|The notebook after several weeks of wear|
It's a simple notebook system, in the quiet and refined style that the Japanese do well. There's a thick vegetable-tanned leather cover that's made in Chiangmai, Thailand; elastics that hold the pieces inside as well as wrap around the entire journal; and a tin medallion to bind the elastics together. You can swap in different notebooks and other accessories to customize it to your needs. It's designed to be personalized, portable, and long-lasting. Once a notebook is filled, it can be slipped off and swapped for a new blank one. It's only the paper notebooks that have to be replaced, not the whole journal itself.
|The notebook can comfortably accommodate about three notebooks before it gets too fat|
I decided to customize mine with a blank notebook, a 2-month daily diary, a graph-lined notebook, a zip pouch, and a credit card holder. That way, I would have a place for thoughts, inspiration, a daily journal, receipts, and less important credit cards that don't fit in my wallet. I imagine it to be a cross between a Filofax and an ordinary journal, versatile enough to warrant my taking it everywhere, and therefore capable of actually being a kind of ongoing scrapbook of my life. One user described it as "adventure journaling."
|This is how the 2-month universal diary is set up|
Now that I've had it for a few weeks, switching out different notebooks and changing the order of things until it felt just so, I have to say that I really love it. The leather is getting worn just as expected, still stiff and sturdy but with a crosshatching of surface scuffs and wear marks (if I ever decide I dislike the worn-in look, I can oil it and it all disappears). And it's been very convenient to have a central location for my things. When I change bags, I just grab my wallet, phone, and notebook.
It's turning out as useful as I had hoped, and I feel some easing of my anxiety that time is passing me by, unrecorded. And ultimately, that is the reason I got the notebook. Flipping through my old journals gave me a feeling of connectedness to the past and to my former self. I felt a mixture of curiosity, surprise, and nostalgia, and I was glad to have them.
|Fountain pens exhibit little feathering on the paper (quotes are from Walden)|
To complete the tour of this rabbit warren, here are a few places I came across in my readings that may interest you. In no particular order:
- the Midori Traveler's Notebook Flickr group
- the "adventure journaling" YouTube unboxing and review
- Everyday Carry (kind of like the ever-popular "what's in your purse?" post, but predominantly male and with a survivalist slant)
- the 2013 Hong Kong ferry meetup to commemorate the anniversary edition
- the brand website, which includes profiles of artists and other notable persons and how they use the notebook, along with uploads from ordinary users
|I went whole hog and acquired a Lamy Safari fountain pen, too|
Note: You don't have to order directly from Japan to get this notebook. It's even sold on Amazon, but it turned out to be about 25% cheaper for me to order from a Japanese website even with shipping (pencils.jp, if you're interested), and there was a complete selection of accessories.