only 50p each: they are a mixed bag. The fluorescent pink usually writes well, other colours do sometimes smudge and don’t always have a good ink flow… This is very different to the experience Bob from my pen needs ink had. I’m not sure whether this is because of poor quality control, the difference between different colours, declining standards or the fact that my pens were too old, i.e. stored too long in the store before I bought them.

Staples Sonix Gel

Staples Sonix Gel

The performance of the Staples Sonix made me think of this video from the Wall Street Journal:  What Took China So Long to Master Ballpoint Pens?

Zebra Sarasa – Scented Chupa Chups pens

The Sarasas, on the other hand, are excellent performers. My green / yellow / red pack, bought from this seller, smells very nice, but the orange / blue / black pack has an artificial, bought here, slightly unpleasant smell to it. $9.50 for a pack of three seems a good price.

Zebra Sarasa - Chupa Chups Flavour

Zebra Sarasa – Chupa Chups Flavour

In the video review, you’ll also see my first scented pen, or at least the first I remember – a Hello Kitty Pen I got in the early or mid-1980s.

Scented Hello Kitty Pen

Scented Hello Kitty Pen

You can watch the video review here.

Or in full screen on YouTube.

More Sarasa Chupa Chups goodness at The Well-Appointed Desk. There are also several other smells, including from the Mister Donut series reviewed at The Pen Addict.


The Pen Addict Podcast is 299 6

Oh, no. Another one of those blog posts about numbers 😜

The Pen Addict Podcast is 299. Episodes old, that is. I happily remember back, listening to the first episode in 2012.

When the first episode came out I put it on a memory card so that could listen to it in my car stereo on a longer drive. I was driving to visit one of my students who was on a placement at the time. On the way there I thought to myself “This is great, but I doubt more than a handful of people would want to listen to this. I can’t see this lasting very long.”. (#myfirsttpa 😋)

Well, how wrong I was! Of course, I am referring to the second part of my sentence.

Back then, before the podcast, to me, Brad Dowdy was ‘the friendly blogger who puts his pictures on Flickr’. Every time I had contact with him he was extremely friendly and not many bloggers had their photos on Flickr. These days I think of him as the most influential stationery blogger who helped to make liking stationery a bit more mainstream. I didn’t know Myke Hurley at all before episode one.

I felt quite honoured when Bleistift was the Pen Blog of the Week in episode 94. Funnily enough, this was because of an ink related blog post, but it still meant that pencils became one of the topics of this episode. The way I know this story (please correct me if you know better) is that a pencil blog being discussed on this episode made Tim Wasem think of starting a pencil podcast and he then talked (or chatted) to Andy Welfle. Together they then approached Johnny Gamber and within a few weeks, the Erasable Podcast was born.

In time for episode 300 I thought I have a closer look at some ‘statistics’. This information is based on the The Pen Addict Podcast page on stationery.wiki, which is basically a query of the semantic data held in the wiki. Please feel free to contribute to the wiki. Everyone’s welcome there.

Let’s have a look at the plot. The x-axis (horizontal axis) is used for the dates of the episodes. The y-axis (vertical axis) is for the episode length in minutes.

Each dot represents an episode. Early episodes are on the left, recent episodes are on the right. Short episodes are on the bottom, long episodes are on the top.

The Pen Addict Podcasts, Date vs Duration

The Pen Addict Podcasts, Date vs Duration. Open in new tab for hi-res version.

The black line is a straight linear regression line. Looking at this line it seems that every year the episodes get around five minutes longer. If you like long episodes you can look forward to episode 1000. By that time episodes should be more than two hours long 😃.

The blue curve is a LOESS (local regression) curve, which is a bit more ‘flexible’ than the straight line. You can see that in the first two years, until the middle of 2014, episodes gained quite a bit in duration. Growth in duration then slowed down but picked up again since 2017.

Top tip: Why not celebrate the 300th episode when it comes out next week by sharpening a brand new pencil? ..or let others know about your first TPA episode (#myfirsttpa).

If you have just discovered  the Pen Addict Podcast recently: there are 295 hours to listen to so far. That’s more than 12 solid days.

As usual, the data and the code used for this plot are available on GitHub.

PS: I know my numbers posts are not very popular, so I’ve been holding off my series of blog post analysing pencil blogs for several years – but be warned, this series will start in the near future


I’d like to thank Alexander Kramer for allowing me to use his Brad and Myke colouring page picture in this blog post.