You might know that some of the most gorgeous and cute stationery comes from Japan. ZenPop puts out a series of subscription boxes from Japan, including a sweets, candy and ramen. But the one I have is their monthly selection of stationery!
It’s in a cute little box, and inside is a postcard with an adorable illustration, I think of their bunny mascot. On the other side you’ll find a QR code which takes you directly to a list of the box contents. This is very useful, as all the packaging is in Japanese! So it’s nice to have some translation, especially for some of the more specialised items.
This month’s theme is Retro Nippon and is created in collaboration with the artist Paiheme, whose style incorporates a wonderful retro/vintage Japanese look.
PAIHEME STUDIO x ZenPop Original Pouch, PAIHEME STUDIO x ZenPop Original Letter Set
The pouch is a drawstring bag with a really cool retro design. Featuring cassette tape, cordless phone, and roller-skates, it definitely creates a bit of a blast from the past! The bag is quite a useful size, you could store jewellery, small electronics, lip balms or even pens and pencils in it!
The letter set features a really funny picture of a takoyaki (octopus) rocket launcher, of all things! It’s slightly surreal but really cute, with all the parts labelled in English. It contains sheets of paper with the design on one side plus envelopes, and is such a cute way to keep up with your written correspondence. Anything that encourages people to write more letters is a good thing!
Both these designs are from Paiheme, and are lovely examples of his work.
Local Mistukaru Sticker Kansai from Kamio Japan, Piece Silver from mt, Miyako Hitohira Sen from Soshido
I adore stickers, especially for scrapbooks and journaling. This particular set is based around the Kansai region, which is also where ZenPop hails from! There are little stickers of local attractions, food, and even little Japanese phrases. The style is lovely too, hand-drawn cartoons without being cutesy.
Washi taps is also something I love and hoard, and this lovely silver tape is perfect for decor and papercraft.
The other item here is a little block of notepaper, packaging like a traditional kimono design. The design has a meaning too, which is on the back of the package (you can use a translate app to discover which one you have!) and is an adorable and useful set for making notes and reminders, or even decoration.
Kabuki Paper Clip from Soubei, Nerikeshi from Seed
Kabuki is a traditional theatrical performance art in Japan, where the performers wear striking makeup much like the face pictured here. Paperclips are very useful, I use them as bookmarks, but they are can also be great for marking your page in your journal.
The Nerikeshi is a very special item that is totally unfamiliar to me. It’s a pencil eraser, but not like any eraser you seen before! It’s soft so can be kneaded into shape, and it also doesn’t leave any residue behind. It lasts much longer than regular erasers. This particular one is extra fun because it’s scented with pineapple and glows in the dark!
Posca Metallic Gokuboso from Mitsubishi, Culicule Retro from Kutsuwa
Posca markers are very clever pens indeed. They are a kind of fibre tipped paint marker, and the ‘ink’ doesn’t bleed, can be layered, and can also be used on many surfaces, including wood, metal, fabric, and glass. There are a variety of possible colours, but I have this fantastically vibrant metallic purple.
The Kutsuws pens are not actually pens at all, they are coloured pencils! Unlike the usual type, these have the coloured part inside a pen-type case, which stops them from being damaged. You twist them to bring out more colour, they don’t need sharpening, and they work beautifully for sketching and shading.