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With Explorewell I document my travels, life abroad, homemaking, food and design. 

Paper is not Dead

Paper is not Dead

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In a world rife with proclamations that paper is dead, one would never suspect it in Japan. Stationery stores still abound with a full array of shapes, patterns and purposes of their stock—small gift cards to multi-page love letter stationery sets; cheesy flower ones to sophisticated screen-printed patterns. The almost-sacred exchange of business cards (meishi) still dominates business interactions. Retail or bakery purchases are often wrapped in paper donning a charming design. The hippest of stores down to the 100 yen (dollar) shops have notebook selections with a variety of sizes, patterns and layouts—spiral bound, flash cards strung through on small key-rings, calendars, list-making pages, and of course others for sketching. Many places have stamps for visitors to mark their journey in their notebooks. Even more interesting is the hanko tradition: instead of affirming with a signature, the Japanese use a name stamp to sign documents. It seems as if every business—be it restaurant, hair salon, or store—has a small takeaway card (cooler than your normal business card). Bigger stores, by what seems to be a retail law, have exquisite catalogues, usually printed on high quality paper, often letterpressed or debossed on the cover—sometimes even with a print-run count on them, and are often bound in a creative (expensive) method. 

The tangibility of it all is quite refreshing, might I say, grounding. No, my friend, paper is not dead, but rather thriving. 

Kakimori Stationery and Notebook Shop

Kakimori Stationery and Notebook Shop

Peace at the End of the World

Peace at the End of the World