Review: Kokuyo and Maruman Notebooks from Jet Pens

JetPens is renowned as a fabulous source of, well, pens… but they also stock a lot of great notebooks too. Brad at Jet Pens was kind enough to send me some samples for review– let’s take a look!


These 3 notebooks are give a first impression of sleekness, somehow. The covers are smooth, and they are relatively thin and flexible. They range in size from about 5 13/16″ x 8 1/4″ to 7 1/8″ x 10″. For Japanese notebooks, these actually have less odd English verbiage on them than usual! One of them says it contains “MIO Paper,” and that this stands for “Mobile Ideal Original writing paper,” but that’s about as weird as it gets. The notebooks all have a very clean, minimal design.

First we have a Maruman notebook, with a wire-o binding and plastic front and back covers. The plastic has a slight ridged texture to it. Inside, you have smooth lined paper with a micro-perforated edge for easy removal.


Next, a Kikuyo Campus notebook, again with wire-o binding and a plastic front cover. This one has a very unusual page design– it’s lined, but there are dots along the lines, so it’s kind of a hybrid between lined and dot grid and squared. You can use it for writing or as you’d use graph paper, and the cover has a sticker on it that suggests a sort of geometrical figure being drawn using the dots. The pages also feature a space for numbering and a date at the top. They are not perforated. The back cover is a light, smooth cardboard.


And here’s another Kokuyo Campus notebook, this time with a metallic silver taped binding. The pages seem to be glued in. This one also has the number and date space at the top of each page, with regular, un-dotted lines below. The notebook has a wonderfully supple feel– the pages are smooth, the notebook opens very flat, and it’s very flexible, easily bending almost into a tube, and returning to perfect flatness afterwards. But the price you pay for this kind of flexibility is that the paper is quite thin. I tested a variety of pens and found that it’s wonderful to write on, with a very smooth, “hard” surface. I turned the page and at first was shocked that there was no show-through– but then I realized I’d actually turned more than one page because they’re so thin! When you’re actually looking at the back of the page, there’s quite a bit of show-through, and really penetrating markers like my Sharpies even bled through and made spots on the next facing page.







So if you like the aesthetic and tactile qualities of a basic yet refined notebook, you’ll love these– the paper feels just heavenly with a fine rollerball pen. But they may not be a top choice if show-through really bothers you. Check out these and a variety of other journals and notebooks offered at JetPens… or you can try your luck at winning the two samples I’m giving away!

I’ll select two random winners from entries submitted as follows:

On Twitter, tweet something containing “JetPens” and follow “@jetpens” and “@NotebookStories.

On Facebook, “like” the  Notebook Stories page and the JetPens page, and post something containing the words “JetPens” on my wall.

On your blog, post something containing the words “JetPens” and “NotebookStories” and link back to this post.

The deadline for entry is Friday Jan. 27 at 11:59PM, EST. Good luck everyone!

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