Honestly, it has been my plan to do so since last week, but the price of it all didn’t hit home until I was going around trying to find some Moleskines at ESLite.
After asking around to see what was available, I finally bought a Plain Soft Notebook – Extra Large (19x25cm), which is almost 8.5×11″, standard school sized paper. I was going to buy one for each class, but they are just so expensive here, about twice the price in the US. I think I’ll get them online. There’s no point in wasting that much money on these. I’ll try looking around to see if I can buy them cheaper, but I doubt it. Actually, you can get one like that for $13 on Amazon. The list price is $20. I paid $25.
Update: I just started using the Folio A4 Plain Notebook and it’s a joy to use. No bleeding from fountain pens or ink, the 100 g/m2 really makes a difference. The Plain Soft Notebook’s paper is noticeably of a lesser quality. The price difference easily justifies the purchase of the A4 Folio instead. The Folio A4 Sketchbook has got 160 g/m2 and the Folio A4 Watercolor has got 200 g/m2. The last two have noticeably less pages, 96 and 60 respectively, whereas the plain notebook has 176.⁴
I also got myself a Plain Reporter Notebook – Pocket to jot down things while I go around town. I’ll keep this with me at all times. I was teetering and tottering between a normal version and a reporter version. In the end, I decided to go with a reporter version as it lets you use more of the space on each page. I wonder if I will find the A3 or A4 watercolor MS here. Other than that, all that’s left is to get a date stamp and a larger watercolor/sketch MS to do my daily journaling. Ideally, I’d like to get two. One for paperblogs and one for journaling, but I think that I’ll stick to the larger Soho Maruman paper that I’ve got for that.
Ideally, I’d wanted to get hardcover MS, but it makes sense to get the soft cover ones. Cuts down on the weight of the notebooks.
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The Next Day…
I went to the flagship ESLite store in Xinyi. They had all the Moleskines I needed, except a softcover red plain paper XL. I’ll get that later. After looking at the Folio A3 sizes, I decided not to get any. They are too big to be practical. The A4s are great. I got a Plain Paper Folio A4 Notebook and a Sketchbook Folio A4. One I will use for class. The other will be used for journaling. Prices are still expensive, but not that bad once you consider that I got 15% off. The plain paper notebook was $34 and the sketchbook was $38, which is the same price as the Folio A4 Watercolor. The A3 watercolor costs $53.
I still haven’t found a date stamp, but spent about an hour at the art supply store. I got myself a handy folder portfolio, with different partitions so that I can but loose papers in it. Unlike my other one, it folds completely flat and comes from Hightide², a Japanese company that I like. It’s also well designed, doing away with unnecessary plastics. I got myself a new pencil case that is made out of PVC also from Hightide. I think that it’s waterproof. It was about $10, a little more than I wanted to spend, but I found the design appealing for some reason. Also, my Faber-Castell pencil cases were too big for my school pens and pencils. I was able to slim down my pencil case since I don’t need to carry my Tombow ABTs around anymore. They can stay at home where they should be.
Yesterday, I got myself a bunch of pencils from Ohto, another Japanese company. They go from 6H to 8B, with an F included in between. They were $0.55 each. I found it funny that there were less expensive to by one by one than buying a set. I calculated that you could buy 3 extra pencils, that’s how much the box was worth.
The flagship ESLite store is the place to go. Better rebates and great selection in the art supplies. The selection is better than Page One¹. I could have spent another $200 on stuff. The Rhodia notebooks looked really cool, but none of them were in the style of Moleskines. They had a nice hardcover book, but it was lined and had no elastic to hold it closed, but it was pretty cheap, about $10. The paper was of a lesser quality than Moleskine’s plain paper series, 80 mg instead of 100 mg. I tried finding cheaper white paper alternatives, but there weren’t any. The place is filled with premium art supply brands from all over the world, especially Europe and Japan. I saw a clear folder that was really cool. It was from Hightide, a Japanese company. The folder is called Nähe, which means close or closeness in German.
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[¹]: The English book selection is getting better at ESLite, but the Page One has more of them. Still, the flagship ESLite store is huge. The Page One store is a bit out of the way since it’s inside the Taipei 101 mall. Parking is also easier, for scooters and motorcycles.
[²]: I initially thought that Hightide was either a French or German company, since they used those languages on their products prominently. I was surprised to discover that they were Japanese. Taiwanese kids always rave about Japanese pens, and even if they aren’t talking about these kinds of things, I kind of see what they mean.
[³]: I didn’t know the author, but since I’m writing some YA fantasy fiction, I though that this would interesting. The books were $8.63 each, which is a bargain! I’ll have to go back there sometime next week to pick up Norwegian Wood by Murakami. For some reason, I arbitrarily decided that I had bought enough books and didn’t need another one. I’ve currently got about 10 books in my to read pile. I like that. There is nothing sweeter than having a bunch of books to read. There was a time when I used to read more than a book at a time, but now, I find that I prefer to read one book at a time. I do read them quite quickly, but still, One at a time, that’s enough. I do a lot of reading for my job and for school, as well as for fun via my feed reader.
[⁴]: When you spend so much money on notebooks, you tend to be extremely careful with them. I find that it also makes you very careful on how you use them. This is a shame in some situations, as the freedom we can have with pen and paper are tapered. It’s probably a good idea to get cheaper notebooks to fool around with.