When it comes to journals, old-fashioned craftsmanship may have gone out the window for the most part, but not for Musibi. Made of premium Japanese paper and fabric in Singapore, these are completely constructed by hand — and testament to the idea that the repository for the story of your life should be as carefully constructed as your own adventures.
Pages are handsewn into the bookblock with needle and thread, then fabric is wound around the blank with a brush and bookbinding paste.
Fabrics are made in the age-old Japanese tradition, sourced from small-batch family makers, more modern facilities and vintage suppliers. It’s a joy to run your fingers over! Meanwhile the ultra-smooth 200 sheets of unlined paper that fills each is known as Tomoe River, loved by fountain pen enthusiasts for its thinness that belies an inner strength. The lightweight paper has a stubborn quality, featuring a colorfastness and minimal bleed through.Each of Musibi’s artisans is a physically disabled individual, and the profits from the sale of the diaries are rolled directly back into their training, medical support and rehabilitation.
All this craftsmanship does not come cheap of course, but the Seigaiha (Waves) Diary in Midori (green, the second design down) that the company’s Daryl sent me is exquisite, far beyond anything you’d ever find on the shelves of most stores. Like the couture creation each one is, each diary is made to order with a lead time of two to three weeks. Choose from one of the Signature Diaries in the Waves pattern above or the Tombo or Dragonfly pattern shown below, $67.If you want to go super-luxe, choose a Seasonal Diary — like the Fortune Cat, or Manekineko pattern below, $82 — or even an Exotic Diary of silk, cashmere or wool, $96. Each comes with a certificate signed by the artisans, the back of which has a lined grid to be tucked behind each page while writing as a guide. Learn more and shop them all here.As you can guess, I’m a little intimidated to begin using mine! I think I’ll have to dedicate a special pen just to this first. In the end, I’ve got to take heed of the quote that Daryl sent me on the back of the note he enclosed with mine. It’s from one of my all-time favorite authors, Flannery O’Connor: “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”