My hunt for fountain pen friendly paper and my love of Japanese paper came together when I found LIFE! paper goods.
I like things that are well-made and that have a heritage of their craft to back them. LIFE has been around since 1946 when it established itself as the original makers of Japanese paper notebooks and other fine correspondence papers.
All LIFE Japanese notebooks are made by hand by specialist craftsmen. A machine is used to cut some of the paper but even this is a labour of love. The machine is immaculately maintained and used with such care. The wonderful thing is that LIFE notebooks are not considered niche items in Japan and are readily available and common in countless households.
LIFE notebooks and writing paper provide a lovely writing experience. Each page gives a smooth surface and tangible feel of real quality. Each of LIFE's notebooks go through a series of vigorous quality control checks throughout their creation process. Their tradition of handmade items has remained strong and dedicated to the provision of high quality goods that in my opinion outshines the many examples of cheaper pastiche paper goods currently flooding the market.
It is hard to get hold of LIFE goods here in the UK and where I have seen some notebooks, the mark-ups have been quite steep. However, I have spotted some in Choosing Keeping and Raw Dice.