LIFE Noble Memo Pad and Cover B7 Review


LIFE Noble Memo Pad

In recent years LIFE has become one of the most coveted brands of Japanese paper.  It is generally more difficult to track down than my favorites Midori and Maruman.  The prices of LIFE products in the US seem to be uncontrolled as they vary quite a bit and tend to be overpriced.

The product I will be reviewing is the B7 size LIFE Noble Memo Section pad and leatherette cover that I picked up on my recent trip to Japan.

LIFE Noble Memo Pad

The Memo pad features 100 cream colored sheets with a faint 5mm graph.  The graph is printed on one side only; the back of the page is blank.  The orange cover has a great vintage look to it with the black scrollwork boarder and raised gold and black “LIFE” letters.

LIFE Noble Memo Pad

This memo pad oozes quality.  Everything on it is tight and the taped binding is one of the best I have seen.  You can open up to the middle of the book and it will lay flat and then you can close it and you would have no idea that this book as ever been open.

LIFE Noble Memo Pad

The cream colored pages are very high quality.  If you look at the blank side of the paper you will see that is ribbed.  I tested the paper against Rhodia’s 80 GSM paper and found the dry time to be about equal.  The LIFE paper is a bit thicker and is more resistant to bleeding.  It took multiple strokes with my fat music nib to see any bleed. The grid lines seem to resist ink and while that doesn’t bother me it may bother some.

LIFE Noble Memo Pad

LIFE Noble Memo Pad
No bleed to speak of and minimal ghosting. If you look closely you can see the ribbing.

LIFE Noble Memo Pad

The cover is a brown leatherette that looks sorta like leather but definitely doesn’t feel like leather, that is to say anyone who touches it wont likely be fooled.

LIFE Noble Memo Pad

Pressed into the leatherette is “LIFE” and the same scroll work we saw on the paper cover.  The fit and finish like the notepad is immaculate with beautifully aligned stitching.  I have found that in addition to protecting the notepad the cover also helps keep the pad open when you are at the beginning of the pad.  I really wish they did this thing in leather.

LIFE Noble Memo Pad

So what about the price?  The notepad with notebook cover retails for 1,000 YEN which is just under $10 USD.  In the US, unfortunately, the prices are considerably higher.  I found the cover (no pad included) for $20 and I found the pad for $8.  To me even with the unusual high quality, $28 is too much money for a little notepad with a leatherette cover.  At $10 it’s still expensive but much easier to justify.

The best prices I have seen for LIFE products in the US are at:

Nanami Paper

I have no affiliation and no purchase experience with this store but their prices seem to be more in line with Japanese retail.



5 thoughts on “LIFE Noble Memo Pad and Cover B7 Review

  1. Nanami Paper is an awesome online retailer. I highly recommend them.

    Thanks for the great review! I’ve been wanting to try one of these for some time.

  2. I thought I saw this at Maido here in downtown SF. I’d have to double check now… (Any excuse to go to Maido and check out their Pilot and Sailor Fountain Pen collection is good!) Nice review!

  3. I love the fact that Japanese papers are so fountain pen ink friendly while retaining their super smooth, thin silhouettes. They’re definitely less bulkier to carry around than their Western counterparts! (Though significantly more floppy—but I guess that’s why Japan makes such great notebook covers too!)

    I’m admittedly a newcomer in the Japanese notebook world, still working through my old orders of Paperblanks, Rhodia, and Clairefontaine…but I’m currently being spoiled by Apica, Tsubame, and Tomoe River (the last via

    Getting a LIFE is next on my list, hahaha.

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