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What should I be using to write?

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What should I be using to write?

Postby Totakeke423 » Sat 12.06.2008 1:16 pm

I've been using a mechanical pencil to write Japanese for a while now, and while it works, there must be a better way. What kind of writing utensil do the Japanese use when they write? And are the writing tools available anywhere in America?
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Sat 12.06.2008 1:23 pm

I use a mechanical pencil all the time, and mechanical pencils are extremely common in Japan as well. I remember one time a Japanese girl I knew in college expressed surprise that so many people were using wood pencils and ballpoint pens in college -- she felt like those were for little kids and that people in college should be using mechanical pencils.
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby furrykef » Sat 12.06.2008 1:48 pm

Really? I hate mechanical pencils... I always snapped my lead, or I'd have problems with the lead not coming out, or whatever. And erasing with them was always a bit more awkward.

Anyway, I'm kind of puzzled by the original question:

Totakeke423 wrote:I've been using a mechanical pencil to write Japanese for a while now, and while it works, there must be a better way.


"There must be a better way"? What's wrong with the mechanical pencil? I'm kind of puzzled as to what sort of answer you're looking for here. About the only Japan-specific writing utensils I can think of are brushes and brush-pens, and you're certainly not going to find them easier, nor are they typically used for ordinary writing.

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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby Totakeke423 » Sat 12.06.2008 1:50 pm

I don't know, I just assumed there was a better writing tool to use. Guess not. I'll just keep on truckin' with the pencil then. Thanks.
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby Sairana » Sat 12.06.2008 9:47 pm

Writing is writing.

If you're interested in Calligraphy, that's a different story. You can do English calligraphy, and you buy special pens and inks and learn to write the letters all fancy-like.

As far as there being a better 'way', there is semi-cursive for kanji. But I don't know how to learn it, I just suppose eventually when I am good at Japanese, I will find a Japanese-language resource on it and cross that bridge when I get there.
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby Infidel » Sun 12.07.2008 12:28 am

the better way is a matter of technique, not utensil.
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby KanjiHanzi » Thu 01.08.2009 4:18 am

Totakeke423 wrote:I've been using a mechanical pencil to write Japanese for a while now, and while it works, there must be a better way. What kind of writing utensil do the Japanese use when they write? And are the writing tools available anywhere in America?


"a better way" is perhaps also a matter of legibility? Different pens are making more or less clear text. A mechanical pencil tends to give a rather thin result, so to say. A ball point pen is usually better in terms of impact. And a fountain pen is the next and final step in terms of legibility, in my opinion. The advantage with pencils is that you can erase, of course. Pretty convenient when you write Real Texts - i.e. not merely practice - in Japanese/Chinese!!

I have recently learned that there still is a HUGE market for fountain pens in China, something that obviously isn't the case in Japan. Good Japanese fountain pens cost a fortune, but you can get REALLY great pens from China for a mere fraction of money. A very decent one, imported to the USA, can cost only $15-50. And then it's VERY decent. Look at

http://hisnibs.com/
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby AJBryant » Thu 01.08.2009 7:27 pm

I've always used fountain pens. Even the disposable ones are my preferred writing medium. I *HATE* ballpoints.

Fountain pens are particularly good for writing in Japanese and Chinese, I think -- they've got that free ink flow that seems to work so well.

I'm a big fan of Colorado Pen, Inc.
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby chikara » Thu 01.08.2009 7:43 pm

Infidel wrote:the better way is a matter of technique, not utensil.

Exactly. The technique varies depending on the utensil used.

AJBryant wrote:I've always used fountain pens. Even the disposable ones are my preferred writing medium. I *HATE* ballpoints. ......

I used to use a fountain pen but I started having trouble buying replacement cartridges. On more then one occasion the shop assistant has stared at me as if I was from Mars when I have enquired about cartridges/refills for my fountain pen.

