March 2015 Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea Pen and Paper Haul!

Today I returned home from Seoul after spending a couple of weeks in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.

Here is what I bought back:

Japan Pen Haul
Pens (left to right): TWSBI Vac 700, Stylo Art Karuizawa BO, Platinum Izumo Yagumonuri, Nakaya Portable Writer, TWSBI Micarta
Japan Pen Haul
I already have too many notebooks but these managed to follow me home

Thanks to the favorable exchange rate in Japan there were a few pens that I couldn’t pass up.  While shopping at Itoya in Tokyo I noticed that prices for Pilot and Sailor pens were more or less the same as they are in the United States BUT prices for Platinum and Nakaya pens did not seem to be adjusted.  This Platinum Izumo Yagumonuri was just over $600 USD (after tax refund).

Platinum Izumo Yagumonuri fountain pen

This Nakaya Portable Writer was just over $400 (after tax refund).

Nakaya Portable Writer

While in Osaka I stopped by the Hankyu department store and to my surprise and delight they were having a pen fair!

Hankyu Pen Fair

The ink display was absolutely drool worthy, unfortunately my friend’s patience at the hour and half mark waned and it was time to go before I had a chance.

Hankyu Pen Fair
Sooo many Sailor inks (´ q ` ” )

I came across the Stylo Art Karuizawa table and was blown away by their beautiful wood pens.  I got to meet the pen turner, Motoshi Kazuno, and he showed me through the model lineup.  Depending on the model, the pens can be fitted with Platinum, Sailor or Pilot #10 and #15 nibs.

Stylo Art Karuizawa Bo Fountain pen
Stylo Art Karuizawa Water Buffalo Horn Fountain pen
Stylo Art Karuizawa Bo Fountain pen
Stylo Art Karuizawa Water Buffalo Horn Fountain pen

He also had two beautiful buffalo horn pens and I ended up taking one home with a Sailor Naginata Togi nib.

tylo Art Karuizawa Bo Fountain pen Sailor Naginata Togi nib

Naginata Togi nib point.
Naginata Togi nib point

In Taipei I stopped by T. Y. Lee’s pen shop and picked up a TWSBI Vac with a 1.1mm stub and a Twsbi Micarta.  I only planned on buying the Vac but when I saw the Micarta I had to have it

Twsbi Micarta Fountain Pen

Twsbi Micarta Fountain Pen

These pens have a distressed look and are lovely to touch.  It is my understanding that TWSBI stopped making the Micarta because they were too costly to produce and there was not enough demand.

Twsbi Micarta Notebook

The Micarta came in this great hollowed out notebook!

Twsbi Micarta Notebook

That’s all for now…I will be posting in-depth reviews of these items as soon as I get enough time with them.  Next week I will have a review of my Romillo Essential No 9…stay tuned.

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Score from First Day in Tokyo

Itoyas famous red paper clip sign out their temporary store location.
Itoya’s famous red paper clip sign out their temporary store location.

I have been in Tokyo for a few days now and it is amazing.  This is pen lovers paradise.  There are so many pen shops, it is truly unbelievable.  The first day I stopped by Itoya’s two stores in Ginza.  One is dedicated to fountain pens and art supplies and the other is dedicated to stationery and office pens.  Both stores are 5 stories each and the selection is just incredible.

K. Itoya, the fountain pen shop.  This is the second floor dedicated to Maki-e pens and limited editions.  They had tons of Maki-e pens from Namiki, Danitrio, Nakaya, Pelikan, and even Parker.
K. Itoya, the fountain pen shop. This is the second floor dedicated to Maki-e pens and limited editions. They had tons of Maki-e pens from Namiki, Sailor, Platinum, Danitrio, Nakaya, Pelikan, and even Parker.

I was a bit overwhelmed my first day so I did not buy a ton but I did find the Midori World Meister’s note Vol. 2 that I was not able to source in the USA.

Itoya Score

 

Down the street from Itoya is Euro-Box, a tiny shop that specializes in vintage European fountain pens.  The stores owner Eizo Fujii speaks English quite well and let me dip any pen that caught my eye.  He had an amazing selection of vintage Montblancs and Pelikans.  I looked a few of the Soenneckens he had but I couldn’t stay for long because it was incredibly hot humid in the store.  I am going to try and go back before I leave Japan because he had some very nice Montblanc 146s from the 1950’s that I would like to take a closer look at.

The store is located on the 4th floor of this dilapidated building  in a posh part of town next to the high end furniture store, IDC Otsuka (if you love modern European furniture like I do, IDC is a must see;  they have a beautiful selection of de Sede, Rolf Benz, and Poltrona Frau).

[It looks much worse inside]
[It looks much worse inside than out]
I also stopped by Pilot Pen Station a few blocks from Euro-Box.  Pilot Pen Station is Pilot’s HQ in Tokyo.  It features a small fountain pen history museum and cafe.  It’s not a brilliant museum but admission is free so there is nothing I can complain about.

Pilot Pen Station

 

That’s all I have for now.  I have been to a few more shops since my first day and spent plenty of money but I am hoping to escape Japan with a few dollars left in my bank account, so far it isn’t looking good.