Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Review

Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

Once upon a time, finding Tomoe River paper was an exercise in frustration. You could find sellers on FPN or FPG offering looseleaf Tomoe River paper, but it was expensive and sold out quickly. Then the Nanami Seven Seas Writer Journal came along, and, if you acted quickly, you could purchase a couple of journals--one to write in and one to hoard for the future. Now Tomoe River paper is ubiquitous. You can find it on JetPens and Amazon and through various independent notebook makers.

Elia Note is one of those independent notebook makers. The company is located in Malaysia. It offers three different A5 sized journals with white 52gsm Tomoe River paper: blank, dot grid, and lined. Each version costs $29.45 USD.

Elia gave the Pen Addict a dot grid version for review. It comes in a tan colored box which you can use to store the journal once you’ve completed it.

Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Box

The notebook itself has a black, cardboard cover without any branding at all.

Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Cover

Inside, the first page has the Elia logo along with information about the notebook. There are 496 pages of 5mm dot grid, white Tomoe River paper made in Japan.

Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Front Page

Aside from the light grey dot grid, the pages are unmarked--no page numbers, headings, or logos.

Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Sample Pages

The notebook is simple. It does not have any pockets inside the covers nor is there a ribbon bookmark.

The paper is, of course, fabulous. Unlike the disappointing Maruman notebook I reviewed last week, the Tomoe River paper handles almost anything you can throw at it without bleeding or feathering.

I practiced my calligraphy alphabet using my Opus 88 fountain pen with the Regalia Labs Crossflex nib inked with Montblanc Corn Poppy Red. The ink worked perfectly with the paper--no smearing, no bleed-through, no feathering.

Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Alphabet Practice

Of course, because Tomoe River paper is so thin, there is quite a bit of show through.

Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Show Through

I tested several different pens and inks on the paper. It handled every single one with ease. The only one that bled through (slightly) was the Sharpie, and I always expect that.

Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Pen Testing
Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Pen Testing Show Through

I wrote another entry from The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce (read it, it’s so funny!) using my TWSBI Eco T inked with Kyo-no-oto Adzukiro. It’s simply a delight to write on Tomoe River paper. It’s smooth, yet it doesn’t smear, and the results are so pleasing.

Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Devil's Dictionary

I also did ink swabs in the Elia notebook. Even wet Q-tip swabs didn’t bleed through this lovely paper. I really like that the paper in the Elia notebook is white rather than cream, because it shows off each ink’s color accurately.

Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Swabs
Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Swabs Show Through

I’m definitely impressed with the Elia Note Tomoe River Paper Journal. But, I noticed that it is almost an exact duplicate of the Nanami Seven Seas “MicroDot” Journal, from the A5 size to the black cover to the rounded edges.

Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Nanami vs Elia

The main differences are: the Elia has white paper whereas the Seven Seas is off white. The Elia has 496 pages whereas the Seven Seas has 480. The Elia costs $29.45 plus shipping from Malaysia (about $12), whereas the Nanami Seven Seas “MicroDot” Journal costs $26 plus shipping from the US (about $9.20).

I will happily use the Elia Note once I’ve finished my current journal (a Hippo Noto). But I’ll likely return to Nanami for my next A5 Tomoe River journal, simply because it’s a slightly cheaper option.

(Elia Note provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Elia Note Tomoe River Journal Bottom Image
Posted on February 8, 2019 and filed under Elia Note, Notebook Reviews.

Visconti Mirage Fountain Pen Review

Visconti Mirage Fountain Pen Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)

I'm usually pretty well behaved, so it's no surprise when Santa brings me stationery. I must have been REALLY good last year, though, because Santa did surprise me with my very first Visconti pen—the Mirage, in a lovely Evergreen color.

I've admired Viscontis before, but their high price points mixed with rumors of dodgy quality control have always put me off. I was very excited to finally get a chance to try one.

The Mirage is a new entry-level Visconti pen to celebrate the company's 30th anniversary. Their previous entry-level offerings have often been priced higher than many folks' upper limits, so adding a new tier was, I think, a great idea. I did worry, though, that if the quality of their expensive pens varied so much, what sort of pen would be on offer for 1/5 the price?

Visconti Mirage Fountain Pen

Well, apart from an introductory hiccup, I think they've offered a very decent pen. The hiccup, though, required some resources that many new pen buyers won't have.

My first impression of the pen was good--it's beautiful. The body is a rich, shimmery, swirly vegetal resin that catches the light like magic. The body has fluted grooves and a decorative palladium-plated cap band that give the piece a very Art Deco look. It has the signature arched clip with the Visconti name engraved in it. The bottom finial has a metal Visconti logo that can be removed with a magnet and replaced with your initials or a gemstone. The grip section is smooth and round, in the same material as the body. The nib is a new steel design, with more Art Deco-styled etching.

