surprise, surprise: pilot kakuno
As you walk home the warm wind whips your face, the clouds race above. You turn a corner, your boots slides slightly over the damp sand they pour after laying down the cobblestones. At the same time, the first fat drop of rain hits your nose. Thunder booms in the distance, and the day becomes darker. You walk faster, almost tripping over the cobblestones that hasn’t settled yet. They have been waiting for the rain to fill up the cracks with sand and even out the odd stone out. There are only a couple of doors left when the rain starts pouring down. At first, the raindrops are huge, falling slowly. Then they get smaller and faster, battering against your bare arms. Finally you reach the door, unlock, burst it open. Inside, you stare outside for a moment, water dripping to the carpet from your fingertips. It is peaceful when you’re not the one getting wet.
I was very late to the Kakuno party. Getting one with the pastel colours and white barrels proved to be difficult, they were constantly sold out everywhere. Instead, I surrendered to one of the regular ones with a grey barrel and a green -of course- cap. This pen instantly stole my heart. The little smiley face on the cap and on the nib is too cute not to. How can you not smile back when your nib is smiling to you? It had a medium nib, which wrote perfectly, but a little on the drier side.
Even though I liked this pen, I was getting curious about stub and italic nibs. My first foray into them was a 1.1 Lamy stub to put into a Safari, which I did not like. That nib was too round and too thick, it didn’t feel much different than a regular broad nib.
The actual story of the pen I am holding today actually began on a busy street in Paris -as stories tend to do. Under the sweltering August heat, the air conditioning of a stationery store was our only refuge. Most of the stuff was familiar, nothing too surprising or out of the ordinary except for this funny shaped pen. It said “Pilot Plumix” on it. It reminded me of a fish, with its “fins” on the cap and the weirdly protruding “tummy”. I hated how it looked. It was ugly and uncomfortable to hold. My boyfriend bought it as a joke.
When we emptied our bags, this ugly duckling of a pen also fell out. We inked it, it wrote a little weird. Sharper. A closer inspection showed that the fine nib on this pen was not a regular fine, but a fine italic nib. A beautiful fine italic nib. It stole my heart. The line variation is visible and the nib is thin enough that I could use it for daily writing. But the pen… Plumix…
So, what did I do?
I switched nibs. Changed pens. Created a beautiful monster.
Now the beautiful italic nib of the Plumix is in the comfortable grip of Kakuno. Unfortunately, the italic nib lacks that pretty smile engraving. It doesn’t really matter. The smile on my face every time I use it will suffice.
I have heard that italic nibs are sharp, that the corners dig in or catch the paper fibers. I never had any problems, and I don’t really use it with a specific angle. I tend to turn my pens slightly while writing, a little like an oblique nib. That turn is much more pronounced with this nib. Instead of the wide, flat part of the nib being parallel to the lines on the paper, it is at about 45 degrees. I sometimes do use it without the angle, depending on whatever I feel is the most comfortable. The nib has the tiniest amount of feedback gives you enough control over the pen that it doesn’t just glide off the page. In comparison, my vintage Sheaffer Imperial has a very sharp italic nib. That one catches some fibers every now and then. Pilot’s italic never did, even when I was using it for quick notes on slightly softer paper.
Currently it’s inked with the last of my sample of L’Artisan Pastellier Noisette. It’s a light blush pink-purple. Now that I think about it, I want to take it to the makeup counter and ask for a blush in the same shade. The line between legibility and a dreamy pinkish shade is a fine line to walk indeed. It’s pretty, but shades much less in this small, slightly dry nib. I find this a little surprising, the gold nibs on my other Pilot pens are quite wet writers. Both steel nibs mentioned above were drier than average.
Overall, I enjoy using this pen with its fancy nib. It quickly became one of my favourites, especially for letter writing and journalling, but also for day-to-day stuff. It’s versatile enough that it forgives chicken scratch and shines through in a flowing cursive -which, unfortunately, I cannot write. I want to get more fine italic nibs on my other pens, perhaps even a hair sharper than this one. My adventurousness lies within different barrel shapes and colours, not in the nibs. This is a good reminder that I should perhaps try to change that.
Thank you very much for reading!