Shanghai Hongkou Dragon Dream Shopping Centre


Quiet! It’s a bookstore

Sisyphe

Sisyphe’s entrance

‘Quiet’ said the employee to a customer. Wherever I look, I see books in the shelves. You’d think this is a library, especially because of what the employee just said, but funnily enough, the employee doesn’t mind talking to another customer ..talking even louder than the customer she just shushed.

We are in a bookstore in Shanghai’s Hongkou Dragon Dream Shopping Centre1.

Inside Sisyphe

Inside Sisyphe

I wonder whether this shushing is some sort of marketing gag – like when you see employees at makeup counters dressed in lab coats – to make you think they are kind of like scientists or pharmacists.

‘Quiet’ is so that people can read their books in the library, but as a store, they want to earn money, so you wouldn’t want to visitors to read the books in the bookstore, you want them to buy the books, at least that’s how I thought it works. The shushing might be intended to make you feel as if you are in a less mundane place. Shushing = library, library = the equivalent of a spiritual 1UP.

Monami Olika and fake Hero Safaris

Monami Olikas and fake Hero Safaris (bottom right)

Like in virtually all bookstores in Shanghai, there’s a nice selection of ‘lifestyle stationery’, i.e. stationery that looks nice and is ‘trendy’. In the photo above you can see some of the cheaper fountain pens they sell: Monami Olikas and fake Hero Safaris (they look like Safaris, but instead of Lamy the brand name Hero is embossed on the barrel).

Sisyphe Fountain Pens

They also sell more formal looking, more expensive fountain pens (on the right in the photo above and in the photo below). These days glass dip pens also seem to be popular in Shanghai (on the left in the photo above ).

Sisyphe Fountainpens

I like bookstores in Shanghai. Many have a very similar choice of stationery to each other, but you can often find new and different stationery – and the stationery always tends to be presented in a nice way.

Coming soon: More blog posts about stationery in Shanghai.

  1. Unfortunately the Carl’s Jr. (a fast food chain from Los Angeles), which used to be on the same floor as this bookstore has disappeared from the shopping mall. []

Pencil Pot Of The Month – January 2016

My Pencil mug

My Pencil mug

mypencil-happyhour

Description: A glazed ceramic mug

Material: Ceramic

Further information: I bought this mug in December in Carrefour in Shanghai’s HongKou Dragon Dream Shopping Centre for ¥14.90 (~$2.25; £1.60; €2.10). The print on the mug says “My Pencil” on one side and “Happy Hour” on the other.


Price: December 2015

Exchange rates: January 2016

Please also have a look at Lexikaliker’s pencil pot of the month.


Deli No.7083 HB 1

Shanghai

Shanghai

The Deli 7083 at Carrefour

The Deli 7083 at Carrefour

Yet another blog post related to my recent visit to Shanghai.

You might remember the Chung Hwa Drawing Pencil 101, together with the Chung Hwa 6151 it forms the pencil backbone of Shanghai. Whenever you see a pencil in Shanghai it usually is one of these two – and they are made in Shanghai, too.

…but what happened? Deli dared to enter Chung Hwa’s home turf – disturbing the natural order of things.

…and what a pencil they sent to threaten Chung Hwa’s hold on its home territory: it’s the Deli No.70831.

The Chung Hwa 101 in its natural habitat

The Chung Hwa 101 in its natural habitat

Price

I bought the 7083 in the Carrefour in Shanghai’s Hongkou Dragon Dream Shopping Centre and paid 11.80 元  (~$1.80; £1.25; €1.65) for a dozen HB pencils. They were also available in 2B and 2H.

The Chung Hwa 6151 in its natural habitat

The Chung Hwa 6151 in its natural habitat

Appearance

Let’s look at the appearance first. The 7083 looks like a pencil with a very thick layer of paint. The paint seems to be applied very well, except near the end of the pencil, which seems to have been dipped in just a bit too much paint. The 7083 has an unusually large diameter for a modern pencil. The paint job and the large diameter make it feel like a much better pencil than what you’d expect from a pencil with this price tag.

Deli No.7083

Deli No.7083

It is dark green like the Chung Hwa 101, but there’s also a similarity with another pencil. The shade of green used is virtually identical to the one used for the Castell 9000.

Deli No.7083

Deli No.7083

Lead

The 7083 lays down a very dark line and feels very smooth, even creamy when writing – but just to put this into context, we are talking about a very cheap pencil. The 7083 is not as good as the big boys, like the Mars Lumograph. Nevertheless it is very good and probably the best pencil I have tried in this price range.

