On a recent trip to Manchester I noticed that Muji’s low centre of gravity mechanical pencils finally made it to Europe.
Last year they weren’t available in the UK or Germany, which prompted me to visit Muji’s “global flagship store” on Huaihai Road in Shanghai It’s one of the stationery related stores I forgot to write about in my recent series of Shanghai related blog posts from my trip in August 2016..
The main purpose of the visit was to get my hands on this pencil for Gunther and myself.
They even had a cafe. I haven’t eaten Muji food before.
The food was quite good. It was slightly more expensive than expected, but the price was acceptable.
In the stationery corner there was a lot to choose from.
Pen and paper wise there wasn’t much more than what I am used to from Manchester, despite Manchester only having a small store now (the bigger one closed down about ten years ago)…
..there was however a lot more choice in terms of desk organisation (trays, boxes, ..).
The decoration was quite nice and it was easy to try products out before buying.
Can you spot the low centre of gravity pencil in the picture above?
As usual you can open pictures in a new tab to see them in high resolution.
The weather was really nice this weekend and since there was something we had to do in Manchester anyway we decided to spend the afternoon in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Fred Aldous, mentioned in the past, is also located in the Northern Quarter.
One of the shops I discovered and I haven’t been to before is the Dedstock General Store. It’s a gem of a store selling a nice choice of wares for it’s size, including stationery, items for shaving (including Mühle blades), enamel items and other things.
The owner was just working on a sewing machine. He said he was mending things, but it looked like a much bigger operation (the word upcycling and hundred year old garments spring to mind).
In terms of stationery there were Dux and Gedess sharpeners, Kaweco and Mindori pens and accessories, the Blackwing remake and Calepino notebooks. Items priced above £50 were stored behind the counter (no photo, sorry).
I’m happy I came across this unusual store and will visit again next time I’m in the Northern Quarter.
This week I had a quick look at Manchester’s Muji store, where I found wood cased pencils and a desktop pencil sharpener.
Manchester used to have a bigger Muji store, but it closed down, maybe about ten years ago. We now only have a smaller Muji store in Selfridges.
Manchester’s Muji didn’t have these pencils and the sharpener earlier this year They used to sell wood cased coloured pencils, though., but it could be that bigger stores were stocking these products for a while already.
I didn’t buy them, just because Japanese pencils in HB can be to soft for my style of writing (I want a fine point that lasts) and for the kind of paper I use (normal paper). An example of this would be Tombow’s Drawing pencil in HB. I thought Muji’s 2B pencils are most likely too soft for me so I didn’t want to buy them and then end up not using them.
The pens left of the pencils seem very similar to OHTO Tasche pens.
According to the Chicago Public Library pencils are among the suggested gifts for the 7th wedding anniversary, so I couldn’t resist including a trip to a stationery store on my wife and my 7th anniversary.
While we were there we also used their photo booth, an ‘analogue’ Photo-Me booth from 1968. Nice. I loved how the photos were still wet from the processing chemicals when they came out.
Pencil-wise we bought a pack of Field Notes pencils as our anniversary pencils.
Block printing kit
I also got a block printing kit. I’m really looking forward to trying this out. It includes a pencil which looks suspiciously similar to the Field Notes pencil. Since Field Notes pencils are ‘just’ promotional pencils with the Field Notes logo etc printed on (see Erasable episode 28) I was wondering whether both pencils might be from the same factory, but the Fred Aldous pencil’s ferrule is clamped in a very different way, so there’s a good chance it’s from a different factory.