Pilot Kakuno :)
When we receive shipments in from our distributors or manufacturers, Jon likes to organize it all in a calm and efficient manner - clearing off space, getting invoices out, counting. He hates it when he's trying to count the pens and it seems like something is missing, but it's really just already in my hand and full of ink. I've been trying my best to resist, but it's been pretty exciting over the last few days as we've gotten a few boxes from Pilot with special order items from Japan. It hasn't even been anything so tremendously anticipated, like the Blue Midori's or last year's Stormy Grey ink, but I guess it's like when you order stuff online, and it finally arrives at your doorstep! Pilot is actually distributed by Crestar here in Canada, but we sometimes ask them to special order items from Japan that aren't stocked regularly. It's a bit of organizing (and a lot of guesswork to get these special orders timed right, but the folks at Crestar are really great people :)
The first of these new pens to share is the Pilot Kakuno is probably the one I'm most excited about. We have a few different colours in the two available nib sizes, fine & medium. Depending on how things go, we may expand the colours and nib sizes. I sometimes hear about parents and kids interested in handwriting and writing, and I'm not sure if it's that I'm listening more or that there is really a growing interest in it all. With a Fine Nib we have: Grey & Blue With a Medium Nib we have: Grey, Green, Orange & Pink The pen comes with only a cartridge! No converter included. Pilot is proprietary, so you'll need to get either more Pilot cartridges or a Pilot Converter. This is a pen marketed towards school-aged children to help them learn how to write with pens or fountain pens, similar to the Lamy ABC. The Kakuno has a friendly font on the cap, which you can purchase in the different colours, and the pen itself is a bit smaller and slightly chunkier than the Metropolitan. What the Kakuno is most well-known for, though, is a bit hard to notice unless you're looking for it: it has a smiley face on its nib.
Supposedly this smiley face is to help remind kids that you write with the pen nib side up. I feel a bit like once you learn that it's supposed to be nib side up, you don't need too many reminders, so I like to think the smiley face is just there to be a friendly face in life... then again, maybe it's been too long since I've been around school-aged children. I recall having to remind 13-year-olds that pencils are for writing with, not putting up a nostril, and then putting back into the communal pencil jar. It was a coin toss between the orange and the green for me, but I already have a Copper Orange Al-Star and a TWSBI 580 AL in orange, so it was the green.
I waffle back and forth between wanting my inks to match the general colour of the pen, but I happened to have Rohrer & Klinger's Alt-Goldgrun on my desk. It's one of my favourite greens, a good spring/summer/fall ink, but also good at Christmas, so it's basically a year-round sort of ink. This is a medium nib in the Kakuno, which will be the same as the medium Metropolitan, but closer to a European Fine (Lamy Fine, Kaweco Fine). Japanese nibs tend to write a bit finer than European nibs.
The grip is a translucent, bur dark, and is also triangular shaped, which helps guide your fingers into the right angle for writing. It's not as pronounced or defined as the Lamy Safari/Al-Star grip, a bit more rounded or softer. It's a pretty light pen, made out of plastic, so it will be good for longer writing sessions. The plastic is super durable, maybe in anticipation of getting knocked around a bit. The snap cap is secure, closing and opening with a solid snap, and will post on the back of the pen securely. There's no clip, but both the cap and the body are hexagonal so they won't roll off your desk. The nib is basically the same as the Metropolitan, except that it has a smiley face on it. It's smooth, firm and a nice wetness. This is a pen you don't have to worry about.
The Pilot Kakuno is just a cute, sweet pen. If you like the Metropolitan and how it writes, you will also like the Kakuno. It's great for students and children, but it's also just a fun pen that's - like all Pilot pens, such as the Metropolitan, the 78G, the Prera - reliable, consistent and easy to write with. Sometimes that's what it comes down to - the pen just writes when pull it out of your pocket, uncap it and put it to paper. A great all around pen.