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Seven Seas "MicroDot" A5 Grid Journal

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Max Purchase:
5 unit(s)

For the longest time, I resisted making a notebook with a dot grid. To me, dots have to be of a certain size and shade to be visible by themselves, and thus lack the precision of a grid pattern's intersecting lines. Plus, dots are solid shapes, require a lot of printing ink which repels water, and thus they easily show through dark fountain pen writing.


Then one day I was driving down the street past a Target store, and it hit me that the image of a target might have the benefits of a dot, with the precision and light weight of a grid. Thus, the idea for the "micro dot" - a tiny dot within a circle - was born, and became what you see here.


Now, to be perfectly honest, I think the micro dot idea is really good and original, but, given that I like to do things in an understated manner, our execution of that idea turned out to be a bit loud and strong for my tastes. See the pics - the pattern just jumps out at you! Part of it is because we made the circle a bit bigger than normal (0.8mm) and the print color could have been made a shade lighter. Please judge for yourself and look carefully before ordering.


Also, we all know that in thin-paper printed notebooks, the print on subsequent and preceding pages ghosts, giving the facing page a blurry effect. This is exaggerated by the dots and is shown in the pics. That can be overcome by placing a writing mat, blotter sheet (included) or just a plain 'ol sheet of paper underneath. The pattern is actually quite mild when the pages are used that way.


In any case, I do feel that once you start writing, you get used to it. My daughter feels the design is a bit too complex, but she is using it for her calligraphy, and has been ok with it so far.


So there you have it - our Micro Dot Grid. Please try it out, and let me know what you think in the reviews, or email me directly.



  • Flexible, semi-stiff coated fabric cover.
  • Smythe-sewn (thread-bound), lay-flat binding
  • White Tomoe River paper - lots and lots of it
  • No cover printing or branding except for the back end sheet
  • Comes with a kraft slip case


The pages are "thread-bound", which is a very old and still the best production method of bookbinding. Thread-bound pages are sewn (with a special sewing machine) into signatures, which are gathered to form a text-block, which is then cased into a cover. This method allows the journal to lay flat with no stress to the spine, and for that reason it is the absolute best method for binding a book (including a library book) that sees the daily rigors of opening, closing and pressing down with the hands. It can even be folded back on itself. If you were to go on an around-the-world trip over the course of many months and needed to document your experiences in great detail, this journal would certainly be up to the task.

The paper size is A5 (148x210mm or 8.3x5.8 inches), and 15mm thick. The cover is made of a coated fabric, similar to buckram, but a bit less coarse and heavy duty. The cover has also been made stiffer through the use of a core board sandwiched between the fabric and the end sheets. You can use the book as-is, or put it inside a leather, cloth, paper, vinyl, fabric, etc. outer cover.




  • The notebook will lay flatter if you bend it back on itself a bit. Go ahead and bend it backwards! It won't break.
  • If you use a fine-to-medium fountain pen, the ink will generally dry fast enough. If it doesn't, close the book on the included pink blotter sheet.
  • If you use a pencil, softer leads such as 2B and 3B work well.
  • Pencil marks erase very cleanly from this paper, and using a high quality eraser is pure pleasure. Don't be surprised if you find yourself making mistakes on purpose.
  • If you find the book a bit thick for your writing style, please read this.


Recommended accessories:



  • Size A5, 210x148mm, 15mm thick, (8.3x5.8x0.7 inches)
  • White-color (which is really an off-white) Tomoe River "Notebook" paper
  • 5mm dot grid
  • 480 pages (240 leaves), no lines, rounded corners
  • Lay-flat thread binding
  • Flexible, tough, thin water-resistant coated-fabric cover
  • Ivory-colored end sheets
  • Comes with one A5 blotter paper
  • Made in Japan


ABOUT MANUFACTURING VARIATION: We've found that Tomoe River paper, and thin paper in general, is unlike working with "regular" weight papers such as 20 lb bond, laid, wove, etc. papers (we have actually be unable to find any binders in the US that are willing to work with TR paper). Tomoe River paper is very sensitive to humidity, and when bound in a thick book by machine as ours are, some unexpected variations can occur. So far, we've experienced the following (also please see the pictures):

  1. Rippled pages
  2. A subtle "waviness" on the edge of the book block
  3. Dog-eared pages (rare)

None of these issues will affect the writing surface or quality of the writing experience, and it's not practical for us to go through each book page-by-page (these issues can be quite random). However, if for any reason you are not satisfied with the book you receive, please let us know (dave@nanamipaper.com) and we'll do our best to rectify the situation. Thank you for your understanding!

For more information and design goals, please read the Seven Seas Journal Fact Page.

If you'd like to compare this journal to the cost of other journals, please see our notebook value comparison.

Did you know that Hemingway wrote with a pencil? We like to think that, had he known about the Seven Seas Standard, he would have used a fountain pen. Here's the full story.


