As a general rule, I do not purchase ink while traveling. My reasoning is that if a $15 bottle of ink breaks in my luggage I would be out hundreds of dollars in ruined clothes. Yes, I broke my rule.
On my way out of Itoya in Tokyo (after buying some pens I didn’t need) I saw some well-packaged mini bottles of Iroshizuku in a lovely presentation box and that was that…I picked the three colors I wanted and here we are: The Pilot Iroshizuku Yama-Budo Fountain Pen Ink Review.
Yama-Budo in Japanese means “Crimson Glory Vine” and it is a pinkish burgundy color that I really like. Like all Iroshizuku inks, it performs beautifully, well-behaved with a good flow. This ink has really nice shading to it.
This ink isn’t really appropriate for a professional setting but it is a fun color that looks great in a demonstrator.
I am not sure I could go through a full-size 50ml bottle of this one but I feel confident that I will be able to make my way through 15ml.
Today I returned home from Seoul after spending a couple of weeks in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea.
Here is what I bought back:
Thanks to the favorable exchange rate in Japan there were a few pens that I couldn’t pass up. While shopping at Itoya in Tokyo I noticed that prices for Pilot and Sailor pens were more or less the same as they are in the United States BUT prices for Platinum and Nakaya pens did not seem to be adjusted. This Platinum Izumo Yagumonuri was just over $600 USD (after tax refund).
This Nakaya Portable Writer was just over $400 (after tax refund).
While in Osaka I stopped by the Hankyu department store and to my surprise and delight they were having a pen fair!
The ink display was absolutely drool worthy, unfortunately my friend’s patience at the hour and half mark waned and it was time to go before I had a chance.
I came across the Stylo Art Karuizawa table and was blown away by their beautiful wood pens. I got to meet the pen turner, Motoshi Kazuno, and he showed me through the model lineup. Depending on the model, the pens can be fitted with Platinum, Sailor or Pilot #10 and #15 nibs.
He also had two beautiful buffalo horn pens and I ended up taking one home with a Sailor Naginata Togi nib.
In Taipei I stopped by T. Y. Lee’s pen shop and picked up a TWSBI Vac with a 1.1mm stub and a Twsbi Micarta. I only planned on buying the Vac but when I saw the Micarta I had to have it
These pens have a distressed look and are lovely to touch. It is my understanding that TWSBI stopped making the Micarta because they were too costly to produce and there was not enough demand.
The Micarta came in this great hollowed out notebook!
That’s all for now…I will be posting in-depth reviews of these items as soon as I get enough time with them. Next week I will have a review of my Romillo Essential No 9…stay tuned.
So first I want to start by saying that 50ml of this ink retails for $35 and can be had online for $28. In my experience Pilot Iroshizuku inks are well behaved and have a satisfactory flow. I am not certain however, that the consistent quality and beautiful bottle justify the price. I have found that other inks half the price are as good or better in some cases. My point: don’t think that for $35 you are going to get some kind of magical ink that is beyond the rest. If you fall in love with one of the Iroshizuku colors, go for it you wont be disappointed.
On to Shin-ryoku:
This ink in my opinion is very close to J. Herbin Lierre de Sauvage (I would do a comparison but my bottle had mold in it so I threw it out *harumph*). The translation of the name is “forest green” and the color is quite nice, particularly vibrant when wet. When it dries it ends up looking a bit flat which is disappointing. Shin-ryoku offers some nice shading (harder to see with the fine nib on my Cross) and like all Iroshizuku inks I have tried, no issues with feathering. Dry time is faster than most inks on Maruman Smooth-To-Write paper. The ink is not waterproof. I wont be purchasing a bottle of this one as Lierre de Sauvage is more vibrant when dried (I will be crossing my fingers that my next bottle wont have a mold problem).
Here are some great reviews of Shin-ryoku:
(I have no affiliation with the sites linked below)
This month’s Goulet Pen Company Ink Drop is titled “Christmas Dreams” and includes the following inks:
De Atramentis Poppy Red (not Red Poppy as I put in the writing sample…oops)
De Atramentis Pine Green (not Aramentis…double oops)
Diamine Kelly Green
Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Ryoku
My favorites this month are the Shin-Ryoku and the Poppy Red (reviews to follow). From my quick first impressions none of these inks are a buy for me. The Shin-Ryoku looks amazing when wet but it becomes a little dull when dried; it’s very similar to J Herbin Lierre de Sauvage which I think has a little bit more character and is cheaper to buy.
Ink Drop is a subscription service through The Goulet Pen Company (no affiliation) that consists of monthly shipments of 5 ink samples. Each shipment is $10.