Tools To Live By 禮拜文房具 in Kaohsiung Pier 2 district

Taiwan Stationery Haul featuring ToolsToLiveBy, Kikusui, TWSBI and a Coleto

It seems like every trip I take now turns into a bit of a stationery haul.  Added on to the usual skincare haul and books haul, this luggage weight really adds up, but I can’t resist it!

fauxbonichi and cover from Chuyu Culture
fauxbonichi and cover from Chuyu Culture

First up is a fauxbonichi from Chuyu Culture 珠友文化. They’ve been making fauxbonichis for some years, although i only came across their products during my previous trip to Taiwan in 2013.  Obviously they don’t use Tomoe River paper like the Hobonichi does. But this one is a new introduction for the 2nd half of 2015, using thicker 100gsm paper and marketed as suitable for fountainpens.

I bought the one in B6 size because I’m looking to replace my Moleskine journal with something more fountain-pen friendly, and in a similar size (I love the size of the Moleskine large, so perfect!). So since this is a 6-month non-dated edition, I decided to try it out. I haven’t used it much, but it’s not to my liking. The paper is too thick. I like an 80gsm thickness or below (but still fountain-pen friendly) because 100gsm is usually too smooth (I like paper with a bit of a bite or scratch <so violent!>) and it’s so thick that it can really bulk up a journal.  I like my journals to bulk up after use, not before.

The cover is made of thick cotton (?) and has three credit-sized pockets in the inside front, and a big pocket on the outside back. It also has the dual pen loop, similar to the original Hobonichi. They usually have other colours and designs, but given that it’s already July / August, the nicer ones were all sold out.

inside the fauxbonichi
inside the fauxbonichi

The layout of the pages in the fauxbonichi is fairly close to the original hobonichi, just in chinese.

If anyone is interested, the book is NT140, and the cover is NT240.

TWSBI Eco White with 1.1mm nib
TWSBI Eco White with 1.1mm nib

Next up is the latest outing from 三文堂 TWSBI, the Eco, rumoured to be the Lamy Safari killer. It’s rather similar to it’s older cousin, the Diamond 580. But it’s a lot cheaper (NT850 compared to a NT1,500 Diamond 580) and a lot lighter because it’s mainly plastic. Now I already had made plans to go to 小品雅集 TY Lee, a mecca for fountain-pen lovers in Taipei. But I didn’t realise that TWSBI was releasing the Eco that very week.  So it was a happy accident!

I met a few Taiwanese fountain-pen lovers in there as well, who where hanging on to their Ecos for dear life. Apparently, because it was a new release then, TY Lee kept running out of stock. In fact, even while I was there, I heard them say that TWSBI was sending over new stock…by cab!  The demand was that high!

I’m not going to review the pen here, there’s a lot more better FP reviewers than me out there.

Oh yes, after loving a fine or extra-fine nib for so long, I have discovered a new love for 1.1mm and 1.5mm pens (so extreme, I know)! But that’s another story altogether.

TWSBI notebook
TWSBI notebook

Oh I seem to have this thing for TWSBI, so I had to pick up one of their black notebooks with grid pages (NT360).

Sidenote – I don’t know how this ever escaped my notice: TWSBI mechanical pencils! I only knew about them last week, from Jetpens’ blog introducing new products, including the TWSBI Precision Mechanical Pencil!

5-pen Coleto and refills
5-pen Coleto and refills

The other thing I am really getting into is the Pilot Coleto. Now I have never been a fan of multi-pens before, mainly because they were cheap hard-to-write-with ballpoints with boring colours. I did not plan to pick up the Coleto at all before I spotted it in a random 24-hour supermarket.

The all-white design of the body attracted me, the 5-pen (!) insertion intrigued me, and the colours of the gel refills bedazzled me.  So in a daze, I picked up this gorgeous white body, and refills in Blue-Black, Brown, Clear Blue, Orange and Cherry Pink (so pretty!), all in 0.3mm.  The 0.3mm refills are slightly thinner than I am used to, I prefer 0.38m, which all my Signo DXs are.  I can’t remember what size nib refills are availalble, or even if I can get them in Singapore, but if there are in 0,4mm, I might pick those up next time.

