First year: Momotaro 0305TN 10th Anniversary Selvedge Denim

Introduction

It’s been a long ways coming for me to make my way into the big boy leagues of fine Japanese denim. I’ve always loved the white stripes on Momotaro’s “Going to Battle” line. Luckily, I procrastinated on my purchase for the 10th anniversary edition to come out, which have the white stripes as well as many other notable features. It’s been more than a year since I first got them. They’ve been all over the world, been worn more days than not, in weather on all spectrums. They’ve been through a repair, and will be needing another one soon, so it seemed appropriate to do a small write-up on how they’ve fared so far.

Specs

Sizing: Check out Blue Owl’s Size Guide here
Place of Manufacture: Japan
Cost: 315USD

The Brand

Momotaro is a denim company based in Kojima, Japan. Founded in 2005, Momotaro began by producing replicas of vintage American denim. Their name is from the legend of Momotaro, a young boy born from a giant peach who then descended to earth to become the son of an elderly couple. The pink inseam pays homage to this story

Their company has different labels including “Copper Label”, “Vintage Label”, “Battle Label”, and “Gold Label”, each with their own special taste. This pair is part of the “Battle Label”, with the white stripes on the back pocket symbolizing honor and strength, as per Japanese tradition.

Ordering

bow_home.PNG

While the Momotaro’s 10th Anniversary series is available through various retailers, the “Tight Tapered” cut is only available in the United States (to my knowledge). On Rakuten and Denimio, Tight and Regular cuts are available. I wanted the “Tight Tapered” cut, so I purchased my pair through Blue Owl Workshop, a retailer based in Seattle, Washington.

I had a bit of difficulty determining my size, so I sent them an email. I promptly received a reply from Jay Doughten, who is the owner of Blue Owl Workshop. He was very helpful in going through my choices and was very informative. Shipping is free for orders over $100, and you get BOW rewards for every $100 that you spend.

They are sold out at BOW now, but they can still be found at some other retailers.

First Few Wears

My first time putting on these jeans was not the most pleasant. They were very tight and I had trouble buttoning them all the way up without exhaling all the way. There was a bit of tension in the groin area, which made walking with a normal stride a bit difficult. I sent Jay an email, during which he ensured that they’d be okay (he also gave me the option of sending them back.

Within a few hours, my waist was feeling much better, and by the second day, they felt like a normal pair of denim. It is worth noting that they did not stretch out too much after the first week.

Details

MVIMG_20180213_232030.jpg

The patch is made of cowhide and has gold foil accents. Overtime, I have lost some of the threading, there is a small black stain near the top of the patch, yet most of the foiling remains. It has gotten a bit darker with wear, probably due to moisture.

Rivets made of brass. The rivets on the back pockets are hidden while others are exposed. They have nice detailing on them and, for the most part, are still quite shiny.

The button fly is very interesting. Every variation of Momotaro buttons were used in the fly, with the top button being a plain button. You can see the wear markings on the right sides of the buttons due to buttoning and unbuttoning the fly.

MVIMG_20180212_144937.jpg

As with all Momotaro jeans, the inseam uses pink thread, paying homage to the peach that Momotaro was born out of. It makes the pair stand out quite a bit and contrasts nicely with the indigo.

The pocket bags are interesting, with one left pocket bag being in Japanese and the English translation on the right pocket. Some holes have started appearing in the pockets, but I will try my best to patch them up and preserve them.

They were featured on Heddels’ Fade of the Day on September 23, 2017.

Extras

[pictures coming]

As part of the 10th Anniversary package, there is also a canvas bag and a rope-dyed bandana. I cold soaked the bandana before I started carrying it for fear that it would bleed. I have had no issues with it.

The bag is made well and looks great. It is embroidered with “Momotaro” across the front. They used the same material for the pockets. I will probably cannibalize the back half of the bag for pocket patching material.

Repairs

As noted before, this pair of denim has been out for repair once. At the time of repair (ca summer 2017), the knees were wearing thin, a crotch blowout was imminent, and the many threads were coming undone.

