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For an updated version of this post, head to my new site Must Have Stationery.
If you’ve been around the site at all you’ve probably seen I love stationery. I am very specific about what kind of stationery I like or will actually use. While I love some of the kawaii washis or pretty planner covers, but I know that I won’t use it continuously, and then it will just sit on my desk or in my drawer. So I’ve been really picky about what I buy. There were plenty of washis pencils, pencil cases, notebooks, pens that I nearly bought from Tokyo Disney Resort that were absolutely adorable. But I knew that I loved them because I was in the magic of Disney and not because I was actually going to use them. So I thought I would write a post about my favorite stationery that I use every day, and stationery that I would recommend for writers.
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The Kokuyo Jibun is my daily planner. Besides the Weeks that I’ll talk about later, it is where everything goes. I keep track of all appointments for myself, the kids, and sometimes my husband if it involves me at all. It’s where I keep my to do lists, my goals, my habit trackers. It has my idea journal, where I keep my packing lists, or wish lists for shopping trips or bucket list-type things. It basically has everything and I would probably fall apart if I didn’t have it. It goes almost everywhere with me and has been my introduction to Japanese planners and I absolutely love it.
I never thought I was going to like Frixion pens because, to be honest, they aren’t the nicest to write with. They can feel scratchy especially the tips less than .05 which is what I use in my planner for the small lines. But, I like the ability to erase and change my plans because I hate crossing things out, or using white out on the gridded paper. And I like the 4-Color Pen because I can color code my plans without having to change my pen. And, I’m not writing huge amounts that it bothers me too much that it’s not a nice glossy pen. For my long-hand writing I use the Muji Gel Ink Pen that I talk about below.
The great thing about Muji Notebooks are how inexpensive and minimalistic they are. Here in Japan I bought the notebook for 150Yen. I decided to go with the blank notebook but they do come in grid and lined. They are a nice A6 size so they’re small enough to throw in a bag and not add much bulk. I mostly use this for random notes, lists, or ideas while I’m out and about and didn’t bring anything else. This is definitely stationery I would recommend for writers because of the ease of carrying it wherever you are and for the blank layout that allows you to write or draw any idea that comes to mind.
In my Muji Notebook I almost always write with the Muji Gel Ink Ballpoint Pen. I have it in the .5 size but I’m thinking about heading back to get the .38 to try it out for my daily planner and for my Hobonichi. It writes really smooth like a gel pen which I love but it seems to take less time to dry than other gel pens like the Sakura Gelly Roll. And, in comparison, it actually looks smaller in size than the Gelly Roll even though they are both .05, so it’s nice if you like a thinner line that still feels nice and smooth to write.
If you look at any stationery favorite post you’re probably going to find mildliners on there, so I’m not very original in that. But, I really do like mildliners. I find they have some really great colors in a muted tone that fits with my taste, and, at least here in Japan, are fairly inexpensive. I love that they come in dual-tip so you can have options when you’re drawing, highlighting, or marking things off. These are actually the only markers/highlighters I use in my planners or notebooks and I have them in dozens of colors that I’ll switch out when I feel like it to give my pages a different feel.
In my adult life I never really had a use for any pencil, let alone a mechanical pencil, but I’ve gotten really into crosswords lately, and I’m not good enough yet to do them in pen so I wanted to find a mechanical pencil that would work for me. The Kuru Toga pencil is a little fancier than your average mechanical pencil because it has an internal mechanism that will rotate the lead so you always have a pointy surface to write with. It seems like such a small thing that I never knew was even needed, but I do notice that the tip stays thin and pointy no matter how long I’ve been writing so if you can find the Kuru Toga and you use pencils a lot I would highly recommend it.
The Hobonichi is probably the most well-known Japanese planner. I bought my Jibun Techo before this hobonichi, but I got really inspired by some stationery youtubers so start a daily journal in a Hobonichi. I’ve been an on-and-off journaler for years. It’s something I think every writer needs to do, but I have never been consistent with it.
So I had this idea that a small A6 daily planner would be perfect because there’s not too much space that I feel like I can’t quickly journal something, but it has dedicated pages that push me to write every day because I don’t like having blank pages. So this was the planner I went with. So far I love it. I love the Tomoe River paper that everyone raves about and I love the size and how creative I can be in it.
To go along with my A6 Hobonichi, I got a pencil board. I highly recommend writing with a pencil board when you’re on such thin paper like the Tomoe River paper. Otherwise, you’ll notice a lot of indentation in the next few pages, even if you’re not a hard writer. I got this Dashenka Pencil board on Etsy because they’re currently sold out on the Hobonichi website. I particularly like the Dashenka style because that’s my dog’s name.
I lived in Prague years ago and we read the book by Czech write Karel Čapek and I named her after the character in the book that this page is styled after. Hobonichi comes out with many other styles, so check back here when they release their new options in August.
This is another Etsy purchase but this time it’s a personalized book stamp. I love this stamp so much and I’m slowly working my way through my book collection, adding this to the front page. I have always written in my books, either where I bought it or who gave it to me, and the date, but I thought this stamp was a great addition and would be something I would like to look at in the future.
This date stamp just makes me think of the library. It has to make me look old when I can remember going to the library, picking out a book, and having them actually stamp the card inside with this type of stamp. Now, it’s all digital, and I honestly don’t even know when that transition happened, but I love the look of this stamp. I use it in my journal or notebook just to add something a little different and give me the feeling I used to have when checking a new book out of the library.
I love products that have dual uses. This 2Way Eraser has a larger Tombow eraser that works well without ruining your page, and it also has white-out tape to cover up your pen mistakes. I keep this in my pen pouch just in case.
The Hobonichi Weeks is a new addition to my collection but so far I love it. I love the small, compact size and how it can easily slip into a pocket of my bag. So far I’ve been using it as a fitness planner/tracker. I’m starting my training for the Tokyo Marathon and I really want to stay on top of my training and my nutrition so I decided to use a separate planner to only log my workouts and what I need to eat that day or do for recovery. Running a marathon is the biggest athletic event I’ve ever attempted so I wanted to make sure nothing was falling through the cracks and that my personal and work planner wasn’t too crowded that it made it hard to keep track of anything.