Showing posts with label evento. Show all posts
Showing posts with label evento. Show all posts

19 November 2020

TIPS 2020

The third edition of the Tokyo International Pen Show –TIPS 2020— was celebrated on the weekend of November 6th to 8th. This alone, in these times of virus and infections, is just remarkable. Now, how was it?


Basic prophylaxis set the limits and conditions of such a potential massive event –remember that in 2019 there were about 2000 visitors. This year's event was organized in two-hour slots –seven of them— with 100 people in each of them. And that set a limit of 700 attendees. In contrast, the number of tables was barely smaller: 60 vs. 70 in 2019.

So, there were the boundary conditions on which those 700 visitors went in search of pens... or other objects. What we found was not any different to what we had seen in 2019—a stationery salon.



By that I mean a space where shops and makers show and present their new products as opposed to a place where collectors search for that rarity, and where there is some actual trading. So, the bulk of the pen show was dedicated to new products—pens, inks, paper, accessories; and only a handful of tables displayed vintage and second hand pens. Of them, only one –shared by two well-known traders— had those pens as its basic argument.

New stuff.

Vintage stuff.

One interesting element on this event is that it acts as an exhibit of a number of small pen makers whose products are not distributed through the usual distribution channels and are not present at the traditional stationers in town. Such is the case of Ohashido, StyloArt Karuizawa, Eboya, Takayuki, Matsuda Maki-e, Laurett's, Chriselle, Tetzbo, Hirai Woodturner...

Some of those small makers with very limited distribution.

I have said in the past that the East-Asia concept of a pen show is different from those in the West, but it is a successful idea. And giving the harsh times we are facing, it is excellent news TIPS 2020 came to exist.


Super Gold Line JIS 3232 — Diamine Graphite

Bruno Taut
November 19th 2020
etiquetas: Tokyo, evento

26 February 2020

Cancellation and Virus

The planned Japan Premium Pen Show (JPPS) has been canceled by the organizers.

This was a project initiated by the organizers of the Tokyo International Pen Show (TIPS). It was planned for the first weekend of May (in coincidence with the Chicago Pen Show), and aimed at the “discerning collector” avid to find “high-end fountain pen brands”.

The nominal excuse for the cancellation is the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus (COVID-19). This has become a common argument these days—a deus ex machina under which to hide likely failures and disappointments. And that regardless the actual danger of the situation, or how premature the call might be.


Extract of the message sent by the organizers announcing the cancellation of JPPS 2020 and promising the organization of a similar event in 2021.

The rumor goes that the organizers of the JPPS were having a hard time finding traders to fill the 40 tables allocated at the luxurious hotel Chinzanso. In fact, there was a healthy doses of skepticism among aficionados  about the interest if a pen show based on new pens and on well-known retailers. Who would pay JPY 3000 (about EUR 25) to check on pens otherwise available at shops with no entry fee? Who would come to Tokyo instead of to Chicago given the option?

In any event, those potential problems are no more. However, the organizers are promising to try again in 2021. Hopefully with much better sense and knowledge about the pen world.


Iwase Seisakusho N-model prototype – Noodler's Beaver

Bruno Taut
Nakano, February 25th 2020
etiquetas: eventos, Tokyo, Japón

31 January 2020

Premium Pen Show in Tokyo

The organizers of the Tokyo International Pen Show (TIPS) have announced the celebration of another event, the Japanese Premium Pen Show, this coming month of May. This “premium” pen show will take place at the luxury hotel Chinzanso in Bunkyo Ward between May 1st and May 3rd.


Good for the pen community in Tokyo? These are my reflections:

First, it is surprising how quickly –in Japanese standards-- this event is being organized. In a country where improvisation is almost a taboo, announcing this even with less that six months is surprising. But so be it!

Second is the inability of Tokyo actors in the pen scene to create a single important and relevant pen event with an international significance. Instead, all we get is a multiplicity of small events scattered along the calendar.

Let us remember here that the TIPS events (::1::, ::2::) fall short of real pen shows, as the organizers implicitly acknowledge when they declare that “the (Japanese Premium Pen) show will focus on high-end fountain pen brands from around the world for the discerning collector.”


Tokyo International Pen Show 2019. Not a pen show but a stationery salon.

This event, however, could change the parochial scene in Tokyo should it become a resounding success in attracting foreign traders. But that doesn't seem to be the case so far: it is being quickly organized, and Japan is not particularly close to where most traders live and circulate in the world tour of pen shows.


Madrid Pen Show 2019. There are more pens on this table that on the whole of TIPS 2019.

The pricing policy for traders doesn't seem very adequate for that purpose. The cost per table is in the order of USD 700 (in fact, JPY 70000 if booking before Jan 31st; JPY 90000, booking after that date). In comparison, the well-established Madrid Pen Show (16 years of history, a three-day event) charges about USD 300. And the newly created Dutch Pen Show in Utrecht, just USD 80.

