Posts filed under shopping

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 You might think you are going the wrong way or think the address might be out of date but I assure you, it's not.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:
台北市大安區瑞安街208巷76號1樓
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.

2017 Purchases

Another year has come and gone. And it’s time to see how much I’ve spend on this hobby of mine. This year has seen a drastic decrease in the number of pens I’ve purchased. The main reason being each pen that I buy is significantly more expensive in general so it makes sense that I buy less pens. I’d be worried if I didn’t. I spent a total of $3800 on 7 fountain pens. One of them was a shoo in on Christmas eve. It’s a Pilot Custom 823 in WA from Tokyo Quill. I had expected it to receive the invoice next year. Comparing it to last year’s 19 pens, I feel I’ve exercised a great deal of self control. However with the average price of each pen is more than $500, it is probably due to the higher end fountain pens that I’ve been buying rather than due to any self control.

Ink purchases has gone up when compared to last year’s 19 bottles. I got 27 new inks at $500 in total, some were multiple bottles of the same inks for gifts. 27 bottles of inks at $500 total is not too bad. Well, inks will always be cheaper and it’s easier to impulse buy when compared to pens.

I’ve added a new category to track this year. It’s a category to cover non-pens and non-ink related products, mostly paper and pen cases. That came in at $340. The bulk of it was due to a Pelikan M400 B nib that I’ve purchased for modding.

I’ve sold 6 pens, none of them purchased within the year. And 16 bottles of inks were also sold, some from within the year. I’ve gone a little crazy with Robert Oster Signature inks so I had to cull some to make room for more inks. My collection is probably due for another culling pretty soon.

So that’s $4600 over the course of 12 months, baring nothing just comes up in the next 2 days. Now comparing this to last year’s purchases which came in at more than $5000, I think this is a step in the right direction. It’s not that I’m losing interest in the hobby but as any hobby matures, I think you’d get to know what you like and what you don’t. In turn, you’ll be able to apply these criteria to your purchasing decisions. At the end of the day, hopefully it will means less buy to try, more buy to use.

Which direction has your fountain pen and related products purchases been going?

Posted on December 29, 2017 and filed under shopping, 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

中環德輔道中68號
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.

Pens buying in Italy

My stash from my trip to Italy

Recently I’ve visited Italy. I took the opportunity to visit a few fountain pen shops along the way. I flew into Europe via Frankfurt. I met my friend and she took me to GALERIA Kaufhof. It was just a regular shopping centre like many you can find in Singapore, the difference is the size of its pen department. There are many brands on display there. The usual suspects are all there, namely, Lamy, Mont Blanc, Faber Castell, ONLINE, Caran d’Ache, Pelikan and Waterman. I was surprised to not have found brands that I am not familiar of.

Then it is off to Italy. One Italian word that’s important to know is stilografica. That’s Italian for fountain pen. The first pen stop was Rome’s Novelli. Novelli is a little pen shop located at Via di S. Marcello, 21, 00187 Roma. Be careful when you visit Novelli because they close in the middle of the day so plan your visit carefully. I had to return 3 times before I actually got past the front display area. The shop is divided into 2 section. One section has all the fountain pens and inks while the other section carries cigars and accessories.

They have their pens displayed in glass cabinets that lined the pen half of the store. I was drooling at all the pretty, pretty pens. Being in Italy I had to get an Italian pen of course. The friendly staff didn’t pressure me while I was browsing. I was able to handle and try the pens I was interested in before I decided with a Visconti Van Gogh Starry Night. I was gifted a small bottle of Delta brown ink too. I purchased a two cigar holder to double up as a pen case as well. Before you leave do not forget to ask for a tax refund, you can enjoy a slight discount with it.

My second pen stop is Casa Della Stilografica in Florence. It’s located at Via Camillo Benso Cavour, 43r, 50129 Firenze. I opted to skip the Visconti showroom since I have already purchased a Visconti pen in Rome. Casa Della Stilografica is an even smaller pen shop when compared to Novelli. However they do not lack in variety. I was undecided on what to get there so I asked for their recommendation for entry level Italian pens. The helpful staff obliged by bringing out trays of pens. I settled for a Delta Journal. It is a beautiful pen. I picked up a Lamy Al-Star Copper Orange just so I could push the total amount to be eligible for tax refund.

