Shanghai


The Bookstore at Oriental Pearl TV Tower’s Gate 8 1

Pearl Life Aesthetics Museum

Another Shanghai post and a quick look at another bookstore. This one is in Shanghai’s Pudong district, very close to the Oriental Pearl Tower. The official English name seems to be ‘Pearl Life Aesthetics Museum’.

Pearl Life Aesthetics Museum

Tea and cake

It’s one of the most unusual bookstores I have seen. It is directly outside some of the busiest streets of buzzing Shanghai, the most populous city in the world (more inhabitants than Australia or more than Ireland, Austria and Switzerland together).

Pearl Life Aesthetics Museum

One of the gardens

Inside, it is an unexpected oasis of calmness, though. When you enter the bookstore you are in the Café area.

Pearl Life Aesthetics Museum

Nice desk accesories

Coffee and cakes aren’t cheap here, but then again they aren’t that much more expensive than in nearby chains like Starbucks.

Pearl Life Aesthetics Museum

The bookstore is split into different small buildings

The bookstore consists of several small building, all encased in the garden that surrounds them.

Pearl Life Aesthetics Museum

..and another building

People can sit there and read a book, while enjoying their hot drinks.

Most tables also have buttons you can press to summon a helpful employee.

Pearl Life Aesthetics Museum

The whole place was extremely clean, but despite outside being very busy (nearly chaotically busy) there was only one other customer (except us) in all the small buildings..

Pearl Life Aesthetics Museum

I hope this kind of bookstore can survive. I assume it is somehow subsidised, but I am not sure how long that will last in a fast changing place like Shanghai.

Pearl Life Aesthetics Museum

Next to the Oriental Pearl Tower (Image from Apple Maps)


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. []

A visit to Shanghai’s Baixin Bookstore

There’s one video I missed out in my previous series of Shanghai related blog posts: A visit to Shanghai’s Baixin Bookstore in August 2017.

The video is very shaky. Don’t watch if you get dizzy easily.

I couldn’t resist and bought the Delguard in 0.3mm.

Some of the stationery in this video:
0:35 Campo Marzio
0:42 Kaweco
0:57 Picasso
1:05 Parker
1:26 Sheaffer
1:34 Lamy
1:48 Pelikan
1:58 TWSBI
2:08 Juice
2:11 Pilot
2:15 Sarasa
2:22 Stabilo
2:25 Orenz
2:27 Schneider
2:44 Mono
3:00 DelGuard
3:34 Carl


If you liked this video: here’s a small selection of more Shanghai related videos and blog posts.

Visiting the Life by city’super store in Shanghai 

Visiting Lamy’s store in Shanghai’s Raffles City

Visiting a stationery store on Shanghai’s FuZhou Road

Lamy at Raffles City in Shanghai 

Shanghai stationery 

Overpriced stationery in Shanghai 

Muji’s Low Centre of Gravity Mechanical Pencil 

Lamy’s Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean pens 


Muji’s Low Centre of Gravity Mechanical Pencil 2

On a recent trip to Manchester I noticed that Muji’s low centre of gravity mechanical pencils finally made it to Europe.

Muji’s low centre of gravity pencil in Manchester

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 Shanghai1.

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.

I bought some other nice products, too.

I should show them in a separate blog post.

 

  1. 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. []

Lamy’s Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean pens 4

Sticking to the Lamy theme from the recent blog post about blue Lamy Safari fountain pens from the 1990s and now we’ve got another Lamy blog post today: Their special edition pens you normally don’t see in the West: the Pirates of the Caribbean (Dead Men Tell no Tales) and the Star Wars pens.

Lamy’s Special Editions

Lady’s special editions follow a similar recipe: Take Lamy’s Line Friends Safari, for example. It’s a Safari with a different colour and a clip attachment. The colour of the special editions isn’t always different and the main difference of these special editions to their ‘normal’ counterparts is the clip attachment. They also often have extras (converter, special packaging) and a higher price.

I’ve shown a few different Lamy shops in Shanghai. Here’s one I haven’t shown yet: The one in the Jing An Kerry Centre1.

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Carribean themed pen looks like a Safari in the current Petrol colour with clip attachement in the shape of a jolly roger skull. You also get a converter and a leather roll as part of your set.

The Pirates pen on the left and the leather roll in the background. Excuse the reflections in the photo. The pen was behind glass.

Star Wars

The Star Wars themed pens are Lamy joy2 fountain pens. If you are not familiar with the joy: the front section is the same as the Safari’s, but the main body is much longer. It is kind of a desk only version of the Safari. Desk only because the long body makes it unsuitable for easy transport3.

The Star Wars joys have ‘normal’ nibs. I mention this because the joy is also available as a calligraphy set with italic nibs of different widths.

The black joy comes with a Vader clip attachment. The white joy comes with a Stormtrooper themed clip attachment.

The price is only slightly higher than the price of a normal Lamy joy in Shanghai: A normal joy is ¥380 (~$56; £44; €50). The Star Wars set is ¥4184 (~$$62; £48; €55). It comes with a converter.

 

You pay more, you get more

The price of the Lamy pens in Shanghai is a bit higher than in the West, but you also get more. The pens I’ve seen in Shanghai often come in nice boxes I haven’t seen in Europe. They also often seem to include converters that would be charged extra in the West.

The special edition pens are only slightly more expensive than the normal editions5.

The Safari Petrol. I believe this version is also available in the West. Excuse the reflections in the photo. The pen was behind glass.

Not in the West

I assume the reason why you normally don’t see these special editions in the West has more to do with licensing than with demand, especially since they are not much more expensive than the normal versions of these pens, so they should sell well anywhere – but that’s just a guess.

As I know most of the readers of my blog I might as well write this publicly: If you want one of these pens let me know and I’ll try to get one for you.

 


Prices and exchange rates: June 2017

If you want to know more about Shanghai’s Lamy stores have a look at this blog post about the store in Raffles City, the stores in this comment or  the one in this blog post.

  1. Fun fact: many years ago Jing An was the only place in Shanghai with a Burger King, but now Burger King is ubiquitous. []
  2. Lamy spells joy lower-case so I’ll stick to that in this this blog post []
  3. You can see one in this Bleistift blog post from 2011. []
  4. This number sounds good in Chinese, a bit like ‘will be fortunate, for sure’. []
  5. Exactly 10% in the case of the Star Wars joy. []