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Is this real Tomoegawa/Tomoe River paper?



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PithyProlix

I've found this paper called "Petals withered" that the seller claims is 52 gsm paper made by Tomoegawa intended for fountain pen writing, good for bringing out sheen and shimmer, etc. with many supporting pictures. In other words, per the listing online, it seems an awful lot like Tomoe River paper. Except for few things:

  1. "Petals withered" is the product name, not "Tomoe River",
  2. the packaging, including the cover sheet, has a very similar design but not the same,
  3. there is a lot of information on the actual Tomoe River cover sheet that does not appear on this one,
  4. the price is low - about $6.20 USD for 100 A4 sheets, shipped to me in Thailand, (but, then again, it's not a lot lower than the price in Japan), and
  5. the paper ships from China.

 

While I think it is very likely that it isn't actually real Tomoegawa paper, curiosity won the day and I went ahead and ordered a pack.

 

Does anyone have the real scoop on this paper?

 

I'm supposed to receive it by May 17 and, when I do receive it, I will report back. (That said, Thailand has a temporary hold on international shipping as they are controlling a covid outbreak, so it may be longer than that.)

 

O1CN01u3U5Gk2IPpZagdr0r_!!322909279.jpg

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Dione

Lots of companies sell notebooks and packs made with TR paper but afaik it's never been marked as Tomoe River. They buy it in huge amounts and very large sheets for making their own notebooks and paper packs. When you receive it you will know whether it behaves the same as Tomoe River. It's the same weight so that's a good start.

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mhguda

Even if it's not actually real Tomoe River, if it behaves similarly or the same, I would not care...

I have some very inexpensive paper (both loose leaf packs and notebooks) from China, bought in a home-supplies store here, that is very light weight (although more than 52gsm, that I can tell from the weight) that is excellent with fountain pens.

So by all means let us know how it works out...

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

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nibtip

From China? Just another counterfeit on the list.

TR is made in Japan. 

 

By the way, TR seem to be improving their second generation paper, (from what i've read on a french forum).

Link on request.

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PithyProlix
45 minutes ago, nibtip said:

From China? Just another counterfeit on the list.

TR is made in Japan. 

So the Tomoe River paper I buy domestically here in Thailand or, say, through an online vendor in the UK is counterfeit as well? Hmm, enlightening. 

 

Are there actual known Tomoe River counterfeits and, if so, how do they behave? 

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Ergative
On 5/2/2021 at 12:40 PM, nibtip said:

By the way, TR seem to be improving their second generation paper, (from what i've read on a french forum).

Link on request.

 

Do you mean the change to TR that everyone's been on about for the last few months? Or do you mean there's been a change to the change, and now the changed paper is changing? (If you follow me). I'd be interested to see the link!

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sgphototn

Tomoegama, maker of Tomoe River paper, also has plants in China. If it's the same or has the same characteristics as Tomoe River paper, I'd buy it, especially if it's cheaper.

 

So far, I can't find it on Amazon.

"When things go well for days on end, it is an hilarious accident." - Kurt Vonnegut  

 

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mhguda
2 hours ago, sgphototn said:

Tomoegama, maker of Tomoe River paper, also has plants in China. If it's the same or has the same characteristics as Tomoe River paper, I'd buy it, especially if it's cheaper.

Exactly. My experiences with other Chinese paper have on average been good. In a few cases, not so good, but with notebooks for instance that I've bought, clearly meant for export, the paper was excellent. And inexpensive.

a fountain pen is physics in action... Proud member of the SuperPinks

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Karmachanic

My understanding is that Tomoegama manufactures paper for industrial use. They do not make notebooks, or A4 sheets. One would have to order a vast amount of paper and job it out to those who make such notebooks i.e Nanami, Elia, Taroko, Endless Recorder, those who sell it in A4 sheets,  and so on.

 

Perhaps @PithyProlix could supply a link?

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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nibtip
6 hours ago, Ergative said:

 

Do you mean the change to TR that everyone's been on about for the last few months? Or do you mean there's been a change to the change, and now the changed paper is changing? (If you follow me). I'd be interested to see the link!

The whole long topic started in october, in french and is very interesting. Some members shared samples of TR sheets and delivered their impressions after testing the new against the old (original) TR.

Nearly everyone preferred the old one. And they had been in contact with some public relation or interlocutor person from TR. So they delivered their grievance against the new paper which does not seem to be that bad but still performs inferiorly to the new. 

Then by the end of the topic, one of them has received a new batch. April 29th on page 9.

