In today’s review, we’ll be talking about Japanese papers and in particular, the Cosmo Note. Most of you might already know but Tomoe River will be ending its run. I can hear the hearts of a million fountain pen users breaking already! Will it be the new choice paper for fountain pen lovers? Read on to find out what we think!
A side-by-side comparison of the Cosmo Note (Left), Tomoe River (Middle) and Midori (Right)
The Cosmo Airlight paper might not be as renowned as the Tomoe River brand just yet but it’s already making its rounds in the fountain pen community in Singapore.
In our Paper Buffet event held early this year, we had a literal buffet of fountain pen friendly papers served fresh to our fountain pen lovers. Within the selection of 18 papers from Yamamoto Paper’s Fountain Pen Friendly Paper collection was Cosmo Airlight, which proved to be a hit with the fountain pen community for its smooth writing and ability to make inks shine.
For a complete review of the remaining Yamamoto Fountain Pen Friendly Papers, watch our: Reviewing Yamamoto Fountain Pen Friendly Paper | Singapore Fountain Pen Lovers
about cosmo note
The Cosmo Note is made by Yamamoto Paper, a Japanese company that specialises in producing quality fountain pen papers and notebooks and what we have is an A5 sized blank notebook. It contains 176 pages and is 83gsm, with a ivory leaning colour tone.
Within the notebook, you’ll also find a hard sheet that has a 6mm grid (left) and a 12mm ruled guide (right). As the notebook comes blank, you’ll find the guide useful for when you want a more tidy, aligned writing. The grid guide will also come in handy for those for write with Chinese, Korean or Japanese characters. If you want a closer look at how this works, check out our full review here.
Like the Midori notebooks, the Cosmo Note does not feature a leather cover but a hard, cardboard like cover. If you’re wondering, yes the notebook is able to fold flat. This is thanks to the thread bound binding that similarly to Midori, is also clean and simple. Due to its similarity, the Midori goat leather and clear covers can fit the Cosmo Note easily too. Score!
cosmo note review
To see if the Cosmo Airlight paper lives up to its reputation of being one of the best papers (It has won several awards including one from the San Francisco Pen Show!), we, of course had to do our usual paper test with our fountain pen inks.
Our first writing test showed that the paper was able to withstand the Noodlers Ink we had in our Opus 88 pen with only a slight ghosting. Noodlers Ink has quite a reputation for being a heavy ink so this was truly impressive! The sheening of the Noodlers and Kyoto inks we tested were also pretty visible on the paper.
Our next agenda was to pit the Cosmo Note between the other Japanese papers we sell: Midori and Tomoe River.
midori & cosmo note comparison
Midori (Right) and Cosmo Note (Left)
First up, we have Midori VS Cosmo Note. Based on paper texture, we would say that the Midori paper has more grip so if you prefer a smoother writing experience, go for the Cosmo Note!
Besides smooth writing experience, you’ll also want to take note of how well the ink sits on the paper (to showcase the ink’s sheen) and how long the paper takes to absorb the ink. The Cosmo Note took the lead in the first aspect, with the sheens being much more clearer to see in comparison to the Midori. On the other hand, the Midori took a much quicker dry time. This is an important consideration to take note of as it’ll affect your writing experience. For instance, someone like me will want to choose a notebook that allows for the fastest dry time as I tend to write a lot and very quickly. The inks themselves do play a part in drying time as well.
The Midori is also know formally as ‘ghost paper’ as the paper is extremely thin. This however does not impede on its paper quality. Both notebooks show some slight ghosting on the back and the ink does not bleed on the paper.
tomoe river vs cosmo note comparison
Tomoe River (Left) and Cosmo Note (Right)
Next up we have Tome River. This Japanese brand is normally considered the G.O.A.T of all fountain pen friendly papers and is well loved amongst many fountain pen users. Between the Tomoe River paper and Cosmo Note, you’ll notice that the drying time for the Tomoe River is leagues slower. If you want a notebook that enables on-the-go writing, the Cosmo Note definitely has the upper hand.
True to its reputation, the Tomoe River remains unbeatable by ways of making the inks look good on paper. While the colours of the inks look great on the Cosmo Note, we still feel that the colours really pop on the Tomoe River. When we swabbed a huge amount of ink on the papers (you can watch that below!), we discovered that the ink intensity was really different. By rank, we would say the Tomoe River looks the nicest while the Midori falls short. The Cosmo Note is thus a good in between.
watch our full review
Besides a writing test, we also performed a cotton swab test to really push the papers. If you want to take a look at our complete review and comparison, do check out our video below!