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Why You Should Buy Some Japanese Pens From Japan


stevesurf
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If the deal is too good to be true...

 

Buy and support our US B&M stores.

 

These two statements I've read on this forum from time to time lead me to try a pre order purchase from a well known brick n mortar store in the US. I just received this email:

 

"We apologize for any inconvenience you are caused. The Platinum Ltd Ed Kawaguchi Fountain Pen Dawn Blue Fine, item #123767 is no longer available. Please let us know if there is another pen you are interested in. Thank you."

 

I had a funny feeling I was going to get this email eventually, and when I saw Atsu (cool-Japan) on eBay had some, even though they were a little more, said why not better trust a good pen friend.

 

Atsu comes through again, leading me to believe that it's far better to not "roll the dice" on a pre-order in a country other than the originating manufacturer, that may never come through.

 

I've had amazing experiences with both Atsu cool-Japan and hobby Japan on eBay that I'm thankful I caught it in time :)

Best regards,
Steve Surfaro
Fountain Pen Fun
Cities of the world (please visit my Facebook page for more albums)
Paris | Venezia

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I don't think I have ever encountered a "local" B&M store that was even remotely competitive with buying directly from Japan. Granted I am not much for limited editions, so I do not have much experience with those. Almost ever Japanese FP I have, with the exception of the Falcon, have come from Japanese sources on Ebay or Amazon... I am going to look into Hobby Japan - always good to have a new lead on a reliable source.

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Most of my purchases are from Pisuke, Bunkidou, and Komamono...

And all of them have been pleasurable....

vaibhav mehandiratta

architect & fountain pen connoisseur

 

blog | instagram | twitter

 

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I echo all the above. I have had nothing but excellent experiences with my many Japanese purchases, from a wide variety of sellers.

Verba volant, scripta manent

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You can say what you want but that IS part of the problem.

 

Since people can and will get pens easily from overseas in our internet age, United States B/M stores do not invest a lot in having that inventory on hand or having that preferred status with the vendor to get many special limited editions.

 

Which helps create and perpetuate the problem.

 

To put it another way: Cleveland is trying to re invigorate the Downtown and get more people to move in and live there. The problem is people have a hard time moving in to an area when there are no mundane things like grocery stores etc to cater to their basic needs. Grocery stores are not going to rent a building and stock a store with goods and employees without there being a customer base big enough to support it- so. they wait for the population to get to a certain density before they move in, but that waiting slows the population getting to that density.

 

Chicken VS Egg.

 

Since people are so comfortable buying online, you are not going to get that many new pen/stationary B/M stores opening.

 

And when it comes to products that people routinely buy online from overseas (which lets be honest is this community) US B/M stores are not going to buy large inventory.

In addition to that if you as a retailer are not buying big inventory...you lose out in preferential status to get the limited editions limited runs even if you are paying good money.

 

For Example of that: Great Lakes Brewing Company brews a seasonal Christmas Ale that pretty much everyone drinks between Thanksgiving and New Years. If you do not carry other GL Products as Christmas Ale is a short supply limited run item, you may not get any Christmas Ale to sell. If your aggregate GL purchases for the year are small, you may only get a small amount of Christmas Ale even if you want to buy much much more.

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@Chuck400b, you are so right.

 

The pen store in Kansas City (MO), according to a person working there, only orders in one new release Lamy Al-Star. I drove there to buy from a B&M and found this out. I had other items I wanted so it was hit and miss. I did end up getting the Acme Fern pen, but no Lamy.

 

I was prepared to pay more for the Lamy copper orange too. Ended up getting that online.

 

What bums me is the markup for U.S. buyers of fountain pens.

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@Chuck400b, you are so right.

 

The pen store in Kansas City (MO), according to a person working there, only orders in one new release Lamy Al-Star. I drove there to buy from a B&M and found this out. I had other items I wanted so it was hit and miss. I did end up getting the Acme Fern pen, but no Lamy.

 

I was prepared to pay more for the Lamy copper orange too. Ended up getting that online.

 

What bums me is the markup for U.S. buyers of fountain pens.

 

 

Understand, in many cases the U.S. mark up is a factor of the pen's price wholesale to US Sellers, along with MAP pricing. It is a simple fact that domestic items tend to be cheaper.

 

I remember years ago Saab was considered a premium brand in the U.S., but overseas it was the equivalent of a "Ford." US servicemembers had a program offered from SAAB where they could buy the car locally and Saab would ship it to the US for them at a nominal fee that still made the purchase far cheaper overall.

 

Try to buy A4 paper in the US....its difficult

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Odd. All the outlets I've seen in Japan were charging full retail. I got mine at a third off through a US-based distributor by preordering after it'd already been released in Japan, and it got to me on a Monday after being paid for on a Friday.

On the Hunt For:

1) Atelier Simoni ID Demonstrator Natural Rhodium (As if it existed.)

2) Moresi 2nd Limited Edition Delta Demonstrator

3) y.y. Pen Club #4 and #10

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I have dealt with multiple pen stores from Japan, during my visit there, as well as other Japanese pen sellers online. Other than the sometimes long shipping time, I have had nothing but great experiences with them, and often 30% to as much as 70% cheaper than the American and Canadian prices (whether in B&M stores locally or prominent online sellers) for pens and other items produced in Japan. The average doubling of Japanese pen prices in the US is quite remarkable.

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When buying Japanese pens, I will only ever buy from Japan. Supplies in the UK, America, and other places have to mark up their prices because of the cost of importing them through taxes and duties which is then factored back into the price.

Local retailers will say to support your local retailers, and some will try to 'scare' you that as soon as it leaves Japan then you have no come back if something goes wrong with it(I don't think so!). But I don't care, I'm not paying twice the price just to buy it locally.

Edited by Bluey
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Can I put in a word for ENGEIKA A Japanese seller of a number of reliable pens at very affordable prices, I have bought all of my Japanese pens from them and have never had a problem, my latest purchase is a Justas which has

the ability to write both Hard and Soft at the turn of the pen thereby turning it into two pens for the price of one! not a bad deal

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Thanks for all your replies. Now that the pen shop I originally ordered from has done the unthinkable, I think it's appropriate to share here:

 

I had placed a web site order with Fahrneys Pens about a month ago for a really great price on the Platinum LE 3776 Kawaguchi.
About three weeks after the "pre-order" was placed, I received this email:
"We apologize for any inconvenience you are caused. The Platinum Ltd Ed Kawaguchi Fountain Pen Dawn Blue Fine, item #XXXXXX is no longer available. Please let us know if there is another pen you are interested in. Thank you."
I called them and I found out later that they actually shipped out units to others, but didn't have the decency to give me an opportunity to order from another vendor. That was one week ago. I also asked to get a call back from the store manager and stated to cancel the order if they were not sending the pen I ordered out.
Now, out of the blue, one week later, today, they charged my credit card and there is no record of the order, no shipping, etc. Incredible. Their sales order line also refused to pass on any messages to the company stating "it's a different company."
I've sent emails to their customer service with no response yet. On another note, there is one other FPN vendor, a well known one here that has also not replied to their emails. It's a real shame that these shops and vendors just don't seem to care.
Other than really, really reputable mail order places like Goulet or Jetpens, I am going to start being really selective on ordering in the future. The eBay vendors Atsu and Cool-Japan have great feedback on eBay and I really believe this helps keep purchases honest as well.
And so, like everyone on this thread seems to agree - buy Japan from Japan!

Best regards,
Steve Surfaro
Fountain Pen Fun
Cities of the world (please visit my Facebook page for more albums)
Paris | Venezia

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