Please use google translation:

http://stylo-plume.org/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=19502&hilit=tomoe+river

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nibtip

In fact they have been making different kinds of notebooks for some years now. Pretty good ones except that every page is tarnished by an intrusive watermark "sakae". Also they are bloody expensive abroad.

https://www.amazon.co.jp/-/en/SAKAE-TMR-A5NM68W-Technical-Paper-Notebook/dp/B08352HDK4/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=sakae&qid=1620081039&s=office-products&sr=1-1&th=1

https://www.stiloestile.it/en/13-paper/s-3/subcategories-notebook+notepad+specials_2/brand-tomoe_river?orderby=date_upd&orderway=desc

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A Smug Dill
On 5/2/2021 at 7:46 PM, PithyProlix said:

"Petals withered" is the product name, not "Tomoe River",

 

Tomoe River is a brand of paper, not a retail product name. Even (seemingly) the most common retail packs of A4 and A5 sheets to which fountain pen hobbyists in Western markets refer are of a different brand — Sakae Technical Paper — and are a range of separate products, each with a product name that allows it to be distinguished from others, based on paper weight, colour, sheet size, as well as number of sheets in each pack. While your statement about the product in question is entirely accurate, I think the implied expectation that there is a (retail) product of which the name is “Tomoe River” is misguided.

 

On 5/2/2021 at 7:46 PM, PithyProlix said:
  • the packaging, including the cover sheet, has a very similar design but not the same,
  • there is a lot of information on the actual Tomoe River cover sheet that does not appear on this one,

 

I think you're referring there to the Sakae TP branded retail packs as the target for comparison; but they aren't a standard reference, or embodiment of a set of guidelines, on how retail paper products in the market made of Tomoe River paper are packaged. In fact, the product you ordered aren't even loose sheets, but are bound on one edge with a thin strip of glue.

 

However, if your claim was that the packaging of this product borrowed a lot of the layout and visual elements from the cover sheet on Sakae TP branded packs of loose Tomoe River sheets, I'd have to agree.

 

4 hours ago, PithyProlix said:

 

One reading of the kanji  is tomoegawa. However, also in the description, marketing images, and on the retail packaging are a number of inconsistent references to the Tomoegawa name:

  • パ川 (in "日本パ川紙") — パ is the katakana character pa, which appeals to — but isn't quite — the kan-on reading (stemming from Chinese pronunciation of the equivalent hanzi character) of 巴, which is ha.
  • バチュアン (in the marketing image with the indigo background and “POEZIE” at the bottom) — katakana that reads bachuan, which is roughly how  is pronounced in the Mandarin dialect of Chinese; but the kan-on reading of 川 is sen, not chuan, not even close! So why “spell out” the Mandarin reading of 巴川 in Japanese katakana, when marketing to either Chinese or Japanese prospective buyers? On that basis, I think the allusion in the marketing is intentionally deceptive.
  • バクーアン (on the front of the product's packaging) — katakana for bakūan, which seems to be a corruption of bachuan (when no Chinese dialect pronounces 川 with a hard K as the consonant, as far as I'm aware), and further removed the kan-on reading of hasen.

 

None of that inspires any trust in what the product's manufacturer, marketing or retailer states, as far as I'm concerned.

 

It makes me think of Asian language tattoos on white folk trying to “spell out” or express an English name.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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PithyProlix
2 hours ago, A Smug Dill said:

 

Tomoe River is a brand of paper, not a retail product name. Even (seemingly) the most common retail packs of A4 and A5 sheets to which fountain pen hobbyists in Western markets refer are of a different brand — Sakae Technical Paper — and are a range of separate products, each with a product name that allows it to be distinguished from others, based on paper weight, colour, sheet size, as well as number of sheets in each pack. While your statement about the product in question is entirely accurate, I think the implied expectation that there is a (retail) product of which the name is “Tomoe River” is misguided.

 

I'm not sure I follow your distinction between "brand" and "retail product name". Tomoe River is the English translation of Tomoegawa, the manufacturer, who make many other products, not just paper, as well. I believe "Tomoe River" is conventionally used among enthusiasts to refer to various but specific fountain pen-friendly papers they make. I can't read the Japanese but the products I have been using all have similar labelling, an example of which is below, with no separate name based on weight, color, sheet size, & number of sheets per pack. Also note that both "Tomoe River" and "Sakae Technical Paper" both appear on the labelling - I always assumed Tomoe River is the English translation of the manufacturer and "Sakae Technical Paper" is the product name with weight, color, sheet size, & number of sheets per pack indicated.

 

Quote

 

I think you're referring there to the Sakae TP branded retail packs as the target for comparison; but they aren't a standard reference, or embodiment of a set of guidelines, on how retail paper products in the market made of Tomoe River paper are packaged. In fact, the product you ordered aren't even loose sheets, but are bound on one edge with a thin strip of glue.

 

Presumably - I think there's a good likelihood that what I receive will be different from what I ordered.

 

Quote

However, if your claim was that the packaging of this product borrowed a lot of the layout and visual elements from the cover sheet on Sakae TP branded packs of loose Tomoe River sheets, I'd have to agree.

