Japanese stationery has always had a special place in my heart, mostly because of how cute they look. But you cannot deny that they are actually quite useful and user-friendly despite how cutesy they may look. Never judge a book by its cover, so never judge a stationery item by its appearance. There is a stationery fair of sorts in Hong Kong right now, and many big Japanese brands are attending with their latest releases. As a stationery lover and experienced user of Japanese stationery (20+ years, thank you very much), I have selected 5 items that are both quirky and useful, and can potentially make your life a lot easier. Trust me, I’m already using some of these. I know Japanese stationery is difficult to get outside of Asia, so I’ve linked sites where you can purchase them, but do browse around to find one that suits your needs best.

Nichiban Tenori Ichioshi Glue Tape: Double-sided Tape Dispenser

Japanese Stationery

Credit: Ashley Lau

  • Size: this tape dispenser is only as long as my pointer finger and will fit perfectly in your pencil case
  • Convenience: just stamp all four corners and stick; this is even easier than the roller tape ones (say goodbye to glue sticks)
  • Style: if you buy more than one, you can mix and match the caps to the body and even decorate them

I bought 2 of these because of how easy they are to use, especially for journaling, scrapbooking, and other art projects where I may need to move them around after I stick them on. But don’t worry, as long as you’re not purposefully pulling them out, the staying power is quite strong. I would say this is one of the best examples of Japanese stationery that embody fun and utility.

Kokuyo Soft Ring Notebook

Japanese Stationery

Credit: Ashley Lau

  • Comfort: no need to worry about the wire spirals when you write, because these rings bend quite easily (note the squish)
  • Safety: because the rings are soft, they’re not going to dent or tear up other things in your backpack, ie loose paper
  • Choice: Kokuyo is famous for their choice of papers and covers going from lined to dotted to lined and dotted

I don’t have school anymore, so I didn’t buy these. But Kokuyo has never failed me in the notebook area, so it gets a ‘green light’. I do recommend you look into the types of paper they offer, because it can truly change the way you take notes. For those studious peeps out there, you may be one step closer to having prettier and tidier studyblr notes (get the lined and dotted paper!)

Carl Putitto Portable Punch: Tiny On-the-go Hole Puncher

Japanese Stationery

Credit: Ashley Lau

  • Size: this is the smallest hole puncher I’ve ever seen that actually does the measuring for you
  • Functionality: this is specifically for 2-ringed binders, so all you need to do is fold the paper in half, slip it in and viola
  • Credibility: Carl is famous for making hole punchers of various shapes and sizes, so this will definitely not fail you

What more can you ask for in a hole puncher? It’s compact and it works well. You even get 3 colors ranging from blue to mustard yellow to pink. Sorry 3-ringed binder peeps, they didn’t have one for 3 holes.

PLUS Twiggy Pocket Scissors: Scissors that Will Save Your Life

Japanese Stationery

Credit: Ashley Lau

  • Size: these don’t take up much room, so you can easily throw this in your purse or pencil case
  • Convenience: from loose threads to paper to bandages, you never know when you’ll need it
  • Functionality: various companies have released something similar, but this is the easiest to use

I’m speaking from experience for this item, because it has saved my life on numerous occasions since I bought one (the pink and green one). I had other ones before, but they were pretty awkward to cut with and the blades are usually pretty bad. This takes a few tries to get used to, but you can cut most things with it, even thicker bandages that come in a gigantic roll. Just don’t try it on stuff like cardboard.

Pentel Mark Sheet Set for OCR: Japanese Stationery Set Designed for MC Question Sheets

Japanese Stationery

Credit: Ashley Lau

  • Functionality: the 1.3mm lead makes this perfect for filling those annoying multiple choice circles in

In an exam-based society like Japan and Hong Kong (and Asia in general), time is everything. Yes, spending that extra second coloring in 1 circle means losing minutes when you’re answering 40+ of those in an exam. You do the math. I recommend buying the set, because it comes with the lead. I’ve never used Pentel erasers before and they didn’t put out a sample, so I can’t comment much on that area. The only difference between the two sets is the color of the mechanical pencil (pink vs black).

So that’s my 5 quirky but useful Japanese stationery picks. There’s definitely more of where this came from, so if you have any questions regarding Japanese stationery, do send us (me) a message through Facebook or leave a comment. We (I) read everything.

 

Photo Credit: Nichiban, Kokuyo, Carl, PLUS, Pentel, Ashley Lau

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