Kasumigaura blue

It’s been a while since my last post…I know it probably hasn’t been that long, but it seems like forever for me because I’ve been really busy with mundane everyday stuff so haven’t had time to play with inks or anything else πŸ™ˆ

Here is a quick one, an old Joyful-2 release that’s no longer available 😬

As usual, they’re on 52g Tomoe River, Midori MD, Graphilo and Paperholic (clockwise from top left).

Close-up of each:

It’s not that special so don’t feel too sad that this is discontinued πŸ˜… the bottle is completely unlabelled and the sticker on the outside of the box is just a homemade DIY printer job, probably from a bubble jet but I won’t try to verify that~


Red Cliff

It seems I’m a bit of a slave driver when it comes to getting my hands on inks. A friend of mine who isn’t at all into fountain pens/inks went to Japan for the first time at the end of 2017. I found out the cities he was going to be visiting and promptly gave him a shopping list, not really expecting him to come back with anything…

Well he went to just about every store I wrote down and came back with some nice stuff, because he “was sick and had nothing better to do” 😬

Amongst these stores were Sankodo and Pen Land Cafe in Nagoya, where at Sankodo he really loved their friendly service and at Pen Land Cafe it sounded like he possibly stumbled upon an ink studio event. He said there was a man with a shaker and a small crowd ooh-ing and ahh-ing, he felt like he was intruding so quietly left without buying anything 🀦

So because he went all the way to Pen Land Cafe and didn’t get anything, I had to source this one from someone else at a later date 🀣

Clockwise from top left: 52g Tomoe River, Midori, Graphilo, Paperholic

What paper do you prefer this one on?


Looking for a blue black? How about one that is buttery smooth and has a coppery sheen?

Allow me to bring to your attention this Pen Gallery Hougado offering!

As usual, swatches are clockwise from top left: 52g Tomoe River, Midori, Graphilo, Paperholic

Close ups:

You’ll be relieved to know that I don’t have a story about this crazy sheener, I was just shopping for Uranari Green from the same store and knew I needed this one (amongst others), clicked buy and emptied my wallet 😬

I recommend a dry writer to go with this ink if you want to bring out the blue, otherwise you’d be writing with all sheen over a rather dark base.


I love Japan, I like to think of it as my second/spiritual home, but Japan in August is not for people who prefer cool dry weather (me), so it was just as well that some brave soul πŸƒ volunteered to embark on a sacred journey this time around.

In two of my previous posts I talked about how I sometimes mule things back for fellow FP friends. Earlier in the year I had an opportunity to beta test a new game called “Train a new mule” where I played a stay-at-home keyboard shopper remote controlling a πŸƒ in real time, all from the comfort of my own home 😎

Of course to prepare him for this harsh journey I armed him with a list of things to procure so he would always have a sense of purpose and not be defeated by the physical shock he was about to experience.

As most people who have played any sort of RPG would know, sometimes it takes multiple attempts and a bit of back and forth to fully complete a quest.

One of the side quests sent πŸƒ to this remote place just outside the Tokyo metro area, where he could grind to level two by completing two tasks – pick up a Pen and some inks from Pen Point and some inks from Keio Atman at Seisekisakuragaoka.

It wasn’t as straight forward as it sounds, as you can see, he failed to pick up all the hidden treasure before having to set up camp temporarily to restore his HP.

I reminded πŸƒ that he was only 5 exp from leveling up, so back he went, battling more heat and humidity, and grabbed the last hidden chest:

Sadly though, the equipment contained in the chest didn’t provide πŸƒ with any sort of stat boosts, it was just a tanuki relic that he had already picked up one copy of, that took up one slot in his bag, didn’t stack, and couldn’t be discarded. I have no idea why it was in the game 🀷 I suspect it’s a booby prize for the completionists:

I have to say, there is some tweaking to be done to “Train a new mule”, the controls were at times laggy or unresponsive, the map not the easiest to navigate, and there was a bit too much backtracking, but overall it was quite enjoyable and I’m looking forward to the official release!

*Please don’t show any Sailor representatives this post, especially not the bit before the swatches, we do love Sailor βš“


Take two.

