Review: Monokaki A5 Lined Notebook

Monokaki literally means thing(s) write, if you break the name up into the foundation parts. As a name of a notebook I think it is very apt. Monokaki is an A5 size notebook that comes in the lined format. It has 160 pages of fountain pen friendly paper. I’ve purchased this notebook a while back from Straits Pen for SGD$15. It is also available in B5 and B6 sizes, lined or blank. Straits Pen only carry the A5 lined option.

Monokaki comes with a white cover that’s has pencils, fountain pens and ink wells motifs lining the border. It gives me great hope for the notebook. The acid free light cream coloured paper is stitched bound and glued in sections. I found no feathering or bleed through even when putting it through its paces with a 1.5mm nib. Show through can be obvious depending on the colour of ink you use because of the thickness of the paper. The lines are printed a grey blue that’s neither distracting nor hard to see. The spacing between lines is a wide 9mm. It is wider than what I am used to. Monokaki lies flat for the most part once the spine is broken in.

Immediately after the cover is a dark blue card stock that’s thicker than the cream paper. This thicker card stock is glued to the cover on the inside edges, when you open the notebook you can feel the two different paper curving at different degrees. I would have much rather the cover and the thicker paper to be completely glued together. However, this is just a minor nitpick though for this impressive notebook by Masuya Paper. The paper has a better dry time and is less crinckly than the fabled Tomoe River paper but offers a similar performance in terms of its ability to handle wet fountain pens.

Additional Readings:

Posted on May 26, 2017 and filed under paper, review.

Review: Rohrer and Klinger Alt-Goldgrün

Goldgrün is translated from German to gold-green. This is a very apt name for the ink. It’s an interesting blend of green and yellow. It’s appearance changes quite a bit depending on the pen and ink combination you use. Personally in my F nib, it is looking more green than gold. This is an interesting ink and I can see why people love it.

Similar Inks:

Posted on May 23, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Sailor Pro Gear Realo - Shumibun Club edition

The Numbers:
Weight: 20g
Length (capped): 134mm
Length (uncapped): 123mm
Price: 32400 Yen from Shumibun Club
Body Material: Plastic
Nib Material: 21k gold nib
Filling Mechanism: Piston filler
Colours: Red, Green and Blue

Intro:
I came across a link to this particular variant of Sailor Pro Gear Realo while browsing Twitter. I initially thought it was a Pilot Prera. I went back and forth with my decision. After all I do have another Sailor Pro Gear at home. Yes, this is a Realo, Sailor’s piston filler model but they are essentially the same pen are they not? I pulled the trigger in the end because I just love the aesthetic of the pen.

Packaging:
It comes in a blue cardboard sleeve with a cutout right over the Sailor logo. The sleeve slides out to reveal the blue and grey Sailor box. This isn’t the clamshell type box that my Sailor Imperial Black came in. The top pulls of easily enough. I find my precious pen and a bottle of blue Sailor ink nestled among folds of satin like material. The box is nothing fancy but I appreciate the effort they put towards the packaging.

Performance:
This is a shop? exclusive Sailor Pro Gear Realo. Shumibun Club is not really a stationary store. They seem to be a stationary related magazine. However, they do sell a number of fountain pens and fountain pen related products. If you are looking for this particular pen, you have to buy it from them. This particular Sailor Pro Gear Realo comes in three different colours. They are essentially the same pen with different colour accents. As I’ve mentioned about the Realo just means the pen is a piston filler instead of the standard cartridge converter type. Pro Gear just means it is the model with the flat ends while 1911 is the rounded ends model.

The Sailor Pro Gear Realo is a clear demonstrator with silver and red accents. The pen is essentially made of resin, it is mostly transparent with its finial and the piston knob in red. The clip, centre band and the logo on the finial are silver. The silver Sailor logo stands out nicely against the red on the finial. The clip is the regular one that Sailor has on its pen. The centre band on the other hand is slightly narrower when compared to the Sailor Imperial Black’s.

Inside the transparent cap, there is a translucent inner cap with a spring that attached to the inside of the cap. The inner cap seals just around the nib area. I wonder if this is Sailor version of Platinum’s slip and seal cap? They do look similar. However I must say it doesn’t look very good especially in a demonstrator.

It takes 2 full revolutions to uncap the pen. Inside is a clean and slightly tapered grip section. The grip section is just right for my hand. The threads on the barrel is smooth, so writing with a higher grip should be problem free. The piston mechanism works easily up and down the barrel.

