Most, if not all, stationery nerds, know that Japan is a mecca for stationery lovers. So here’s my stationery haul from my ten-day trip to Kyoto and Osaka!
I am not doing a review of any of these items, this will just be a show and tell of the stationery items I bought. Everything is still in quite a mess, so I do not have the exact prices with me, but I might update them in the near future. In the meantime!
a. Tama Letter Pad / p. Tama Stickers
Tama is an adorable, real-life, feline train station master and operating officer at Kishi Station in Wakayama! So, Japan being Japan, Tama has merchandise! I love cats, and Nitana (Tama II, the original Tama having passed away in 2015) was just so adorable and fluffy that I had to bring some of her back with me. I bought a little lucky charm, and a drawstring pouch as well.
b. Hogwarts Postcard
This was the one place I could not miss in Osaka, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, in Universal Studios Japan! Dervish and Banges (!) sells four different postcard designs, each with it’s own themed postage stamps. I bought another postcard (Howarts Express) for a friend, and the sales at the shop kindly advised that I could mix and match the postage stamps so I could get to see one of each. So I managed to get one stamp with the Hogwarrs Crest and one that shows 9 3/4! There is also a Hogsmeade Owl Post postal stamp on it too!
c. Rhodia Notepad
I finally decided to splash out on a Rhodia Notepad and see what the fuss is about. The one I bought is an A5 size note pad with squared pages.
d. Stationery-themed pouch
Japan is full of 100-yen shops and Daisos, and those are the places I really splashed out at. I chanced upon this zippered pouch with lots of hand-drawn stationery on the front, and obviously had to buy it. It is slightly bigger than A5 size, and the front is fabric while the back is plastic with a checkered texture.
e. Compact / Foldable Scissors
I saw this on one of the videos by The Desk of Adam (his very first upload, in fact, about his Stationery on the Go) some time back, and was really excited to come across it in Loft.
f and g. Decorative Roller Tapes
The bigger ones are mostly available in our Daisos in Singapore, so I only picked up a couple of the UK-themed ones and a flag ribbon one. The smaller ones are plain-coloured ones, so I only picked up the black, blue and craft (brown) colours.
h and o. Washi Tapes
Japan is THE country to buy washi tapes in, i mean washi tapes are their ‘invention’ after all. But I really have a pretty big collection which I have not made much use of, and I am trying to cut back on the buying this year and next, so I only picked up three rolls. I surprised even myself with my self-control.
k. Sketch Book
This is a simple 100-yen sketch book from Daiso. The paper is nothing to shout about, but I am still keen to pick up urban sketching and thought it will be nice to start out practicing on a small and unobtrusive sketch book.
m. Rubber Stamp
Another good stationery item to pick up in Japan is rubber stamps. They have oodles of designs that you cannot find anywhere else. But again, I already have a small collection going on, and with not much storage space, I only bought a teeny tiny one. Most of the designs are also very specifically Japan-themed or season-themed, which isn’t something I would use very often. The one I picked up 年賀 is Chinese New Year themed (it is not a standard Singaporean greeting, but is understood to mean Year or Season Greetings) , which is a lot more appropriate for my situation.
n. Artnic Ink Pads
I thought I might have raved about the Artnic ink pads in another post, but it seems that my memory fails me. I have another Artnic ink pad in Pinecone and I love that colour! So I decided to pick up two more in Charcoal and Turquoise. I believe these are water-based, but the Pinecone one works very well for me without much bleeding or spreading. These are also by Tsukineko ツキネコ (Stazon, Versacraft, Momento etc), so you cannot go wrong.
q. Craft Pattern Paper
These are also available in Daiso Singapore, so I only picked up one pack. I have another pack of antique patterns, which I thought might be nice for some light crafting or page decorations. At 100 yen (or S$2) for 100 sheets (four patterns), it is more affordable than rubber stamps and ink.
I have been eyeing these for so long! They are not expensive, and I was so tempted to buy the whole lot (about 30 designs). They use the famous Frixon erasble ink, and have many designs for planner and schedule decoration. In the end, I went with a paperclip (for plans or notices), knife and fork (for meals), book and pen (for classes/lessons), the Chinese / Japanese character for rest 休. Check out Jetpens for a partial catalogue of these stamps.
s and t. Stationery-themed notebooks
Another impulse buy from Daiso. Since I started using fountain pens, I have stopped buying lower-quality notebooks. I have so many old ones left unused as well, so buying new ones that I do NOT want to tuse is just a waste of money. But which stationery nerd could resist these! s is A5-sized, has hand-drawn illustrations of various pieces of stationery, and dotted pages! t is B5-sized, has a close-up picture of a vintage typewriter on the cover, and most importantly, blank pages! It is notoriously difficult to find blank-paged notebooks in Singapore.
u. Iroshizuku 色彩雫 Inks
Last, and very much NOT least, I could not resist picking up these mini Irshizuku bottles at Tokyu Hands. The Iroshizuku ink colours are gorgeous and exotically-named, and I do own a couple of full-sized bottles. But at the rate I use fountain pens and inks, they might dry up before I even reach halfway. These mini bottles have been floating around Instagram and Facebook for ages, and I knew I definitely would pick them up somewhere somehow. Tokyu Hands lets you pick out three colours, and packs them in a simple white acrylic / plastic box that is lined with sponge and fastens very securely. If you want to know more about Iroshizuku inks, OnFountainPens.com has a very detailed rundown on all the Iroshizuku colours, their names, and the meanings.
To be honest, I did not go as crazy as I thought I would. Firstly, I was woefully unprepared as to my lists of places to shop at, items to buy and prices. I was so busy in the months leading up to the trip that I just did not want to spend the time planning for the trip.
Secondly, items in Japan are dreadfully expensive. They are not marked up, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that the standard of living in Japan is simply high, so everything is just more costly in comparison to say Korea or Taiwan. Things are also Made In Japan (you can tell from the prices, for example 100-yen items are almost always Made In China), as opposed to other Asian countries where we get almost 100% Made In China items.
But again, as mentioned before, Japan is certainly THE place that stationery lovers must go. Now that I am back, I do think I will put together a small list of must-go stationery places, so look out for it!