I sent them out to Indigo Proof, run by Rain Delisle, in Portland, Oregon. she did a multitude of repairs, notably reinforcing the knees, crotch, cuffs, and back pocket region.

The repairs look great i.e. they are not obvious at all. You have to look closely to notice that there are repairs. On the other hand, they also feel great.

Conclusion

I have to send them out to Rain, again, but I see a long life ahead of these guys. I am currently fading my PBJ-001’s from Blue Owl Workshop, so they’ll have some time to rest and refit. After the PBJxBOW contest is over, they’ll be mixed back into the rotation. Until then, they’ll probably just be worn when the PBJs are being washed.

IMG_20170905_105307-01

Midori MD Pencil Review

Introduction

Midori is very famous for their Traveler’s Notebooks and their brass products. While they have produced pencils in the past, for their brass pencil extenders, the Midori MD pencil is their first full size pencil. The MD line (which I believe stands for Midori Diary) is known for its simplistic design and light colors. Does Midori pull through with their first full-length woodcased pencil?

Specs

Shape: Hexagonal
Length: 176mm
Diameter: 7mm
Weight: 5g
Place of Manufacture: Japan

Design

IMG_20170721_142517_edited

The pencils come in a pack of six within a slim plastic package. There is a small label in the packaging, similar to those included with other Midori MD products. As always, there is nothing gaudy about the packaging.

The writing on the label is playful and is meant to mimic handwriting. Luckily, it is not hard to read. The back of the label only has a barcode and some recycling information.

The pencil itself is very simplistic. The barrel is hexagonal and is a light cream color. The paint is matte and does not reflect any light. While it is smooth, you can definitely “feel” the pencil between your fingers. There is no ferrule.

IMG_20170721_143605_edited

There is black lettering on one side of the pencil with the words “Midori MD” as well as “B” to indicate the hardness. There is no other writing or imprinting on the pencil.

Fit and Finish

The pencils feel solidly made, although the paint is not the best. It appears as though the paint rubs off easily, as seen in the above pictures.

The lettering is pretty good, although not that sharp on the edges. This might have been done on purpose as part of the font, but it looks a bit sloppy.

The two halves of the barrel are matched well and the core is well centered. However, the paint around the edges came chipped. It is not apparent whether this happened during manufacturing or during packing.

Functionality

IMG_20170721_151228_edited

Sharpening the pencil in my Carl Angel-5 was very smooth and easy. As expected, the pencil left some bite marks in the barrel. It did not expose bare wood, but, instead, the marks were paint filled.

IMG_20170721_151357_edited

The point was moderately long and well rounded. The barrel did not split upon sharpening. There was no excess shavings hanging on after sharpening.

IMG_20170721_151401_edited

The core is a tad harder than most Japanese pencils of hardness “B”, writing closer to a Mitsubishi Hi-Uni “HB”. The writing experience was “all right” at best. It is better than your run-of-the-mill dollar store pencil, but, at least for me, the amount of feedback the core was giving me was somewhat unpleasant.

However, a few days later, I was curious enough to pick it back up and give it another go. During my second attempt at using it, I found it to be better than I first thought, and definitely usable, although it will not be winning any awards in my book.

I will note that my opinion on the tactile feedback that the pencil gives is just my take on it. I am sure some will appreciate it.

IMG_20170721_152115_edited

That being said, though, I do like how dark of a line the pencil puts down. Furthermore, it erases easily and point retention is pretty good.

Conclusion

I am a bit disappointed by these pencils. The quality was not as good as I was expecting and the writing experience was not not up to par in comparison to Midori’s paper offerings (in my opinion). Aesthetically, once you get over the dirtied surfaces, the pencil is elegantly simple and is comparable to the Mitsubishi White Pencil in looks.

I probably won’t be picking any more of these up in the future. I’m still on edge about whether I’ll keep the ones that I have. To each their own, though.

IMG_20170721_142829_edited