First Impressions: Nanami Paper Seven Seas Writer Journal

Nanami Paper The Writer Journal

Nanami Paper sells its Seven Seas journals and other products on its website. Nanami is in California, but the journals and many other Nanami products are made in Japan.

Nanami offers three Seven Seas journals in A5 size, which is somewhat less than 8½ by 6 inches. The Writer is the lined option. Nanami also has Seven Seas journals with blank paper or with paper marked with pluses.

Nanami Paper The Writer Journal

The Writer makes a very handsome presentation. Even the typography is crisp and attractive.

At A5, the Writer is the same size as a Rhodia Webnotebook, which is the only other journal-type notebook I’ve used with fountain pens. I like the Webnotebook, and that’s widely available, so I’ll compare it a bit to the Writer.

Nanami Paper The Writer Journal compared to Rhodia Webnotebook

Both journals use off-white, fountain-pen friendly paper, but very different paper. The Webnotebook contains 96 sheets of heavier, cream-colored Rhodia paper. There is no showthrough or bleedthrough on this smooth paper, and the journal’s cloth binding means its pages lay flat enough that I can write on both sides. That means I get 192 pages of writing in a Webnotebook.

The Writer uses Tomoe River paper. Because that’s much thinner paper, the Writer contains 240 sheets. Its binding, though different, also lays flat, so you get 480 pages if you use both sides of the page.

I don’t intend to do that, however. I generally write on only one side of Tomoe River paper, because I get showthrough on Tomoe River paper with fountain pen inks, and I dislike that. With such a nice journal, I’d like to enjoy it to the fullest. So for me the Writer will be a 240 page journal. I’ll use the blank side (the verso) for notes and emendations, as I do with Field Notes. It’s like breathing room.

I like the A5 size for a journal (at least, how I imagine I’d use a journal, if I become a regular journal writer, which would primarily be sitting down at a desk or table, the sun shining on me as I sift through weighty matters and set down worthy reflections. Like St. Jerome in his study, by Dürer, except without the halo.)

For jotting quick notes, reminders and anything on-the-go, I carry Field Notes, which are 3½ by 5½ inches. But for longer, more considered writing, I need a bigger page. The A5 size is a better size for a journal for me, because it’s a small enough package to carry around at times, but each page has some room. Room for thoughts. Mine run long.

Nanami Paper The Writer Journal compared to Field Notes

The Writer comes with a sheet of pink, A5-size blotting paper, which you can see here. I also bought two writing pads to try out, a soft green one, and a sheet of clear plastic. You can put a writing pad under the page as you write, as a backing material, for a firmer writing surface and to prevent an imprint from forming on the next page.

A writing pad is something you don’t need for the Webnotebook, because it uses thicker paper. But I love accessories. Here are my two writing pads for the Writer. In buying both, admittedly, I may have over-accessorized, but is that even possible in fountain pen land?

Nanami Paper The Writer Journal with writing pads

You can see in some of the photos that the journal comes in an attractive chamois colored cardboard slipcase. Some photos make the slipcase look more tan, but that’s a trick of the light; it really is more yellow.

The journal itself is covered in a smooth, woven black material, which Nanami says is a fabric covered by a water-resistant coating. I love the cover. It looks like a hardcover book, but it’s flexible and thinner, like a paperback. It’s textured, but smoothly textured. It’s very appealing. I’d never get a leather or other cover for this journal.

The Tomoe River paper inside has lines of the same width as the lined Webnotebook. For my handwriting, that’s a nice width.

One thing I noticed inside my Writer are occasional crinkle marks at the top of some of the sheets.

Nanami Paper The Writer Journal

Those crinkles are near the valley, but most of the crinkles I see are at the top corners. Some are like bends or folds in the paper.

Nanami Paper The Writer Journal

I expect this is due to the thinness of the Tomoe River paper, and probably it’s inevitable. I have no way of knowing if all Seven Seas notebooks have this, or just some, but the Nanami site says the books are inspected before being sold, so clearly mine passed muster.

