Hobonichi Essentials

1 03 2018

A quick rundown of the things that make up my daily Hobonichineeds. We’ve got two pencil boards (this year’s and last years) which I’ve started turning into dashboards including exercise plans (the calendar is a sticky note with calendar template that was in the dollar spot at Target), major monthly to-dos, and decorative stickers and washi scraps. At least one (typically more) washi tape cards. Book darts—these things are fantastically thin, don’t seem to make any marks on the even thinner Tomoe River paper, and help keep track of more spots in the Hobonichi beyond what my two bookmarks can; glad I bought these. Pentel Arts watercolor paints that I put in an Altoid minis tin—these aren’t the most high quality paints out there, but they get the job done and I’ve had no issues with them. Jetstream Multipen, use this guy all the time. Zig Memory System 2 way glue pen, when I want to glue things down rather than affix with washi. Pentel waterbrush, again nothing fancy, gets the job done. A clear-bodied Sailor HighAce Neo Beginner fountain pen, almost always inked with Rohrer & Klingner Scabiosa iron gall ink, which fits perfectly in the pen loops of my Gfeller Casemaker leather Hobonichi cover (they’re rather thin loops; this pen fits best). FriXion pastel highlighter and a FriXion stamp. And a bunch of planner stickers in a Hobonichi folder by hatuca. All of these things here I use constantly as part of my daily journaling, recommend fully, and buy refills/restocks of whenever needed.


Pilot FriXion Ball Knock Retractable Gel Ink Pen – 0.5 mm – Blue Black

29 03 2014

Blue black, possibly the classiest gel color

You want to talk about a pen I really can’t improve much on, it’s this exact pen—the Pilot FriXion Ball Knock. It’s a retractable, erasable gel with a nice design at an easy price point.

I'm going to take a picture of the back side, I said to myself, and promptly forgot to do just that

I’m going to take a picture of the back side, I said to myself, and promptly forgot to do just that

The body is simple, professional, and color-coordinated to the color of the ink. The only detracting feature is that the back side is covered in Japanese (instructions, probably) printed on the body—would have been better to have all that printed on an easy-remove sticker.

When deployed, the three little window squares show yellow green. What a delightful little detail

When deployed, the three little window squares show yellow green. What a delightful little detail

To spare you the several seconds of embarrassment that stymied me when I first got one of these pens: push down on the top of the clip, NOT the eraser—the clip is what operates the retractable deployment mechanism. There, hopefully I’ve saved you valuable seconds of pressing the eraser, yelling “WHAT AM I DOING WRONG??”

Also known as the friction nubbin

Also known as the friction nubbin

What makes the FriXion so much better than the erasable pens of my youth is that the erasing isn’t accomplished by removing the material off the page—instead, the friction created by the act of rubbing/erasing generates enough heat to cause a reaction in the thermosensitive ink, changing the color to an almost imperceptible near-white, effectively erasing the ink. This process means no eraser crumbs. And this design means none of the problematic situation of the Pilot FriXion Point, whose cap, when posted, would block the eraser. Bravo, design team.

I think this came out looking a bit too bright blue. Please adjust your computer monitors accordingly for the duration of this picture

I think this came out looking a bit too bright blue. Please adjust your computer monitors accordingly for the duration of this picture

The grip is simple, streamlined with the body. Might I suggest a deluxe model with a luxuriously squishy grip be added to the FriXion lineup? Ultimate student model?

Sweet gel action

Sweet gel action. That makes me think of flavored ink. Imagine FLAVORED ink! This is not flavored ink, but if it were, it would probably taste like dusky blueberries (/food poisoning don’t eat the ink kids)

The goods! There are some things you need to know about the FriXion gel inks—they will never be as bright and vibrant as typical gel inks—every color, even the black, has a subdued, muted, almost milky opaque quality to it. It looks lovely, but if you want those strong, bright colors then the FriXion line may disappoint you. Next note: if you press hard into the page when you write, yes, you will still be able to see the indentations of your writing. The eraser is neither magic nor anti-gravity, but I imagine this is also a problem for pencils, so I wouldn’t hold it against the FriXion in particular if a heavy-handed writer is you (but perhaps consider a larger diameter tip, like the 0.7mm). All that said, I find the FriXion writes smoothly with almost no pressure needed. I love using this for taking notes, between the writing and the erasability—just make sure you don’t leave them in, say, a hot car (either the pen or the notes) or you’ll have to stick them in a freezer to bring them back from invisibility. The only possible suggestion I’d add is roll out a needle-point version. Because heck, why not?