Late last night I accidentally published this page with just pictures, then fell asleep 🀦 I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t have minded anyway but I panicked and unpublished it so I could add my usual drivel in πŸ˜…

Happiness is my second ever Bungubox ink, and the first I picked up from the Tokyo shop myself. Normally I have a very hard time making big decisions: what to have for breakfast/lunch/dinner, but when it comes to inks, if it’s green and made by Sailor, I have to have it.

Since I already had Tsuyuhikari, the next most obvious choice for me was Happiness, because who wouldn’t like a brightly coloured green ink with a squinty looking animal on its label? It also piqued my interest because I recognised it as something that didn’t get nearly as much attention as some of its more famous siblings like First Love (Hatsukoi/Sapphire), L’Amant, 4B, etc etc. Look what a beauty this turned out to be!

Clockwise from top left, 52g Tomoe River, Midori, Graphilo, Paperholic

I’ve tried to find a dupe for this without much success. This isn’t the usual yellow leaning green that I mostly favour, but it hasn’t got quite enough blue in it (though it’s obviously there) to make it a blue green. It’s even got a bit of sheen to it if your pen is wet enough!

Toki no haneiro

Tsutaya opened up a branch at Ginza Six and released a set of three limited inks just after I left Japan last year. Needless to say they were gone in a flash and I’ve only managed to get samples of the inks through a Taiwanese FP group.

Very sad. The pink in this set is my favourite pink from Sailor so far and I don’t have a bottle of it 😭

It didn’t look that special at first glance, but the more I looked at it the more I realised how different it was to just about every other pale Sailor pink there is. This is entirely because it has a dark undertone rather than the yellow you normally get with pinks in this hue, and it gives this ink, especially when written, a barely discernible dark outline that somehow really sharpens its look on the page.

Onto the swatches, clockwise from top left: 52g Tomoe River, Midori, Graphilo, Paperholic.

If anyone reading has a bottle of this that they don’t love, please get in touch πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

As you can tell I’m quite one dimensional in my ink collecting, I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions πŸ˜„


When you mention “Pen and Message”, a store in Kobe, most fountain pen people would perhaps immediately think “Cigar”, the ink it is most famous for. Cigar actually has seven ink siblings and I’ve picked their blurple offering to feature in this post.

The name Sanyasou (ε±±ι‡Žθ‰) means wild mountain grass, or mountain weeds. I sometimes see this written as Yasunori Yamano, this is a mis-transliteration by Google perpetuated innocently by people who don’t necessarily have the Japanese skills to know better. There is actually a whole bunch of other inks with the same issue and I will try to cover them in another post.

**Boring bit alert**

You don’t have to take my word for it, but please be aware that Google translate is wrong a lot, especially with Kanji names. Your best bet would be to actually ask the shop or whoever it is that came up with the name, because they might have assigned a very specific reading (occasionally made up – this is common with song lyrics as well) to a kanji or a string of kanji characters, and unless they provided the furigana, sometimes even a native Japanese speaker wouldn’t know for sure how it should read; they know the meaning, just not the exact pronunciation.

If you’re confused, don’t feel bad, because this is complicated and I’ve seen votes in Japanese groups about how people think a particular name in Kanji should be pronounced with wildly differing results).

In the case of Sanyasou, it is a well established and generally understood combination so the reading should be standard unless otherwise specified, the hiragana provided on the official website confirms this.

I always go by the kana provided on official websites, that way I can be confident in knowing I’m right. If it’s not provided, I take a very careful educated guess (cross referencing other Japanese sites and checking for local landmarks for clues), but I always remain doubtful until I know for sure, and will make a note. When I realise I’m wrong later I go and change everything 🀣

**End your boredom here, maybe**

I find it fascinating how different the same ink can look on these papers, and the way they differ is not always what you’d expect from having seen previous swatches, clockwise from top left: 52g Tomoe River, Midori, Graphilo, Paperholic

I don’t call my posts “reviews” because I don’t really have anything to say about them, apart from the waffle at the beginning that has nothing to do with the properties of the inks. I just like making swatches 😁