And it does pass muster with me. I was a little surprised to see it, but I am okay with it. Yes, ideally, there would be no crinkles or bends, but it’s thin paper, and I’ll probably crinkle and bend pages myself. After all, it’s a notebook. I’m just pointing it out, because everyone has different standards.

I really like the visual and tactile experience of the Writer. The design — typeface, layout, slipcover and colors — is all very attractive. The Writer looks and feels special. Maybe I’ll be more motivated to write in it for that reason.

Nanami Paper The Writer Journal

I’ve always been happy with the Webnotebook.  And I’d say in comparison to the Writer, each has pluses and minuses. You do get more pages with the Writer, even if you only use one side of the paper. The Webnotebook has a sturdier, firmer cover for carrying around, but the Writer will be encased in its slipcover when you store it. I like the paper in both, though I slightly prefer Rhodia paper.

Both are expensive: you can get the Webnotebook for around $17, and the Writer is $26. The Writer does look and feel more special, however.

The Writer is a nice present, and I really look forward to using it and figuring out how it does over the long haul. I do think something that nice could spur me to use a journal more. It’s a beautiful home for one’s writing.

19 thoughts on “First Impressions: Nanami Paper Seven Seas Writer Journal

  1. I’ve just seen this… after my first Tomoe River experience, I’ve been hunting for somewhere with a Seven Seas Writer in stock, and I stumble upon this! When I wrote my post, I only searched FPF for “Tomoe River”, not “Nanami” or “Seven Seas”–I was careless and missed a great review. 😦

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  2. Laura, I am happy that helped you. I will tell you more then…

    I use the Quo Vadis-Habana to write about pen, paper, and ink. (mostly ink) I have a list of the inks I have, the ones I want to try etc… I do not number those pages, but I do write the date of entry. I usually write a paragraph with any sample I get, and what I think about that ink.
    I use an Apica Premium journal just for testing new inks. I have another Apica Premium to write my monthly bills in…a very basic log book. (in bullet journal style, heavily simplified) I have a computer journal which is a Rhodia Webnotebook. I rarely use the computer journal, but it is very valuable to me. It is mainly notes on what to do, and the steps to take. It has saved me on numerous occasions before. I have a Clairefontaine Clothbound for my bullet journal. (it is better to have a heavier paper for a bullet journal, in my opinion)
    I have two small Clairefontaine 1951 notebooks. On one book, I write the name of an ink brand, with the name of the ink. Under that page I write with every pen I have, with that color. That is an ongoing process. Then the other 1951 book…I write on the top line… the name of the pen, and then I note every color with that particular color beneath the pen name. I print with that book, but I use cursive in the other 1951 book. This helps me to see what pens look good with what color. If I re-ink the same color in a pen, I don’t duplicate that in the log book. I also see how much line width some inks have, that might be out of the ordinary for a certain pen. EX: I have Dromgoole’s-USS Texas, and it is a wider line width with every pen I’ve used it with. If an ink has really good shade or sheen with a particular pen, it will be obvious which one it is, if I go back and look at these small journals.
    My favorite journals are the Seven Seas journals with Tomoe River paper. I do like the heavier paper for some things, especially a bullet journal. So I don’t have just one brand of journal. I may phase out the Apica Premium, for something else in the future. I do plan to keep the current line up the way that it is, at least for now.

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    1. I forgot one, that is another idea. I have a dedicated Moleskine which is not fountain pen friendly. I use it because it is small, and handy. I bought these before I started using Field Notes. Anyway, I write in this Moleskine a daily medical log. I have 4 columns in it. At the top I write date, bp/O2, bpm, and time. This helps me keep up with my blood pressure, and pulse readings etc… If my blood pressure is low, I may only take a half a pill, or no pill. Whatever is out of the ordinary, I write it in there. So I can take this to the doctor, and point out if need be how these particular issues have been going for me. I sometimes take an O2 reading as well as pulse. Instead of making a new column (there isn’t much room to do so) I combine bp with O2. Once this book is used up, I will start using the Field Notes books that aren’t fountain pen friendly. That way I can save the good fp friendly books for other things.

