Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sailor Otehon Mechanical Pencil

The first little snippet from my “Japanese Sampler” is the Sailor Otehon mechanical pencil. It’s an all plastic, lightweight yellow pencil, of average length and weight. So what’s noteworthy about it? Well firstly, it’s rather unusual in that it’s an ordinary push top ratchet mechanism, but it uses 2mm lead, and it comes preloaded with 6B grade lead. Actually I wouldn’t have said it was 6B lead - it’s quite dark but is quite hard. Still, 6B is what’s on the package.

Now I don’t read Japanese, so was a bit puzzled by the large instruction sheet and detailed diagrams. Also the grip is rather unusual in that it has a rib running around it. It all came together when I found out that the pencils name, “Otehon”, translates to “Example”, and that this pencil is intended to help correct (little) folk who hold their pencil incorrectly, hence all the diagrams and instructions. The rib around the lower part of the grip is to help with correct finger positioning.

It also comes with blank little name-tag stickers that go on a flat spot moulded at the top of the pencil. Help keep those annoying classmates from snaffling your pencil.

I normally associate Sailor with expensive prestigious fountain pens, so a basic lightweight pencil was quite a change.

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