But we will see how it works in about four months. I will be there.


Yamada raden – Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Brown

Bruno Taut
Nakano, January 30th 2020
etiquetas: Japón, Tokyo, evento, mercado

08 January 2020

War (I)

In the pen realm many of us tend to forget the historical context to which each pen is born. We like to live in a sort of perfect world where the miseries of life, or of History, are somehow hidden in a dark background. At the same time, though, we use some historical landmarks to date pens, the most common of which is the pre-war/post-war label. War is just short for “early 1940s”, and few actually think of real meaning of the word war.

Then, History slaps on your face.

The following pen is a Platinum from 1940 with a very interesting and unique decoration in maki-e techniques: “Soldier going to Manchuria”, by Rosui, the headmaster of the maki-e craftsmen of Platinum's.


Not much to add to the caption. This pen was part of the exhibit organized by Platinum in January of 2019 at Itoya in Ginza to cellebrate its 100th anniversary.

Japan had invaded Manchuria in 1931, and created the puppet state of Manchukuo in 1932. This territory was a source of tensions as it was the Japanese base to invade China. Some scholars speak of the Marco Polo Incident (July 1937) and the Battle of Beiping-Tianjin as the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War, and even of the Second World War. Therefore, by 1940, after a number of conflicts with the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of Mongolia, and China, the need for Japanese troops became urgent.


Close up of the soldier carrying the Japanese flag taken from one of the panels at the exhibit.

So, given this situation in Japan at the time, it is only natural to see patriotic motifs on these decorated pens.

And they remind us that pens are not alien to the historical moment in which they were created.


Parker 61 – Unknown blue-black ink

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, December 30th, 2019
etiquetas: Japón, Platinum, evento

31 December 2019

Tokyo Pen Trends 2019

(This review is part of a collective initiative to summarize and analyze the relevant events of 2019 in the pen scene. The other members are Fudefan and Inky.Rocks:
Fudefan's take on 2019: https://www.fudefan.com/2019/12/2019-in-review/
Inky.Rocks' video: https://youtu.be/L2M372smNEg ).


A lot might have happened, pen wise- in this year of 2019, but not everything is equally interesting, and each of us has a different view on those. These are my selection and of the relevant events, and my reflections on them.

1. Pen Scene.
2019 was the year of the 100th anniversary of Platinum. This company managed the celebration a lot better than Pilot, whose centenary was celebrated in 2018, but Platinum quickly lost momentum after a promising start.

In Japan, the only new pen released in 2019 was the Pilot Custom NS (the Procyon, let us remember, was released in 2018). The NS is the first steel nib in the Custom family, and its price is about 20% lower than that the Custom 74 with a gold nib. Is this a correct strategy in the Japanese market?

Other than this Custom NS, there have not been any new pen—all there is are rehashed pens, minor cosmetic changes on well known models. The Prime, the Platinum pen to commemorate its 100th anniversary, is little else than a 3776 in silver costume. Sailor, on its side, is mastering the art of generating original models –this is the name they use— to be sold exclusively at a certain shop. It seems a very successful system to raise the attention of customers by creating a false sense of scarcity.


A sample of Platinum 3776 Centuries. All of them are essentially the same pen.


As this, The Prime, is also a 3776 in disguise. The Prime was the pen Platinum released to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Anyway, not much new.

(The Capless LS has just been released in Japan and barely speaks about what went on along 2019. However, this is something new in the pen scene in Japan.)

In contrast, Taiwanese and Chinese pens are becoming a lot more active and innovative. They are offering new recreations of old filling systems with new models almost every month in the case of pens from the PR of China. Their distribution is also becoming more open and all those pens are easier to purchase.


This Wing Sung, obviously inspired on the Twsbi Vac700, in an example of the activity of many Chinese brands.


2. Ink Scene.
More colors more expensive. And the inflation continues.

The only positive side effect is the surge of small ink companies—Krishna in India, Trouble Maker in Philippines, Three Oysters in South Korea, Kala in Taiwan... But only time will say whether there is enough room for so many people. Or enough customers for so many colors...

But the radical approach to this would be to return to those old colors in unassuming inkwells for about JPY 400 per 30 ml: good and inexpensive ink.


When initially marketed, Irishizuku's inks were very expensive. Now they are among the most inexpensive in the Japanese market. And even cheaper are the regular Pilot inks (the inkwell on the right): JPY 400 (plus tax) for 30 ml. This is the radical approach to the present inflation in inks and their prices.


