Posts filed under Stationary

Travel: TY Lee of Taiwan

I've travelled to Taiwan late last year and I made a trip down to 小品雅集 TY Lee in Tapiei, Taiwan I've travelled there by public transport. In Taipei it isn't hard to navigate their train system. The nearest train station is Daan station (大安站), I exited the station using Exit 3 but I think there are a number that would work too. That station is both on the Tamsui-Xinyi and the Wenhu lines. If you are walking over from the train station, all you really need is to pre-load Google Map and just following the map. You might think you are going the wrong way or think the address might be out of date but I assure you, it's not. The route I took was straight forward but the surrounding buildings didn't look like a fountain pen shop would fit right in. It's not along the main road but rather along one of the smaller roads inside. Regardless, trust the map.

However if you are in a rush for time or rather take a taxi, Taiepi's taxis are rather cheap and readily available. So if you are not a Mandarin speaker, I'll suggest showing the driver the address.

This is their address:
No. 76, Lane 208, Rui'an Street, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106

Their opening hours are Monday to Saturdays from 12noon - 10pm. They are closed on Sundays so plan your trip down accordingly.

Now that logistics is out of the way, let's get down to the details. TY Lee has a wide variety of fountain pen and related goods. They carry all the standard brands including Opus and TWSBI both are Taiwanese brands. It's a two level shop. The ground level has all the pens on display while the lower level has all the inks. And that's in my opinion where the good stuff are. Firsttly, they carry Kobe Nagasawa inks. They have a shelf's worth of Kobe Nagasawa inks. It's not that you can't buy Kobe Nagasawa inks from Rakuten but you get to look at swatches there. Secondly, they have a few series of De Atramentis inks that are shop exclusive. I purchased 6 of these bottles, 5 of which are gifts. I kept only 1 bottle.

They do have a small section for notebooks and a in-house notebook. I didn't pay too much attention there. Enjoy the photos and drop by if you have a chance.

Oh yes, I spoke to the shop attendents in Mandarin. I am not sure how good are their English but with the common language of pens between them and the customer, language is no barrier.

Posted on January 25, 2018 and filed under shopping, Stationary, travel.

Review: Baron Fig Archer Pencils (Prismatic)

My thanks to Baron Fig for sending me the limited edition Prismatic Archer Pencils for review.

Baron Fig is mostly known to me for their paper products but they had launched a whole slew of non-paper products since. Among them are the Baron Fig Archer pencils. I was sent the Prismatic, they are the limited edition set of Archer pencils.

I love the packaging of the Prismatic pencils. It comes in a tube of 12 pencils with a mix of red, blue and yellow pencils. The lead grade is the same for all the pencils, it’s just a difference of exterior colours. The traditional smell of a wood cased pencil brings back memories of my school days. I’ll be the first to admit I am absolutely a novice when it comes to pencils. My experience with pencils are only limited to the my primary school years before I was allowed to use the dreaded ballpoint pen and later the occasional art lessons in my secondary school. In Singapore the common grade of pencil kids use is the 2B. Comparing my experience of the standard 2B pencils, the Prismatic feels harder and crisper. I think the lead grade is probably on the H spectrum of things.

Here’s link to find out more about the different grades of pencil leads.

I’ve accidentally done a drop test on my entire tube of Baron Fig Prismatic pencils by scattering the entire box onto the floor upon opening it. Totally my fault but I feared the lead would have break inside the wood case. However so far, I’ve sharpened and sharpened my pencils I’ve yet to encounter a single break in the lead. This is definitely a vastly superior pencil compared to the old 2B pencils I’ve used back in school.

The pencil is light, well comparing it with any fountain pen or regular gel ink pen, it will always be light. It provides a very tactile writing experience that can be missing in some fountain pens. The tell tale scratching of a pencil across the page can be really pleasant to the ears. I’ve been using the pencil for all my writing needs for an entire week and it performed very well. The pencil marks hardly smudge even running my finger through it, that’s important for a lefty. Using a regular Pental eraser, the marks can be remove cleanly and without much fuss.

I won’t say Baron Fig Prismatic pencils have made a pencil lover out of me but it has definitely open my eyes to the world of pencils. Baron Fig pencils are not just simply pencils but pencils made with intent and a guiding design philosophy. Aesthetically, they stand out with the bright colours on the pencils and packaging. These pencils are available on the Baron Fig site at USD$15 for a dozen pencils. Definitely on the pricey end of things, when you factor in international shipping but these are quality goods.

Posted on October 13, 2017 and filed under review, Stationary.

Review: One Star Leather Hobonichi Techo Original cover

It has always been on my mind to buy a One Star Leather Hobonichi leather cover. I didn’t buy it when I purchased the Hobonichi Techo Cousin last year because I wanted to try the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter and I also ordered a custom leather cover from Astrida, a local leather worker. Those I buy, I try and in the end I sold all of them. This year I chose to go with the Hobonichi Techo Original form factor and I know it was time to go with my gut.

