The last time I was in a Muji store I bought a pack of five slim B5 notebooks which I thought they would be ideal for small projects.
Each notebook has thirty sheets/sixty sides of lined paper and the lines are printed in light grey with 6mm spacing. The pages are then stitched, and tape bound, each notebook is bound in a different colour tape.
It was only once I had got them home that I saw, on the information sheet, the words “Anti Bleed Through Notebook”.
My experience of Muji paper has been hit and miss where issues such as bleed through are concerned and as their product range can change quite quickly I have learnt the hard way that when you find what you think is a good notebook in Muji, you buy one and test it and if it passes the ink tests then work out how many you think you need, double it and go back the next day and buy them.
So, before buying more I decided to try to find more about the origins of the paper in the notebooks and why it is referred to as either ‘Planting Tree Paper’ or ‘Plantation Paper’.
Initially I had assumed that this might be a reference to Muji planting trees to offset those used to make the paper.
Turned out I was wrong; Muji are not offsetting the trees that go to make the paper but are, in fact, planting and growing trees specifically to make the paper and Muji state that this requires less chemical usage and produces less C02 than recycled paper.
Once I had discovered a bit more about the origins of the paper, I decided it was time to open the pack and test the ‘Anti Bleed Through’ claim. After all this is not Tomoe River so it’s a pretty bold assertion to make about such inexpensive notebooks (£3.95GBP / $3.50USD for a pack of five).
I reached for my bottle of Diamine Oxford Blue and a Q-Tip and set to work testing the paper with both a swab test and written test. The first thing you notice is how smooth the paper is and because of this I expected longer than average drying times, however, the ink dried quickly and there was no feathering or general absorption that you would expect with inexpensive paper.
When I looked at the reverse side of the page, I could see a shadow of the swab and written tests but no bleed through whatsoever; the shadowing is very similar to that I’ve seen when using notebooks made with Tomoe River or similar papers and consequently there is not problem when using the reverse side of the page.
These are great notebooks and they are excellent quality and value and are perfect for projects at home, at work or at college; and being fountain pen friendly means they should be suitable for use with most pens except Sharpies; it seems nothing is Sharpie proof!
I know that right now none of us can go to a Muji store but when you can I would put a couple of packs of these notebooks on your shopping list, you won’t regret buying them.
Disclaimer: The notebooks were 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.