Tag Archives: Japanese Paper

Midori MD Notebooks

I took these pictures for the blog on my kitchen floor earlier this morning while a load of laundry was churning away, and while watching the baby chew on books, Super’s ear and a cardboard box of things I’m supposed to have unpacked, so I’ve been making the most of my multi-tasking these days. At this very moment, I’m in the shop while it’s nice and empty – I think it looks like rain today – and Jon has taken the baby out to pick up some groceries for dinner. The only fly in the ointment is that I just noticed some mango on my shoulder from the baby’s lunch, so I guess I’m kind of hoping no one comes in…

We got our shipment of Midori a few days ago, which included the very cute D-Clips that I shared a few pictures of on the blog yesterday. We also finally brought in the line of Midori MD Notebooks.

Midori is better known for their Leather Traveler’s Notebooks, and in fact, there’s quite a following because the system is so simple and yet so easily adaptable to whatever you need. However, Midori also makes a more standard style notebook!

Midori MD Notebook Japan Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca Toronto Canada

For the record, I’m not exactly sure why we waited so long. Along the way we’ve had a few customers inquire about them, and while we’ve certainly looked into them, the long wait time to order them in from Japan was a bit of a deterrent. Recently, though, our distributor suggested we give them a closer look. He said something like, “you won’t regret it, these are beautiful notebooks,” and when our Japanese distributor, a man of few words, makes such a statement…how can I resist.

(Although, if you couldn’t tell, I’m not exactly the hardest mark when you’re trying to sell me a Japanese notebook.)

I think another part of the hesitation to bringing them in might have been that it seemed like we already had notebooks for different purposes – journaling, spiral bound, perforated, pocket… – but these Midori MD Notebooks have a place of their own: they’re beautiful, simple, white notebooks with high quality paper and incredible attention to detail. They are perfect for slipping in your bag or case.

We now have the MD Notebooks in A6, A5 and A4. For reference, A6 is a bit bigger than a typical pocket notebook, A5 is the “standard” size notebook that you might slip in your bag, and A4 is just bigger than an 8.5×11 piece of paper. We also have the Midori Cotton Paper Notebooks in A6 and A5. 

Midori MD Notebooks Toronto Canada Japan wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens

Everything about these notebooks shows incredible attention to detail. You can tell right away how much thought an effort has gone into creating and presenting this notebook.

In addition to a paper flap that identifies the paper and the ruling inside, the notebook comes wrapped in a sort of wax paper or vellum, to keep the cover in good shape. You can also keep it on to keep the white cover from getting too scuffed up, although the vellum is pretty delicate and so probably wouldn’t last very long jostled around in a bag.

Midori MD Notebook Japan Toronto Canada wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens

After the packaging, the only branding on the outside of this notebook is this quiet and classy debossed logo on the front. The cover is a smooth thick ivory cardstock.

Midori MD Notebook Toronto Canada Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens

The first page inside the notebook has an area for you to put your name, date, title, topic of notebook, or whatever you like. The notebook also comes with some labels, which I think you might use when you’re done with the notebook to indicate the volume and date. Imagine how beautiful these would be, a whole row of worn and wrinkled notebooks filled with your memories and ideas and drawings.

Midori MD Notebook Japan Toronto Canada wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens

Midori MD Notebook Toronto Canada Wonderpens.ca Wonder Pens

The notebooks are stitched and bound, meaning they lie open flat easily no matter where you are in the notebook. It also has a ribbon book marker, different coloured for different notebooks.

Midori MD Notebook Japan Toronto Canada Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca

But of course, all the details of a notebook are moot until you see how the paper quality is. This paper is great. It’s good for all sorts of fountain pens, even super inky fountain pens.

The following is an assortment of a few pens I already have inked up – Diamine Ochre in a TWSBI 580, Raven Black in a Lamy Medium, Salix in a Lamy Fine, Kiowa Pecan in a 2.3 mm Stub from Kaweco, Sailor Ultramarine (discontinued) in a Kaweco Broad. These are just fine, but that’s pretty usual for most notebooks for fountain pens. No feathering or bleeding, although there is some show through. The other side is still usable, but if you look at the right angle, you will definitely be able to see the writing on the other side.