3. Paper.
Paper, or good quality paper, is also becoming a luxury good. But the production costs might be at the heart of this phenomenon. The paper industry relies heavily on the economy of scale and a small community like that of fountain pen aficionados is unable to generate a big demand. The result--producing small batches to fulfill the demand of such small group is inherently expensive.


"Fountain Pen Friendly Paper Collection", by Yamamoto Paper. Some of those included on this pad are no longer available because some mills are no longer in business.

The alternative, for the time being, could be to go back to old Japanese scholar notebooks, some of which are made of good quality paper, albeit not labeled or advertised as “fountain pen friendly”. Kokuyo Campus, and regular Tsubame notebooks are two obvious options easily available.


This Tsubame paper is excellent and inexpensive. There are other rulings...


4. Events.
The Tokyo International Pen Show (TIPS) is here to stay after a very successful second edition. Its main feature –from my perspective— was the ability of gather people from far away locations. TIPS acted as the meeting point for aficionados from places as far away as Spain and Australia, and that despite being more of a stationery salon than of a pen show.


Tokyo International Pen Show. Not a pen show, but a meeting point.

In contrast, the active Tokyo pen community seems isolated and detached from the rest of the World.


5. Social Media.
I am new to this environment, and I am therefore very naïve –or simply skeptical- about it. However, it is hard to miss the huge activity on social media, and the personal connections created through them. The result is a much better connected pen community where parochial attitudes –like those of Japanese brands- are bound to fail.


Japanese companies have not understood anything related to social media, and behave following patterns anchored in the twentieth century, with segregated and separated markets. They do not seem to understand online shopping across borders.

On the contrary, Chinese and Taiwanese pen companies have embraced this new world and are taking benefit from their constant presence on them.


I am sure there is a lot more that could be said about this year 2019, but this is what called my attention.


WiPens Toledo – Montblanc Irish Green

Bruno Taut
Nakano, December 8th 2019
etiquetas: Japón, China, Taiwan, mercado, evento, redes sociales, Pilot, Platinum, Sailor, tinta

21 November 2019

Madrid Pen Show 2019

The 16th edition of the Madrid Pen Show finished last Sunday and I want to offer some personal reflections on the event.


The bare numbers are not very different to those of the 2018 edition: about 1650 visitors, 65 traders (2 more than in 2018) on 73 tables. The estimates speak of a business volume in the area of EUR 500,000 with an average of EUR 7000 per trader.



The good news is the cntinuous success of this event. Being the biggest pen show in Europe is not an easy accomplishment before countries with a powerful pen industry and a very rich pen tradition.



The less positive news is the relative old age of most visitors. Fountain pens seem to attract people of certain age... in the Old World. But that is not the case in East Asia, where there is a big body of young aficionados. Then, the question is whether there was anything that could be done to expand the hobby among younger generations in Spain and in Europe in general.

But so far, the current formula works very well, and the Madrid Pen Show is the annual festival of the Spanish pen community. A party where everybody is welcome, as the increasing number of foreign visitors shows.



Romillo Eo – Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-budo

Bruno Taut
Madrid, November 21th, 2019
etiquetas: Madrid, evento

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

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 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

13 May 2019

Tokyo Pen Scene in 2019

The 19th edition of the Pen Trading event in Tokyo was celebrated on the weekend of May 4th at the KFC building in the district of Sumida. And for the first time, this event lasted three days.

But all in all the figures of the show have not changed much along recent years—about 20 to 25 traders, and 200 visitors. And these numbers hardly justify such a long duration.


The first day, Friday 3rd, had Platinum as protagonist—Mr. Masa Sunami gave a lecture on the history of the brand, and the president –Mr. Nakata— answered some questions previously submitted by the attendees. However, the answers were to be kept strictly intramural, and any leak through social media was prohibited. Trading started at 12:30, albeit restricted to non-gold nib pens and assorted goods.

Saturday and Sunday were more of a traditional pen show –no restrictions of the type of pens to be on offer--, and were combined with a number of workshops.




Pen Trading in Tokyo, 19th edition.

Along this past year there has been a wealth of activities in the fountain pen world in Tokyo. The Wagner group has extended its events in order to attract younger aficionados, for instance. In October, the Tokyo International Pen Show (TIPS) worked well as a meeting point for aficionados previously disconnected, thus enlarging the pen community.

All this should imply that the trading events like that of Spring should become more important in the basic figures, but that was not the case ten days ago. The second edition of TIPS, to be celebrated in October 5th and 6th, looks like the best chance for the local activity to become something more according to the relevance of Japan in the international market.

And the only way to do so is to become more international.


So, next stop, the second edition of the Tokyo International Pen Show in October 5th and 6th. Hope to see you there.


Iwase Seisakusho prototype – Wagner 2008 ink

Bruno Taut
Shinjuku, May 9th 2019
etiquetas: Tokyo, Japón, evento, mercado