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Tokyo International Pen Show 2019: A Japan Travelogue


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#1 AltecGreen

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 03:48

Tokyo International Pen Show 2019: A Japan Travelouge


Hungrynerd and I returned from Japan on Monday.  Here is a travelogue of our adventures as we attended the Tokyo Pen Show and other pen and non-pen related events.

We began our adventure when we landed in Osaka on the 28th.  When in Japan, the first thing one must do is find Pikachu.

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We had one night in Osaka so we went shopping.  She needed backpacks from the Anello flagship store so she dragged me there. In return, I dragged her into three guitar shops on the way to food.  Japan is one of the best places to shop if you have money.  The selection of goods is second to none.
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Crossing the Dontonbori River
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We went around looking for food.  I made her get a cheese cake at Uncle Rikuyo which then I have to lug around Japan for the next day.


Our first stop had killer pickles
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Our second stop for yakitori
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2020 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 28-30th, 2020
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


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#2 AltecGreen

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 03:48

The next morning we hopped a flight to Tokyo.

Airport Pikachu
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Once we landed and settled in to our hotel, we went to meet Hungrynerd’s friend.  We gave her the cheesecake.  (Yay!)

The streets of Omotesandō
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Later that afternoon, we one to our first pen related event.  There was a somewhat mysterious stationery event in Nihombashi.


We went to Maruzen since it was on the way to the stationery event.
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The stationery event was on the 9th floor of some nondescript office building.  Very Japanese.  When we got there, we found a small event with several vendors.

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Urushi pens.  Both hungry nerd and I bought one of these pens from a young Urushi artist.
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Then there was ink.  There was a lot of ink.  I’m so sick of ink at this point.
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We met up with Hiroko of Bokumondoh and a few others from Slack and left for dinner.  We had a great time talking about pens.  Hungrynerd was delivering pens for Hiroko to do urushi work from a number of Pen Posse people.  We spent a lot of time looking at existing pens that she had done to figure out what each of us wanted on our pens.
 


2020 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 28-30th, 2020
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#3 AltecGreen

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 03:49

Breakfast in Tsukiji
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After breakfast, I left Hungrynerd to so I could do the main thing I came to Japan for, guitars.  (And you thought it was pens) I spent the day traveling all over Tokyo shopping for a guitar.

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This is what I bought
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We had dinner later that night with Daryl of Musubi at Ginza Cobau for wagyu.
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After dinner, we walked to Itoya in Ginza.  
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Edited by AltecGreen, 10 October 2019 - 04:18.

2020 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 28-30th, 2020
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#4 AltecGreen

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 03:49

It was very humid in Japan and really uncomfortable in the city.  Fortunately, we had arranged a side trip to Karuizawa to visit Stylo Art on Tuesday.  


Shinkansen
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Karuizawa
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Motoshi Kazuno was a gracious host and took me, Hungrynerd and Daryl around the surrounding countryside.

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Mt Asama
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Gratuitous pen pic
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Someone had to get soft serve.
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A giant Kayaki tree at the local shrine Motoshi takes care of.
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Then Motoshi and his wife Shuko fed us lunch.  
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Then we visited the Stylo Art Gallery and workshop
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Snakewood pen and snake clip
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The workshop
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The wood
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Motoshi gave us a demonstration and made a cap and section.

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We got to see all of the cool stuff that’s not fro sale although we did try to buy everything

A boxcutter done in Kanshitsu and raven
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We said goodbye to Motoshi and Shuko and returned to hot and humid Tokyo.  There was enough time to get god tier Tonkatsu in Roppongi.

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Edited by AltecGreen, 10 October 2019 - 04:18.

2020 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 28-30th, 2020
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#5 AltecGreen

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 03:50

Wednesday morning we headed back to Ginza and Itoya.  Of course, coming to Japan meant we were helping friends acquire stuff.  In this case, the Itoya annex to have custom notebooks made.  You pick your covers, binding materials, paper, etc… and in a few hours they make you a custom notebook.  I helped Yuan pick out stuff for the notebooks that people wanted.
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The other reason we were in Ginza was lunch at Ginza Kagari.

Michelin star level ramen.

The line
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After lunch, I ditched Hungrynerd and Daryl and went guitar gear shopping again in Ochanamizu.
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Wednesday night was dinner with Leo from Hong Kong and Hiroko again.  It was a great gathering of pen people from around the world.