In terms of overall length, the Realo is longer than the cartridge converter counterpart. This is probably due to the piston mechanism. The additional length doesn’t do much for people with larger hands. The regular Pro Gear fountain pen is a full size pen on the shorter end of things. The Realo version hardly any better in that regard. However the cap can be posted to extend the length for those with larger hands. I found the balance of the pen to be just right for me posted or unposted.

One thing to note, the pen only comes in the F nib so there is no other options for those who prefer another nib size. The 21k nib is where I found the greatest difference between my Sailor Imperial Black. The Rhodium nib though it is labeled as a HF (hard fine) nib, I found it has more give than the one on my Sailor Imperial Black. That’s due to the plating on my Imperial Black’s nib. The nib that is on my Sailor Pro Gear Realo should be the standard writing experience that Sailor provides. It writes well but it is not a wet writer. Writing with this pen gives me a more cushioned experience and there is a slight hint of feedback. This is the better writing experience I have from a pen of my collection.

Now comes the part about what I don’t like about the pen. So far everything you read about sounds all good. You might be all ready to buy the pen but you have to take note this next part before buying. This is a demonstrator pen but all over the pen where are threads on the inside, there is traces of sealant dried in very obvious spots. It is not the best looking thing for a demonstrator pen. Yes, this is a purely aesthetic problem but half of the reason to buy a pen and an expensive one at that, is the way the pen looks. This is a disappointment for me. I’ve spoke to a local retailer and apparently this is something that the Japan market is able to accept but not anyone from the international market. I guess I’ve proven their point.

Conclusion:
For a Sailor pen, this isn’t the cheapest available. For a Sailor Pro Gear pen, this is still isn’t the most value for money model around. For a Sailor Pro Gear Realo pen, it still isn’t the most affordable one out there. However, if you love the look of the pen like I do, there is only the one out there. The sealant cosmetic issue is a disappointment but I can overlook them for the sake of the great writing experience.

Since this is only available from Japan, I would suggest anyone interested to buy and ship it to a forwarder like Tenso. (No affiliates with the company, just passing on what I use.) That’s the company I used for all my Japan purchases if they don’t ship internationally.

Some helpful words for those who are searching for Sailor pens in Japanese.

セーラー = Sailor
万年筆 = Fountain Pen
プロフェッショナルギア = Professional Gear (last 2 characters being the Gear)
レアロ = Realo


Pros:

  • Beautiful aesthetics
  • That writing experience!
  • Increased ink capacity over the cartridge converter version

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Only available in Japan
  • That sealant!
Posted on May 19, 2017 and filed under Fountain Pen, review.

Review: Robert Oster Signature Fire and Ice

Robert Oster Siganture Fire and Ice is one of the more popular Robert Oster inks right now. It’s a turquoise ink that is bordering on blue that shades well and has a red sheen. The blue being the Ice and the red sheen being the Fire. Some say it resembled a sparkle free Emerald of Chivor but Fire and Ice is way more blue to be similar. The red sheen needs the right condition to show through. The first being enough ink must be on the page, the second being the right kind of paper being used. Subtle traces of the sheen is visible when I use my TWSBI notebook, Rhodia Dotpad and Tomoe River paper. It does bleed through a little when I use my wetter nibs on my Rhodia dotpad paper but it doesn’t feather.

Similar Inks:

Posted on May 16, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.

Review: Robert Oster Signature Green Lime

Green Lime is a bright yellow-green ink that really pops. I love how bright but totally readable it is. It shades slightly going from a pale yellow-green to a dark grass green. I had initially wanted to get Akkerman Hofkwartier Groen #28 but I decided to get Green Lime instead. I am super glad that I got it. It’s such a happy colour!

Similar Colurs:

Posted on May 12, 2017 and filed under review, Ink.

Review: Private Reserve Arabian Rose

I am not an experience user of Private Reserve inks but the Arabian Rose is an interesting and beautiful ink. It’s a dusty purple with a red undertone. It shades well even in the EF nib. It goes from a faded dusty purple to a darker purple. The ink isn’t remotely water resistant. Private Reserve Arabian Rose doesn’t feather, bleed or show through on the Rhodia dotpad paper.

Similar Inks:

Posted on May 9, 2017 and filed under Ink, review.