It is a fun experience to travel and buy pens overseas. The pen is a very tangible memory of my trip. It also allows me to see how deep and wide spread pen culture is throughout the world. I shall endeavour to get myself a pen at every destination I travel to. Reviews for the pens and inks are coming not very soon.

Posted on May 31, 2015 and filed under Fountain Pen, Ink, shopping.

Fountain Pens in Singapore

Though Singapore is a small country, we have strong core group of people in love with all things related to the world of fountain pens. This is a compiled list of where you can buy fountain pens and inks locally here in Singapore for those who are visiting or new fountain pen users in Singapore.

Updated 27th December 2017

Fook Hing

Address: Blk 231, Bain Street #01-23, Bras Basah Complex
It is one of the best place to browse and buy pens and inks. They have a facebook page that you can follow to keep up with their new arrivals. They carry a wide variety of pens and inks. Call them up to find out on the status of their stock and price before heading down. You can get them to hold the pen or ink for you as well. Otherwise, go down and try the pens to your heart's content.

Aesthetic Bay

Address: No. 2 Orchard Turn, #04-14, ION Orchard
If you have money to spare after going to so many other shops, do drop by Aesthetic Bay to oogle at their pens. This isn't the friendliest place to shop but there is no harm just looking. They are also the only shop that carries Noodler's Singapore series of inks.

Straits Pen

Address: Block 212 Hougang Street 21 #04-349 (Only by appointment)
Go to Straits Pen to get your TWSBI pens locally. Mr. Sunny Koh also carries some China pens, this is subjected to availability. He also is able to do nib grinding for a fee. Do note that they are only able to do transaction via cash only.

Overjoyed

Address: 89 Short Street B1-08
Overjoyed a wide variety of art supplies. However for fountain pen lovers' purposes all you need to know is they carry Rhodia paper and J Herbin inks. There are also calligraphy nib sets available. They also have disposable pipettes but it is a little pricey to get it there.

Muji

Address: Many outlets all over Singapore
Muji carries two different style of fountain pens, one pocket version, one full length. Along with pens, they carry some fountain pen friendly notebooks in various styles of size as well. Look for the notebooks labelled "Made in Japan", those are the notebooks you are looking for.

Cityluxe

Address: Many outlets all over Singapore
Cityluxe carries Kaweco and Montverde pens, refills and cartridges. As far as I know, they only carry the M nib for Kaweco pens. I am not so sure about Montverde pens though.

NBC Stationary

Address: Many outlets all over Singapore
The main thing to note about NBC Stationary is not every outlet carries fountain pens and inks. Please call to check if they carry the item you are interested before heading down. The best bet is the outlet at Ngee Ann City Kinokuniya. They carry a wide variety of brands namely Lamy, Parker, Cross, Pilot and Kaweco. They also have Midori notebooks as well as glass pens.

Address: Many outlets all over Singapore
Popular Bookstores carries a very small variety of Parker, Faber Castell, Platinum Preppy and Sheafer fountain pens as well as limited colours for Parker and Pelikan 4001 series inks. Likewise, not every outlet carries fountain pens and inks. Your best bet would be the outlet at Bras Basah Complex. It is one of the largest outlet and it is very near Fook Hing.

Art Friends

Address: Outlets all over Singapore
Art Friends is a supply shop for all types of art supplies, similar to Overjoyed but done on a larger scale. They carry a number of different brands for markers and pens. The thing of interest at Art Friends is the calligraphy set and nibs that they carry. Some of the large branches do carry Pelikan fountain pens as well.

Lin Kong Watch & Pen

Address: 111 North Bridge Road, #03-53 Peninsula Plaza
I have personally been to the shop but based on their website they seemed to carry quite a wide variety of pens.