Visconti Mirage Fountain Pen Nib

Maybe it's because I associate that clip with high prices, but this pen looks more expensive than it is. With the lower price, as one might expect, it doesn't have a lot of the fancy Visconti features, but it does have a few. That magnetic finial is one, another is the spring-loaded clip, and there's also the self-aligning magnetic cap. The cap holds securely and closes with a satisfying self-propelled click. It's almost too fun, and between that and the springy clip, the cap is a meeting-fidgeter's delight.

The steel nib writes smoothly and with the perfect amount of wetness. It's very pleasant to write with.

Visconti Mirage Fountain Pen Converter

My hiccup with the pen had to do with the converter. The converter included with the pen does not actually fit in the pen. It kind of, almost, sort of fits--just well enough that you can tell something is wrong. You can use it, but it doesn't get a good seal, so it's difficult to fill and tends to leak. The metal band at the neck of the section is too narrow for the plastic body of the converter, so you have to wrestle it in place. Mine did not stay in place.

The good news is, Visconti does make a converter that fits. You need to get the threaded piston converter. But that's not the one they included, because--well, because Visconti. Fortunately, I (I mean Santa!) purchased the pen from Anderson Pens, so I was able to bring the pen in, show them the issue, they swapped the converters, and I walked out a few minutes later with a pen that functions beautifully.

Visconti Mirage Fountain Pen Nib

Most customers, though, would be purchasing the pen online and having it shipped to a pen-store desert. If you're doing this, be sure to request that the shop swap the converters for you. My worry is more for the casual shopper or inexperienced pen buyer who may pick one of these up, thanks to the accessible price. They're going to struggle to assemble and fill the pen, then get a lot of ink on their hands. If they're not tenacious enough to contact the shop, they may decide that fountain pens are fiddly and messy and nope right out of the hobby.

So, mostly bravo to Visconti for creating a new port of entry into their brand and fountain pens in general, but I hope they'll note this converter issue and start packing them with the proper accessories. If you're going to launch a product priced to attract new customers, you've got to make that first impression perfect. Especially when the product is otherwise so excellent.


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Visconti Mirage Fountain Pen Writing
Posted on February 7, 2019 and filed under Visconti, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Zebra G-402 0.5mm Gel Pen Review

Zebra G-402 0.5mm Gel Pen Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

Back in my high school and college days, the Zebra F-402 was one of my prized possessions. It was classy, dependable, and comfortable. In that period of my life, the 0.7mm ballpoint didn't bother me too much, but I did wish for a bolder line and smoother feel.

Many years later, Zebra have delivered on that wish. The Zebra G-402 is the same pen with one very important difference: the refill. Instead of the classic ballpoint refill, this pen is equipped with a Sarasa refill. The possibilities for refill tip size and colors are much greater with this refill type, and that's really exciting.

The included refill is a 0.5mm black refill that writes smooth and leaves a bold, crisp line on the page. I've always been a fan of the Sarasa line, and this variant is no slouch.

Zebra G-402 0.5mm Gel Pen

The rest of the pen is identical to the older ballpoint version, so if you've ever used one of those, you'll have a great idea of what to expect with this one. For me, the grip is comfortable for most short writing sessions and the weight feels great in my hand. The clip is strong enough for most circumstances and the stainless steel barrel is resilient to scrapes and bumps. Over the course of its lifetime, the steel develops more character and the rubber grip starts to shine a bit more from use.

Zebra G-402 0.5mm Gel Pen Sarasa

The G-402 uses the same refills as the Sarasa multi-pen line, which are easy to replace. One thing I'll mention is that the direction of the spring actually matters with this pen! If you install it the wrong way, it slips down the body of the refill too far and doesn't provide and resistance.

The Sarasa multi-pen line of refills isn't as extensive as others, but it certainly provides more options over the standard black and blue that Zebra offers on the ballpoint variant.

JetPens stock all the various options, so you're sure to find a combination that fits your style or need for every situation.

Zebra G-402 0.5mm Gel Pen Refills

I've been so delighted to use an old favorite with a fresh refill. I'm sure if I'd never used the F-402 years ago that I'd still think this was an attractive pen. It has a classic and professional design that a lot of people can appreciate. While the pen isn't available on JetPens (as of this writing), you can pick them up at Amazon and peruse the various refills from the selection that JetPens keep in stock.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Zebra G-402 0.5mm Gel Pen Writing
Posted on February 6, 2019 and filed under Zebra, Gel, Pen Reviews.