Thursday, October 13, 2011

Some Japanese Domestic Pens

Events have slowed down a bit in my watch world.  Sold off a bunch of stuff earlier to raise funds for something special.  Maybe more on that later if I actually follow through.  I also have a couple more reviews I am working on which I will complete soon.

I've developed a bit of a fascination with EDC (every day carry) lately.   While reading a favorite EDC blog I discovered that like watches, Japan also keeps some of its coolest pens in Japan and there is a site called which is located in California which supplies Japanese pens, paper and other office supplies.

Now I know Japan makes some very nice fountain pens but I'm not interested in those so much.  I'm interested in EDC and daily use material with a budget price.  Here are the four items I selected.

The top two are full sized Uni Ball Jetstream (left) and Uni Ball Power Tank Smart Series High Grade (right).  The ones on the bottom are pocket sized with the Zebra SL-F1 Mini Telescoping Pen on the left and a Zebra Minna Mini on the right.  What fun it is to receive pens with Japanese labels on them.

The Jetstream looks deceptively like a disposable pen.  Well, construction wise it probably is disposable although the cartridge can be replaced.  I know I mentioned these models are exclusive to Japan and this particular model is although I have seen Jetstream models in the stores here in the US.  I have not tried the US versions yet but plan to soon.  What makes the Jetstream special is the ink.  It writes incredibly smooth and is a wonderful combination of a free flowing rollerball with the instant drying ink of a ball point.  This one is a pleasure to use and is so inexpensive that its not a big deal if I lose it or it grows legs and walks away.

The Power Tank is also very nice.  Probably my favorite of the bunch.  The High Grade series features an aluminum body with some milling around the barrel.  What makes the Power Tank special is also the ink in particular the cartridge.  This one uses a pressurized cartridge similar to what is used with the Fisher Space Pens.  I've been a fan of the FSP for a little while, more for the shape and build of the space pen then the use of the pressurized ink cartridge capable of writing in all kinds of unsuitable environments.  Although the Power Tank is not as indestructible as a FSP, the cartridge writes so much better than that used in the FSP.  Very smooth unlike the FSP which can feel dry and not free flowing at times.  Power Tank is very impressive and I will be checking out some more models.

Now for the little guys.  These pens are small.  Tiny.  Not suitable for extended use but very useful to use in a pinch, especially since they are small enough to keep in a pocket and always be carried.  The telescoping Zebra is really cool.  Pull the ends apart and the pen not only extends, but the tip is also exposed.  I handed this one to a friend and he just spent minutes opening and closing the pen as if he had entered some Zen transcendental meditative state.  Writing wise this one is good.  At 0.7mm it is a little fine for me but for occasional use it it great.  The only problem I had with this telescoping Zebra is that it is so small I accidentally left it in my pocket which found its way into the laundry machine.  Unfortunately the ink cartridge leaked and gummed up the telescoping barrel.  Well I enjoyed it while I had it.

Although the Zebra Minna Mini uses the same ink cartridge as the telescoping model, it is more decorative.  All plastic build with a clear area in the center of the barrel.  The models come in different colors with different decorations in the clear area.  I selected the red model with Koi fish.  This one writes fine and is very small and perfect for a pocket carry.  I found it to be more feminine than I was expecting so I gave it to my wife and she loves it.

Anyway if you are looking for something different from Japan, check out some pens.  There is a good selection of very fairly priced items with lots of styles and features.

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