The Kokuyo Work Support Notebook with Elastic Pen Holder looked like a pretty unique notebook when I first saw it on the shelf at Maido. Plenty of notebooks have an elastic strap to hold a pen for you, but usually on the edge somewhere….since this one has the strap built into the cover I figured Id buy it for myself and give it a try.
The Kokuyo notebook has a nice sturdy plastic cover that helps to keep the elastic pen holder from ripping through if it gets pulled on, and also provides a nice protective barrier for the rest of your notebook. In addition to the durable cover, there is also a nice dual ring binding, which I always like because it gives the notebook a little more of a durable feel to it, and I feel like the coils dont snag or bend as easily.
One thing I was a little worried about with this notebook is that the elastic strap for the pen holder might not be tight enough to hold a pen in it, but I was happily proven wrong. I tried a Uniball Signo DX in there first (pictured above) and went on to try my Pelikan M215 and my Retractable Sharpie Pen to see if larger pens worked well in there, which they did. In addition to the functionality of the pen holder on the cover, I also just like the bright blue contrast of it against the black cover. With the convenience of the pen holder though, there do come some nuisances. For the most part, my only, but major gripe about the pen holder being on the cover is that its very hard to get the notebook pages to lay flat if you want to flip the cover over, or even just write on the back side of the pages. You inevitably find yourself wrestling with the lump caused by the metal ends that keep the pen holder from slipping out of the slits in the cover of the notebook.
In a previous review of a Kokuyo Campus notebook, I found that I really liked writing on the paper, but was conflicted because there was a good deal of show through on the other side of each page. With this notebook however, there is a big difference. The paper was just as smooth and nice to write on with almost no feathering, but there was virtually no show through on the other side of the paper, which is obviously a very good thing.
I really like the look, feel, and quality construction of this notebook, and I especially like how well the paper performs with its smooth surface and perfect handling of many different pens and inks, including fountain pens. As much as I was initially attracted to the unique pen holder on the cover, I find myself now thinking that its more a design flaw rather than a good idea. It really just gets in the way for how I tend to use notebooks, but thats not to say that it couldnt be a good thing for others. Either way though, I can probably just slip the strap out and have myself a nice little notebook.