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 (山野草) 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 😁


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