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      1. I am agog. You are amazing with these journals. So well organized. I can see how useful those are. I’ve been nuts with work today, so I just finished and got to see this. At 9 pm. 🙂 But I am seriously impressed.

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        1. Laura, I am really not that well organized as it may seem. But as times goes by, I see how journals can be helpful to me. I think it is because my memory basically stinks big time, so I do what I can to make up for it! 🙂

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          1. I think that’s actually the definition of being well-organized, that you’ve figured out a system that works for you and helps compensate for the areas where you think you need a bit more help. 🙂 As for a bad memory, after a certain age, it gets all of us. Now what was I saying? 🙂

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  3. I use The Writer as my Ink Log. It will take me a very long time to fill that up!! I also have another one (Crossfield) that I write in that is about medical stuff and home remedies. You can start like that. Then the next journal you can buy, the new journal scariness won’t be as bad! The possibilities are endless on what you can use these journals for. The paper is such a treat to put beautiful ink on. It does make me want to write neater as well, while I make entries! Oh, and I do leave room in the front for an index. If you don’t do that and number the pages, it will be very hard to go back and find something…since there are so many pages.

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    1. Excellent comment, thank you so much! I need to write a post about journals, asking for ideas like this, because honestly for this project I’ve been trying to get some input about journals — how people use them, tips, what people would be interested in, what people’s favorites are — but I’ve totally struck out except for the comments here. Which are all awesome! Because blog readers are the best. 🙂

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  4. Neat-o! I use a Hobonichi as a scheduler, and have some loose TR paper for correspondence. Love the paper. I have to source mine direct from Japan though because Nanami is too pricey on shipping for me. No matter, I can still get some. I actually prefer the cream colour, but the white is nice too.

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  5. I took a look at my (virgin) Writer, and while it has just a couple of wrinkles, doesn’t seem as much as what you report. I consider blemishes like that part of the personality of the object – if it was perfect, it would be like Photoshopped models in fashion magazines. I just really like the way this thing *feels*. I look forward to putting ink in there.

    However, that first blank page is still scaring the crap out of me.

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    1. I too find myself feeling unworthy of a nice new journal. I have finally figured out that – if I will leave the first page or two blank and I just dive into it – I am able to overcome those feelings for the most part.

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  6. I’m a big fan of Tomoe River paper in general, so I love my Seven Seas Writers and Crossfields. But for those who might be turned off by side-effects of TR’s crazy thinness (e.g., propensity to exhibit show-through, lack of resistance to creases/wrinkles introduced during the thread-binding process), I would suggest the Enigma from Taroko Shop on Etsy. It seems to be out of stock at the moment, but it contains a heavier 68 gsm variety of TR paper, sacrificing number of sheets to alleviate some of the aforementioned problems.

    Also worth noting is the durability of the cover and binding on both the Nanami and Taroko offerings. Daily carry makes these notebooks age beautifully – the treated fabric cover bears scuffs and dents much more gracefully than that of the Webby, IMO. I just wish the SS had a built-in bookmark, but my blotting paper and writing pad serve that purpose well enough.

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  7. I have both The Writer, and a Crossfield. I love them both dearly. I also have a Rhodia Webnotebook, and a Quo Vadis-Habana. (among others) Each notebook has a purpose, and are all used in different applications. My favorite is The Writer. But the Crossfield would be my favorite if the grid weren’t so small. Yes, I could double and use two grids to write a sentence, but it felt like a struggle. Tomoe River paper is my favorite paper of all. But I still use, and plan to use thicker paper journals too. I love how the Nanami journals are stitched, and that makes all the difference. Plus they lay flat!

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