May 28, 2014

Midori Traveler's Notebook (Regular-Size) Review

A few days ago (Sunday, 25th May), I managed to get my hands on a black Midori Traveler's Notebook in its regular size. But it included a whole rollercoaster ride with it.

I bought it from Notemaker which said it only had the brown in regular size (which was exactly the one I wanted), however, when I contacted them about it on Monday, turns out: it's on back-order, and only the black was available. They were happy to send me the black one in exchange if I wanted and I agreed for it IF they were able to get it to me by Wednesday, which was possible with regular postage seeing they were shipping the item from Melbourne, and I will usually get the item the next day. But when I checked my order status on Tuesday, they were asking me to deposit a few couple dollars extra as they were charging me full price for the Midori (I initially had 10% off the brown for new membership), for express shipping AND for an additional item (Palomino Blackwing 602) I didn't even order! Of course I was infuriated by this and wanted the transaction to be stopped, but a couple of hours later, the items had shipped without me depositing a single cent into their bank account! By then, my mind was boggled. I emailed customer service again asking for an explanation, and guess what they replied with:

"Thanks for getting in touch and I am sorry for the confusion here. 

Firstly, I am sorry that I didn't explain this in my previous emails, the additional pencil is an item that I included in your order free of charge, and I upgraded your order to an Express Post service, free of charge also. I felt it was the least I could do as your first preference wasn't available. 

If you have a quick look at your bank statement, this should confirm the above as we are unable to process any additional charges via PayPal or credit cards without your authorisation. There has been no additional money charged."

Is this customer service or what? Safe to say, my first experience with Notemaker was bitter sweet.

And just as the email mentioned, I received my item the following day (Wednesday), and here I am reviewing it for you guys!

So, here it is:

Took me at least 5mins just to unravel the item from the bubble wrap

The first thing that came out from there was the complimentary Palamino pencil they had given as compensation for not having the brown Midori.

Free pencil!

I must admit, I'm not really a fan of wood pencil because of the need to sharpen them etc. but I'm open to new things. After all, this one's meant to be special. The Palomino Blackwing 602, as it's called, is from Japan too, and has some special-formula graphite which behaves like a B lead but varies in appearance according to pressure - from HB (firm) to 4B (soft). Interesting... definitely need to give this one a go. It's like having a multi-pen... only pencil! And of course, there's the rectangular rubber which is replaceable. I'm actually seeing how this pencil actually suits the Midori perfectly...

But back to the Midori:

Finally unwrapped from the bubble-wrap

Does it feel like you're unwrapping it with me? Hah

The notebook was pretty well protected, I must say. It's protected by a cloth sleeve, then a cardboard box then a plastic wrap... and then another plastic wrap.

Midori unravelled!

The first thing I noticed when I pulled the notebook out from the cloth bag was how smoooooooth it felt! It reminded me of suede sofas where every glide of your finger will create a mark on it. This is exactly the same. I honestly can't wait till it's battered and bruised... It just feels too nice and clean right now, not how a Midori should be!

Now comes a more detailed look at the notebook:

Embossed on the back cover
Back: origin of strap
Doesn't lay flat at first, but training will help
Top ... 'stitching'?


For the specifics:
Leather cover: H218 x W130
Blank notebook: H210 x W110mm

The leather isn't able to lay flat when you first take it out of the box, however, it will, without a doubt, lay flat once it has its minimal training. From the pictures, you can see how there are three black 'threads' going through the leather. This is in fact, two rubber elastics and one twine like thread. The outer, longer elastic is the main player in the notebook: it's used for holding the refills. The other is just the same rubber elastic fed back through so you don't get the unsightly rubber outside the leather. The twine is just a simple bookmark.

The notebook size is essentially an A5 cut down in width. Here's how the inside of the notebook looks like:

First page
Middle of the notebook: where the elastic holds the book in place

And here's comparing an A5 Muji scheduler with the Midori included notebook:

Size: Midori vs. A5 Muji scheduler
A5 Muji scheduler inserted as a refill into Midori

As you can see, you can practically purchase any A5 (has to be A5 though, as only pure A5 notebooks have the same height as the Midori) notebook out there, cut it down, and you have yourself a refill. This goes for having Moleskine refills as well. I have yet to try out the quality of Midori's notebook though, but from what I've read, it's pretty good. I shall put up another post when I get the chance to review it further, and maybe I'll combine it with my progress into personalising my notebook.

But to end this review, my verdict: glorified notebook? Without a doubt.
But that won't stop you from wanting one of these bad boys either way...
Till then!

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