Review by Laura Cameron
Months ago, when I heard Brad review the Yamamoto Ro-Biki Notebooks ($9.00) I was intrigued. I don’t know whether it was the size/shape or the fact that the softcover is waxed and the paper is 100% recycled that piqued my interest, but I added one to my cart at JetPens and figured I’d play around with them eventually.
The Ro-Biki notebooks come in a variety of designs and sizes. The one I purchased was New York – The Skyscraper, but there are a variety of other photos and geometric designs, as well as a few plain covers. The notebook comes with 60 plain pages of 75gsm 100% recycled paper in ivory. It is super lightweight and come in a larger size of 3.5″ wide by 8.3″ tall (9cm x 21cm) or a smaller size of 3.5″ wide by 5.3″ tall (9cm x 13.5 cm). The Ro-Biki is thread and glue bound and will open to lay flat. Most of the Ro-Biki notebooks come with plain paper, although there are a few that come with grid or reticule.
I immediately started testing all my pens on the paper. I did find that the last page of the notebook had a bit of wax on it (probably rubbed off from the cover) which made the writing experience interesting, but the second page in was beautiful to write on. The paper was slightly textured and had a bit of tooth to it.
I enjoyed the unique size quite a bit, though I note it is a bit off from the Midori Traveler notebook standard size of 4.3″ x 8.3″ (11cm x 21cm).
The paper is advertised as fountain pen friendly, and I’d say that it is. There was a bit of bleed through at the point where I colored in my heart, but otherwise just some gentle ghosting from the fountain pens. The Ink Joys left indentations in the paper that could be felt on the opposite side, but I’m still sort of a hard writer when it comes to a non-fountain pen nib so that may just be me.
In general I found this a convenient little notebook to keep with me for jotting down ideas as they came to me. My notebook hasn’t gotten a lot of wear yet, but as it ages the wax cover is only supposed to get softer and more supple.
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