A writing mat is something you put under the sheet of paper you are writing on. It improves the connection of pen/pencil to paper, and protects the lower sheets from impressions.
This one is made by Mitsubishi, maker of fine pencils, paper, and many other stationery products. It has a soft, rubbery feel. It comes in a thick version as well as a thin version.
The thin version is about .7mm thick, while the thick version is 1.7mm thick and quite a bit heavier than the thin version. Which to choose? It's a matter of taste. Writing on both feels the same, but the thin version is easier to carry, while the thick version has a bit more solid feeling when you pick it up. Maybe it's a security thing.
The quality of both mats is a bit surprising. The density of the plastic, the gold stamping, and the heft give it a serious impression, and for such a simple item, it is quite well made. It may even fall into that rarified category of "nicest things to own" or one of those "simple pleasures in life". There is no mistaking that it is made in Japan.
Don't let the B5 size (176x250mm or about 7x10) keep you from using it under different size papers such as A5 and A4. In fact, out of all sizes this is probably the most versatile - it can be turned sideways under an A4 sheet and moved down as needed. Or, it can cover the entire length and width, with plenty of margin, of an A5 sheet.
Posted by chris moore on 18th Aug 2016
I have been using a hard mat (purchased here) and been unhappy with it. Over time it warped a little and it is not easy to deal with.
So, I got a selection of soft mats to try. This is the first I've tried out and it is perfect for my use -- letter pads in A5 size with Tomoe River paper.
The mat is soft, and I'm using the thin one as stated. I'll review the thick separately once I've spent time with it, but the thin one sits perfectly between sheets, doesn't slip, and when writing feels exactly right. I could not be more pleased.
The size is slightly large at B5, which is only a hassle if you're carrying your letter pad and really mind the mat sticking out some. For an A5 journal, I think I would stick to the correct size mat so it can stay comfortable in the book, but for letter writing I find the B5 size to be extra convenient as I never worry about running over the edge.
For this price, this mat is worth it and then some.