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What Makes Pilot Customs Custom?

pilot custom

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45 replies to this topic

#1 jcm499

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 15:59

Pilot has a popular range of pens called “Custom,” but as far as I can tell they are all regular production models with nothing custom about them.  I’m also a clarinetist, and Yamaha makes a range of clarinets called “Custom,” again just regular production models.  Can anyone shed some light on this? Does the English word “custom” have a different meaning in Japanese than in English?  



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#2 Mrpink

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 19:26

I think the pens are keeping to traditional look hence the name. I suppose it's a custom look of a time or Fp's in general. I thought it was like custom made, it can be that too as in the line is a custom made line. The Custom Heritage pen made me think of villages in Europe or something when I first heard it. It must have some more relevance in Japanese and we find it different in English. Such as when I try to say an idiom of my language in english, it doesn't work at all.
Edit. Are the Yamaha clarinet customs a traditional look?

Edited by Mrpink, 27 May 2017 - 19:27.


#3 jcm499

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 19:55

Fascinating! This makes sense! I was only thinking of the word “custom” in its meaning of “made to order to suit a particular customer,” but indeed “custom” is also a synonym for “tradition.” Like the Pelikan Tradition line. But for some reason Pilot’s use of that sense of “custom” in this context seems slightly unidiomatic, doesn’t it? And isn’t “custom heritage” then a bit redundant? I’ve sometimes wondered about the marketing and naming of Japanese pens. Take the Sailor Chalana … I think that’s Spanish for “barge.” Why? Then there’s the Realo (reliance and locus? Locus of what?) and the infamous King of Pen (which I think is now fixed).  It can’t be that expensive to run these things past just one native English speaker, can it?  Of course, what really matters is the quality of the pens, and ultimately I find these linguistic quirks quite charming.  They add to the local flavor of the pen. 

 

The Yamaha Custom clarinets are pretty typical looking, though some models in the range claim to have some novel stuff “under the hood,” as it were.  Then again, unlike with fountain pens, most clarinets look superficially very similar.



#4 ehemem

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Posted 27 May 2017 - 21:12

Actually, the original Custom model (without a number) was so named because it offered a wide selection of nibs to choose from, IIRC...



#5 mke

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 00:16

"custom" as short for for "customizable"

A Japanese brand name is not made for you, the foreigner. So, don't put effort into making sense of it. You need the Japanese cultural background to understand it.

Japanese don't like long names and even "custom" is long, pronounced "ka-su-to-mu". Usually, they like cutting everything into two-syllable words, changing e.g. spaghetti (Japanese pronunciation "su-pa-ge-tti") into "su-pa".

So, customizable would be a real bad name for a Japanese product.

 

And don't try thinking that Japanese usually know different meanings of "custom". Their English knowledge is not advanced. "Custom" sounds foreign and therefore good. That is enough.


Edited by mke, 28 May 2017 - 00:17.


#6 Mrpink

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Posted 28 May 2017 - 17:43

"custom" as short for for "customizable"
A Japanese brand name is not made for you, the foreigner. So, don't put effort into making sense of it. You need the Japanese cultural background to understand it.
Japanese don't like long names and even "custom" is long, pronounced "ka-su-to-mu". Usually, they like cutting everything into two-syllable words, changing e.g. spaghetti (Japanese pronunciation "su-pa-ge-tti") into "su-pa".
So, customizable would be a real bad name for a Japanese product.
 
And don't try thinking that Japanese usually know different meanings of "custom". Their English knowledge is not advanced. "Custom" sounds foreign and therefore good. That is enough.


Can you apply that to the Custom Heritage pen name for me?

#7 Tinjapan

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 05:45

"custom" as short for for "customizable"
A Japanese brand name is not made for you, the foreigner. So, don't put effort into making sense of it. You need the Japanese cultural background to understand it.
Japanese don't like long names and even "custom" is long, pronounced "ka-su-to-mu". Usually, they like cutting everything into two-syllable words, changing e.g. spaghetti (Japanese pronunciation "su-pa-ge-tti") into "su-pa".
So, customizable would be a real bad name for a Japanese product.
 
And don't try thinking that Japanese usually know different meanings of "custom". Their English knowledge is not advanced. "Custom" sounds foreign and therefore good. That is enough.


+1

#8 Tinjapan

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 05:46

Can you apply that to the Custom Heritage pen name for me?


An exception that proves the rule.

#9 Mrpink

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 07:46

Pilot Metropolitan?

#10 Tinjapan

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 08:44

Pilot Metropolitan?


I can not find a pen sold under that name on the Pilot Japan, Japanese language website. I think it might go by the name Cocoon here.

#11 mke

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 11:12

> Can you apply that to the Custom Heritage pen name for me?

Just another name on the HP. Japanese peoples like choosing names, especially foreign names - spending days and weeks of work until every person agrees. Even every mansion has a name - which then nobody uses.

 

Today, I asked three colleagues which Pilot pens they have. One said "Custom" and didn't know the rest of the name, the two others said "Custom and the number" but none of them ever heard about a "Heritage".

 

A name should be there to differentiate the different pens not to give it a personality, Pilot 74 would be OK with me.



