I love when I’m stationed close to the Dromgoole’s tables at pen shows. Inevitably, I find things I cannot do without. When I saw that they had the Nanami Café Note B6 with 3.7mm dashed grid ($20), I couldn’t resist trying it out.
The Café Note comes with a heavyweight matte white paper wrap over the actual cover of the notebook. Under the wrap is a brand-free burgundy heavy cardstock cover with a woven texture embossed into the paper. The pages are stitch bound (the line of stitches up the spine is visible under the burgundy wrap, if you angle the book just right in the light) which allows the book to lay flat. I did find that the first page, which is glued to the end pages does not open flat but with 384 pages of Tomoe River paper (52gsm lightweight), I can overlook this.
The Café Note features a diminutive 3.7mm grid which is printed in light grey dashed lines. The paper is the white Tomoe River. While it’s not bright white, it is a good natural white. It should not alter the color of your inks dramatically nor strain your eyes from staring at paper with a 97% brightness rating.
As with other Nanami notebooks, a pink blotter sheet is tucked inside the back cover to help with the slower dry time of Tomoe River paper.
The notebook is a compact B6 Slim size (176mm x 110mm, approximately 7″ x 4.3″). The size the same as the standard “Shinsho” books, the second most popular book size in Japan, also known as “Slim B6”. Shinsho size is used primarily non-fiction books. The most popular book size is A6 which is called “Bunko” and is used mostly for fiction. These compact, portable book sizes were created for commuters in Japan.
This size format is not one I’ve used in the past and I was surprised how much I liked how the book felt in my hand. The beefy page count makes the Café Note about the same size as a paperback book.
The photo above shows an A5 notebook on the bottom with the Nanami Café Note next and a paperback on top for scale.
The photo above shows just the Nanami Café Note and the A5 notebook for reference.
Since the Nanami Café Note was acquired during a pen show, it immediately fell victim to pen tests, doodles and drunken scrawls. When I pulled it out to write this review, I decided use these pages as part of the review. Enough has been written about the merits of Tomoe River paper at this point that another laundry list of pen tests is not really necessary.
As you can see from the above photos, the notebook appealed to everyone who picked it up to use it.
My biggest takeaway from using the Nanami Café Note is two-fold: Nanami notebooks are some of my favorite Tomoe River notebooks. Their simplicity, brand-free aesthetics and generous page count make them my first choice when I need a new Tomoe River notebook. Second, I really like the B6 size. I will be looking for more notebooks in this size.