It began with a pen

It wasn’t even one of my pens, it was a pen I had bought my husband at a local art shop. I didn’t realize what this was going to turn into at the time.

The pen, an Alibi from London.

The problem, it ran out of ink. I searched online & in every office supply store I could think of, looking for a ceramic-pen JUMBO refill made by MICRO #92001 0.5 ..nothing. Then, I searched for ANY pen refill that was remotely close in shaped to the tip of this one ..again nothing. It wasn’t torture though, I (well my whole family) have a thing for pens so muddling around stationary sections in stores is a pretty usual occurrence. But I did carry these empty pen guts in my handbag for over a year asking any and every shop keep “do you have this or do you have something like this?” ..sad I know.

Along came an online shop that carried Japanese pens & refills called JetPens.

I found a perfect fit refill by OHTO the OHTO C-305P (just incase you are searching too) it comes in black, blue & blueblack. My problem was solved!

Well, that was until I had one look around their website, any pen lover will instantly begin to salivate. blah..blah black, blah..blah blue Pilot, UNI, Zebra & Pentel is what we find in most US stores, but these companies are actually Japanese companies and they are seriously holding back on style in the American market. I found pens from those familiar companies in amazing colors, shapes, materials & sizes (both pen barrels & nib sizes). I found things I never knew existed!

SUN-STAR SharPits Lead Holder, basically it’s a mechanical pencil with big 2mm leads & a funny little lead sharpener. I bought the B grade leads as I really like a softish dark lead for sketching & writing. 

I needed a quirky eraser for my new pencil, it’s a Sun-Star Mignon Mini Twist. The eraser is actually x shaped. I don’t know why, but it’s CUTE!

This pen was a I NEED TO HAVE THIS PEN, a Kuretake Zig Letter Pen COCOIRO. There are so many body colors to choose from, traditional neutrals, super brights & soft candy colors. Oh and the Refills, well there are 12 colors to choose from colors like gray, rose, sunset & mint. I went with a lovely brown sepia. It has a fine felt tip that does give the look of old-timey writing & is a bit spotty, but I love it!

The only down side to this is, they are sold separately, the pen body is empty when it comes to you.

I am crazy for needle-point pens. I love the incredibly thin writing line, they can sometimes they can be scratchy & a bit uncomfortable for long term use, usually due to the sleek skinny pen barrel. Not true anymore, the Pilot Down Force Ballpoint is a super chubby 7.0mm pen, it has the needle-point that I love, with a comfortable thick barrel (offered in some pretty cool colors too) and it has a big funny side spring clip. Oh yeah and I got GREEN ink refills, who has those? ..they do.

I love pens, if you love pens, you’ll sympathize with this post. If you don’t love pens, maybe this will inspire you to find the beauty in them.

26 thoughts on “It began with a pen

  1. I simultaneously hate and adore you for this post. I have a huge pen collection and can’t get enough of Japanese pens. How the hell did I not know about Great. Now I will have to click the add to cart button about 80 times. AHHHHHHHHHHHH! I will be broke, and it is your fault.

    Jake and I just went to Seattle and got to shop at Kinokuniya. They have an enormous Japanese pen section. Needless to say, I went hog wild. HOG WILD UP IN HERE.


  2. Jet Pens regularly gets my expendable income. I *love* pens and unique stationary/journals to write in. (They’re dangerous to follow on FB as well. I found out about this awesome pen start up that I ended up getting in on.)


  3. Unbelievable… I have had exactly, exactly, the same issue with finding the right ceramic refill (my pen is not so pretty as the Alibi, though). I could not live with a ‘barren’ pen, so insisted, and kept looking and … voila, you came along with your nice pictures and great story. Since it is my birthday, I have already ordered the OHTO C-305P, and will now peruse through their website. I agree; Japan has a knack for fun and even flamboyant in pens and paper stuff. I cannot thank you enough for your thorough search; from another pen enthusiast, truly thankful.


    1. I am so happy you were able to revive your trusty pen! All of us pen lovers will understand your complete satisfaction with giving that good old pen some brand new juice!


  4. Thank you!! I have the same (empty) pen cartridge and have been trying to find a refill for about 7 years. I have even lugged my poor empty pen through 4 moves. So glad to know about JetPens…but agree that it’s probably a dangerous-to-the-pocketbook site. I’m a pen addict with a love of colors! Thanks again.


  5. First thanks for posting your find… I to have a collection of pens and have 5 of the ones that I got at an office supply store and have kept them around for about 10 yrs looking for the refills.. so I will now go check out the link for the fills I need…

    I love google that is how I found your page.



  6. Thank you so much for info onJet Pens and how to get an equivalent Micro refill—I have kept my vintage Micro Museum Ceramic for years and never thought I’d be able to write with it again…


  7. Finally, my journey is over to find the refill for my ceramic pen. I was going to toss it when I cleaned out my desk a few weeks ago but I thought I’d give it one more try since it ran out of ink long before people sold pen refills on the internet. Thanks for your tip.


  8. Thank you for this post! I’ve been going crazy trying to get refills for 5 of these pens. They have been empty for years!!! I too love writing, pens, colors, and paper products. To see your story was not only useful but exciting. I need to be careful with the JetPens website, wow!!!
    Thank you!! :)


    1. This is so good to hear! JetPens is dangerous fun ..but pens and pencils can be pretty low cost thrills and you can always justify it at least to $25 …because FREE shipping score!


  9. Thank you! Thank you! I used these pens long ago for special projects and was unable to continue due to my inability to find either a refill or an acceptable substitute. Finally, in desperation, I fled to the internet only to find this tale and the exact information I needed. Thank you so much for both your refusal to give up the search and your willingness to share what you had found!! Thank you! Thank you!


  10. Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!!! My pens have been sitting empty for years!!! So excited to order ink for them!!


  11. Me TOO! It all began with that micro pen, apparently now an antique…..but then no refills! I had taken to shopping on ebay for other pens like the one I have, with little success and much expense. From one obsessed pen-aphile to another, I thank you for this amazing post, you really hit the spot.


  12. Decided to look up refills for an old pen, one I have not used in 10+ years, and I’m so glad I found your post! The funny thing is, I ordered from Jetpens last week, after a friend recommended the Hobonichi A6 Techo planner. The ink refills, and some of your other suggestions, are on my wishlist, because I know I’ll be stocking up in the future.


  13. I needed the same OHTO refill for a pen from Egypt! YAY! Thank you for adding that detail.
    Also getting some pens and markers for the kids instead of toys :). We’ll see how it goes.



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