#12 Mrpink

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Posted 29 May 2017 - 17:34

So whats a Pilot Justus? I know theres probably a variety of things in our everyday lives from their cars to the pens which we have no clue what they mean and we are always using the names.
Interesting, thanks for the insight.

#13 Tinjapan

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 03:36

In Japan Toyota sells a car which they call "Rumion". I'm told that this is a Japanese contraction of the English words "roomy one" and was chosen to describe the car. In the US, the same car is called a "Scion".

If you want to rent out an apartment and use a Japanese name no one will bother to take a look. However, once you change the name to a German sounding name, especially with "heim" in it, you'll get interest.

Lot's of strange names for things in Japan. A condo called "Tokyo Moist Life" is one of my favorites.

Like mke said, if it sounds foreign, it is probably good enough.

#14 parkergeo

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 04:46

Actually, the original Custom model (without a number) was so named because it offered a wide selection of nibs to choose from, IIRC...

 

 

The custom(izable) aspect of the pen is still a strong selling point, so that interpretation makes sense. I just returned from a 3 week Japan trip (I'll probably post a summary of some small purchases I made later this week) and many of the larger pen shops that offered Pilot Custom pens for sale had an impressive multi-pen sales display showing the wide variety of nibs that are available for purchase on this model. I didn't take a picture, but the nib options on the display pens and the explanatory information provided were very similar to what is shown in the picture on post #10 in this previous thread: 

 

http://www.fountainp...t-pen-probably/



#15 Arkamas

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Posted 30 May 2017 - 05:24

"A traditional and widely accepted way of behaving or doing something that is specific to a particular society, place, or time."


...The history, culture and sophistication; the rich, aesthetic beauty; the indulgent, ritualistic sensations of unscrewing the cap and filling from a bottle of ink; the ambient scratch of the ink-stained nib on fine paper; A noble instrument, descendant from a line of ever-refined tools, and the luster of writing,
with a charge from over several millennia of continuing the art of recording man's life.

 


#16 sketchstack

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 00:31

"custom" as short for for "customizable"

A Japanese brand name is not made for you, the foreigner. So, don't put effort into making sense of it. You need the Japanese cultural background to understand it.

Japanese don't like long names and even "custom" is long, pronounced "ka-su-to-mu". Usually, they like cutting everything into two-syllable words, changing e.g. spaghetti (Japanese pronunciation "su-pa-ge-tti") into "su-pa".

So, customizable would be a real bad name for a Japanese product.

 

And don't try thinking that Japanese usually know different meanings of "custom". Their English knowledge is not advanced. "Custom" sounds foreign and therefore good. That is enough.

 

To summarize, are you implying that the name "Custom" is short for "customizable", and on top of that the term "customizable" is entirely arbitrary? 

 

If the term "customizable" is not arbitrary, then what is the intent of that word in the context of the naming scheme? 

 

Further, if "Custom" is completely indecipherable by US buyers due to cultural differences, then why wouldn't Pilot USA change it to something else? 


I like to write or make short videos about my fountain pens such as the Conid Bulkfiller or Pilot Urushi 845 BB:

 

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#17 Mrpink

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 02:33

 
To summarize, are you implying that the name "Custom" is short for "customizable", and on top of that the term "customizable" is entirely arbitrary? 
 
If the term "customizable" is not arbitrary, then what is the intent of that word in the context of the naming scheme? 
 
Further, if "Custom" is completely indecipherable by US buyers due to cultural differences, then why wouldn't Pilot USA change it to something else? 


Its bit funny how first they don't really understand and speak english and then they shorten a long word into "custom". That does take abit of an understanding of the english language now don't it?

#18 Lianjie

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 02:49

Pilot has a popular range of pens called Custom, but as far as I can tell they are all regular production models with nothing custom about them.  Im also a clarinetist, and Yamaha makes a range of clarinets called Custom, again just regular production models.  Can anyone shed some light on this? Does the English word custom have a different meaning in Japanese than in English?  


I can't speak for Pilot pens but Yamaha typically uses the Custom name for their highest level woodwind and brasswinds. For example their Custom lines in their clarinets and saxophones are handmade in Japan by their most experienced artisans. Although they have other professional lines that are handmade as well the Custom line is said to receive an even higher level of attention to detail, may be made of more select/choice materials (in the case of clarinets the grenadilla used for the Custom line is seasoned for longer, provides a better tone, and has greater beauty of grain than lower lines), more features, and are usually marketed towards professional players.

It is possible that Pilot has a similar understanding of the word custom and rather than using it to denote customizable features it is meant to represent a higher caliber or greater level of luxury than their other lines.

#19 jar

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 12:24

Same thing that made the Ford Custom and Custom 500 "Custom"; the company used those names.


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#20 TSherbs

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Posted 05 June 2017 - 13:47

 

....Further, if "Custom" is completely indecipherable by US buyers due to cultural differences, then why wouldn't Pilot USA change it to something else? 

 

All that matters is that the name/logo convey to a potential buyer something positive pertaining to the brand or specific item. In the US, anything "Custom" is typically associated with quality and craftsmanship and more individualized attention to detail. The actual provenance of the term is not very relevant in the average consumer's head or at the point of purchase. And, oh yeah, the pens work very well.







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