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Review: Kokuyo Tokyo 2020 Field Notebook

With Japan being the land of stationery that we all love, it is no surprise that brands we know like Kokuyo will get a Tokyo 2020 treatment.

I haven’t tried any Kokuyo product before, though. So when I was buying some Olympic merch way back in January, I thought I’d get a couple of field notes too (one to use and one to keep unopened).

What is Kokuyo?

Kokuyo is a Japanese stationery and office supplies company.  It launched the sokuryo yacho (野帳 or field notebook) in 1959 with surveyors and engineers as its target market. Its slim profile allows it to fit in pockets, but tall enough to let you write more than the usual pocket notebook. The notebook also has a hard cover, so you can comfortably write while standing up.

Eventually, non-field workers started using it too, and the lineup has since expanded to four main categories with four ruling versions available for each.

Looking at the Tokyo 2020 version

Kokuyo’s commemorative field note looks pretty much like a normal sokuryo yacho from the company, with the debossed Tokyo 2020  and Olympic logos in front and the product code and brand logo at the back. The cover has texture on it, which I’m guessing helps with grip when writing while standing. It comes in different Olympic colors but only with light blue grids on pages.

I got the blue one because that’s the host’s primary color.

For fountain pen users, here’s the most important question: is the paper fountain pen friendly? Oh yes, it is.

Here’s a look at writing samples. It shows off ink sheen quite well, and there’s little show-through at the back (except for Noodler’s Baystate Blue).

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Sokuryu yacho vs other notebooks

If you think that the regular Traveler’s Notebook has quite an unusual size, the sokuryu yacho will make you scratch your head.

Here it is next to Field Notes,  TN pocket, and TN Regular refills.

(L-R) TN pocket, Field Notes, Kokuyo, TN regular

Noob verdict

I love this notebook, and that’s not just because of what it commemorates. The cover has a secure feel. Its thinness feels just right. This will probably see more action than my pocket TN if I still work as a journalist with field assignments (damn you COVID).  That’s why I wish I met this field note sooner.

The sad thing is, like other notebooks, I have to retire it when I use up all of its pages. Right now, I use it for writing some Japan and Olympic-specific thoughts. Then when we’re all cleared to travel, I’ll bring it with me when I return to Tokyo and finish up all the pages there.

Kokuyo Tokyo 2020 sokuryu techo is 550円. Check out all their other Olympic merch here: (This is not an affiliate link.)

 

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