A bit of background reading about Nagahara-san and his inventive approach to nib design raised my expectations of the pen. I therefore asked a colleague who was visiting Tokyo to bring one back for me. For 31,500円 and the cost of a couple of beers, I had my pen.
Others have provided glowing reviews of the fit and finish of the Professional Gear. In particular, J-san's review provides some great photographs of the Professional Gear, with a different nib. I also was impressed with the quality. Easily a match for my MB149, at about a third of the cost.
The saibi togi nib is an interesting shape: it has been ground to an inverted pyramid with the tip in contact with the paper, and the base of the pyramid on the tines. This allows the tines of the nib to be stronger and stiffer than a more conventional super fine.
A handwriting sample (a bit rough and ready, it's not a second language so much as a second writing system!):
The diagram (hopefully) explains what I'm on about with the inverted pyramid shape.
(After the second or third photograph, that period was getting pretty large, so I moved the pen a bit)
So how does it work? For my particular purpose, brilliantly! The ink flow is continuous and consistent, without being over wet. The extra stiffness afforded by the design keeps the line thickness nice and uniform. The line variation favoured by the flex nib crowd is not present in this nib. I also tried it upside down. With a wetter ink than the Sailor Jentle black that came with the pen, you might be able to write with the back of the nib: it's a western fine, but a bit dry on that side.
I find myself really enjoying this pen: it's very much a specialist nib, but it encourages me to write with it at every opportunity. It is surprisingly smooth for a pen as fine as this. There is a bit of tooth, as you'd expect, and I wouldn't even try to use it on handmade paper, but it is very nice to write with. I bought it for a particular purpose, but I'm looking for other ways to use it: it would be terrific for cross-hatching a line drawing, I would think.
Edited by MYU, 21 April 2009 - 22:00.