I Think I'm Turning Japanese. I Really Think So.

12 April 2013

I love shopping for Japanese goods. And, in case you're wondering, I am not Japanese. But, I have lived in Japan many years ago. My dad was in the Navy (he's now retired) and was stationed there. At the end of my 6th grade year, our family packed up all our belongings and moved overseas. We lived there for five years and it was a wonderful experience. One I will always treasure.

Here's another fact for you: My husband was born in the very same Naval base my family and I were stationed in. Growing up military brats (and Japan) are some of the things we have in common. In fact, I couldn't believe it when we first met (I actually thought making this story up was his way of trying to impress me). His dad, too, was in the Navy and he and his family were all stationed in Japan, many years before me and my family. Small world, eh? But, I degress.

Every time I visit a local Japanese shop in my area, I get a bit nostalgic, and I can never leave without buying something. I love being able to find things that one might not easily find at a big chain store. Particularly office supplies and stationery (go figure). Here are just a few of the things I can't get enough of, and where they can be purchased both online and locally. You know, if you're ever in the southern California area.

Stickers. I love stickers as much as the next stationery geek. It's a childhood obsession that has never gone away. I particularly like using transparent stickers in my Filofax. Although the cutesy character ones are fun to look at, if I had to choose my go-to, it would be the transparent shapes (dots, hearts, stars, arrows, etc.). These are great for pointing out or highlighting important dates/tasks on your calendar. If you're ever in San Diego, Marukai sells a few of these. Everything there sells for $1.98 unless otherwise noted (see why I can't stay away?). I have also bought transparent stickers online from eBay, Etsy, and Mochithings. To find the right ones, you want to try "agenda stickers" or "diary stickers" in the search field.

Sticky Notes & Page Flags. I know I can find these at my local office supply store like Staples and Office Depot or at even major shopping centers like Target and Walmart. But, I can't resist ones with cute characters on them like Rilakkuma and Hello Kitty which, you might not find locally. Hello Kitty seems to be all over the place now, so you can easily find her anywhere. Now, I know I'm a grown woman but I just can't help myself. Sometimes I wish I had a daughter to share my interest with but, that's not the case. I say, if grown men (like my husband, for example) can get excited over toy cars and action figures, then I can go all giggly, school girl over a cute teddy bear and a white cat wearing a bow. Just sayin'.

I recently discovered a small selection of Rilakkuma stationery goods at a local Japanese market called Mitsuwa. This place is mostly known for the Japanese groceries and foods they sell, but you can also find household goods and office supplies here. My brother, who was with me at the time, couldn't understand my squeals of excitement upon seeing the little display of pastel colored goodies. You can also find both Rilakkuma and Hello Kitty stationery goods on eBay, and Sanrio.

Pens & Paperclips. My all-time favorite pens are my Pilot FriXion pens. Since discovering them, I don't like using anything else. They're erasable and perfect for mistakes (I make a lot of these) and for cancelled plans on your calendar. What's great is that, if you're living in the US, you can find these at your local office supply store or super center (Walmart). But, for more of a selection, I go to Jet Pens. They have a ton of FriXion pens and other great writing tools that come in various colors, and tip sizes. I've also invested in a multi-pen which is great if you tend to use more than one colored ink when writing. They also sell other office supply/stationery goods like stickies and stuff. I am particularly fond of the paperclips. Who would have thought paperclips would be so darn cute? And who can deny paperclips with happy faces on them or ones shaped into little animals, flowers, bugs, and fruit? Not me, obviously.

Planner Inserts. I'm always on the lookout for new inserts to use in my planners since discovering my dividers at Marukai (sadly, they've run out and haven't been restocked for awhile). These dividers are wonderful because they're made of a really thin plastic material which doesn't take a lot of ring space and, because they're plastic, I can re-label them when I need to switch things around. I've found and purchased several more inserts from the Rakuten Global Market. For a fee, you can get all sorts of Japanese merchandise shipped to the US. Even food and beverages! It takes a bit of clicking around when navigating their website and, although it is their US site, the translation from Japanese to English is awful and comes out a bit weird. If you're looking for inserts there, you want to locate "Home and Garden" from their main menu and from there, Household Supplies & Stationery > Organizers > Refill. You want inserts in Bible size if you're looking to use them in a personal size Filofax or similar planner. You can also find inserts in mini, pocket, and A5. Be aware, though, that their pocket size inserts are a fraction of an inch taller and slimmer (not as wide) than Filofax pocket inserts therefore, might look a bit off in your planner. Not too bad, but definitely not the same. The price for each item is fairly reasonable. However, depending on where you are from, shipping can get quite costly. You can also join their points club for free which you can use towards future purchases.

