Old hobby, new bug, 10,000 year pens

I’ve been bitten by yet another bug. Fountain pens. Quite literally, 10,000 year pens, because that’s the name in Japanese or Chinese.

I remember owning a fountain pen in primary school when we had calligraphy lessons, and I also remember hating the lessons because I couldn’t do the lettering properly. We were not taught to hold the pen or write with it properly. It was just, follow the writing sample. Thinking back, I really regret it (what’s new) but I got rid of the pen and the bottle of black Quink ink as soon as I could, and now I cannot, for the life of me, recall what pen we used.  I think it might have been a cheap Parker pen meant for students with an italic nib.

Why have I been bitten now? I cannot remember the exact point in time, but I came across a Lamy Safari tester pen in Prologue (since closed down) in Ion Orchard a year ago while searching for more stationery (the day I took this photo), and was very impressed by how smoothly it wrote and the gorgeous colours.  It really changed my mind about fountain pens, but being a happy user of gel ink pens, and without too much disposable income, I could not justify spending so much on just one pen.

Fast forward to this year, after months of surfing Jetpens.com, which led me to Gouletpens.com, I became more and more interested in trying out fountain pens.  The subject came up while chatting with my Vietnamese colleague , and she mentioned that Vietnamese students always had to use fountain pens in school. That was in January, and I persuaded her to help me buy one when she went back to Vietnam for Chinese New Year.

A deliciously tacky and very cheap fountain pen from Vietnam
A deliciously tacky and very cheap fountain pen from Vietnam

This is what she brought back. It has a deliciously tacky Asian design, with gold stars and a blue dragon; and a bottle of blue Queen ink.  I have no idea what brand the pen is or the manufacturer or the nib size, but it’s a fairly new design as it comes with a twist converter.  It certainly isn’t the classic fountain pen she used in school.

I have had it for 3 months now, but have not inked it up yet, as I am very afraid of spoiling it somehow.  Of course, it is very cheap, costing probably less than a dollar, but I would have to wait for her to go back to Vietnam for a holiday again, if anything happened.

Over the past 3 months though, I have watched countless fountain pen review videos and read countless blog posts about fountain pens, cartridges, inks and converters. I learnt quite a bit and finally decided to take the plunge.

I went shopping.  Actually, I went haul-ing, if there is even such a term.

And I didn’t come home empty-handed.

Fountain pen haul!
Fountain pen haul!

I now have a stash of 12 rather cheap fountain pens (technically 6, because the Platinum Preppys are the same pen, just different colour inks) waiting for me to try them out, and I am a happy writer.  I have already inked 2 of them, the cheapest one: the Chinese Hero 336, and one of the Platinum Preppys (the blue-black one). Having done some writing with them, I think that my lethargy in writing and jounaling has been awaiting a fountain pen awakening. I finally do not mind putting pen to Moleskine paper. Dramatic?

I don’t think I will review them, given that there are countless reviews, written and video-ed, already out there, but I would like to share my thoughts on them and how I feel about the writing. I hope this gives me the impetus I’ve been searching for to jump-start this blog again.

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