These cute stamps represent the latest application of the erasable Frixion ink. I wonder how many people would buy these for the properties of the ink itself? To me, they are just cute, portable stamps. Of course, schedules change and appointments shift, so it would be useful to be able to erase anything.
They’re not the usual schoolgirl stuff but for adult journaling, since the range of 60 (30 at the time of my purchase, but very recently expanded!) include signs for “payday”, “drinking party”, “golf” and “business trip” (not included in the picture above, since I bought other kinds). There are also Chinese-character signs for holidays (or days you took off from work) and days you reported for work despite it being the weekend. However, they still lack some important signs – most notably, “overtime (i.e. working late and taking the last train home) and “shopping”, both crucial components of life in Japan ;) A separate sign for “cinema” would have been nice too, but instead they have included “The Scream” by Munch.
Very few shops outside of Japan carry these stamps (I’m not sure whether they sell it in Korea even), and the shops that do offer a very limited selection at steep prices. This is probably because a lot of the signs are Japanese-specific and so demand is limited. I had the chance to order some with my new Hobonichi planner at the Hobonichi official shop, and the rest I had to source on eBay.
While they seem like the perfect companion to a planner like the Hobonichi, in reality the properties of the ink and paper do not go together that well. The Frixion ink is a bit sticky, and on less absorbent paper like the Tomoe River it tends to pool in dots. I’ve found that however long you wait for the ink to dry, you always have to blot it, otherwise it transfers on to the opposite page. Of course, the great advantage of Frixion is that it can be erased, and the stamps come with a rubberized rim for that purpose. But I advise you not to use that eraser if at all possible. It distresses the paper and leaves marks, especially if the paper is as thin as the Tomoe River. If you must erase something, use the round eraser on any Frixion pen, it’s gentler and more efficient that way.
The Frixion stamps use this quintessentially Japanese ink reservoir system, in which the ink is stored in the stamp itself. This self-inking system (as far as I know) was pioneered by the Japanese firm Shachihata, which I will write about in a separate post. In theory it should be possible to refill the ink once you use it up, but judging by the price I think these stamps are meant to be disposable.