Pleased to make your acquaintance, Monami: a product review

Some of you may recall my love of and all the wonderful pens I’ve gotten from them. How I coped before my beloved sepia Tachikawa fountain pen, or my Zebra G nibs I do not recall. I’m still on my very first of the nibs, by the way, and it’s lasted me close to a year at this point!

In any case, Jetpens has sent me a random pen to review. A highlighter, to be specific. I was surprised to see it, as I don’t believe I’ve used a highlighter in more than five years, and the ones I recall were pretty terrible. I always got those Avery brand Hi-Liters, with the horrible and easily frayed felt tips that dropped giant puddles of ink on everything they touched.

The pen, itself

The highlighter they sent, the Monami Essenti, was probably as much of a contrast to the the Hi-Liter as probably exists in the highlighter world. It’s slim, for one, with a very pleasing pen-like profile and a hard chisel tip. Very hard, in fact, for being the “soft” version.

The nib

The ink comes out smoothly, with only an initial pooling when the nib first hits the page. The nib being a lot harder and narrower than I’m used to (the effective width is just barely wider than the lines of text I was testing it on) it took some practice for me to get a straight, consistent line.

The 'lite

As with any pen, the final test is whether it bleeds through common substrates. The initial little dollop of ink soaked through just a little on medium-weight printer paper, but the rest of the line didn’t. I don’t have anything bible-weight to practice on, but in my estimation it would likely soak through such thin paper.

The bleed

Conclusion: It’s a nice, lightweight highlighter with a lovely pale blue color and a firm nib. Would be ideal for books and copied pages, but would likely bleed through anything super thin.


Bonus feature: Instead of a standard pocket clip, the Essenti has a nice little spring-loaded clip.


Japanese critters, and tangents

I’m looking back on my old blog, and remembering that I used to ramble a lot more often about things I just liked. I’m going to get back on that.

Nekomata, from the Kaibutsu Ehon

Nekomata, from the Kaibutsu Ehon

Evan and I have been watching the show Mushi-shi lately. It’s a slow, quiet little anime, with each episode a self-contained storyline about someone who has been affected by creatures called Mushi. Mushi are beings that exist on the invisible spiritual plane, and when they interact with humans it’s almost always to cause disease. It’s probably inspired by the early Chinese belief that ascribed diseases to the actions of malignant spirits. The 16th century Japanese book Harikikigaki details some of these beings.

It’s an interesting anime, and one I’d definitely recommend taking a look at. The whole series is available to watch for free on Hulu or Netflix, if you happen to subscribe (don’t know whether either of those services are available to non-US residents… sorry).

In related news, the Japanese culture blog Pink Tentacle recently posted some images from Kaibutsu Ehon (or Illustrated Book of Monsters). It’s beautiful, and odd, and fascinating. The early Japanese tales that ascribed supernatural powers to pretty much everything that lived past its expected lifespan seems strange to me, but I know it’s only that I’ve been raised in such a rigidly Western environment. Fairies and trolls are pretty damn weird too. Really, it’s a pretty encouraging idea — we’re so used to the idea that things wear out and lose value, but if it’s the opposite? Humans gain knowledge (and sometimes wisdom, and sometimes insight) with age, so why shouldn’t stirrups? Or folding screens? Or cats?

On that tangent, I’m made to think of Jo Walton’s Among Others, which I recently finished reading. In the British isles of that book, objects that are well-worn gain power from, for, or over, those who have used them. Which is how the chemistry of nostalgia and sentimentality works, really. Why can’t I get rid of that book I’ve read 30 times over since childhood? Because it has power over me.

What possible advantage could this way of thinking convey to humans? Perhaps it serves as a reminder to maintain possession of objects that have been useful to us in the past, and which might better our continued chances of survival? No clue, but that copy of A Wizard of EarthSea is remaining firmly entrenched upon my shelf.

The Walking Dead

To be honest, I didn’t like Walking Dead. The first episode was just a mishmash of tired Zombie tropes (even more tired if you read books), doused with a good helping of sexism and kill-the-women-so-that-the-men-can-learn-an-important-life-lesson-ism (also known as Cormac McCarthyism). If it sticks to the comic, it’s apparently going to stay that way. So, yeah. Not the “greatest SF series” of the decade, in my opinion (though the effects were pretty nice). Also, I’m rather tired of hearing about it.
*Goes back to reading her book*

Apologies for the grumpy, non-art-related posts. Promise that I didn’t write this post in order to antagonize anyone who likes the show (go ahead! enjoy! you have every right!) only to express my own, grumpy opinion.

There should be some more art along momentarily.