I opted to customise my order instead of buying ready made ones on the store. I wanted to choose the leather for the interior and exterior. It was a simple matter of dropping Keegan of One Star Leather an email to make arrangements. Once everything is confirm, I pay via Etsy by purchasing the custom listing made my order. After that it is the waiting game for my order to be hand made, it took a few weeks for that. And more waiting while it winged its way over to Singapore.

I’ve opted for the blue Horween exterior with a chestnut interior and golden stitching. I even got my initial stamp in the interior front cover. The blue exterior leather is really thick and smooth. The blue is really dark and it is only obviously blue under strong light. Otherwise most of the time it looks like midnight blue. The interior chestnut leather is thinner but just as durable. The cover fits the Hobonichi Techo Original perfectly and the stitches are nice and even. The edges are nicely finished.

The sleeves which the front and back covers slip in are deep and it secures the book within the cover. One thing to note is there is a best way to slip the cover over the book. How I did it was to bend the book such that the covers are touching and slipping the covers into the sleeve in that way. Do not slip one side in and then attempt to squeeze the other into its place. I remember see a video of that on Instagram, possibly posted by One Star Leather, I can’t for the life of me find it to link to it.

Through constantly use for the past 4 months, the exterior suffered scratches though it lives on my desk most of the time. However, that’s the beauty of leather as a material. It ages and get worn and that’s how I make it my own. There isn’t any other cover out there that is exactly like mine. Yes, leather isn’t the cheapest material around. Horween leather is also not the cheapest kind of leather around. However, I enjoy suppleness and texture of Horween leather. This a cover that I expect to last for years to come. I probably wouldn’t need another one in my lifetime if I treat it right.

Posted on April 21, 2017 and filed under review, Stationary.

Review: Hobonichi Techo - Original

You might remember my review of the Hobonichi Techo Cousin (A5) last year. You might also remember I’ve decided against buying another one for 2017. Instead I decided to buy the Hobonichi Techo Original (A6) to try my hand at daily journalling. Now as I write this, it is nearing the end of March 2017, I am happy to report I have been diligent in my daily entries. I have yet to miss more than a day or two and I always make sure to go back to fill those pages in.

The Hobonichi Techo Original and Cousin are almost identical, other than the difference in their physical size of course. Both comes stocked with the usual yearly, monthly and daily pages. The number of months per page is laid out differently due to the size limitation of the Original. Also, both have “Things to remember” page at the start of every month. and some grid pages as well as a number of other interesting pages filled with various information right at the back of the book. The main difference between the two is the Hobonichi Techo Cousin has weekly pages while this is missing for the Hobonichi Techo Original. Check out this page for a complete comparison.

I use the yearly pages for habit tracking, with 11 empty columns I can track that many habits or information on a daily basis. Currently, I only use it to track my workouts and weight. The monthly pages are completely empty for the moment but I am considering back filling them with a short note about significant events. Then the daily pages which are the meat of the Hobonichi Techo. I always pick a pen and ink combination at the start of the month and that’s the only combination I use for the month. I think by the end of 2017, I would have a rather colourful yet uniform journal. At the back of the Hobonichi Techo, there are several pages of grid paper, two pages of time table, 2 pages of graph paper, 4 pages of favourites and one interesting section named My 100. It was suggested that this segment can be used to track the 100 things you want to get done or the books that you have read. I started the year tracking my books read on the grid paper section had I looked at the pages closely I would rather have them in “My 100”.

I am throughly enjoying the Hobonichi Techo Original this year. As a daily journal, this book that almost never leaves my writing desk. The smaller size also limits what I write and it makes me streamline my thoughts before penning them down. At the same time, it doesn’t pose so intimidating a size that I feel bad for not filling it all up everyday. This is a nice way to keep a physical and compact record for the year. Right now, I definitely would buy next year’s edition to keep this up.

Posted on April 7, 2017 and filed under Stationary, review.

Traveler’s Notebook - Olive Edition

Traveler’s Notebook has recently released the 2017 limited edition. It is a dark olive colour in the regular size. I’ve pre-ordered mine from Overjoyed and it arrived last week. The olive edition is very similar in feel as the camel. It feels velvety to the touch and it comes with two Olive elastic as well as a blank notebook. In addition to the standard brown and black, Traveler’s Notebook also have a camel edition (which have since been added to the regular lineup) as well as a blue edition.

I’ve been using my camel Traveler’s Notebook since May last year. My camel is worn, scratched and stained but that’s how it shows its character. I promptly switched over to the olive edition once I was done with the photo taking. I think the olive edition would go the way of the camel but what’s the point of buying it and not using it?

Here are some photos to see how the olive compares to the camel edition.

Posted on April 4, 2017 and filed under Stationary, thoughts.

Photos: Winner Pens Collection

I've recently had a trip to Hong Kong. I didn't went out of my way to go pen shopping but I did drop by Winner Pens Collection. I didn't buy anything but I took some photos. Enjoy them!

You can find Winner Pens Collection at

萬宜大廈商場 110 號
Man Yee Arcade, Shop 110
68 Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong.
Tel.: (852)-2710-8802
Fax.: (852)-2781-2608

Posted on December 21, 2016 and filed under shopping, Stationary.