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Japanese Notebooks


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#1 mikehodgman

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 00:53

I am really getting into all things Japanese, but do not have any notebooks. Any good suggestions? Where should I start? Thanks!

#2 bridgettt

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:13

If you are in the US there are lots of great options at JetPens.com and other sites. I love Apica, Maruman (personal favorite), and Kokuyo. I like Mark notebooks too but they are harder to find stateside.

There's also Rollbahn by Delfonics that are fairly easy to get over here and Midori (not 100% sure those are made in Japan but I think they are). I've never used the Rollbahn or Midori notebooks but they are sold at reliable shops like Resor and Notemaker so I would assume they are pretty good.

Edited by bridgettt, 07 January 2013 - 01:17.

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#3 MadAmos

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:23

I am very attached to the Tsubame notebooks for me the paper is perfect. They are a bit hard to find but usually available at mymaido they even had free shipping for a $25 order last time I checked.
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#4 WOBentley

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 05:55

Very expensive but very nice indeed are the Design Y notebooks

Edited by WOBentley, 07 January 2013 - 05:58.

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#5 iamchum

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:58

Just got some notebooks from the famous Japanese dollar store, Daiso!

For their price they are amazing value and FP friendly :) Can't recommend them more.

Make sure you get the correct one though, some of their notebooks do come with lower quality paper. Just have a feel around. I got the blue and yellow lined 7mm and 8mm A4 notebooks.

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#6 mikehodgman

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 13:45

Very expensive but very nice indeed are the Design Y notebooks



Wow! Those are incredible. I am going to have to find a way to get my hands on one of those. What a beautiful notebook!

#7 VirtuThe3rd

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 15:00

MD paper is much better than any other Japanese paper.
It's for FPs.

Incidentally, I feel "Life" is the second smoothest paper.

http://www.midori-ja...ucts/index.html

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#8 nicholasyeo

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 15:56

Maruman, Kokuyo and best of all Midori!!

#9 theothermle

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 16:13

I have yet to try Marks or Midori, but Apica, Maruman, and Kokuyo are my favorite. The Maruman Eco and Note de Note notebooks are really nice, the Note de Notes are a little smoother. Kokuyo's Campus High Grade are super smooth and light and take ink really well.

#10 Navegador

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 17:10

I recommend Kokuyo's Campus notebooks, personally I use them with the Systemic notebook covers. Nice thin paper, behaves well with my fountain pens (all with fine or extra fine nibs). I still prefer Tilibra paper myself (those are Brazilian notebooks, not Japanese), but the Systemic covers won me over and if you order directly from Japan they're relatively cheap (about as much as a comparable local notebook here, even after shipping).

In the U.S. Jetpens carries them.

#11 chiaroscuro

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 13:02

[Hey Mike! You undersold me a nearly new pen with a bunch of extras on ebay and sent it out super fast, so I'll take this as an opportunity to return the favor. PM me your address again or email it to me and I'll send you a Japanese notebook. On to the reply...]

Maruman and Kokuyo (regular and MIO; haven't tried the CYO-BO yet) paper are neck-and-neck for the top spot, but for overall notebooks, Maruman Mnemosyne wins for me. Now, if you don't mind texture, you like a little feedback and to hear yourself write, Tsubame absolutely cannot be beat. It's very different but absolutely top-notch.

I tried the Delfonics Rollbahn Bridget mentioned and it was just OK. The design is great and the super yellow paper with light grid is lovely to look at but anything above a European fine is liable to bleed through. The Midori MD paper is very good but not great for me; the design and construction of the notebooks, however, is better than the rest (so far I've used the white MD notebooks and the MD paper Spiral Ring [Polar Bear]). No feathering but sketching or going over twice will bleed. I wasn't too impressed with Apica, but I've only tried the mini sized and I've heard those don't have the same paper, so take that with a lump of salt.

Zero to barely-noticeable feathering in any of the above and if you use fine or extra-fine you should be fine with any of the brands mentioned in this topic (pun intended). In general, I find that when testing water resistance Japanese papers fare worse than the more popular European brands (the ink seems to slide off more readily) but I prefer them on all other counts. I feel that they give a smooth feeling with zero feathering and yet they still feel like paper: they don't have the stiff, coated feeling of Clairfontaine papers (I understand the appeal for others, but it's not my thing). They generally have lighter ruling and are usually softer shades of white or cream. The notebooks themselves often have very well-considered designs and features...

