It’s mid August now, so I suppose it’s time for a reminder for the kids that school’s about to start again in most parts of the world. And what’s more fun in back-to-school shopping than stationery hauls? Of course, I’m being totally biased here as a stationery hoarder, but I firmly believe that beautiful and functional stationery are part of what leads to a successful academic life (along with hard work and all the emotional sob-y bits). Hence, I’m going to be putting together a series of Japanese stationery recommendations for you all to look into. Now, I only use thin tipped gel pens due to personal preferences, so if you’re into ball-point pens or 0.7mm and up ones, this article is not for you. Also, you’re probably not going to be able to find some of the stuff in this series in the exact packaging, because I like buying limited edition stuff that are extra colorful and and that much prettier in my opinion.

 

Uni Uni-ball Signo RT1 0.38

Pens

Credit: Ashley Lau

  • Functionality: Very smooth lines with little to zero kinks and skips on all kinds of paper, even at 0.38mm.
  • Choice: Decent range of tip thickness and colors to choose from; I like their Black and Blue Black the most
  • Packaging: Has limited edition packaging collaborations, so be on the lookout for those

I’ve been using the Uni-Ball Signo RT series since I could write, because my dad used (and still uses) them. He’s still using the old RT series, but I prefer this new RT1 repackaged one, most because the top ‘click-y’ part is bigger and thus easier to access. I have never had any problems with these pens; regardless of how many times they have fallen, the ink still works fine without creating air pockets and whatnot.

 

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica 0.4

Pens

Credit: Ashley Lau

  • Functionality: Super thin lines regardless of how much pressure you put, great for writing kanji
  • Colors: Wonderfully bright formulas for all the colors; I recommend Brown, Violet, Light Blue, Green, and Red

These pens come in 0.4mm and 0.3mm, the latter tends to rip up correction tape, so don’t bother buying them unless you write with a super light hand. I always like to keep a few non-click-y pens in my pencil bag, because I tend to get annoyed by the ‘clicks’. It also doesn’t hurt that these colors are very well formulated and just shine out as accent colors in my notes.

 

Pilot Juice Up (Pastel) 0.4

Pens

Credit: Ashley Lau

  • Coverage: Opaque colors that work well with both black and white backgrounds without bleeding onto the paper
  • Colors: Pastel colors are rarely done well; my favorites are Pastel Green and Pastel Violet

These are relatively new on the market, but I was quite impressed with how nicely the pastel range has come out. They also have a regular series (black packaging) and metallics series (silver packaging). They are decent, but I won’t go so far as to replace my Uni-Ball Signo RT1 series with it. However, if you want to buy all the pens you need from a single brand, I would go for this because they have a pretty wide color range so far and work okay.

 

Zebra Sarasa Clip 0.5

Pens

Credit: Ashley Lau

  • Range: One of the original wide color range series out there that also does ‘odd’ colors like Gray
  • Functionality: The clip can come in handy when you least expect it to, and the pens also write well
  • Packaging: A lot of really ingenius limited edition packaging collaborations with even candy brands like Chupa Chups

You can probably tell this series is not my favorite, but a fellow stationery hoarder friend of mine swears by it, so it’s here. I think it’s mostly just because I can’t find 0.4mm versions of these that I’m like this, there’s honestly nothing wrong with how they write and react to different paper.

I will be covering all sorts of stationery items in this series, going from the fundamentals like pens and erasers to even staplers and scissors, so you can see just how freaky I am towards stationery. You have no idea how much it pains me that I can no longer use school as an excuse to buy all the stationery I want. And since I have rather specific tastes when it comes to pens in particular, if these are not for you and you want me to look into other types of pens from Japanese brands, drop a message on Facebook or comment here and I’ll go do my research.

Photo Credit: Pilot, Zebra, Tokyo Pen Shop, Ashley Lau

 

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