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Product Reviews

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  1. Better than the best 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 23rd Sep 2019

    I loved the Crossfield and ordered this one and didn't expect to like it as much but I LOVE IT!!! Same paper, spacing. Love thevblue cover and the microdots. Just trust it and try it. If you don't like it, I'll buy yours.

  2. Lovely paper, great for fountain pens! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 15th Sep 2019

    Bought this journal to use specifically just for my fountain pens. To have a place that could handle the ink and my thoughts. This had been perfect for that with the most pages in a journal I have ever found. Nanami paper took great care in safe and speedy shipping. Thank you so much; I am happy!

  3. A pleasure to write in. 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 15th Aug 2019

    I received this notebook with much anticipation, having read many accolades from various people on various sites touting the incredible quality of the paper and the general aesthetic of it. I have to say these accolades are completely deserved and will not reiterate them all here. I will add that a cover for it of some type is something that my brain wanted to add because any kind of possible damaging contact was quite unthinkable, so consider that when purchasing your own.

  4. i wish i had known about this sooner 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 11th Jul 2019

    Okay, so I don’t usually do reviews. Mainly because I don’t care enough to do them. But, I absolutely have to for the microdot. I've only inked 10 pages so far but I don't see a need for any other journal. Absolutely love the design, and as a comic book nerd it reminds me of Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen and the design of the cover and pages is exquisite. It's a minimalist design and I know it's been talked about, someone said that the dots are "distracting" and honestly I don't feel that way at all, in fact. I find it quite pleasing to the eye.

    I am brand new to journaling, but I knew what I was looking for. A5 size, good quality paper, fountain pen friendly, and big (page number wise) and this checks all the boxes. I don't want to buy a new journal every 3 months. I want something in it for the long haul.

    I started journaling because it hit me the other day that "I am going to die someday and it could be tomorrow" and that I wouldn't be leaving something of "me" to my children. They're young (4 and 1) and if I died within the next couple of years they wouldn't remember me much. I want them to have something of my personality, my thoughts, my feelings, my love for them.

    I want to thank the team for putting this beautiful book together and thanking them for allowing me to give something back to the people I love so much

  5. Stopped using my previous notebook early 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 26th Jun 2019

    The writing experience is sublime, as all Tomoe River paper is, and the design of the dots are more subtle than other competing products, while still serving as excellent guides for sketching or bullet journalling. It delivers exactly what the description promises.

    It's almost perfect. The minor manufacturing variations are okay - very subtle misalignment of signatures and some pages sticking together on the edges and corners - but I'm a bit bothered by the mis-alignment of the printed dots on the two sides of each sheet of paper. On paper this thin, it's quite noticeable even if it doesn't necessarily detract from the experience.

    That being said, none of these flaws should keep anyone from buying what's probably the best dot grid (or other) notebook out there!

  6. I'm in love! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 7th Jun 2019

    I'm in love with these notebooks, and eagerly look forward to writing in them each day. Since I use fountain pens as my primary writing tool, I find myself swooning over how my pens and inks look and feel against this paper. The book covers are a simple and elegant design to offset the quality of the notebook. I'm a new customer who was recommended to visit this site by many online reviewers. There won't be too many stores other than Nanami which I'll go to for my writing needs.

  7. Love it so much I ordered another one 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 9th May 2019

    I am a big fan of Tomoe River paper and these notebooks really are so beautiful. Wasn’t sure about the microdot but to be completely honest after using it for over a week now I don’t even notice any differences between that and a normal dot grid.
    As the title says, I love it so much I ordered another one!
    I live in the uk and the shipping was super quick took about five working days, it was packaged really well too.
    So a big thank you Dave for another gorgeous seven seas notebook to replace the Crossfield, although I also would love to try the Crossfield Japan with the larger squared grid

  8. happy to have a replacement for the cross grid 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 5th May 2019

    I haven't ordered in awhile hoping that the A5 cross grid would return but finally I needed a new journal so took a chance on this one. It truly is an excellent replacement and I really recommend it highly!

  9. love it so much i’ve just ordered another one! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 2nd May 2019

    A Excellent notebook well made with beautiful 52gsm Tomoe River paper. The dots don’t bother me at all and as it says in the title I loved it so much I’ve just ordered another one.
    Shipping to the uk was super quick, about 4 working days!
    Can’t fault Nanami paper at all. I’m a very happy bunny.

  10. Beautiful 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 30th Apr 2019

    I read all the reviews on this notebook and was torn as I totally love the Crossfield and Tomoe River paper and as I live in the uk was concerned as it was quite pricey shipping for something I wasn’t 100% sure of.
    But I went ahead and ordered one as I miss my Crossfield and have not found anything even close to the amount of pages and quality of book.
    I am so glad I did, the microdot doesn’t bother me at all, I just pop some blotting paper in between the pages and it’s fine.
    My only problem now is I don’t want to use pen in it as I’m scared off messing my gorgeous notebook up!

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