Category Archives: Midori

Nanami Paper’s Value Comparison

A commenter named Sara reminded me to check out what might be new at Nanami Paper. If you like the Tomoe River paper found in certain Japanese notebooks, such as those made by Design.Y, Nanami Paper offers its own brand of notebooks called Seven Seas, which feature this lovely paper in a softcover lay-flat binding. They have also expanded their offerings to other Japanese notebooks, as well as pens and accessories.

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The other nice thing about Nanami Paper’s website is the thorough information they provide. I loved this comparison chart analyzing the value of popular notebook brands by how many square inches of writing space you get per dollar. It’s quite illuminating!

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Notebook Addict of the Week: Dan

This week’s addict has a You Tube Channel called A Sort of Interesting Life, where he posts a lot of videos about living on a narrowboat, for the most part, but he’s also quite interested in pens and notebooks. Take a look at his collection:

I think he also has the same ancient teddy bear as I have! Glad to see he has his priorities straight for what to keep with him in what must be tight living quarters on his narrowboat!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Tim

This week’s addict is another stationery blogger from Germany. Tim emailed me these photos and some thoughts about his notebook collection:

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“Since I was a great fan of notebooks and the series “Notebook Addict of the Week” for a long time, I want to give you a glimpse of my notebook collection and show you how I use them. I prefer to write with all imaginable varieties of ultrafine fountain pens or very fine gelpens. Japanese notebooks are therefore the best for me. I like Apica, Midori, Leuchtturm or selfmade notebooks. My notes include everyday impressions, ideas, appointments, lists, collections and I often write concepts for work. I always have multiple notebooks with me wherever I go. Perhaps it sounds a little strange, but I rarely read old notes. My usage is more present and helps to sort my thoughts.

The journals on the pictures include the year 2015 – but not all of them are completed.

A few sentences about myself: I am 36 years old, living and working in Berlin (Germany). In my spare time I take care of two cats who live with me and write a blog about stationery and analog life: http://schreibkultur.net/ (German).”

Many thanks to Tim for sharing his addiction, and I hope to see more on his blog!

Japanese Stationery Magazines (and Giveaway!)

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I don’t remember how I first heard that there was such a thing as Japanese stationery magazines, and I’m not even sure if “magazine” is the right word for them. The first one I’d heard of was a series of numbered volumes called “Note and Diary Style Book.” I searched for them on Amazon Japan, and printed out the results. I brought it to the Kinokuniya Bookstore in Manhattan, which has a huge selection of Japanese books and magazines. The first time I went, the sales clerk said “Wow, we don’t carry these, but we really should!” Given Kinokuniya’s large stationery department, I quite agreed.

When I went back and asked again recently, I had better luck. The clerk said they did not have the exact ones listed on Amazon, but she showed me a few similar items, and I bought these ones. One of them seems to be a compilation of the best notebook, pen and stationery products of the year. The other one seems more like a magazine with feature pages on different stationery stores and pen manufacturers. They are sort of like catalogs, or perhaps trade journals for the Japanese stationery and pen industry. There are pages in the one with no English title that list various stationery stores. The MonoMax one seems more catalog-like, so I wondered if MonoMax might be a store, but from a little googling, it seems like it’s a magazine that covers various products. From browsing at Kinokuniya, I’ve noticed that there seem to be a lot of Japanese magazines that focus on fashion and accessories, sometimes a single product like backpacks, with just tons and tons of photos of various backpacks that are trendy in Japan. I can’t really think of any American equivalent that so single-mindedly hones in on a single product. We have some magazines with pretty specific topics for niche audiences, especially in terms of trade journals, but I don’t think we have any consumer magazines that just showcase backpacks! As for notebooks and pens, there is a magazine called Pen World, and trade journals called “Stationery” (may be defunct now as last issue I could find is over a year old) and “Stationery Trends,” but “Stationery Magazine” is Japanese.

Anyway, here’s some of the eye-candy from within these two publications. If anyone can read Japanese and can add more explanation, please do so in the comments! I will also give these two magazines away if anyone wants them. I’ll select two random winners from any comments on this post that express interest in the giveaway. The deadline to comment and enter is Friday July 10, 2015 at 11:59 Eastern time.

