I came across this thin, nondescript A5 notebook with cream-coloured paper in Muji the other day:
The product label, as you can see, doesn't tell me much. The cardboard covers are a charcoal colour and very stiff (which suggest to me good physical protection of the pages). I had to manually count the number of thread-bound sheets there are thirty sheets, so sixty pages in all and the paper weight is (still) unknown. The 5mm line grid is printed in a very faint grey, and I don't find it in-your-face or distracting at all.
This notebook isn't even listed on Muji's Australian web site; searching by the 13-digit barcoded product code pulled up no matches, and manually injecting the product code into the URL doesn't work either. However, the item can be found on Muji's Singapore web site listed among the products in its catalogue of notebook products.
According to its product listing on Muji's US web site, the material is 100% recycled paper. However, I don't know how much I trust the accuracy of the information on that page, given that the dimensions stated in the details are correct in measurement units but incorrectly stated as being B6 sized (in direct contradiction to the product heading of "Recycled Paper Bind Notebook A5 Grid Dark Gray" on the same page.) I've been slightly disappointed with similar-looking, made-in-Japan Muji notebooks with equally smooth-to-the-touch paper before; however, for the asking price printed on the label, and maybe it was just the mood I was in at the time, I was prepared to take a punt.
Then I was quite (pleasantly) surprised when I was asked to pay less for the notebook at checkout, which scanned as if it was priced at a 30% discount. Instantly, this product leapfrogged to the front of the queue of things I wanted or 'needed' to test, in case it's good enough to be 'worth' buying a fair few more at the scanned price.
I was even more surprised by how incredibly fountain pen friendly the paper proved to be. Writing all over the first page with different pens and inks:
resulted in no observable feathering, no show-through (even though you can discern that the other side of the sheet was written on and not unused) and no bleed-through with any of the inks. I then wrote densely on the recto side with pigment inks and iron-gall inks that I have seen cause trouble with other types of paper:
and there was still effectively no show-through and bleed-through. Oh, and the 'sheening' inks do sheen on this paper, although perhaps not at Tomoe River levels:
My conclusion is that, for A$1.25 for every 60-page A5 notebook, one couldn't reasonably expect better performance for use with fountain pens than that. Writing on this paper is a far more pleasant kinaesthetic experience, compared to that with the coated paper in the Muji 裏うつりしにくいノート B5 Notebook Set I bought on the same visit. I went back to my local Muji store the following day and cleared out every last one of its stock of this SKU; I've been back three times since, and it doesn't look as if it has any more stock "in the back".
Update: It seems Muji US has delisted the product since last weekend, when I successfully searched for and found it by the 13-digit product code. Even though you can still retrieve the product listing by using the direct URL, the 'Add To Cart' button no longer appears on the page.
Edited by A Smug Dill, 10 May 2019 - 16:48.