12 days of Christmas gift ideas for Japanese learners Day Seven - Frixion addiction!
So, you’re writing your Christmas list, or shopping for a friend who is learning Japanese too. I’ve got a few gift ideas for you to consider, there’ll be one a day for the 12 days, search under the 12daysofJapanese tag to find them all.
Frixion pens by Pilot
Cost: $-$$ (low-mid budget)
Usefulness: Very useful for perfectionists, colour coders, those scared of commitment and messy people like me
Suitable for: Everyone who takes notes on paper
Available in other languages: N/A
As most who study Japanese do I take a lot of notes and write a lot of kanji. If you write kanji in pen it can be really annoying, as one tiny error and the whole thing needs to be written again. I used mechanical pencils for years but they posed two issues for me:
- the leads always snap repeatedly, even if I try not to use too much pressure
- the graphite transfers from page to page in my notebooks and can cause legibility problems in textbooks if you need to write a lot of notes on them
A couple of years ago my friend told me about these erasable pens, I was sceptical as all the ones I’d ever tried had a lot of transfer, just like graphite, but the Japanese have pretty much perfected the erasable pen!
They work just like in the commercial, the heat of the friction caused by the ‘eraser’ part of the pen causes the ink to disappear, you can use a normal eraser too, but the one attached to the pen works best.
The advantages of these pens are manifold for me:
- Most importantly my notes are no longer full of crossings out or eraser/graphite smudges. Clean notes are easier to review and I don’t feel like a failure for having such messy and difficult-to-read notebooks.
- there’s no transfer or snapping leads like with pencil
- there’s no bleed through on pages
- when erased, the paper returns to the original colour and isn’t stained by the pens (with the exception of faint marking from the felt tipped type if left for some days before erasing)
- there’s a wide range of pen widths and colours so you can find whatever you need for colour coding or highlighting
- I can erase just one kanji, or part of a kanji easily when I make a mistake they dry quickly, the thinner pens dry instantly
- I am no longer afraid to write in my textbooks or highlight as I can erase everything if I want to- meaning I can use practise tests over and over, or go back and correct notes in my textbook if I later study something that makes me realise an old note needs clarification.
- the colours are cute and I remember better using colour
- they’re affordable
I basically use only these pens to study now, I love them and they’ve genuinely helped me learn more as my notes are so much clearer now.
Pilot have recently released Frixion pencils too, I’m not so into these as the friction created when overlaying colours sometimes erases the one layered first, so blending isn’t really possible, but they would’ve been great when I was really little.
You need quite a lot of heat to make the ink disappear: a hairdryer on high heat takes a few seconds, an iron erases ink instantly, I’ve heard of someone putting a mug of coffee on a book and accidentally erasing a circle in their notes, but day to day heat sources like hot weather, or a warm laptop won’t erase the ink in my experience. Obviously it’s not archival, but my notes from 3 years ago show no deterioration that I can see.
Anyway, I’m not really a proponent of the idea that you need fancy tools to study Japanese, but these pens are reasonably priced and have worked well for me so far, so I think anyone learning kanji would appreciate these as a gift, because they make the whole process a lot less frustrating.
There are lots of other types of non erasable pens you can get for studying that might prove particularly useful to a language learner, if you can’t buy online then head to your local stationary or craft store and ask the sales assistants what they recommend within your budget:
Micron pens don’t bleed through even on thin pages, they’re recommended as the best bible markers, and bibles and dictionaries have similarly thin pages, so these should be a good choice
These Zebra highlighters are also recommended for bible study, so shouldn’t bleed through, whilst still giving bright marking where desired.
Pros- Affordable, wide range available, easy to find online.
Cons- Not specifically Japanese language related. You may have trouble finding these in a store if you’re not in a big city and can’t shop online.