 

 

One reading of the kanji  is tomoegawa. However, also in the description, marketing images, and on the retail packaging are a number of inconsistent references to the Tomoegawa name:

  • パ川 (in "日本パ川紙") — パ is the katakana character pa, which appeals to — but isn't quite — the kan-on reading (stemming from Chinese pronunciation of the equivalent hanzi character) of 巴, which is ha.
  • バチュアン (in the marketing image with the indigo background and “POEZIE” at the bottom) — katakana that reads bachuan, which is roughly how  is pronounced in the Mandarin dialect of Chinese; but the kan-on reading of 川 is sen, not chuan, not even close! So why “spell out” the Mandarin reading of 巴川 in Japanese katakana, when marketing to either Chinese or Japanese prospective buyers? On that basis, I think the allusion in the marketing is intentionally deceptive.
  • バクーアン (on the front of the product's packaging) — katakana for bakūan, which seems to be a corruption of bachuan (when no Chinese dialect pronounces 川 with a hard K as the consonant, as far as I'm aware), and further removed the kan-on reading of hasen.

 

None of that inspires any trust in what the product's manufacturer, marketing or retailer states, as far as I'm concerned.

 

It makes me think of Asian language tattoos on white folk trying to “spell out” or express an English name.

 

Thanks for the info - I'm not surprised with the inconsistencies. I just noticed that they have changed the listing a little since I ordered - and my order is the first - so I suspect they previously didn't describe it accurately (I always print a copy of the product page to a pdf when I order so there can be no dispute.) 

 

This is an unusual item because I can almost always find Lazada's China-sourced items, especially those listed as "Taobao Collection", on the aliexpress.com or alibaba.com website (I don't look on taobao.com though) but not this one. I can't remember if Alibaba is currently the sole owner or just the controlling owner of Lazada.

 

The order is a calculated risk - I've ordered a lot through Lazada and for most items, including this one, they have a very liberal return policy within the first 7 days with return postage paid by the Lazada/seller - I've never had a problem returning under that policy. For low cost items they often issue a refund and don't ask that the product be returned. If it doesn't match the paper I already have then I'll be curious to see if it's still worthwhile paper and, if so, I'll keep it and may order more in the future.

 

IMG_20210504_124519.jpg

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A Smug Dill
2 hours ago, PithyProlix said:

I'm not sure I follow your distinction between "brand" and "retail product name".

 

Tomoe River is not a product name, in the same way Clairefontaine is not a product name. Clairefontaine Age Bag is a retail product line, and the Age Bag A4 stapled 48-sheet plain notebook is a very different product from the Age Bag A5 wire-bound 50-sheet lined notebook; the purpose of a name is to identify an object, and so those products have different names (and not just Age Bag). Clairefontaine 1951 is a different retail product line, again with different products in it. Rhodia is a brand that uses Clairefontaine paper, but it too has multiple product lines, e.g. Webnotebooks and Classic top-stapled pads (which use completely different paper in colour and weight from the Webnotebooks). So if you use a Rhodia A5 80-page dot Pad, it doesn't mean you wouldn't be writing on Clairefontaine paper, even if the product name is not Clairefontaine. Furthermore, if as an independent notebook manufacturer I buy paper stock from Clairefontaine in bulk, I might not even get any entitlement to use Clairefontaine's name in any capacity on my retail products; but it's still Clairefontaine paper (and not necessarily the specific type someone may be thinking of when they hear the name Clairefontaine).

 

Thus,

On 5/2/2021 at 7:46 PM, PithyProlix said:

"Petals withered" is the product name, not "Tomoe River",

 

really doesn't say anything towards whether the product uses, or is made from, paper stock from Tomoe River; and there is no particular product that is identifiable by just the Tomoe River brand.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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PithyProlix
7 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

really doesn't say anything towards whether the product uses, or is made from, paper stock from Tomoe River; and there is no particular product that is identifiable by just the Tomoe River brand.

The listing title says Tomoegawa.

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A Smug Dill
1 hour ago, PithyProlix said:

The listing title says Tomoegawa.

 

I know. So the claim is that it uses Tomoegawa paper stock, but there is no reason why the product name as seen on the packaging should be Tomoegawa or Tomoe River, irrespective of the truth of the claim in the Lazada item listing. That was my point.

 

Edit: There is an equivalent listing on Lazada.sg, written in English instead of Thai. Most of the actual descriptive text is still expressed in simplified Chinese embedded in the marketing images, of course.

 

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Karmachanic
28 minutes ago, A Smug Dill said:

there is no reason why the product name as seen on the packaging should be Tomoegawa or Tomoe River,

 

@PithyProlix As in Taroko Enigma, for example.

"Simplicate and add Lightness."

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PithyProlix

For all I care they could call it Poop on a Stick or, even worse, Moleskine as long as it performs comparably to the 52gsm Tomoe River paper I already have. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting. (No mixed metaphor intended.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, an anticlimactic ending to this. They sent me damaged paper which they want me to return. There are no exchanges and, soon after I initially ordered, they raised the price higher than what I can purchase the comparable, actual Tomoe River paper for elsewhere so I am not going to re-order. The paper came in unlabeled packaging and it is cream-colored - I only have experience with white Tomoe River paper. Since I am returning it, I'm not risking opening the packaging to see if seems the same as the Tomoe River paper I already have.

 

 

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