...What I'm trying to say is that it's hard to go wrong with Japanese notebooks. I've used a bunch and I haven't found a single one I'd say is bad. I hope to be testing the Life (L!FE) paper later this afternoon so I may update.

#12 mikehodgman

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:48

[Hey Mike! You undersold me a nearly new pen with a bunch of extras on ebay and sent it out super fast, so I'll take this as an opportunity to return the favor. PM me your address again or email it to me and I'll send you a Japanese notebook. On to the reply...]

Maruman and Kokuyo (regular and MIO; haven't tried the CYO-BO yet) paper are neck-and-neck for the top spot, but for overall notebooks, Maruman Mnemosyne wins for me. Now, if you don't mind texture, you like a little feedback and to hear yourself write, Tsubame absolutely cannot be beat. It's very different but absolutely top-notch.

I tried the Delfonics Rollbahn Bridget mentioned and it was just OK. The design is great and the super yellow paper with light grid is lovely to look at but anything above a European fine is liable to bleed through. The Midori MD paper is very good but not great for me; the design and construction of the notebooks, however, is better than the rest (so far I've used the white MD notebooks and the MD paper Spiral Ring [Polar Bear]). No feathering but sketching or going over twice will bleed. I wasn't too impressed with Apica, but I've only tried the mini sized and I've heard those don't have the same paper, so take that with a lump of salt.

Zero to barely-noticeable feathering in any of the above and if you use fine or extra-fine you should be fine with any of the brands mentioned in this topic (pun intended). In general, I find that when testing water resistance Japanese papers fare worse than the more popular European brands (the ink seems to slide off more readily) but I prefer them on all other counts. I feel that they give a smooth feeling with zero feathering and yet they still feel like paper: they don't have the stiff, coated feeling of Clairfontaine papers (I understand the appeal for others, but it's not my thing). They generally have lighter ruling and are usually softer shades of white or cream. The notebooks themselves often have very well-considered designs and features...

...What I'm trying to say is that it's hard to go wrong with Japanese notebooks. I've used a bunch and I haven't found a single one I'd say is bad. I hope to be testing the Life (L!FE) paper later this afternoon so I may update.



Wow, thanks for the great reply! Great info to get me started. I am looking forward to trying the Japanese notebooks, I have heard a lot of great things and I can be picky on my notebooks. I will try the Tsubame notebooks as well, very cool looking. Thanks!

#13 chiaroscuro

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 02:27


[Hey Mike! You undersold me a nearly new pen with a bunch of extras on ebay and sent it out super fast, so I'll take this as an opportunity to return the favor. PM me your address again or email it to me and I'll send you a Japanese notebook. On to the reply...]

Maruman and Kokuyo (regular and MIO; haven't tried the CYO-BO yet) paper are neck-and-neck for the top spot, but for overall notebooks, Maruman Mnemosyne wins for me. Now, if you don't mind texture, you like a little feedback and to hear yourself write, Tsubame absolutely cannot be beat. It's very different but absolutely top-notch.

I tried the Delfonics Rollbahn Bridget mentioned and it was just OK. The design is great and the super yellow paper with light grid is lovely to look at but anything above a European fine is liable to bleed through. The Midori MD paper is very good but not great for me; the design and construction of the notebooks, however, is better than the rest (so far I've used the white MD notebooks and the MD paper Spiral Ring [Polar Bear]). No feathering but sketching or going over twice will bleed. I wasn't too impressed with Apica, but I've only tried the mini sized and I've heard those don't have the same paper, so take that with a lump of salt.

Zero to barely-noticeable feathering in any of the above and if you use fine or extra-fine you should be fine with any of the brands mentioned in this topic (pun intended). In general, I find that when testing water resistance Japanese papers fare worse than the more popular European brands (the ink seems to slide off more readily) but I prefer them on all other counts. I feel that they give a smooth feeling with zero feathering and yet they still feel like paper: they don't have the stiff, coated feeling of Clairfontaine papers (I understand the appeal for others, but it's not my thing). They generally have lighter ruling and are usually softer shades of white or cream. The notebooks themselves often have very well-considered designs and features...

