…and my fake Japanese home.
I’ve always wanted to live in Japan – and times like this would have made things easier, but where there’s a will there’s a middleman service. Let me start at the beginning – I was on Rakuten.com checking out what special offerings were available from Nagasawa (These guys work with Sailor to offer unique offerings like Kobe Ink and special edition Sailor pens). While surfing around I came across another online store called Art & Craft Fan who was offering a limited edition Sailor “Rhapsodie” based on a full sized Professional Gear pen with a 21k nib and made in conjunction with Joyful 2, a Japanese art store. The color was what caught my eye first – a beautiful semitransparent red-orange color with rhodium accents and a two tone rhodium/gold nib. On top of that the box has a limited edition ink enclosed – a red-brown to match the pen.
Here is where things got rough – adding to cart popped a “Can’t ship internationally” message…ugh. I did a little digging on Rakuten and found Tenso.com – a Japanese “middleman” service. What they do is have you sign up for an account and verify your address (I used my drivers license). They then give you a Japanese address in Tokyo that you can ship items to. Once they arrive, Tenso slaps a new shipping label on them and forwards them on to you for about $6+shipping charges. The kicker was I got a coupon for signing up that waived the EMS fee so I only paid the $6 to ship it from Tokyo to New Hampshire – and it only took 4 days!
Now for the pen itself – if you read my review of the Sailor Professional Gear Imperial Black this is pretty much the same pen. The package has a die-cut slip case revealing the “Rhapsodie” logo on the inner box. The box itself has cutouts for the pen, ink, and convertor and also came with 2 black ink cartridges and a cleaning rag. The ink bottle is the typical Sailor/Kobe/Jentle design with a nice wide mouth which I love for doing calligraphy work.
The 21k gold nib features the usual 1911 Sailor scroll work with the outer outer designs in gold while the rest of the nib is plated in rhodium. The Sailor logo, and anchor, 875 (the 21k gold content) and H-EF are all engraved on the nib. Performance is outstanding – these Japanese EF nibs are like surgical tools – so smooth with just a little feedback to provide tension on the writing surface. The feed has no issues with ink delivery as the EF is not using much. Writing was never an issue – the nib is responsive and works well at a brisk pace – never a skip or hard start.
The cap clip is rhodium plated and easy to use with good tension. It also features the larger cap band with “Rhapsodie” engraved several times. The finial features the usual Sailor anchor in rhodium on a light grey background. Like all Professional Gear pens this one features an inner sleeve that seals as you close the pen to keep the nib from drying out.
The Sailor convertor is their usual piston design which can be seen as the resin is transparent. The only real gripe about the pen is this convertor, as it does not hold much ink – but in an EF it’s not a huge issue. My Imperial Black has a medium nib and I do find it runs out after a few pages – not a big deal, just wish it held more.
The ink itself is pretty nice – in my collection it comes closest to Diamine Ancient Copper (middle) and Private Reserve Shoreline Gold (Right). The difference is it contains some green sheen that you don’t really see in the Ancient Copper or Shoreline Gold.
Very excited I got my hands on this one – it was worth the hassle for sure!