Midori MD Notebook Japan Toronto Canada Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca

However, the real test is something as wet and enthusiastic and assertive as my Ahab. The thing about the Ahab is not only is it quite wet to prevent railroading during flexing, it’s also a bit of a stiff flexer, and so when the tines spread apart, they have a tendency to almost scrape into the paper. With some papers, this can dig into the paper fibres, which then makes it much more prone to feathering.

Midori MD Notebook Japan Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca

Not only is there no feathering or bleedthrough, you can even see a hint of sheen! This is Iroshizuku Shin Kai in my Noodler’s Ahab. Normally you don’t get too much sheen from Shin Kai, but my Ahab is pretty wet.

We’ve got these Midori MD notebooks both in shop and online. We have the A6, A5 and A4 in blank, as well as the A6 and A5 in ruled. We are also carrying the Midori Cotton Notebooks, in A6 and A5, blank. I hope you enjoy taking a look! I just may have switched over to these notebooks for my regular journaling, and I will let you know how it goes.

Midori MD Notebook Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca

A small note: the quotation there is from a recipe in a bread book called “Local Breads” by Daniel Leader. For the longest time I’ve been interested in baking my own bread, not from a bread machine, although maybe I should start there, but oven bread with crusty crusts and soft chewy insides. There’s nothing like a really delicious slice of bread with butter. I’ve had this book for a while, and the author tells stories of his travels and learning from bread artisans around Europe, which makes me both lament my complete lack of knowledge and also feel kind of inspired. Maybe now with the shop so close and the baby getting a bit older – or at the very least, able to entertain himself for a few minutes at a time – I will be trying my hand at baking some bread!

Midori Blue Edition + Pan Am Accessories

They’re finally here! And they are gorgeous…

Midori Blue Leather Special Edition Traveler's Notebooks and Pan American PanAm Accessories in Toronto, Canada at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca

The blue leather is beautiful, and I can wait to start seeing photos of how the leather is wearing in. The paper covers on the accessories are also really nice – they have a vintage, retro kind of look, which of course I’m all over.

We got our shipment in, but the news is grim. We didn’t get as much as we were hoping for in this shipment, but we will be getting more.

 

The demand has been very high for these, and we’re as disappointed as you in this small shipment, but we will be getting more in May, June and again in the fall. We’ve pre-ordered a good number from our distributor, and he has assured me that we will be getting significantly more than what we have currently received. I think it may be that the demand in Asia took out a lot of the initial production, and we are having to wait a bit for more to come out.

For this initial release, we’re asking that you limit yourself to a quantity of one for the notebook and for each of the accessories. Once we start getting additional shipments in, we will open it up again.

If you try to add more quantity of any of these, we will hold and delay your order to sort it out with you.

Midori Traveler's Notebook Blue Edition Leather Cover and PanAm Accessories in Toronto, Canada at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca

Midori Traveler's Notebook Blue Edition Leather Cover and PanAm Accessories in Toronto, Canada at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca

 

Midori Traveler's Notebook Blue Edition Leather Cover and PanAm Accessories in Toronto, Canada at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca

 

 

Midori Traveler's Notebook Blue Edition Leather Cover and PanAm Accessories in Toronto, Canada at Wonder Pens wonderpens.ca

 

If you didn’t get all of the items you wanted this time around, don’t despair! Consider signing up for the email notification for back-in-stock on the product pages of the items you want. We are expecting more in May (and then more shipments later), along with some other new products from Midori that I’m pretty excited to share with you.

 

Fountain Pens & Paper

Often when people start using fountain pens, they discover quickly after that not all paper is made equal. When using ballpoints or rollerballs, most paper performs fairly similarly, which has to do with the oil-based greasier ink of these types of pen.

How well your ink does on your paper has to do with your pen, your ink and your paper. The wetter the pen, the more ink goes on the page, and so the more likely you’ll have problems. Certain inks display certain tendencies, and so you’ll have to play around and try a few inks to see how they differ. However, the paper you write on often has the biggest variation in how your pen and ink perform.

