As anyone who knows me should know, I have a certain penchant for notebooks. Call it a nerdy fixation, but there’s something extremely appealing about a well crafted notebook to carry around and fill with whatever you might feel like writing down. So when I realised I’m on the right side of the planet to just walk into a shop and buy a japanese midori notebook, it was an opportunity I simply couldn’t pass up!
I’ve wanted one of these things for a while now. Midori travellers notebooks, going by the tagline of “for all the travelers who have a free spirit”, aren’t seen on the shelves of stationery retailers in the western part of the world. There are a handful of places you can order them from in Europe, and a single supplier in North America, or you could try to contact the company itself and order them directly from Japan. In Hong Kong, however, a shop which actually stocks them wasn’t too hard to find. And I must say, it’s single handedly the loveliest notebook I’ve ever owned! This isn’t for scrawling lecture notes, planning experiments or deriving equations. It’s far too good for that. This is a replacement for the book of randomness I normally carry in my pocket!
Opting for the passport sized notebook, it has a soft leather cover which makes it easy to stuff into whatever pocket may be free. Durable, and with nice smooth writing paper, I haven’t even written anything in it yet. The beauty of these notebooks is that the cover is a delightfully scuffable matt leather, which will pick up scratches and scars over time (as the website says, it “becomes more beautiful as you use it”). The actual pages of the book can be removed as and when you fill them up, to be replaced with a fresh set. This notebook is also fully intended to be totally customised, with charms, beads, cover decorations, or whatever else you feel like including on it. The whole point is to have an utterly unique notebook all of your own. And that rather appeals to me.
I’m not going to turn this into a full review. There are enough of those on the internet already. For now though, suffice to say… Sorry Moleskine. Your days are now numbered.
The wonderfully poetic, albeit imperfectly translated text on the packaging reads thus:
Traveler’s notebook has a leather cover which the more you use, the better and quality it becomes, and the simple notebook is easy to use. We hope it temps you to go traveling having this notebook in your hand. Please write down at random what you feel anywhere. Besides you may find new feature every day, going to work, having this notebook in your hand, may change your life!
Incidentally, one of those links up there is to a blog called blackcover.net — a blog which any notebook afficianado like my self would certainly enjoy. Sadly, the blog seems to have gone silent recently, but all the same, it’s well worth a read!