 

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From the Mailbag

From Dave: a link to a page with some beautiful calligraphy in a sketchbook:

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And also a link to a TV promo video with some glimpses of animated notebook pages in the first 20 seconds:

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Bluejay is looking for these notebooks, spotted in a Tumblr post, anyone know where to find them?

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Raymond shares a link to the Inspiration Pad, which re-imagines the idea of a “lined” notebook:

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Colin (who has some great posts about notebooks on his blog) sent this great comparison between the Midori Traveler’s Notebook and a similar style from Sass & Belle:

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Bevan sent this link about a notebook found after being buried in ice for over 100 years!

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Thanks to everyone who keeps my inbox overflowing with tips!

Notebook Addict of the Week: Ron Nakagame

I came across this photo on Pinterest recently, and couldn’t believe I’d never seen it before, as the original has been on Flickr since 2011. Amazing collection of Midori Traveler’s Notebooks! It’s one thing to amass a huge stash of notebooks that don’t have removable pages, but when you have this many notebooks that are refillable, that shows true addiction! Theoretically, this could be a collection of just two sizes of notebook that are otherwise basically the same, but there is a wonderful variety here. No two are alike, thanks to different color materials, colors, charms on the elastics, degree of wear and other little added touches.

I wonder if Ron has collected even more in the years since this photo was taken– from scrolling through some of his other Flickr photos, I suspect he has!

Midori Spiral Ring Notebooks

Midori’s Traveler’s Notebooks are so widely popular, they seem to be almost the only Midori products you ever hear about. But they also make this lovely line of spiral notebooks named after animals (and an insect). From the descriptions at the Miscellaneous online store:

Midori Spiral Ring Notebook is a series of notebooks with a beautiful kraft paper cover with the spiral “woven” into the kraft paper cover, available in five types: Camel, Polar Bear, Kangaroo, Bee and Elephant

The Elephant edition of Midori Spiral Ring Notebook has 20 thick grey carton sheets. Beautiful for scrapbooking your last trip, or just to write something down.

The Bee edition of Midori Spiral Ring Notebook has 12 kraft envelopes with window. Just as a bee collects nectar from flowers before they store it in their hive, you can now store all small items of rememberance in these envelopes.

The Kangaroo edition of Midori Spiral Ring Notebook has 32 sheets with “pouches”. These pockets will provide you with lots of room for “fast administration”; store your receipts month-by-month, the business cards of your favorites spots you collected during your last trip by city and/or neighborhood or simply just store small desktop items like paperclips/stamps/bands and other paraphernalia.

The Camel edition of Midori Spiral Ring Notebook has 80 kraft paper sheets. Beautiful for scrapbooking your last trip, or just to write something down.

The Polar Bear edition has 100 snowwhite sheets. White, crisp and fresh pages at your disposal to pen down your Nobel prize-winning thoughts, to do lists, or just some doodle drawing whilst chatting on VOIP.

Each design is available in these sizes:

A5 Spiral Ring Notebook measures 218 x 130mm
A6 Spiral Ring Notebook measures 154 x   95mm
B6 Spiral Ring Notebook measures 130 x 193mm
B7 Spiral Ring Notebook measures   90 x 130mm

You can buy some of the designs/sizes at Amazon.

DIY Hybrid Notebook

Here’s a cool notebook hacking project. Inspired by the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, Kate Smith decided to make something similar. She took a Ryman hardcover notebook and swapped the inside pages out for some elastic bands to hold inserts, either Midori ones or Moleskine Cahiers. Should work with Field Notes and many others too. I really want to try making something like this…

Read more at studio-sweepings: I like the Midori Traveler’s Notebook so much I decided to make a small one….

Found via Casetteancira on Pinterest.