Washi Tape. This is a fairly new obsession of mine. I don't own a lot as I can't find use for them other than using them to decorate my planner. Still, I can't seem to not browse through this section when I'm at my local craft store. Although these can be found locally, I've also bought mine from several sellers on Etsy and Yozo Craft. There are other online shops as well that carry washi tape like wishywashi.com or cutetape.com but I can't vouch for these sites as I have never bought anything from them. Washi tape is not only addicting but can be quite expensive, too, depending on where you buy them. So, shop around and don't say I didn't warn you.

Anyway, these are just a few of the shops I frequent and where I've found some of the things I use on a daily basis in my Filofax. One day, I'd like to go back to Japan not only so that I could relive some of the good memories I have of my stay there and make new ones with my husband and son but, also, so I could do some heavy shopping!

What stationery goods do you have access to in your area? Also, if you know of any other online stores that sell great stationery supplies, do share! Domo arigato and happy Filofax Friday!

9 comments :

  1. Very nice post! I have a Mitsuwa near where I work...I will stop in a look for the stationary section.

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  2. Hi Car!

    There are 4 reasons why i luv about ur blog!!

    1. Ur so cute!! :)
    2. Ur little one is adorable! :)
    3. U luv Filofax's and...
    4. Ur in San Diego!!

    I was born there (I live in TN now) and I miss home soooooo much!!! We don't have any cool stationary stores here let alone a Japanese store! We only have 1 Walmart! Imagine that!!! :) Anyway....keep up ur great posts!! Dago's in da house!!! :)

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    1. Daygo! Woot, woot! Always in heart, no matter where you are, I say. But, seriously, only ONE Walmart?! How ever do you survive? ;)

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  3. Just FYI: you have a typo on the link - it's http://wishywashi.com =)

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    1. Thanks! My mind goes faster than my fingers can type sometimes.

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  4. Like you I love the transparent sticky shapes. Don't you sometimes find it's hard to work out from online pictures whether some are transparent and what the are made of? I found one of your you tube videos really helpful on these.
    Also share your Japanese stationery admiration. I have quite a few of the davinci refills, dividers and agendas. Love the top tab dividers because of the transparency, the subtle colours and because they bend and flow with the paper instead of being stiff and breaking everything up into strict sections.
    Davinci paper is (usually) tamoe river paper: very fine but does not suffer from feathering or bleed through which is great. How are you finding the davinci diary inserts? I really agree with you that the English translations from rakuten take some working out and they make me laugh sometimes... (e.g. it took me a while to realise that by "ruffled" paper they meant lined or ruled paper)!
    I am a newbie to the you tube etc filofax community but I have quite a few of these. I am glad to have found your blog as you have some great stuff and ideas! Sorry getting a bit carried away here but its great to find someone with similar tastes!

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    1. Hi! Aren't Japanese stuff great? LOL. I have to admit, I've been giving all my money to Rakuten lately. The amazing stuff they have there are endless. Particularly things planner related. I've bought a lot of Davinci inserts but don't care for much of the diary inserts. I find the paper quality too thin. Other planner brands I found on there are Bindex and Knox. I believe 90% of my inserts in my Filofax are from other brands.

      Anyway, I, too, am happy to have found a community that shares my interest in planners and things. Thanks for visiting!

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  5. Hi there! Thanks for sharing this blog post in the FB filofaxy group! I need to check out jet pens and rakuten! TFS! Hope the shipping to Hawaii won't be outrageous! Aloha, Linda

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Thanks for reading! Your comments are much appreciated. ♥

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