Nihombashi at night
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Pen dinner
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Keith from Thailand is going to win son of the year.  He commissioned Hiroko to urushi a handbag for his mom.
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Edited by AltecGreen, 11 October 2019 - 02:23.

2020 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 28-30th, 2020
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#6 AltecGreen

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 03:50

On Thursday, Laurence Prenton pulled strings and made arrangements for us to visit the Pilot factory and the museum in Hiratsuka.

Hiratsuka
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The museum and maki-e studio
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Sorry but pictures were not allowed inside.  There is a small museum inside with displays of modern and vintage Pilot maki-e pens as well as larger wall hanging maki-e pieces.  We found out that Pilot keeps a small staff of maki-e artists on staff and the study was right next to the museum.  We were able to watch three of the artists work on maki-e pens.  Pilot also employs  freelance artists based in Wajima.  They showed us a video of various maki-e techniques.  Laurence knows the staff there and they let us use one of the conference room so Hungrynerd and I could shop for pens from Laurence.

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Afterwards Laurence took us to Manazuru down the coast for lunch.

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Dining with a view
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After lunch we went to Odawara and visited nearby Daiyuzan Saijoji Temple
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Nope
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2020 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 28-30th, 2020
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#7 AltecGreen

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 03:50

Friday was the day of the pre-show reception.  But the main event of the day was unagi at Obana


An hour before opening.
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Coffee at Hario before the reception
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A $20 cup of champion geisha coffee
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After some more shopping, we headed off the the pre-show reception for vendors and foreign dignitaries.


Show location
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The show hall
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The show organizers

Endo Tomohisa of Nikko Ebonite, Kaoru Yamagishi of Bungbox, Bruce Eimon and Masahiro Takeyama.
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Some of the foreign vendors
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Socializing
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Ralph and Keith
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I am really touched that the organizers invited me up to the mic to speak on behalf of the SF Pen Show.  It was weird when people I did not know were cheering me as I got up to the mic.


After the reception, we had a impromptu pen Posse at a Starbucks down the street
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Ian Schon and Ms. Lai of Yaching Style
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I kinda felt bad for the people trying to do homework while we were having our pen posse.

 


Edited by AltecGreen, 10 October 2019 - 04:21.

2020 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 28-30th, 2020
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#8 AltecGreen

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 03:51

Saturday was the first day of the show.  Hungrynerd and I got to the show around 8am to get in line for the show ink.
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The show was incredibly well organized.  They had 60 volunteers who were all veterans of Comiket.  They had us line up in rows of five and passed out tickets for the inks.  They then went through the line to collect our entrance fee.  

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Everything was very orderly and exactly on time.  As soon as 10 am hit, they started to let ten rows at a time enter the show.  Most people split into to camps.  One went immediately to Bungubox to get the Alice pen and Ink.   The other group went to Kobayashi to get their exclusive.   I went to Bungubox because I was getting a pen and ink for a Pen Posse member.

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The show (there was way too much ink)
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We broke for lunch  and on our way out, Hiroko passed by.  Leigh Reyes had never met Hiroko in person but by chance they met as we walked out of the cafe.
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Bruce bought a crab pen holder/blue tooth speaker
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Bokubundoh gathering
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Bokumondoh family reunion
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Someone forgot business cards
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Aftermarket Decimos from Kobayashi
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There were quite a few foreign vendors

Aesthetic Bay
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Scott having lunch
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Atelier Simoni
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Yaching Style
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2020 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 28-30th, 2020
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#9 AltecGreen

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 03:51

On Sunday, there were competing pen events.  There was a Wagner pen club meeting in another part of Tokyo.  So Hungrynerd and I went to that Sunday morning.

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Mr. Pilot
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Back to the show

Ken Takeda, the ink guy.  He owns 2718 bottles of ink
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Ms. Lai had some awesome pens
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Ohashido
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Ms. Lai convinced Uehara Yūichi to show us some pens that were collected by his father and grandfather.

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Bruce and Taizo Yamamoto talking about paper
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Leo’s up to no good
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More ink (sigh)
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New ebonite colors at Eboya
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Toyooka Craft
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Ian
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Pen Chopsticks
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After the show, we went to dinner with a bunch of pen people at the Maruzen Cafe in Nihombashi.  Hiyashi rice for the win.