Mustafa Centre

Address: 145 Syed Alwi Road Level 1 and Level 4
I have also not been down to Mustafa Centre before however as far as I know and hear about shopping in Mustafa Centre is an experience in and of itself. They sell Hero pens as well as Lamy pens. It would be best to know what you are looking for before heading down.

Submitted by Bryan Chua: Mustafa sells Waterman, Cross, Hero, Parker, MontBlanc, Lamy and quite a few other brands of pens. They also sell Waterman, Parker, Pelikan and Hero inks.

Elephant and Coral

Address: 333A Orchard Road #03-03 Mandarin Gallery
I have not been to the shop. However based on where it is located, this is a high end shop that carries a wide variety of brands.

Tokyu Hands

Address: 3 Gateway Drive #01-36/37 Westgate
and Orchard Central 181 Orchard Rd #B1-05
They carry Pilot Iroshizuku, Lamy, Kaweco, Sailor bottled inks as well as Sailor and Pilot ink cartridges. They also have Retro 51 rollerball pens, Pilot, Sailor and Platinum fountain pens. The best thing is that have tons of Japanese notebooks from Apica, Life, Midori as well as Campus. If you are anywhere in the area, this is a good place to check out.

Campo Marzio

Address: 2 Orchard Turn, ION Orchard, #B3-11
They have a number of fountain pens and rollerball pens. They also carry standard international cartridges and wax seals.

TIMES TRAVEL

Address: Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3, Departure/Transit Lounge South, #02-07
They carry various brands of fountain pens such as Pilot, Waterman and the like. Staffed by a friendly staff whom I have chatted with once.

TIMES RELAY

Address: Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 2, #026-055-01/02, Departure/Transit Lounge North (Airside)
I have not visited this shop before so I am not sure what brand they sell other than Pilot. However if the Termninal 3 shop is any indication, they should be selling the same brands.

Weiting Postal and Stationary

Address: Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, #02-18
I was pleasantly surprised to find a stationary and fountain pen store at Millenia Walk while window shopping. They carry Faber Castel, Staedtler, Sheaffer and Cross pens. Their range of fountain pens are rather limited and I am not sure how knowledgeable the staff are on fountain pens.

Pens Avenue

Address: Wisma Atria, 435 Orchard Road #03-01C A brand new luxury pen store has arrived in Singapore. They carry Montegrappa, Lamy, Kaweco, Namiki, Cross and Sheaffer. They don’t have any exclusive inks to my knowledge. Their range of fountain pens are rather limited and I am not sure how knowledgeable the staff are on fountain pens.

For local fountain pen lovers, please join the Singapore Fountain Pen Lovers Facebook page. The community is really active there. You can ask any questions you have. There are regular pen meets and mass orders that you can take part in.

Check out these relevant links as well:
Strange Knight's Fountain Pens in Singapore
FPN's Fountain pens in Singapore
FP Writings Local blog seller
House of Pens
Pens In Asia Local online seller

Posted on May 11, 2014 and filed under Link, shopping, Stationary.

Kickstarter - Simple Wallet 2.0

I have just recently backed a new Kickstarter project called Simple. It is yet another minimalist wallet design but this time in leather. I am sure there are plenty of similarly designed wallets on Kickstarter.

I wasn't on the market for a new wallet. I am stilling waiting for the arrival of my previously backed wallet - the Band-It I was browsing around on Kickstarter when Simple caught my eye. It really is as simple as it is named.

Basically it comprises of a leather card holder with a O-ring attached to one end and an elastic band that warps around on one side of wallet. The O-ring is to allow you to attach your keys to it while the elastic band is to slide your iPhone into. That way wherever you go your wallet, keys and phone are a single entity. You are less likely to forget about it. I love the colours and designs that they offer. And I have trouble deciding which should I get. Regardless, it is a well designed wallet. I especially like that I can choose to have my name embossed on the wallet.

The project has already exceeded its goal and there are 38 more days to go. Anyone who is interested just go ahead and click on the link and check it out. I'll will be writing a review on it once I have it in my hands.

Posted on September 13, 2013 and filed under Kickstarter, Link, shopping.