Product Review: Notebooks for Left-handed Writers(and the Eslite Ideal Stationery Fair)誠品理想的文具展|左撇子的筆記本推薦 

I always look forward to Eslite Bookstore’s exhibitions~ I think they are really well put together and are a balanced combination of both information and merchandise.  This past month, was the Ideal Stationery Fair, featuring illustrations by Japanese artist Chalkboy, some fun facts about everyday stationery items, and of course tons of affordable (and some aspirational) stationery products from around the world. 這週想跟大家分享我去誠品理想的文具展的一些照片及買的筆記本。

The exhibition had several different displays~I only took photos of my favorites, like these anatomy charts of stationery items~ which desribes how the humble, yet indispensable glue stick came to be.  (My one tiny quibble is I wish there was an English translation, because my Chinese reading is not up to scratch is reading at a glance)

My other favorite was the anatomy of the staple-less stapler.

There were also several personal and well-loved and well-used stationery items on display~ I love this Miffy pencil box~ I would definitely buy it if I saw in the stores!


Now onto the merchandise!  One of the most prominent displays was the Midori compact stationery collection.  I have the compact stapler from years and years ago, and I still love it and use it.

I was seriously tempted by the porcupine pencil holder (shown on the bottom shelf here) which I thought was the most adorable thing and would be so handy to have in my office. Wish-listed (for now!)

Next, this color and size coordinated display of notebooks and file folders really captured my interest.  So. Much. Temptation.

The notebook by Kokuyo is a discovery for me~ it’s called the “Soft ring” notebook, which means the spirals are made from a pliable plastic, instead of the usual metal.  As a lefty, I’m always on the lookout for notebooks that are comfortable to write in. I picked up three notebooks from the fair to experiment with~ read on for my review!

If you are a lefty, you probably have constant ink stains on the heel of your hand. Since I’ve been a lefty my whole life, it doesn’t really bother me THAT much, but I’ve found that some of these problems can be alleviated by choosing the right ink-and paper combinations. It’s also a huge plus if the binding feels comfortable to the touch. 如果你是左撇子以下的 situation (情況)應該不陌生~ 就是沾著滿滿墨水的手!所以我永遠在尋找 perfect  的紙還有筆的組合。 最近在文具展剛好買到四本筆記本試一試!

So two important elements I always take into consideration when choosing a notebook are the binding, and the texture of the paper.  Based on my experience, the binding types that are the most comfortable for leftys are stitch bound, side staple, glue bound, or top spiral notebooks.  In terms of paper texture, I try to look for textures that allow ink to dry quickly, pencil to write smoothly and without smearing.  Of course, sometimes all these considerations go out the window when I judge a notebook by the cover, and just have to have it because it’s pretty.

The notebooks I will be testing for this post will be: two spiral bound notebooks by Kokuyo, the soft ring and Campus notebooks,

and also two stitch bound notebooks, by Rhodia and Life.

The writing instruments I will be using are just a random sample of the pens and pencils that are part of my daily routine: From left to right, the Pilot Kakuno fountain pen, Pilot juice in 0.5, Pilot TechPoint V5 (0.5) , Mark’s mechanical pencil (0.5 lead refill), Pilot Juice Up (0.4) Muji pen (0.38) Zebra Midliner Highlighters, and the Muji Gel Pen (0.5)

Let’s get started! First up is the one that I was really excited about~ the Kokoyu soft ring notebook.  I loved the bright, sturdy plastic cover.  My notebooks always get really well-worn because of the constant travel between home and office, and so it’s practical to have a cover that can survive the rough and tumble of everyday use.

The soft plastic spiral binding is quite comfortable against the heel of my hand.  Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of smudging with the Pilot Juice and Kakuno fountain pens.  However, the other pens seemed to do quite well.

Next up is one of the classic, wire bound Kokuyo Campus notebook.  I chose this notebook because I liked the size, and I liked that the sheets have a clean perforated line; so in case you need to tear out a page, the edges are nice and neat.

There was also quite a bit of smudging with the Campus notebook, with the fountain pen faring the worst.  The Pilot Juice Up, and Muji pens performed fairly well, as did the Zebra Midliners.  After the soft ring, all metal spirals start to feel mildly irritating.  So I’ll probably reserve this notebook for meetings, where it’s probably best to be a little uncomfortable so I can force myself to stay awake (and be tempted to doodle less)  > <

Next up are the two stitch bound notebooks.  I tried Rhodia (a new brand for me).  I really liked the way this notebook is formatted, with a table of contents section, and then segueing into numbered graph paper pages.

The graph lines are a bright orange, but I don’t think they are too overpowering.  I also think the orange coordinates quite well with blue, black and grey pens.  The only pen that didn’t write as smoothly as the others on the pages of the Rhodia was the Pilot Kakuno.  There was also some smearing with the Pilot High-Techpoint V5 (0.5) when I was labeling the Zebra mid-liner highlighters.

The last notebook that I will be testing today is one is the one by Life, in a gorgeous pistachio colored graph paper.

The texture of the paper is decadently smooth and the graph lines are clear, but unobtrusive.  The only pen that did not fare well on this paper was the Pilot Kakuno fountain pen (I think the smudges are left over from the previous test!)

So the conclusion?  I would choose the Kokuyo soft ring notebook for the most practical and comfortable writing experience, and will try to remember to use quickly drying pens such as the Pilot Juice Up (0.4) and Muji Gel pens with it. For the most versatile writing experience, I would choose the Rhodia notebook, which I think works well with a variety of pens, except for a fountain pen.  Aesthetically, (and perhaps a little irrationally)  I have a soft spot in my heart for the Life Notebooks, because I’m so in love with the smoothness of the paper, the lovely pistachio graph paper, and hand-stiched binding.


To see more photos from the Eslite Ideal Stationery Fair, please pop over to my Instagram! 

(Please note, this was not a sponsored post.  I paid for all items shown here with my own money, and all experiences and opinions expressed are my own). 











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  1. Pingback: Habit Shifts: Money Matters, Experiences with a 30 Day Shopping Ban « Ciao desserts! 「 焦點心 」

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