...What I'm trying to say is that it's hard to go wrong with Japanese notebooks. I've used a bunch and I haven't found a single one I'd say is bad. I hope to be testing the Life (L!FE) paper later this afternoon so I may update.



Wow, thanks for the great reply! Great info to get me started. I am looking forward to trying the Japanese notebooks, I have heard a lot of great things and I can be picky on my notebooks. I will try the Tsubame notebooks as well, very cool looking. Thanks!

Awesome, I'll send you a Tsubame B5 tomorrow. I can put in some sample papers too. Let's see if it gets to you as fast as that pen, lol. Take care and good luck with your search!

#14 Pinkys.Brain

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 13:18

I really like maruman, as it is very smooth paper.
But my personal favorite is the Tsubame notepad (N3039): Absolutely not bleadthrough under normal circumstances and almost no showthrough. It even beats Clairefontaine 90g paper in this regard and is not shiny white which I prefer.

#15 mm1624124

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 19:58

For ordering try MyMaido, Jetpens, Muji, Amazon, and Ebay. Amazon and Ebay have the best prices for Apica. MyMaido carries Tsubame and Midori MD. Jetpens carries many of the others mentioned here.

My very bestest of the best favorite is Tsubame. I would use this exclusively if it was also offered as unlined or blank paper (I think I found a source through Rakuten) and if the covers didn't have any print. However, Midori MD is also excellent and offers lined, blank, gridded notebooks. I like Muji for price and for general knock around, practical notebooks.

I just tried the Apica Green 100 notebooks and they are very FP friendly as well.

#16 GutSchrift

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 23:06

MD paper is much better than any other Japanese paper.
It's for FPs.

Incidentally, I feel "Life" is the second smoothest paper.

http://www.midori-ja...ucts/index.html


I really love all the L!FE products I've been able to enjoy, in addition to a really beloved Design.Y 336 journal, however, I totally agree that the MD paper is some of the finest fountain-pen friendly paper I've ever had the incredible please to use. Inks look incredible on it (shading, color, etc.) and its just a wonderful texture as the ink dries on the surface.
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#17 Pinkys.Brain

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:54

For ordering try MyMaido, Jetpens, Muji, Amazon, and Ebay. Amazon and Ebay have the best prices for Apica. MyMaido carries Tsubame and Midori MD. Jetpens carries many of the others mentioned here.

My very bestest of the best favorite is Tsubame. I would use this exclusively if it was also offered as unlined or blank paper (I think I found a source through Rakuten) and if the covers didn't have any print. However, Midori MD is also excellent and offers lined, blank, gridded notebooks. I like Muji for price and for general knock around, practical notebooks.

I just tried the Apica Green 100 notebooks and they are very FP friendly as well.


There is a blank notebook in the more expensive line of Tsubame, if I remeber correctly (red brown cover?). The paper is light-beige.

Edited by Pinkys.Brain, 20 January 2013 - 03:57.


#18 simonced

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 14:35

L!FE Noble notebooks are very good if you like yellow-ish paper. Also they do another serie called Premium with vintage white.
I love them.
I use now a Apika Personal B6 format for everyday journaling, but the paper is too white.
I'll look for another notebook with not so white paper I think. Still I love Apika and I'll go to the very end of it.
I'd like Maruman notebooks, (I use their looseleaves) but their ring binded notebooks are not for me, I hate having those rings in the way XD.

Edited by simonced, 21 January 2013 - 14:37.

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#19 inkypete

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 00:38

Maruman has some good products but I have had a few let downs with paper quality - just can't buy with total confidence. Try before you buy too much. Apica is a real favourite. Well priced, minimalist designs in general. Love the stuff.
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#20 tinta

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:54

I use a 28 page, A5 size APICA CD 11 for my daily journals.
The pages are sewn, the spine is taped & the paper (though not as white as I'd like) is fountain pen friendly.
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