31 October 2019

November Pen Shows. II

I said on my previous Chronicle that I was attending the Madrid Pen Show in Spain. However, for those located in East Asia there is a great alternative—the Manila Pen Show.

It is a two-day event to be celebrated at the Holiday Inn in Makati, Metro Manila, on November 16th and 17th.

Personally, I wish I could attend it and enjoy the activities of the large and animated Philippine pen community. And nib wizard Ralph Reyes (Regalia Writing Labs) will be there!

Lucky 9159 – Kingdom Note Futukoshin Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 29th 2019
etiquetas: Manila, Filipinas, evento

29 October 2019

November Shows. I

November comes and I start my migration.

As was the case in the last 11 years, I will attend the Madrid Pen Show. It will be celebrated –or we will all celebrate it— at the Hotel Miguel Ángel from Friday Nov 15th to Sunday Nov 17th. And on Thursday 14th, as a starter, there will be an auction at Durán Subastas (Calle Goya 19, 28001 Madrid. Auction catalog, here) at 18:00.

The Madrid Pen Show is the biggest in Europe. Last year it attracted nearly 70 traders and about 1600 visitors.

I will be there this year too. Feel free to say hi if you happened to be there.

Lucky 9159 – Kingdom Note Futukoshin Blue

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 29th 2019
etiquetas: Madrid, evento

27 October 2019

In Praise of Whisky

These two bottles cost the same—about JPY 2500.

The one on the left contains 500 ml of whisky. To produce it the company –Nikka on this particular case-- went through a long process that, besides fermentation and distillation, involves some years of maturation during which a significant portion of the product is lost to evaporation.

On this particular case, being a blended, the maturation can be reduced, but in any event –at least for a Scotch whisky-- it couldn't be shorter than three years.

On the other side, an ink is basically a mixture of water, dyes, some biocides and some surfactant agents. The whole process is easy and low-tech, and does not require any special equipment.

Yet, 500 ml of an average (or even above average) whisky cost as much as 50 ml of an average ink...

A lot could be said about how much whisky we drink and how much ink we use, but the question is still valid—is the cost of ink ten times higher than that of whisky?

The actual fact is that the price of ink skyrocketed in the past four of five years, and whisky –a time-intensive product-- provides a useful benchmark.

Are we acting in our best interest buying so much ink so expensively?

Parker 51 Demi aerometric – Kobe Nagasawa Bokko

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 27th 2019
etiquetas: mercado, tinta

08 October 2019

TIPS 2019. Again a Stationery Fair

This past weekend, the second edition of the Tokyo International Pen Show (TIPS) took place in the Ward of Taito in Tokyo. I attended it and these are my reflections.

The plain figures are very clear and straight-forward: about 2000 visitors, 1200 on the first day; about 200 foreigners; 86 tables with 71 traders. This means a big success and a significant improvement over the results of 2018: 1600 visitors and 50 traders.

People and inks. Are those the argument of TIPS?

My criticism this year is, in essence, the same as on 2018——this event was not a pen show, this was a stationery salon (like some others in Tokyo: Bungujoshi, Kamihaku, and Inkunuma (::1::, ::2::)) where you could find some fountain pens. Vintage pens, on their side, were limited to four or five tables——Wagner group, Seoul Pen Show, Andre Mora, Stylus Aurea, and Pen Land/Komehyo. And not even the parallel Wagner meeting on Sunday at a different venue, could correct this deficiency.

The table of the Seoul Pen Show with some vintage pens.

However, this didn't mean that there were no fountain pens. Many of the traders were well established stationers from all over Japan who have their own special pen models and inks, mostly made by Sailor. This was the case of BunguBox, Kingdom Note, Nagasawa, Ei-Publishing Co. (Shumi-no Bungubako)… And in fact there is a demand for all those somehow different pens—if only because of their colorful decoration.

This prevalent presence of Sailor –even if indirect-- made Leigh Reyes, always deeply insightful, say that this was the pen show of Sailor. The presence of the other two big companies was marginal.

Sailor inks, Sailor pens. Kingdom Note.

The international presence was more important this year: Franklin-Christoph, Schon, Yaching Style, Armando Simoni Club, Andre Mora, Stylus Aurea, Aesthetic Bay... But they accounted to just about 10% of the traders.

Aesthetic Bay, from Singapore.

Franklin-Christoph, from USA.

All in all, the most interesting aspect of the show was, as is often the case, the community of users. On this edition, and much to my surprise, the number of visitors coming from overseas was particularly big. Organizers speak of 10% of the attendees being foreigners. That means about 200 people. I don't know how they came with this number, but I am afraid they considered any long term resident in Japan as foreign visitor. Anyway, this edition attracted visitors from Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, United States, Canada, France, Italy, Spain... This fact is indeed remarkable and contributed to provide a cosmopolitan air to an otherwise very parochial show.

An active and enthusiastic group of foreign visitors.

TIPS is not a pen show, and TIPS is barely international. But 2000 visitors move a lot of money and are a powerful argument not to change the business model.

At the end, the stationery market is a lot more important and lucrative than that of fountain pens.

Paper, paper, paper...

NOTE 1: For a more positive view of the TIPS 2019 I recommend the accounts of Fudefan: https://www.fudefan.com/2019/10/tips-2019/
And for an excellent video overview, check Inky.Rocks' video: https://youtu.be/9iyXeihsiYQ

NOTE 2: TIPS 2020 will take place on November 7th and 8th in Hamamatsucho area in Tokyo.

My thanks a Inktraveler for several of the pictures here included.

Parker 51 Demi 1948 – Kobe Nagasawa Bokko

Bruno Taut
Nakano, October 8th 2019
etiquetas: mercado, evento, Sailor, Tokyo, papelería