second chance: sailor pro gear wisteria
Late nights are generally quiet around here, except for the occasional rattly bike that rides through. It feels lonely sometimes that the only noise you hear is the fan of your computer and the mellow music coming out of the speakers. You can almost believe you are the only person on earth, the houses next to yours are rows and rows of empty shells. You can believe that the flickering lights of the apartment complex in the distance are stars and the streetlights run on magic. You’ve never seen them get maintained. On quiet nights the streets feel emptier and the world more enchanting.
My first Sailor was a Pro Gear Slim, Shikiori Princess Kaguya with a hard medium-fine nib. A pink, sparkly pen. Not really my type, but I was excited to try out a famed Sailor. From what I have researched their nibs were also not super suitable for me, but I was expecting a consistent writer nevertheless. I was so wrong. The pen wrote so dry out of the box that it would constantly skip and barely wrote if you weren’t being extremely slow and deliberate. I was using Iroshizuku Yama-Budo, one of my go to pen trying inks. After I dumped that first converter full, I tried to floss the tines a bit and then filled it again. It wrote slightly better, but in my opinion it was still too dry to keep up with regular writing. After sitting for 6 months, I thought it was time to sell it to fund a Pilot. Turns out I’m a big fan of Pilot nibs.
So, it wouldn’t be unfair to say I was reluctant to get this pen. On one hand, the pen was enticing with the bright purple and the translucent body. The Pro Gear size was a bonus, I hoped that the quality control would be better in a model in a higher price range -and a Japan exclusive. A nib that at least wrote properly. Lately I’ve been seeing people dismiss nib problems with “it’s nothing a little bit of tuning cannot fix”. To be honest, if much cheaper pens like Safari’s and Kakuno’s can write out of the box, much expensive pens should be able to too. It might not be tuned perfectly to your preference, that is the part a quick tuning can fix. If a pen barely writes, it’s not okay. I feel very strongly about this.
This time I got the medium nib, in the hopes that a wider nib would be slightly wetter as well. Unfortunately it took time for the pen to arrive, and it arrived when I was just leaving the house for school. I had to leave it at home, sit through a long lecture and work on a project until late all the while I was daydreaming about the Wisteria. When I finally got home, I inked it up with Robert Oster’s Summer Storm. I had a good feeling about this pen, and all the Robert Oster inks I have behave great. So… Why not?
After scrambling in my bag to find my trusty scratchpad -Traveler’s Notebook- it was time for the moment of truth. Was the second time the charm for the good old Sailor? Turns out, this pen is great. The nib does have a pencil-like feedback. I never understood the term fully until now. Just like how you can feel the graphite rubbing against all the individual paper fibers, you feel extremely in control with this pen. It’s not too wet, but enough to show some nice shading. I prefer to do my writing samples on quality, but not necessarily fountain pen friendly paper to get more of an idea about regular use scenarios, and it shades a little even then. Doesn’t feather. The flow is quite good, unexpectedly so.
One of the reasons why this pen feels so much like writing with a pencil is the sound of the nib on the paper. This nib sings on the paper, similar to the scribble of a pencil. It is super characteristic and I love it. I prefer very smooth nibs, and their song is much different than the scratch of this one. I have nothing like it in my collection. I tried to make a small recording of the sound, but it didn’t turn out very nice. Writing with this pen is an interesting tactile experience, you really feel using it.
Lastly, I want to give a short honourable mention to the ink, Robert Oster Summer Storm. The shading is beautiful, and watching it dry is nothing short of mesmerising. It comes out of the nib a dusky cool toned purple, almost a blue. Then dries to a cloudy purple, a beautiful shade of summer storms. This pen and ink are going very well together.
I like a good plastic pen. The thickness of it adds the illusion of heft without adding weight. Quite light and easy on my strained hand. Lately I have been drawing and writing even more than usual and this pen is one of the least cramp inducing ones. I don’t think I will ever get a second Sailor pen, even if they are very pretty -eyeing the new Gin Martini Pro Gear. This purple Wisteria is special to me, I have spent hours under a wisteria as a kid, reading. The sickly sweet smell of them almost nauseating in the hot air, and the buzz of the bees deafening. And purple is one of my favourite colours, right next to green and followed closely by blue.
Thank you for reading! Writing photographs are up. I really struggled with the music choice in this post, because I was listening to this song and Purple Haze (Jimi Hendrix) on repeat while writing. Let me know which one you prefer!