Now I know I shouldn’t have been surprised that Midori make things other than their famous Traveler’s Notebook and accessories, but I was; I think it’s because the fame of their Traveler’s range tends to eclipse everything else they produce. If you run a Google search ‘Amazon Midori A5 notebook’ you’ll soon discover they make a much wider range they you may have anticipated.
I found the notebook by accident whilst pottering around on Amazon looking for a notebook cover, it popped up as a recommendation and from there it was a short step to tripping down the rabbit hole and ordering one, and a matching Midori cover. I know some of you will think why pay extra for a branded cover and I get it, however, having been burnt once too often by badly sized generic covers, I decided to try out a branded one.
Both items arrive wrapped in a clear plastic film envelope and each one has a card band around it, on the front it has the usual branding you would expect, and, on the rear, it has the product information, pretty much everything is in Japanese so possibly these were originally produced for the domestic market only. A sheet of index stickers was tucked into the rear of the card band and should be useful to anyone who archives their notebooks.
The paper is smooth, cream coloured and the grid pattern (5mm) is printed in blue, unlike other makes of notebook the grid pattern is not printed as perfect squares; the vertical lines ceasing before they meet the horizontal line of the row above. I’m not sure why this is but other than being a little quirky it’s fine.
The good news is that this is a stitched notebook which means it opens and lies flat enabling the full width of the page to be used and it has a matching ribbon marker. The covers are cream card and the binding is a re-enforced white tape binding that blends well with the covers and the front and rear flyleaves are a slightly heavier paper than the main body of the notebook.
So, so far so good, and now came the time for the ink test, this is often the place where notebooks come a cropper; I used Graf Von Faber-Castell India Red for this test for no other reason than it was the bottle nearest to me and as you can see from the ink test there was very little show through and nothing else which means that this notebook should be fine to use with most inks and in normal usage both sides of the page would be usable.
Moving on to the cover; it is a very good fit and it extends approximately two thirds of the way inside the notebook cover proving a useful pocket to tuck notes in et cetera.
The exterior of the cover is crystal clear and thick enough to provide more than adequate protection from everyday use; whilst the interior is a softer opaque plastic that is thinner than the exterior. Combined with the flyleaf it means you are unlikely to notice it when writing, even when you reach the last few pages.
There is just something about this notebook that I like, it’s good quality, thoughtfully made, the paper is very pleasant to write on and it’s a practical notebook. For anyone who is already a fan of Midori and needs a standard sized notebook this is the answer. Being very plain it is suitable for both work and home and would lend itself very well to being decorated and the plain paper version would probably make a nice sketch book.
Finally, given that the cost of the notebook and cover put it in the same ballpark as a Dingbats and similar notebooks, are they worth your pennies?
I think so, both the notebook and the cover are good quality and compare favourably with their rivals, and once it is full I will buy another.
Disclaimer: This notebook and cover was purchased with my own funds at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailers or manufacturers in any way.