As if PAS (Pencil Acquisition Syndrome) wasn’t enough, I think I also have NID (Notebook Inferiority Disorder). You see, whilst I want to write profound important stuff in fancy journals, they intimidate me. My drivel isn’t worthy of a magnificent Moleskine, a resplendent Rhodia or a classic Clairefontaine. Something simpler and workman like…a Field Notes or Rite In The Rain, that’s more my line. I feel a little more comfortable writing shopping lists, reminders and other such mundane stuff in those sort of utilitarian notebooks. But even so, they are still somewhat superior products and NID is always there…on the fringes…waiting.
Ages ago Kent from PenciLog was reading my, and other reviews of Field Notes and he recalled the simple common Korean notebooks used in yesteryear, that are now rather unfashionable but still reasonably commonly available, and he decided to send me a couple.
I will keep this review pretty brief because these are basic no nonsense simple notebooks.
The brand Kent sent me was Keun Young.
The notebook is the perfect size for me because it fits easily into my pants pockets. At 124mm (5 in.) x 84mm (3 ¼ in.) it is just that fraction smaller than the many pocket notebooks that I always find just a little too big. Maybe I have small pockets? I don’t know.
There are 26 un-numbered pages. Top right of each outer corner is day-month-year (I think).
The notebook can be opened and laid-flat. The pages are stitched together, but then glued to the cardboard cover. The stitches do not go through the cover so this means the back page has a small thin strip glued down its centre so it doesn’t open quite right. But that’s a minor point. Only the back page is affected – all the other pages open properly.
The pages are lined. The paper is “normal” as far as a philistine like me can tell. It works fine with pencil, coloured pencil and ballpoint. Heavy use of a highlighter will bleed through, as will marker pens. I imagine FP ink would too.
Personally the cover design looks basic, old fashioned, economy-grade and "Asian" to my western eyes, but then western eyes are not the target market.
This notebook has lived in my pockets for a little under 6 months, so you know how much I actually write in it. The cover has taken some abrasion damage, and has some dog-ears, but it has stood up remarkably well. The pages are still solidly attached to the cover and the notebook looks like it could survive another 6 months of life in the pocket.
It's far to say I had rather low expectations of this notebook, expecting it to fall apart, tear, etc but I have ended up being impressed. In Korea it sells for about 300 Won (27 cents US) i.e. next to nothing. It is a sturdy and durable notebook, and a good size for your pocket. If they got a cover design more appealing to my eyes, offered unlined and (my personal choice) graph squared options then as far as I'm concerned they would be onto a real winner .