Saturday, 14 February 2015

Midori Traveler's Notebook

I'm not particularly superstitious but thought I'd better not post the usual blogger interview today just in case the featured person is. I don't know much about urban legends and rather than dwell on the bad juju that may befall us, I'll just show you what has been occupying my time lately.

I came across the Midori Traveler's Notebook (MTN for short) on many Instagram photos and YouTube videos before but it was largely ignored because I didn't think it could work as a planner. A couple of weeks ago, I met a friend who uses an MTN as a planner and after playing around with hers for a bit, I decided to grab the last brown one that was available in Kinokuniya at that time. Don't worry, Kinokuniya restocks MTNs more frequently than Filofaxes so you haven't missed the boat.

The system is a bit of an odd one. It's basically a rectangular piece of leather with elastic strings looped through the middle to hold different notebooks together. You can get notebooks in different formats and insert them between the elastic to create a collection of notebooks. I think it's a lot easier to see how it's done rather than describing it so I'd highly recommend going through YouTube for tutorials on how to set up an MTN.

The standard MTN set (regular size) comes with a cotton bag (but it's rather small especially after you've stuffed the MTN), a leather cover (the main MTN leather piece), a blank notebook, and 2 spare elastic strings.

There are quite a few accessories to help you customise the MTN. I got the kraft file and the zipper pocket to stuff in different stationery. I use four notebooks; an undated monthly calendar, a dated 2015 weekly diary (horizontal), a grid paper notebook and a blank paper notebook that came with the original set. I also got what Midori calls connecting bands, but these are basically just large rubber bands and you can substitute with the 2 spare elastics that comes in the set so you don't need to buy extras.

I don't know what it is about the MTN that draws me in. I love handling it and love the larger pages (compared to a personal sized Filofax). I was also pleasantly surprised that the leather lies completely flat. I'm not sure why I thought it would be too stiff and that it wouldn't.

And speaking of the leather, can I just say how much I love the leather cover. It's about 2.5mm thick but is very pliable. The front is treated with vegetable tannin and many folks have complained that there's a white residue and that it smells chemical-like. But I think mine has been aired quite well as it sat on the display shelves in Kinokuniya for about a week and hardly has any residue or smell. All I can smell is the leather. The inside is untreated and has a distressed quality to it.

The elastic spine seems durable and I've yanked it many times but it hasn't frayed or broke. There is tin clasp on the top that holds the elastic and a bookmark string. But the clasp is flexible enough that it lies on its side so it doesn't poke out when I lay it on a surface.

My biggest concern and what held me back from getting one before was whether it will work as a planner. I watched many setup videos and several I watched multiple times to decide how to set mine up. Majority of what I've seen online use DIY Fish inserts for planning but I didn't want something that I have to print, cut and bind myself because my printer is really old and doesn't handle printing too many sheets well.

Instead, I got the 2015 horizontal calendar notebook (split by 6 months per notebook) and the undated monthly one, which is closer to how my Filofax is set up. I also have a grid notebook for notes, and a blank notebook for random creative things.

As the MTN pages are longer and wider than personal sized Filofax pages, I find that I can fit everything from household to work into the WO2P calendar. At least I don't have to compromise my preferred weekly view. This is probably one of the main reasons why I feel "at peace" using the MTN as a planner because I do not have to split things up into two Filofaxes.

Those who follow my blog will know I'm a big proponent for loose-leaf binders and I still am because I think it's a really flexible system. But the Midori format is relatively flexible in its own way and I like that I can just remove a notebook and take it with me when I'm out and not want the bulk. It's also a lot easier to archive an entire notebook compared to loose-leaf pages.

The Midori Traveler's Notebook is understated, elegant and simplistic in nature.The more used the leather is, the more aged and beautiful it gets. I must also mention the Midori papers are a joy to write on. What else can I say? It's love, true love. Who would have thought that some string and a piece of leather can bring me so much joy? I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops for the rest of the year :-)

Do you use a Midori Traveler's Notebook or a similar fauxdori? Do share in the comments below as I'd love to receive more inspiration on how you use yours.