Gloomy lighting brought to you by the weather! Cooperating with my pen pictures since never.

Gloomy lighting brought to you by the weather! Cooperating with my pen pictures since never.

There will always be room in my pen case for a Pilot FriXion Ball Knock. Thanks to JetPens for providing this sample!

Pilot FriXion Ball Knock Retractable Gel Ink Pen – 0.5mm – Blue Black – at JetPens



Pilot FriXion Point Erasable Gel Ink Pen – Violet (0.5mm), Blue Black (0.4mm), and Brown (0.4mm)

13 09 2011

Fun fact: the brown FriXion Point was one of the 4 pens in my very first JetPens order

In my experience with the new generation of “erasable” pens, the Pilot FriXion Point (and the Pilot FriXion Color-Pencil-Like erasable gel pens, but that’s another review) is the first pen I tried. It was so impressive and so much fun, I spent several lunch breaks writing things out, holding the paper above a lighter to erase everything, then throwing the paper in the freezer to show my coworkers the resurrected writings later.

Guess which one of these three is marketed to Americans.

Much like the Uni Fanthom, the Pilot FriXion Point is a lightweight pen made almost entirely of plastic. The design on the Japanese FriXion Points I ordered from JetPens has an enjoyable simplicity and classiness; the Pilot FriXion Point available in American stores is inexplicably covered in tribal tattoos that are vaguely reminiscent of flames. I ask again: Pilot, why do you hate America?

What is wrong with this picture? (aside from the color balance)

There is a design flaw that all models share: the eraser gets tucked securely away beneath the posted cap, protecting you from ever using it effectively while writing without taking off the cap and risking it falling off tables / into the clutches of wily domesticated animals.

What, you wanted to actually use these?

The eraser is such a BIG FREAKING DEAL, you would think it would have been impossible for this design to make it to production. I have a hard time imagining that no one at any point in the design process expressed concern about the position of the eraser. What was the reasoning that let this fly out? No one will notice? No one will want to erase anyway? No one will want to use the eraser when they can use STOVES AND FIRE to erase?

Here's something essentially useless that could have gone underneath the posted cap

Pilot has addressed this issue in other FriXion models, but would it really be so hard to fix this on the FriXion point as well? Just put the button with the tip size written on it where the eraser currently is, and vice-versa. Problem solved.

The 0.4mm pens are speaking rudely of the 0.5mm pen. The 0.5mm just wants to be one of the gang! /the 0.4mm pens have been making out or something. Is that pen makeout drool hanging between them? EW.

Aside from achieving the stupidest position for an eraser, the Pilot FriXion Point gets top marks in all other categories. It writes smooth, both fast and slow, has consistent and rich ink, and does what it claims to do—erase. Just don’t be afraid of erasing with it; erase with vigor! You have to, to generate the heat needed to set off the chemical reaction that “erases” the ink. You don’t need to erase like you’re trying to rip the page off, mind you, but you’re also not trying to erase a pencil mark off a butterfly’s wing.

Just pretend like the eraser is totally easily accessible off-screen to the right

While this isn’t my favorite FriXion model due to the much-stressed design issue, it does have the highly desirable trait of being easily available in physical big-box stores. I’ve even seen them in the likes of Rite Aid and CVS! The eraser thing is annoying, but you don’t need that particular eraser; anything that will generate friction and thus, heat, will work. You can even use your finger (though I don’t recommend it; it kind of hurts). Or leave your note on top of the toaster oven while making breakfast. Or take your note outside in Texas.

Write with all three at once for maximum inconvenience

Like I said, these are available all over the place, or, at least the 0.5mm FriXion Point and its color variants are available all over the place. If the place sells pens, there’s a good chance you can find the 0.5mm tattooed FriXion Point there. But for the 0.4mm goodness:

Pilot FriXion Point 04 Gel Ink Pen – 0.4 mm – Blue Black at JetPens

Pilot FriXion Point 04 Gel Ink Pen – 0.4 mm – Brown at JetPens