First off, I want to acknowledge that this feels like an incredibly self indulgent post to write. I would never have considered doing this, except so many people have asked me for the same information over and over again, and many have requested the information in threads of my reviews. Instead of answering each person separately, it makes more sense to just put up a post and then link to it in my signature.
So, first off - the journal I use.
I am pretty sure this is the journal I have used for my recent reviews. I got it at Laywine's, and it was a special order item. I liked it because it has lines, numbered pages, white(ish) paper that wasn't too bright, and a hard cover. However, it was also outrageously priced, over $60 CAD I believe PLUS tax. Frankly, the paper wasn't good enough to be worth that kind of money. Now that I've finished it, I've moved on to ones of these, although mine wasn't sold with an elastic (I bought it at Laywine's).
Next - the paper I use for the small, glued in samples
This is standard across all my reviews for the last year. I use paper samples to see what the ink looks like on the various papers I choose to write on. I make sure i use a sample of absorbent and non-absorbent papers, so I can see how the colour and ink properties change on each. I start out by writing the review in a Clairefontaine notebook. Then:
a) first sample - Rhodia dotPad paper
b ) second sample - Rhodia spiral bound notebook paper
c) third sample - absorbent, art/sketch paper from this book
d) fourth sample - Tomoe River white paper
Finally - the pens
In the future i will try to add what pens I use, but the standard is a wet medium nib, at least. I prefer to use wet M nibs so you can get a good look at the colour, and also so we can see how lots of ink on the page behaves. If you see an ink in a dry F nib, you won't know what happens at its worst - lots of wet ink on a page. Generally I try to stick to the middle of the road, not too wet, not too dry, and medium in width.
Ink ordering information:
no link for Maruzen inks, just ask cool-japan or WRE for them.
I got mine from cool-japan on ebay, whose real life name is Atsu. All you have to do is contact him through ebay.
The Bung Box, Ishida Bungu, Maruzen, and Kingdom Note inks are $40 USD each from him. I have also purchased some from White Rabbit Express, and yes they are cheaper, but only under certain conditions.
The way WRE works is that they charge you a fee for every location you purchase things from. This seems like a changing fee, but I'm not sure what changes it. The cheapest I have seen for the charge is $16 USD, but I just got a quote where this charge was $21. They also charge you shipping from the store to WRE, which can range from $5 to $15 (in my experience so far). Given all these variables, sometimes it isn't cheaper to use WRE.
Especially because WRE charges shipping on top of that, and although they are not SUPEr expensive, they aren't super cheap either. Usually Atsu's shipping is anywhere from $0 - $8 USD for up to 6 bottles.
Generally I've found that if you buy just one ink, then it is actually cheaper to buy from cool-japan. If you buy two inks, it is the same price. Three inks, and it is a few dollars cheaper, maybe $3 or $4. But if you buy four or more bottles *from the same store*, then it is cheaper to go with White Rabbit. However, this is not true if you are buying one bottle of Bung Box and one bottle of Ishida Bungu, because then WRE will charge you two service fees.
For any Maruzen/Athena inks, I am encouraging people to go with Atsu, because when all other vendors could not get information on what inks were available, Atsu went to the store in person and took pictures and then made me a pdf collage, so I could choose which colours I wanted. The only reason I knew what inks to choose was because of him, so I bought all my Athena ink from him.
Okay, that's it. I'm happy to let this post fade into obscurity and only be brought up when people want to know, and then i'll link them to here. But if anyone has any other questions, feel free to ask.