A Japan trip has been on M’s and my mind lately, so I decided to look back at stationery goods we purchased on our last trip to Tokyo. Turns out, we didn’t buy that much, compared to our previous trips. Probably because we were constrained by time and stationery shopping was not one of our primary goals of the trip. This was before we started getting into fountain pens after all. Yeah, that's probably it.
We had a few items in mind before the trip, though. First and foremost was M’s favorite notebook, L!FE spiral notebooks. My shopping list, on the other hand, was more vague. I knew I wanted some mt washi masking tapes for sure but I also wanted something whimsical, with characters on them like Miffy or Totoro, and anime goods for the fun of it. They tend to be hard to find and way overpriced here, so why not pick some up while in Japan? I had no idea what those would be exactly but I sure found many options once I got there. Anime stuff isn’t pictured and I won’t get into them here but basically many of my purchases ended up being of the stationery variety. Smaller, useful, and easier to pack. No giant stuffed Totoros for me (anymore)! :D
One of our favorite stores for stationery is Delfonics at Parco 1 in Shibuya. That is where M discovered L!FE spiral notebooks with pocket in size B6 years ago. L!FE notebooks are available in the US but this particular design in size B6 is pretty elusive, and he’s a big fan of B6. If I were him, I would’ve stocked up, but his self-control is far superior than mine. He just got ONE. Can you believe this guy?
I got my fix of character goods as soon as we arrived at JR Tokyo Station, at Miffy Style on Tokyo Character Street, which is inside the station. There were so many character goods stores there, it was overwhelming. I just focused on one store and declared done after buying a couple pens and a roll of tape. Maybe I met some sort of a purchase minimum but they threw in a pair of wooden clips as a bonus, all in a cute shopping bag. Score!
The pen with the pink tip and the ears is a ball-point multi-pen with black and red inks. One ear can be pushed down for black, the other ear for red. I don’t use ball point pens much anymore but it was too cute to pass up. The ink flows pretty smoothly but the way the pink tip squeaks occasionally reminds you that the material is indeed cheap plastic.
Doesn’t this pen look like a Zebra Sarasa Clip? I bought it assuming it was but nowhere on the label does it mention Zebra. The refill inside says Zebra on it though, so I’m just going to assume it is Sarasa. It looks identical to a regular Sarasa and sure writes like one!
Our other favorite stores to hit while in Tokyo are Spiral Market and Itoya, where I was able to find these mt washi tapes. Spiral Market is a spacious and relaxing place to shop, not just for stationery but also for kitchenware, table linens, and general home goods. Itoya, as some of you may have heard, is stationery lovers' heaven. We didn't have time to go to the Ginza location, so we stopped by the one inside Midtown (our general shopping destination of choice anyway). That's where we found some fun sets of bags and envelopes by Midori. The tan envelopes with button & string closure are trompe l'oeil. They’re actually a pad of tear-off sleeves with an image of the traditional manilla folder. Ha! I have since found them locally in different designs.
The postcards are from Nezu Museum. They are beautifully designed and the printing quality is awesome. The plastic folder came in useful for keeping tickets and receipts during the trip. I still use it today! It features an image of one of the museum’s highlights, an ancient bronze vessel in the shape of two sheep. We quite liked the museum store. It felt like a natural extension of the museum, a serene and quiet space to browse and soak in everything you’ve experienced. Can't say the same thing about many other museum shops. If you are in Tokyo and are into design, make time for Nezu Museum! And I haven’t even shown you its wonderful garden in the back.
Last but not least, here is a single Muji pen I bought in Japan, an erasable pen in 0.4mm. Yup, just one pen. An impulse buy at Muji To Go during our last-minute shopping spree at Kansai Airport. I hadn’t seen it at my local Muji, so I had to give it a try. It’s my first erasable pen, so I have no idea how it compares to others in the same category. But it writes smoothly and erases cleanly. I wish the ink was a darker black but I assume that’s just the nature of erasable inks in general.
Almost a year has passed since the trip and we’re still going through these purchases. We didn’t go too crazy, did we? I like that whenever I pull these out, I think of our trip and remember the places we visited.
On the list for our next trip are Loft, Tokyu Hands, Édito 365 and Wrapple. And we are going to add more to the list, after we study these magazines on stationery. It's going to be EPIC. Have you done stationery shopping in Japan? If so, what are your favorite places to shop?