Tomoe River paper took the world (well, a very small portion of the world) by storm a couple years ago for its phenomenal paper. Basically, the paper that Tomoe River produces is super thin, but handles fountain pen nibs and inks like nothing else. You're hard pressed to find something that will bleed through or feather on its worst day. Brad wrote a bit about it back in 2013, and I've never had a bad thing to say about it. I love Tomoe River paper.
Problem was, you could only buy Tomoe River paper in loose leaf. There weren't any notebooks or pads at first. Thankfully, this has changed. There are many products nowadays that feature this miraculous paper, and in many different formats and uses. This review focuses on a product that appeals to those who like to write on lined pages without having to switch to a new notebook for a long, long time: The Seven Seas Writer by Nanami Paper.
Most of the notebooks I review come in around 80 pages or so. Some of them even have upwards of 220. The Seven Seas Writer blows that number away with a whopping 480 pages of ivory lined Tomoe River paper. In case you didn't know, that's a ton of paper for one notebook. You'd expect a notebook of that size to be about 3 inches thick to accommodate all those pages, but that's not the case with the Seven Seas Writer. Since it's using the ultra-thin Tomoe River paper, it's the same thickness as other notebooks I have that only have 220 pages or so. Same size, almost twice the pages.
The book is an A5 size, and features a strong (but soft) cover. The cover is thin and made of a fabric of some kind. To my eyes, it's a dark brown or dark green color, and looks really inconspicuous. It's not flashy at all, but you can easily change that by purchasing a high-quality leather cover to go along with it (if you can find them in stock).
The exterior of the book is well-made. When you look at the sides of the book, the pages line up perfectly. There's no sloppy binding here. Everything about the construction of this book is done with care, and that really becomes obvious the more you use it. Tomoe River paper is incredible for how thin it is and how well it behaves with pens and inks of all types, but it's still really easy to tear. The Writer protects the pages very well so you don't have to worry about where you take it.
I've taken my Writer with me (sans-cover) many, many times, and it barely shows any wear. The cover is soft, but strong.
There are a couple of things it lacks that are mostly personal preferences: page numbers and a bookmark. The first is a nice-to-have, and the second can be solved by adding a notebook cover that also has a bookmark ribbon attached. These are really minor quibbles, though.
So, how does the book do when you're actually writing in it? Well, I love mine.
The book has absolutely no issue laying flat, even when you're still in those first pages where most notebooks really resist until broken in. Given the thin paper and high-quality binding, it just lays flat naturally, and closes with ease.
The paper is glassy smooth, the lines are perfectly spaced (8mm spacing), and it just stays out of your way. I tend to get a bit uncomfortable when writing on the fat side of the notebook when I get to the bottom of the page, but that's normal for any notebook that has this many pages (or half as many).
Dry time is incredibly fast, but you will smudge or mark up other pages if you close the book just after writing. Nanami was nice enough to include a perfectly-sized piece of blotter paper that you can use to keep that from happening, but I'm reckless and live a life a danger. The paper is thin, so there's plenty of show-through on the backs of pages, but actual bleed-through is extremely rare, regardless of the pen/ink.
I can easily say this is my favorite notebook. It's a pleasure to use, and it just keeps holding up past my expectations. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys lined paper and an exceptional paper. Since it's a standard size (A5), you can customize it by adding covers.
And, did I mention it's only $25? I'm still blown away by the price. Tomoe River paper is like mithril to me, so I honestly don't know how this 480-page notebook comes in at that price. I would guess that the cost is reduced because of the plain, thin cover and lack of bookmark, closure band, etc., but it still gets the job done.
Check out the Seven Seas Writer for yourself or as a gift. If they happen to be sold out, don't worry — they'll likely release a new edition fairly quickly.