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The Secret Life of the Pencil Book and Pencil Pack

The big stationery topic this week is the Insights X trade fair. I really hope that Gunther will publish another one of his fantastic trade fair reports on Lexikaliker.de.

If, like me, you cannot be in Nuremberg for the trade fair then CultPens might have the next best thing for you. They are currently giving away a free pencil pack with every copy of the Secret Life of the Pencil book.1

The book itself is great. Much better than I expected. William Boyd’s2 foreword is more than fitting. I loved to learn about his pencil journey3 and enjoyed looking at all the pencils while figuring out the make, model and approximate age.

Many pencils seem ‘real’ and straight from the desk, many seem prepared for the photos, e.g. Sculptor Bill Woodrow made his pencil into a sculpture, polymath Stephen Fry seems to have pretend knife-sharpened a sharpener-sharpened pencil4.

Whether straight from the desk or prepared for the book, they all are enjoyable.

 

  1. They also still offer a big discount on the Cult Pencil, with a further 10% off when using the discount code CULTMP10 []
  2. I think his internationally best known work might be his James Bond novel ‘Solo’, which I didn’t read, but listened to when it was Radio 4’s book of the week. []
  3. ..by the way, in my opinion graphite lasts much longer than ink – Sean could go into much more detail on this topic than I could []
  4. Best of both – the perfect compromise: sharpener-sharpened makes more sense, knife-sharpened is more fitting. []

Miniature Mascots – Stationery Toy Capsule Fun 4

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.