When I was contacted by Daisy and Neil from Yoseka Stationery about reviewing their Yoseka Notebook, I have to be honest, I had never heard of their company or notebook before. To be fair, it has only been around for about a year. Looking at their web page really had me intrigued though, so of course I said that I’d be happy to try it out. So here are my unbiased thoughts and opinions on the Yoseka Notebook.
The notebook showed up fairly quickly, so that’s a great start. It was packaged well and arrived undamaged. The first thing you’ll notice when you receive yours is how simple the notebook is. The overall design is clean and uncluttered, but not boring. The cardboard cover isn’t what you’d typically find on a luxury notebook and the stitch binding is exposed. Opening it up, I immediately noticed the high-quality paper that is used for the end sheets. This isn’t something that is found in many notebooks these days and I feel like it helps to set this notebook apart. The paper has an interesting feel to it, which I suppose makes sense because it is specially coated to perform well with fountain pens. I’m excited to see how it feels to write on.
Here are a few details that make the Yoseka Notebook special.
- Pages: 224 (112 Sheets)
- Paper Weight: 85gsm
- Binding: Stitch
- Page Style: Blank
- Size: A5
Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)
- Sheen: Medium
- Shading: Very High
- Bleeding: Medium
- Ghosting: Medium
- Feathering: Very Low
- Dry Time: High
- Uses Conifer KBU2 paper
- Clean, simple design
- Hard cardboard cover
- Designed for fountain pen use
- Very nice end sheet paper
The first thing I want to mention about this notebook is the wonderful binding. Many high-quality notebooks feature a stitch binding, but not all have the same qualities as this one. The Yoseka notebook opens completely flat. While many other notebooks also open completely flat, this one does it effortlessly and might be the easiest to use. The hard covers really help to make it easier to write on either page when the notebook is open flat. The lack of cover material on the spine also helps it to open flat and stay flat. In my opinion this is one of the best-bound notebooks I’ve used.
Now, on to the paper. I don’t know if this paper will be for everyone. For example, I sometimes have issues with texture and how an object feels. This paper has an almost slate-like feel to it, if that makes sense. I’m not sure if it has some sort of special coating on it that other papers do not have, but it is definitely not a slick paper. Writing on it, you also get the sense that it is coated with something that gives it some resistance. It is actually quite smooth, but not at all slick to write on, which makes it feel like there is a bit of feedback from the paper.
For ink and pen performance, this paper is quite good. It shows a good amount of sheen, but not crazy amounts like Tomoe River. It does have amazing shading that earns it a spot in the best-shading papers I have tested. As you might know, with good sheen and great shading comes higher dry times. While there are papers out there that have higher dry times, this is right up there with the longest drying times around.
In addition to my standard paper tests, I also tried writing in this notebook with a variety of other pens. Thankfully, with one exception, I experienced zero feathering. During my standard tests, my Sailor Zoom nib that was filled with Emerald of Chivor did some weird feathering on one part of the paper. I used that pen/ink combo in other places and on different pages and was not able to recreate it, so I’m assuming it was an isolated incident that could happen with any paper on occasion. I also didn’t observe it with any other pens or inks, so I didn’t downgrade the rating for feathering. As for ghosting, it is average, so using both sides of a page shouldn’t be problematic for most people. I was a little concerned with the bleeding with the Zoom nib/Emerald of Chivor combination, which is more than I’d like to see. Fortunately, few other pens or inks showed any bleeding, and any that was observed was only with very heavy ink application that you aren’t likely to experience under normal use conditions.
One other thing that I noticed was that some pages had unusual marks on them, almost like they had been slightly bent or creased. Maybe the paper had been bent a little bit before it was bound? Luckily, it was only about an inch in length, but multiple pages were affected. This is purely aesthetic and isn’t something that would affect writing, but it might still bother some people.
It’s always great to see a notebook that uses paper you don’t see everywhere else. It’s even better when the paper is nice and does a good job at showing off the properties of your ink! The paper that is used in the Yoseka Notebook certainly makes your ink look good. The feel of it might not be for everyone, and the dry times and bleeding are both a little higher than are ideal, but you can’t deny that this is some great paper. It’s only fitting that great paper is used in a great notebook. The design and quality craftsmanship of this notebook make it stand out amongst similarly priced notebooks. They currently only offer blank pages, but might offer other options in the future. If you’re looking for something nice but different from what everyone else is using, you should definitely consider the Yoseka Notebook.
If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.
Disclaimer: This notebook was provided to me for free for the purposes of this review. All opinions in this review are my own and were not influenced by the generosity of Yoseka Stationery.
Yoseka Notebook Review
Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating
Pros: Wonderful binding, lays flat, nice paper
Cons: Some bleeding, long dry times, only blank pages offered
Value Rating: 3.29 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.18
Who this notebook is for: People who want to enjoy their inks in a high-quality notebook that lays flat.
Upgrade to this notebook from: Any quality notebook like a Midori MD or Life Noble
Upgrade from this notebook to: A high-quality Tomoe River notebook like the Elia Note.