This was fairly inexpensive, the body cost NT64 and the refills NT28 each. Now I did not expect to love it, but now I find myself reaching for it more than my Uniball Signo DXs.

Tools To Live By 禮拜文房具 in Kaohsiung Pier 2 district
Tools To Live By 禮拜文房具 in Kaohsiung Pier 2 district

禮拜文房具 Tools To Live By is a trendy, hipster-y high-end and very popular stationery store that popped up a few years ago.  In fact, they seem to be the one that started the whole trend in Taiwan. They recently opened their second store in Kaohsiung, in the art district of Pier 2. I love the Pier 2 district, (it’s an old shipping warehouse district, but got converted into an area for exhibitions, art shows and outdoor activities).  I definitely had to pay the Tools To Live By outlet there a visit!

The first Tools To Live By 禮拜文房具 store in Taipei
The first Tools To Live By 禮拜文房具 store in Taipei

I also went to the original store in Taipei. The photo above is from my previous trip in 2013 when they had just opened for less than a year. This time round, I went on a weekday, so there were lesser people, there’s more stuff to buy gawk at, and the folding doors in front were shut! I almost thought they were closed when I got there.

small haul from tools to live by
small haul from tools to live by

The products they carry are very much on the higher-priced end, so I didn’t get much.  The 32mm ‘hollow’ gold binder clips (NT90) were a must (I really regret not buying the smaller ones in silver), and I always feel compelled to buy something from there, so I came away with some roll stickers (obvious rip-off of the Midori roll stickers by a company called Sunny), a couple of tin clips (NT30 each), and a couple of Big Ben charms (NT30each).

washi tapes from a stationery superstore and taiwan kikusui
washi tapes from a stationery superstore and taiwan kikusui

How can any stationery haul end without washi tapes, I ask you. So here we go! The ones on top are just random washi tape designs (NT30 to NT34) that I bought at a stationery stores chain 九乘九, This chain is similar to Popular Bookstore in Singapore and Malaysia, and I’m sorry, I don’t the equivalent in US or Europe. Stationery, office supplies, and even home supplies are abundant, and cheap!

The price labels state a ‘market’ price, a ‘wholesale’ price that is about NT5-10 lower, and a ‘member’ price that’s another NT2-5 less.  Even better, membership is lifetime and only costs NT10.

The cashier persuaded me to take up the membership, showing me the Kakuno price tag, and I realised she was telling me I could totally earn back the membership on the Kakuno alone, member price NT304, wholesale NT342 and ‘market’ price NT380. So I did. Another happy accident.

the 'second generation' Pilot Kakuno (white barrel) and F nib
the ‘second generation’ Pilot Kakuno (white barrel) and F nib

Back to the washi tapes.  The 3 boxes on the lower row are 菊水 Kikusui Story Tapes, a Japanese-Taiwanese tape manufacturer based in Taiwan. Their designs are called Story Tapes, and all gorgeous. I got mine at 本棟倉庫, another trendy stationery store / cafe in the Kaohsiung Pier 2 district. The designs are Architecture Blue Tiles (NT80), Architecture Plans and Take A Break (NT120 each).

So those are the bit and bobs that make up this stationery haul! I have a load of books from this trip, that all deal with journalling and / or sketching. Should I do another haul post? 🙂

October Taobao Haul! Pilot 78Gs and stuff

As per the title! But today’s is just a tiny little haul, because I’d spent just a bit too much on the last one (the ink one which I apparently didn’t blog about).

Anyway, onwards with this for now and I’ll settle the inks in another post…hopefully).

A mini October haul from taobao: pen roll, 2 Lucky pens, and 2 Pilots!
A mini October haul from taobao: pen roll, 2 Lucky pens, and 2 Pilots!

First off, a pen roll. It feels even cheaper in the hand, then it looked in the photos, but I needed something that gets the job done. Right now my pens, even the Lamy Safari Neon Coral, just jostle around in a pocket in my backpack. Luckily a colleague gave me a pen holder (faux leather, pigskin, something) so I could put my TWSBI Diamond 580 in it.

cheapie pen roll, nothing much to write about, it does the job
cheapie pen roll, nothing much to write about, it does the job

I’m just loving the whole ‘airmail envelope’ colours of red, white and blue (is there a name for it), which is why I bought this. It’s not even that cheap, after adding shipping; about S$5.

