I was using a Rhodia “Webnotebook” , but as I began to near the end, I decided to look for a different journal. I liked the webnotebook, but I wanted something that was larger (A5-ish is my favorite size) and that had a lot of paper. I’ve had plenty of experience with Tomoe River paper, so I was hoping to find something that had an abundance of it inside. Tomoe River paper notebooks aren’t new at all (Jay at Paper for Fountain Pens makes hardcover styles, and I love his correspondence-sized pads) but I never really found something that fitted what I wanted until I found the Nanami Paper Seven Seas Standard.
The Seven Seas Standard holds 480 (!!!) pages of blank, cream Tomoe River paper and is exactly A5-sized. Yes, 480 pages of Tomoe River paper. You’re gonna be able to use this notebook for a long, long time. The Standard is filled with blank pages, while the Writer is filled with lined pages. I wanted a little bit of freedom with regards to how I format my pages (something I learned while working with my previous, lined journal), so the Standard was definitely the right choice for me. If Nanami Paper ever offers dot grid though… I’m sure a lot of people would really like that.
I won’t go too in-depth about the paper since I’m sure a lot of people already know about Tomoe River paper, but if you don’t know… wow. it’s some pretty wild stuff. It’s extremely thin and lightweight, which is why you can have a notebook with 480 pages that is about 3/4 of an inch thick. It’s also extremely fountain pen friendly, and it really shows off some fun aspects of ink like sheen and shading. I love using my fountain pens on this paper because it’s just so satisfying. I’ve used nibs from fine to broad and I have never seen a spot of bleedthrough. The only cons to using Tomoe River paper is that, since it’s so thin, it creases very easily. You have to be careful when handling it. However, I think that the pros of the paper really outweigh the cons. If you’ve never tried out Tomoe River paper, find some from your favorite distributor! You definitely will not regret it.
To make sure I write in a straight line, I use templates that I made myself and printed. Basically, I made a Word document, filled the page with a table, made each cell my preferred line width, made each cell completely black and the lines between each cell white, then cut them down to size. The black cells makes the showthrough from the previous page practically invisible, which I think makes it easier to write on. I think it’s a lot more effective to get a blank notebook and make your own lined templates because you can use the notebook the way you want to, with graph templates, wide-ruled templates, etc. It’s definitely useful with the Tomoe River paper because it’s so thin, so any template is easy to see.
The cover is made out of buckram and is stiff and flexible and also water-resistant, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally putting your coffee mug on top of your notebook, since any water will wipe right off (you’ll probably still get a coffee stain though, sorry). It’s pretty tough, but I bought a cover for mine from Belle and Sofa on Rakuten. These are the same covers as the brown and black ones offered on Nanami Paper, but there are more colors available on Rakuten (weirdly enough, they haven’t restocked the “emerald green” color since I purchased it a few months ago, so you may have to wait a little while or contact the seller if they’re out of the color you want).
This isn’t a cover review, but I do really like the cover. They’re made out of “micro fiber leather,” so they’re leather-like but not actually leather. I’ve run my fingernail over the cover to see if I could scuff it at all, and nothing happened. If you’re someone who likes breaking in leather covers, this may not be the right cover for you. The texture is nice, though, and it also has a bookmark. I don’t use it, but it’s nice to know it’s there. I paid about $25 for my cover including shipping. I don’t think the cover is absolutely necessary: I do feel like this notebook could stand up to quite a bit of abuse, but I liked the color of the cover!
The notebook comes with a cardboard slipcase (not pictured) and a sheet of blotter paper cut down to A5 size, and I think these are really nice additions on the part of Nanami Paper. You can store the notebook in the slipcase when you’re done. The blotter sheet is super helpful if you’re using a fountain pen for this paper (which you should be). The ink could take a little longer to dry, so if you’re in a hurry–or if you’re left-handed like me–shoving the blotter paper between your freshly written sheet means no ink transfer and no mess. Also, it serves as a pretty good bookmark.
There is very minimal branding on the notebook: the only place you find anything is on the back cover. It’s very tasteful, but if you ever need a new notebook and you forgot the URL or the place you got it from, a quick flip to the back will help you out immensely. It’s also very good for checking out specification info that you forgot (guilty).
One thing I did notice was that the pages do not line up perfectly with the cover. This is honestly so, so minor because it’s barely even a millimeter off, and it doesn’t bother me (especially because I have the cover on). If this does bother you, I would suggest getting a cover, but it’s practically unnoticeable anyway.
All in all, I really enjoy the Seven Seas Standard. I think it’s a well-made notebook with a pretty good price. $28 for a notebook seems a little pricey, but if you compare it to other notebook in its size and price range, I think you’ll see that the Seven Seas Standard is a pretty clear winner. Similar products from Leuchtturm, Rhodia, and Quo Vadis have less than half as many pages for about the same price. Not only are you getting some of the most fountain pen friendly paper the community has found, but you’re also supporting a small business and getting a pretty good deal out of the whole thing.
You can buy Tomoe River paper from Nanami Paper, Paper for Fountain Pens, or JetPens. I’m not affiliated with or sponsored by any of these companies, but I’ve purchased things from them from the past and they’re all top-notch!