Review: Midori World Meister’s Grain

I hit the Japanese gift shop at my University before class and picked out a selection of stationary goods as I shopped for potential Christmas gifts. I ended up leaving with stuff only for me (and this blog) and no Christmas gifts. But I did have ideas.

Anyway, one of the items I purchased, on a whim was the 3×5 spiral bound fancy pants Midori World Meister’s Grain notebook.  Before I go on my rant/tirade I’ll give you some fact, then I’ll lose you with the rant. It has 100 sheets of paper. 50 lined with a solid line then 4 dashed  lines then another solid 4 more dashed lines and so on. Then 50 more blank pages.  The lined pages are a creamy color with brown lines. the blank pages are a warm ivory shade. The paper is smooth and crisp. It’s great with pencil, gel ink, and fountain pen. No bleeding and little show through. Quite stunning with fountain pen.

The spiral binding is a copper colored metal and feels sturdy enough. The elastic is brown and goes quite well with the copper wire. The elastic is held to the back cover by two sturdy looking black eyelets. I picked out the black “leather” cover. The copper wire looks great with it, the brown elastic? Eh, it’s okay, just not great. They had brown and tan covers available as well, the brown elastic looks great with them. The “leather” cover also looks pretty good. It’s got a nice texture and feel that goes well with the rest of the materials. Altogether this is a great looking notebook.

The price is a tad on the high side. Okay, well, it’s not a TAD on the high side it’s really god damn expensive. I paid $8.25 on a whim, for a 3×5 spiral notebook with 100 sheets. Yes, I feel like a fool. I could get 12 notebooks on amazon for $10 if I looked for 5 minutes. Could I get one with paper this nice? No. Would fountain pens and gel ink soak through like I was writing on TP? Most likely. This paper is premium and lush. It’s fancy. Is it $8.25 fancy? Well, probably.

If you use fountain pens this is a great looking 3×5 notebook that you’re likely to reach for again and again. It works so flawlessly with fountain pens I’ve been loath to use it with anything else. It’s great with pencils too but man, the ink just works on this paper.

My gripe with this notebook is painting the “leather” cover as “recycled” leather. It’s less an issue with the notebook than it is with the industry (maybe Midori) for taking something that is a standard practice and painting it as some sort of green recycling thing when it’s been done FOREVER. They call this “recycled leather.” It’s leftover leather that is ground up, mixed with plastic, and pressed into a sheet. Sometimes leather scent is added. This has been around for so long that it’s the reason there are laws in the US for labeling leather products. This is why you get a tag on your boots or gloves that says “full grain leather.” This product has been used in bookbinding for ages and ages. It’s easier to use- the leather is rubberized so it’s flexible, it comes with glue on the back (if they order it that way) and it’s an even size. Yes, it’s a good practice, but is it really green? After all they are mixing plastic (probably vinyl) with an organic product that would break down.