I just love it for the pattern outside
I just love it for the pattern outside

I have this weird love of trawling fountain pen seller sites on Taobao in the hopes of stumbling across a nice antique Hero, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. In the meantime, I just pick up stuff like these 幸福2007 (Lucky 2007) pens. I also have a weird love of cheap fountain pens modeled after classic (expensive) ones.

2 Lucky (幸福) 2007 fountain pens, made in china, nothing special
2 Lucky (幸福) 2007 fountain pens, made in china, nothing special

They have screw caps, which is another one of my weird loves, which is why I picked these 2 up for about S$3 each (after shipping). On the gold ring on the cap, it says 幸福2007 in front, and ‘LUCKY’ at the back. They come with pretty big converters, albeit squeeze types. They fit quite tightly, which is good.

The quality of the pens is questionable as with most MIC pens. The gold “o-rings” you see just on the screw threads of the section (below) aren’t even glued down, which meant I promptly lost one of them after taking the pen apart.

The converters are the same, but with different words etched into them. One says ‘Lucky’ on the squeeze bar, the other ‘幸福’ on the converter body. Otherwise, the pens are just functional. The nibs write very close to the Pilot 78G M nib, although it feathered slightly more (same ink, same paper).

Exploded Lucky 2007s side by side. Big converter.
Exploded Lucky 2007s side by side. Big converter. Questionable QC.

Now comes the star! I’ve been hankering after the Pilot 78G after picking up the Pilot Tank (~S$7) from Mustafa a couple of months ago. Most people don’t, but I do love the gold accents of the 78G, and the colours even more!  They cost slightly more than the Tank (~S$11 after shipping) so I only picked up 2. For now. I’m still drooling over the red one.

Star of the haul: 2 Pilot 78Gs - green and blue-green
Star of the haul: 2 Pilot 78Gs – green and blue-green

Apparently these are ‘fabrique au Japon’, but I believe it’s probably made for the China market or something. I’m not sure how it works though. Typically, only one of the boxes came with the yellow insert/instruction booklet pictured below.

fabrique au japon, apparently
fabrique au japon, apparently

I got the green and the blue-green,but as mentioned, I’m a dud at taking photos, so I can’t pick up the colours accurately. The blue-green you see in the picture above (in the box) is absolutely inaccurate, the acutal colour is a lot more muted.  This filter below was the closest I could get.

I can't get my camera to depict the colours correctly
I can’t get my camera to depict the colours correctly
Wonder why the labels are in chinese even though it claims Made in Japan
Wonder why the labels are in chinese even though it claims Made in Japan

Even though it looks almost exactly like the Tank, only the nibs and feed are exactly the same (as with all Pilot pens under the S$100 mark, as far as I know). The 78G is just a tad heavier and the plastic feels thicker in the hand.

The 78G also comes with a Con-20 squeeze type converter (again as with the cheaper Pilot pens, again AFAIK), while the Tank has a built-in plastic insulation ring, so that you can fill up the entire body with ink, as its name says, like a tank.

Oh, and the 78G is also a screw-on cap (yay) while the Tank closes with a very satisfactory and slightly resistant click which feels very good.

The exploded 78G (blue-green) next to an exploded Pilot Tank
The exploded 78G (blue-green) next to an exploded Pilot Tank

I’ve done some writing with these pens, but can only scan and upload when I get back to the office on Monday!

In the meantime, I hear from the Singapore Fountain Pen Lovers FB group that 7 November is Fountain Pen Day! Happy Fountain Penning! Oh, Straits Pens is also having a FP Day sale on that day for 4 hours ONLY, so be sure to check it out. It probably means that I won’t have a haul this month (sad  face) because I want to buy another TWSBI! ^_^

 

stationery sunday: hauls

Even though I have not been updating this blog, I have still been spending money, a bit too much of it, on a lot of stationery.  Specifically, I hauled quite a bit of merchandise back to Singapore, during my trip to Taiwan in October last year, and another trip to Korea in February this year. […]