I initially didn't get what all the hype was about. That was when I hadn't started using it heavily.
I actually bought a B5 sized writing pad from Nanami and it was almost like working on loose sheets.
That writing pad sat in my cabinet for about 6 months and I kept hearing all the praise about it on the blogs and forums.
Writing on a piece of paper and then having to tear it away to get to the next page really has never worked for me. That format (even for rhodia and other pags) I guess is not my thing.
I guess the turning point came when I decided to tear out all of those pages from the B5 pad and made signatures out of them and made myself a B6 sized notebook using the coptic stitch binding technique.
The things I love about the paper:
- Zero feathering, zero bleedthrough, no matter how vicious the ink, no matter how permissive the nib.
- Perfect place for sheen. This paper makes (otherwise mediocre) inks dazzle.
- Translucense, I came into it thinking this was a strike against the paper. So many folks don't like any show through and it's normally billed as an undesirable quality. With time, I like everything about it's translucense. I have made guide-sheets with whatever ruling size I want, and whatever size margins I want and put that underneath. I can write perfectly straight lines going up against clean straight margins and then remove the guide sheet to admire the perfectness of it.
Additionally, the paper holds ink so perfectly and is itself so light and insignificant. When I write on both sides and I can see the text from the reverse of the page, it's almost like white-noise, it has a certain wabi-sabi quality that, for me aesthetically is quite pleasing. It give my paper a lot more written-in feel. It also helps me with writer's block if I'm writing and I get stuck, staring at a pristinely opaque piece of paper, it doesn't help get the creative juices flowing.
- Thin-ness, one other thing I dislike about notebooks that have a reasonable amount of paper sheets in them, say 80-90 sheets, and they are so thick, when you write your hand falls off the edge or your palm rests uncomfortably against a steep cliff. Not the case with Tomoe River. 90 sheets, not very thick at all. I could go even higher before I notice any discomfort while writing.
Everyone's usage is different and everyone's likes and dislikes are different. I could totally understand your point, but I'm afraid I'm one of the folks who contributes to the hype, only after using it and liking it so much.