If I had to compare to a pencil that is well known I would compare it to Staedtler’s Mars Lumograph in B. Point retention is very similar, but in direct comparison it is ever so slightly lighter than the Lumograph in B and slightly less smooth and erases slightly worse than the Lumograph in B2.

It writes well even on paper that is not good for non-soft pencils, like the original (‘Kraft’?) Field Notes.

Deli No.7083

Deli No.7083

Wood

The wood is slightly red, similar to the one used for the Chung Hwa 101 and when you knife sharpen the 7083 you notice that the wood is harder than cedar wood.

Deli No.7083

Deli No.7083

Conclusion

A great pencil that is nearly as good as much more expensive pencils. It has a strong paint smell, similar to other Chinese pencils, but for this price you probably won’t be able to find a much better pencil.


Price: December 2015

Exchange rates: January 2016

Please open images in a new tab/window to see them at full resolution.

 

  1. I assume the product number is derived from the last digits of the bar code before the heck digit …or maybe it’s the other way round. []
  2. In case you wonder why, based in these statements, I don’t compare it to the Lumograph in HB: It is still much closer to the Lumograph in B, which shows you how minute these differences are. []

Keyroad 4

Keyroad on Fuzhou road

In my blog post about Simbalion’s Supreme Quality Pencil 88 I mentioned Keyroad, a Chinese stationery chain that I have also mentioned in several previous blog posts. Today I want to show you some photos I took in and around Keyroad stores, most from Keyroad’s store on Fuzhou road.

Keyroad

Simbalion’s Supreme Quality Pencil 88 and other pencils

The stationery on offer in Keyroad is not as exciting and high-end as what you could get in Meriful, but unfortunately Meriful on Fuzhou road closed down, or moved, in any case: I couldn’t find it on Fuzhou road. There are Meriful stores in other parts of Shanghai, but I haven’t visited them.

Keyroad

Even more pencils

Keyroad’s focus isn’t directly stationery. Their target group seems to be teenage girls, but because of this they have “designed” stationery, while common stationery stores tend to sell functional stationery.

Keyroad

A pack of smiley bulldog clips is only 12元 (~$1.95; €1.45; £1.25)

There is of course some overlap: you’d find plain pencils as well as erasers with cartoon pictures on in either type of store, but in Keyroad you’d find lots of colourful as well as imported stationery.You’ll find the likes of Lamy Safari or Parker Pens, but imported stationery tends to be prohibitively expensive.

I found more Keyroads than on previous visits – in new locations and also in locations where, previously, there have been similar shops.

Keyroad HongKou

The Dragon Dream Shopping Centre’s Queen’s Market is now a Keyroad, too


Price: May 2013

Exchange rates: June 2013


Overpriced stationery in Shanghai 11

There seem to be many different kinds of shops selling stationery in Shanghai.

 

There are the functional ones, selling stationery and other office supplies. Customers seem to be companies, but you’ll also find pupils there.

 

There are the fashionable ones. You’ll find them near universities. They do have some normal stationery, but seem to focus on cute stationery. They also sell make-up and girly things, too. The fashionable stationery is not always of high quality.

 

Queen's Market - selected by Tokyo

 

…and then there are the overpriced stationery shops. They are often located in shopping centres. They sell all sorts of expensive stuff. To be fair, the price is not only the shops fault. Many items, even though they have been made in China, have been reimported from Japan or Korea. I assume that even in Japan or Korea they are not cheap in the first place and someone has to pay for (re-)importing small numbers of them, which are probably not very economical. You can often find other items in these shops, like Monchhichis or iPhone docking stations.

 

Queen's Market - selected by Tokyo

You can see the Delfonics range behind the theft detector pedestal

 

One example of this kind of shop is “Queen’s Market – selected by Tokyo” in the new Shanghai Hongkou Dragon Dream Shopping Centre. Amongst other items they are selling Delfonics‘ Rollbahn range, Japanese stationery with German text printed on that sounds very much like it’s coming straight out of a Kraftwerk song.

These kind of shops often don’t survive very long. One reason might be that there are similar shops near the shopping centres which pay less rent and sell similar items cheaper – often copies or similar no-name products.

In the last five years or so the number of these overpriced stationery shops has gone up steadily.

 


 

I would like to thank Hui Liu for telling me about this new shopping centre in Hongkou. I would have not gone there otherwise.