"You have a pen that sprays water?" :shock:

I find that the more expensive ball points aren't too bad but I prefer a felt tipped pen.

I use a mechanical pencil for all of my "internal" writing.
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby tōkai devotee » Thu 01.08.2009 8:56 pm

chikara wrote:

I use a mechanical pencil for all of my "internal" writing.


"internal" writing??! :? Is that writing which just stays within your office?
Or inside your brain?! :lol:
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby chikara » Thu 01.08.2009 9:49 pm

tokai devotee wrote:"internal" writing??! :? Is that writing which just stays within your office?
Or inside your brain?! :lol:

:lol:

Writing at home or at work that is not intended to be read by others or be a permanent record.

I have never tried writing inside my brain. There must be a special marker pen on the market for that :P

Surgical marker pens are usually designed for writing on the skin only.
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby Dustin » Fri 01.09.2009 3:11 am

So far all I have ever used is my Ballpoint pens. I HATE using pencil and avoid it whenever possible, only time otherwise being doing mathematics where I was always taught to use pencil instead of pen.

However when I started taking Engineering courses they told me only to do rough stuff in pencil and all my Lab journals in pen, so that probably helped steer me away from pencils. Though if I were to use a pencil I only would want to use the mechanical ones, otherwise the tip gets blunt and i spend half the time sharpening it. I also hate the ruboff I tend to get with pencil either in my papers or even onto my hand, but more in my books.

I recently started to think about using a fountain pen to hopefully be able to make my kanji look a bit nicer, i personally like the calligraphy styles better than any penji I have ever seen, but maybe I am just being too picky :D

Plus, i have a bad habit of chewing on the pens that are stored in my study area whenever they are not writing :( A nice proper pen never gets touched, but these cheap plastic round things don't last long....
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby two_heads_talking » Fri 01.09.2009 9:31 am

Dustin_Calgary wrote:So far all I have ever used is my Ballpoint pens. I HATE using pencil and avoid it whenever possible, only time otherwise being doing mathematics where I was always taught to use pencil instead of pen.

However when I started taking Engineering courses they told me only to do rough stuff in pencil and all my Lab journals in pen, so that probably helped steer me away from pencils. Though if I were to use a pencil I only would want to use the mechanical ones, otherwise the tip gets blunt and i spend half the time sharpening it. I also hate the ruboff I tend to get with pencil either in my papers or even onto my hand, but more in my books.

I recently started to think about using a fountain pen to hopefully be able to make my kanji look a bit nicer, i personally like the calligraphy styles better than any penji I have ever seen, but maybe I am just being too picky :D

Plus, i have a bad habit of chewing on the pens that are stored in my study area whenever they are not writing :( A nice proper pen never gets touched, but these cheap plastic round things don't last long....


That's odd, all my Engineering courses asked us to type it out. Handwritten work was for rough draft only and anything turned in was to be turned in typed. Graphs were even required to be on computer. And that was in 1985-1987.. I wonder why your Engineering course would be going backwards on tech? Perhaps it's the Professor/Instructor.

If you want no rub off, try using a harder pencil, 3h or 4h perhaps. Interestingly enough, mechanical pencils have the ability to hold any hardness/softness of lead available in "wooden" pencils. Believe me, I still do some hand drafted work, even though 98% of my work is done in AutoCad.
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby HarajukuxBoy » Sat 01.10.2009 2:50 pm

I personally use mechanical pencil, wooden pencils hurt my hands to the extreme. Pen is good for note taking, but not really for actual practicing. For I am the type that makes frequent mistakes sometimes ha ha.
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Re: What should I be using to write?

Postby Musiflare » Sat 01.10.2009 3:28 pm

I use Sharpie Pens most of the time or some kind of free-flowing ink pen... I don't like using pencils of any kind in anything that requires turning pages because I hate coming back to look at it in a month or two and find writing smeared all over the place. If it's a test, I use a pencil, because the smeared-lead phenomenon isn't my problem anymore.
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