In the age of laptops, iPads, Siri and smartphones, who would have thought that the common notebook would be such an object of desire? Moleskine, the reinvented Italian company that boasts Hemingway as a one-time client, revived the blank notebook through a brilliant marketing campaign, although with their success it appears that Italy can now no longer actually produce enough of their product. China, it seems, has endless production capabilities.
For those who want their notebooks (even if they never actually write in them) to stand out from the crowd, there are hundreds of brands that make beautiful ones—from Field Notes, the good ol’ American company, to Smythson, the British outfit whose leather books are objects of envy.
Muji, the Japanese “no brand name” brand that makes wonderful objects one never knew one needed, has a terrific stationery line, attested to by the crowds in their stores trying out the latest mechanical pencil or colorful pen. Their new “Passport” notebook, however, is truly a standout. Made in Japan, where paper connoisseurship reaches ridiculous heights, it is exactly the size (and even color) of American and European passports (and most other countries’, too). With enough pages to last a vacation or business trip, or to just fill just weekly musings, it is nonetheless thin enough, and flexible enough, to cram into any pocket. Conveniently, for those who like to brandish some leather, it also fits into any passport case. Even with a real passport facing it.
It feels far more substantial than the $1.75 cost, and is elegantly simple; yet not so precious that you’ll wince when tearing out a page. Buy them by the dozen, and you’ll never run out of things to say. Or write.