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Other people’s dessert.  Ms. Lai stuck a pen in hers
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So that’s a wrap.  It was wonderful show.  The best part for me was meeting all of the pen nerds from around the world and binding over something as simple as a pen.  Many who came to the show already friends but I met many new people.  The show definitely had a very international flair.  I want to congratulate all of the show organizers for putting on such a well organized show.  I definitely was taking notes.  


To end, some food pics from the basement of Mitsukoshi Dept. Store.  I love Japan.

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Edited by AltecGreen, 10 October 2019 - 04:11.

2020 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 28-30th, 2020
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065


#10 ac12

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 04:28

Thanks for the trip report Ricky  :)


San Francisco Pen Show - August 28-30, 2020 - Redwood City, California

www.SFPenShow.com


#11 JonSzanto

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 04:40

Absolutely stellar reportage, Ricky. Glad that you and Nerd had such a wonderful trip, and thank you for sharing so generously with all of us!


"When Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick; and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter."
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#12 Jerome Tarshis

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 05:01

I can see why Ricky and a great many other people love Japan. A shopper's paradise, a foodie's paradise, and enormously rewarding to even the most casual photographer. Heartfelt thanks for putting in the extra effort to create this photo tour.



#13 hungrynerd

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 05:15

You forgot to mention what you learned about curing urushi and how often it's done.


My pen is smaller than yours. Now get off my lawn.


#14 5Cavaliers

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 05:41

Outstanding review!  Thank you! 


"Today will be gone in less than 24 hours.  When it is gone, it is gone.  Be wise, but enjoy!  - anonymous today

 

 

 


#15 ethernautrix

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 05:44

WOW! I love it! I'm also super jealous, er, I mean, super happy for you!

You know, for the fraction of the cost (hahahahaha!), y'all could come to Poland for the pen show in Katowice AND visit me in Wrocław! Don't you like pierogi and gołąki and kiełbasa and...PORK in many permutations (which *ew* make me squeamish, but I suspect you'd be in heaven (flashback to being your kitchen minion))? Burgers and pizza are also very popular and competitive now in Wrocław, which has a sizable Korean population (thank gawd -- for at least a few familiar grocery items in a couple of stores). Sushi is catching on! (I know, I know. The Mother would raise an eyebrow and that would be a thousand words. Of doubt.)

If you're not interested so much in the pens, bring the Japanese pen-makers! Plus... a bunch of people from Europe who attend that you know. April! CHODŹ! Poproszę....*


Hahaha. I know. It ain't Japan. Sigh.


*You specifically; also, Pen Posse! Hah? Haaah?!

Edited by ethernautrix, 10 October 2019 - 05:50.

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#16 ethernautrix

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 05:57

I just checked Facebook and this was the first item, a memory from nine years ago. https://m.facebook.c...a.1640137290093

BTW, at the moment, I'm cooking boneless żeberka (pork ribs. I know, boneless, but actual ribs were sold out, and my brother really wanted me to cook this again). It's slow cooking. Adding carrots, little potatoes, Brussels sprouts, onion, garlic, mushrooms, three colors of bell peppers (none green) and (later, in the bowl, spinach). In a big ol' vat. It's for the fam, who loved it the first time I cooked it. A few days ago. Hahaha.

Oh wait. Where am I? For a moment I thought I was on Facebook. Carry on, FPN.

Edited by ethernautrix, 10 October 2019 - 05:58.

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#17 zaddick

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 06:00

What a wonderful post and a stunning guitar you picked up. Thank you for sharing.

If you want less blah, blah, blah and more pictures, follow me on Instagram!


#18 stylographile

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 11:08

food, pens and inks, guitars - fascinating and mouth-watering report, thank you ! And now I want the Toyooka Craft cabinet on the left in the photo, there should be enough room for FPs AND inks ! Can't find it online, sigh...



#19 TheRealMikeDr

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 14:05

What's the make/model of the guitar? Was it made in Japan? Frankly I didn't know the Japanese were into guitars to that degree!

 

Also - curious if the show had US made pens and if so are they of interest to the Japanese the way we in the US sometimes pine for hard to get pens from other countries?

 

Thanks for the terrific write up!



#20 AltecGreen

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Posted 10 October 2019 - 14:29

You forgot to mention what you learned about curing urushi and how often it's done.

 

 

I leave that one to you.  I also left out the Bic camera song. :rolleyes:


2020 San Francisco Pen Show        
August 28-30th, 2020
Pullman Hotel San Francisco Bay
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City Ca, 94065







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