It seems to have been a while since this blog has been so excited about a new stationery product. The notebooks shown here are from Design.Y, the brand of Mr. Hiroshi Yoshino-san, a bookbinder from Sendai, Japan.
The products are amazing because every aspect of the notebook is of exceptional quality – the cover, the binding, and the paper. I learned of these notebooks at the Fountain Pen Network, where many fountain pen users are claiming it is the finest paper they’ve ever used.
The two notebooks shown are the Record 216 and Record 336 models. These numerals refer to the page counts.
The covers are in brown goatskin. Black is also available. At first, I found the look stern, and perhaps conservative. But I’ve warmed up to the look, especially after starting to use the smaller notebook. The goatskin is luxurious and very pleasant to the touch. I am not aware of ever having seen anything nicer as a notebook or journal cover.
Ruled and plain paper are available, and depending on the model, elastic closures, bookmark ribbons, and dyed edges are available as options. The Record 336 shown here has dyed edges and two bookmark ribbons.
The notebooks do not lie perfectly flat, but there is no difficulty using the whole page.
There is a small notch exposing the ribbon:
The back has a small maker’s mark:
The goatskin covers and hand binding are beautiful, but the paper is what seems to have received the most online English language recognition. (The notebooks have been featured in several Japanese stationery magazines, but I’m not able to read those reports.) Of course, this praise is in the context of the fountain pen community, which finds most modern paper unsuitable for water based fountain pen inks.
The paper is exceptionally lightweight. It is called Tomoe River, and comes from the Tomoegawa Paper Company. This allows thin notebooks with 336 pages, for example. Yet the paper doesn’t bleed or feather. Being thin, it does show through to the other side. A Bruichladdich list taken with a medium 14K Lamy nib and Lamy blue ink:
An HB Mitsubishi Hi-uni pencil also works:
These notebooks are on their way to becoming cherished items, and I’ll join the chorus of those praising their quality. If the look is to your taste, you may want to try one.
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