I’m always trying to keep up with reviewing various samples that notebook manufacturers send me, but sometimes that means I don’t get around to reviewing notebooks I’ve actually bought myself! These are two I purchased over a year ago at the Kinokuniya bookstore in Manhattan. The stationery section in the basement is pen and notebook heaven.
First, an adorable little notepad. Despite the French text on the cover, the notebook is Japanese, by Kyokuto. I love the double layer front cover, which consists of a clear plastic overlay with stripes in one direction, and then a lightweight paper cover underneath, with perpendicular stripes so you end up with a plaid effect. The size is perfectly pocketable (shown below next to a pocket size Moleskine for comparison.) Lined sheets inside with a box for the date. The paper is very smooth, so it feels great with my favorite fine point gel ink pen, but seemed a little slippery with fountain pens. Showthrough and bleed-through aren’t great. But it’s super cute and a bargain at only $1.95!
Then there’s the “The” notebook by Pilot. A few years ago, I reviewed this notebook’s big brother, the “The II” notebook, which I purchased at a previous Kinokuniya visit. This one is smaller, but otherwise looks very similar, with a retro styled plastic cover and tabbed sections, as well as a narrow ribbon marker. I love the size, it is perfectly proportioned and fits nicely in my hand, and could easily be tucked into a pocket. The top of each page has a space for “theme” and date. Again, the notebook doesn’t open flat as easily as you’d think, despite the plastic flexi binding and stitched signatures. It just feels a bit resistant due to the way the spine is glued, I think. Again I haven’t done a full pen test, but the smooth cool white paper feels great with the Uniball and fountain pens, but the thinness makes it not ideal for showthrough and bleed-through. The plastic cover edges stick out more than I’d like, but otherwise it’s a very appealing notebook, and not too badly priced at $8.95.
I think they still stock these at Kinokuniya if you want to check them out for yourself.