Paper weight is an indication of how heavy it is. Most paper is measured according to “gsm” or grams per square meter. American paper weights are in pounds, and it’s very confusing. My reference point is: 20lb paper is around 75 gsm. Rhodia’s standard staplebound pads have 80gsm paper. If you ask me any more questions about paper weight in lbs, I will likely spend a long time on this online conversion tool.

I think the real difference between how paper performs comes down to the sizing of the paper, or how the paper is treated in manufacturing to change the absorbency level of the paper. The basic idea is that the more absorbent the paper is, the more feathering and bleed through you will experience. Paper that has additional surface sizing will have the ink sit on top of the paper and take longer to dry, rather than absorbing into the paper, to dry quickly.

Bad things that can happen with paper:

Show-through: if you’re writing on the other side of the page, show-through or ghosting can make it more difficult to read what you’re writing. This is much more prevalent in thinner paper, such as Tomoe River Paper, and obviously if you hold it up to the light.

Bleedthrough on low quality paper with fountain pen ink

Bleed-through happens with a lot of ink on more absorbent paper.

Bleed-through: when the ink actually makes it way to the other side, bleed through makes it almost impossible to use the back page. Really terrible paper may even have ink on the next page.

Feathering: this is probably the least acceptable characteristic. Many people are willing to forgo the back of the page, but if the writing itself on the page looks terrible, there’s not a lot you can do about it.

Feathering on low-quality paper with fountain pen ink

Feathering makes your letters look a little hairy.

Here are a few ways to think about paper: 1. Regular paper
This is the copy paper at your office, or the lined notebooks for students. This paper often isn’t great for fountain pens, as it was designed for fast consumption and for use with ballpoints. There are a few types of copy paper that are designed for laser printers, and that perform quite well with fountain pens, for example HP Laser Jet 32lb paper.

If you’re stuck using poorer quality paper, you can try either using a thinner nib, like EF or F, or trying an ink that general performs a little better on cheaper papers, like Noodler’s X-Feather, or Rohrer & Klinger’s Iron Gall Salix.

2. French/European paper
Clairefontaine and Rhodia paper are considered two of the top brands in paper. While both companies make a variety of paper formats and sizes and weights, in general, their paper is smoother, slightly thicker and excellent for fountain pens. Most people find they can use broad, stub or flex nibs without problem because this paper is good.

High quality Rhodia paper for fountain pen ink - J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune and Flex Nib

Rhodia 80gsm pad, Noodler’s Nib Creaper Flex, J. Herbin Poussiere de Lune

This paper is more expensive than regular or copy paper, and it also has longer dry times.

3. Japanese paper
Japanese paper is making is beginning to become much more widespread in North America. Japanese paper tends to be thinner, but definitely holds up to fountain pen ink very well. Even though the paper is thinner, the lines you get are often exceptionally crisp.

Flex Nib Writing Sample and Shading Fountain Pen Ink

Life Noble Note paper, Dilli Flex and Sailor Jentle Grenade.

Life Stationery has a lot of ivory and thin paper in a huge variety of formats (notebooks, typing paper, writing paper, bank paper…), and Tomoe River Paper is exceptionally thin, and so has quite a bit of show-through. Japanese paper tends to have very long dry times.

4. Stationery Paper

Textured Laid Correspondence Stationery from G. Lalo Verge de France

G. Lalo Verge de France Stationery

Stationery or correspondence paper is usually A5 or A4 sized (rather than the North American standard sized letter or legal”) and come from Europe. This paper is often used for letter writing or more formal situations.

G. Lalo and Original Crown Mill are two companies that are known for their stationery paper, and in particular for their laid finish. This paper is thicker and much more textured, sometimes with “verge” or grid textured lines (that can be very helpful for writing straight across!).

What’s the deal with Moleskine?

We get asked quite a bit about why we’re not carrying Moleskine, mainly because we’re a stationery shop and we get a lot of people who aren’t using fountain pens but are maybe looking for a notebook. The long and short of it is that Moleskine paper is great for ballpoints and pencils, but not as great for really inky pens, like fountain pens.

There are many, many other paper products out there, some we carry and many more we don’t. You can always read reviews online, and they often also have pictures, so you can see how one paper performs, but it usually comes down to a combination of the pen, the ink and the paper, so your best bet is to try it out yourself.