Make Your Own Leather Notebook Cover

I’ve gotten questions from readers before about alternatives to some of the pricy leather notebook covers out there. I haven’t spotted that many cheap ones for sale, until recently discovering Davis Leatherworks, which seems to have some nice-looking and inexpensive covers. But if you enjoy creativity and you’re willing to put in a little effort, you can make your own for a reasonable price. Julie at The Gadgeteer has a great tutorial with detailed information on how to do it:
Make it yourself – Midori Traveler’s style leather Moleskine Cahier or Field Notes notebook cover

You’ll start with this:

And end up with this:

The design can be adapted to any size notebook. Some of the low cost depends on making more than one notebook cover, but think how excited all your notebook-loving friends will be when you give them your extra handmade notebooks as holiday gifts!

Review: Pelle Journal

I was contacted by the maker of the Pelle Journal a few months back and was very excited to have the opportunity to review one. It was compared to the Midori Passport Size Travelers Journal, but it’s handmade in California. Let’s take a look at what this journal has to offer.

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First of all, you’ll notice the packaging. The journal arrived in a plastic wrapper, with a label noting the size and the type of paper contained within. After removing the plastic, there’s a nice paper envelope with a contrasting elastic tie. Inside that, there’s a cloth bag. This is a very well-protected notebook, and if you give one as a gift, you almost don’t need to wrap it!

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Also inside the paper envelope is a note from the manufacturer with some info about the product, and a spare elastic.

Finally, the journal itself! It’s a lovely small size– described as 3×5, but actually the cover measures 5 1/4″ high by about 3 7/8″ wide and the inner notebooks are 3 7/16 x 4 15/16″.

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I love the look of the red elastic against the black, but it’s nice that the spare black elastic is included as an option. The leather is really nice– very soft and supple and thick. It’s just a single layer of leather, cut precisely to size. There is no stitching on the edges. On the inside it has a suede-y feel but seems almost like cloth. If you look closely you can see there are layers in the leather so I assume this is “bonded leather” which can have varying degrees of real leather content. Whatever it is, it smells and feels quite nice, though the little fibers from the sueded inside might start to look a little ragged after a lot of use.

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The cover has a very subtle Pelle logo on the front lower right corner, and the company web address and “Made in the USA” on the back lower left corner.

Inside the cover, you have 3 elastic bands to hold interchangeable journals, similar to the Midori notebooks and the Kolo Essex Travel Book I reviewed. The two outer elastics are actually one that loops around, thereby securing the inner elastic, which slots into a notch at the top and bottom of the spine. There is a little bead that attaches it to a thin bookmark– I’d rather the bead wasn’t there but it is at least pretty small and not too disruptive. One thing I really like is that the elastics are mostly kept inside the notebook, rather than looping all the way around the outside of the spine as on the Kolo Essex book.PelleJournal9PelleJournal12

 

The journal I was sent has one notebook inside, though it is designed to hold 3. I didn’t have a chance to test how it would bulk up with 3 inside– one disadvantage of the Pelle Journal is that the inner notebooks aren’t a standard size. There are other notebook holders out there that are designed to hold Moleskine Cahiers but also accommodate the identically sized Field Notes, Doane Paper, Writer’s Blok and other similar brands (which are all 3 1/2 x 5 1/2″). I’m sure there are other brands out there that come in a small enough size to fit in the Pelle cover, but I can’t think of any offhand. (Please comment if you know of any!)

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The inner notebook itself is very nice. It’s a simple staple-bound notebook with a brown cover and plain paper. The first and last page inside are like endpapers, with a red box and the Pelle logo on the front page. The paper within is smooth and creamy and a pleasure to write on. All my pens performed well, with only very slight feathering with the Pilot Varsity fountain pen. My Lamy Safari fountain pen went on just fine, though, which is good, as one of Pelle’s selling points is that the notebooks are fountain pen friendly. The paper had about average show-through, but performed better than average in terms of bleed-through.

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Pelle Journals are available at a limited number of retailers, listed here. Among them is JetPens.com, where the small journal I received retails for $29.99. Replacement notebooks are $6.99-8.00 for this size, depending on the type of paper. This seems like a fair price for a product handmade in the US, and is much cheaper than the comparable Midori notebook. If you want a good quality, pocketable notebook that you can refill, the Pelle Journal is well worth a try.