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JetPens!

jetpens_logo.gifI like Japanese pens. A lot. Last time I was in Tokyo, the Sekaido stationary store was at the top of my list of places to visit. I can't help it -- fascination for pens is the sort of thing that's ingrained in you growing up in Japan as half of your gifts are ultra-fancy pens. You come back to the United States and you feel impoverished in the land of Bic.

So, imagine my excitement when I found out that there is an importer of Japanese pens right here in United States. Mountain View, in fact. They have a Web site so I don't have to drive down the street and offer with free shipping on orders over $25. It even has tutorials on how to modify your pens. JetPens, how could you have eluded me for so long?

I received my care package today courtesy of Lily containing some of their top products. I haven't had much time to try them out but I'm already over the moon. Here's the rundown.

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  • Uni Jetstream Alpha Gel: the cool metal body meets a squishy grip for some of the comfiest, silky smooth writing I've experienced. It may not be the prettiest ink, but this is the sort of pen that's with you for the long haul, keeping that writer's cramp at bay.
  • Pilot Hi-Tec C 0.5: popular and precise, fine and finesse. The Hi-Tec C's aren't the most comfortable pens to write with, but performance requires sacrifice. I got an 0.5 but these puppies go all the way down to 0.25. If you've been wondering where you can find these in the United States, you have your answer: JetPens.
  • signobit.rice.jpgUniball Signo Bit 0.18: Uniball is just showing off here. I'm already a fan of the Signo line, but this is just ridiculously awesome. I was told it can write on a grain of rice -- long-grain/short-grain not specified -- so I tried it out on some Japanese short-grain. I was able to scribble out a 'kwc' before I ran out of room on the grain.
  • Hinodewashi Electric Eraser: I can decide if I like enough to overcome the embarrassment of using this in public. I mean, being too lazy to wave my hand to erase pencil marks? Oh Japan, what will you automate next? I was a bit surprised to examine its guts and find the same little electric motor that powers the Tamiya Mini 4WD cars. I'm tempted to purchase a more powerful motor to give it more oomph.
  • Uniball Signo DX 0.38: this is another pen I can see using on a regular basis. It puts out a solid, clean, dark black line and feels comfortable in the hand due to its rubber grip. It does offer a little bit of resistance due to the relatively small 0.38 tip -- you can get an even smaller 0.28 version.
  • Pilot Fure Fure Shaker Pencil: Shaker mechanical pencils rock. Instead of clicking a button on top, you just shake it to get more pencil lead. It's oddly satisfying. I was fascinated as a kid when I received my first shaker pencil. It was large and solid black, so the secrets of its mechanism had to be worked out by carefully listening as I shook it back and forth. The Pilot Fure Fure is much more compact and clear so you can be visually fascinated by the weight moving up and down.

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Comments (4)

Jess:

This site will be a great resource for gifts for Josh - thanks for linking to it. I'm always jealous of the Japanese crafting books I see. I will probably make a trip just for the shopping one day. And the food.

bp:

Wow, do they actually have a show room? I think I've known about JetPens since before I left the Bay Area, but it might be a fun detour when I'm in town in a few weeks.

Ironically, after being a Pilot G2-zelot for a while, I'm having quite a bit of fun with these "Frixion" pens. Ugh, I guess I'm a pen addict.

kwc:

They don't have a storefront/showroom -- they want to keep their costs down.

Jaclyn:

You don't happen to have a pencil fetish too, do you? After decades of searching, I finally found the perfect pencil a couple of years ago - the Staedtler 9505 0.5mm mechanical pencil.

http://www.staedtler-usa.com/Integrity_automatic_pencil_us.Staedtler?ActiveID=24172

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