Just received these books in the mail today, all the way from Asia. I bought them from a friend who moved to Japan from Singapore and recently started a business making these books – Tezukuri Nikki, or handmade diary.

There is something sacred about things that are handmade: not in the arts and crafts way where flaws are part of the charm, but in the obsessive way that is characteristic of the Japanese, where pride trumps business sense. Each diary is handsewn with needle and thread and handcased using bookbinding glue. As books they are perfect. As products they are madness, anomalies in this day and age where businesses and their consultants are constantly tinkering at the price-quantity-quality equation to maximise profit, too often at the expense of the latter. I can see writers hugging these books as VCs shake their heads in despair, unable to scale or synergise or leverage or whatever the latest smart thing to do is.

I see my friend in the books (no he does not look like a waving cat). We were colleagues once, young journalists writing articles and doing interviews and reviewing gadgets together. I remember his sharp intellect, the precision of his words and actions, and his love of the weird and quirky. I remember an intensity that is not immediately obvious – his fashion style then, like mine, could be described kindly as forgettable – that only revealed itself when he spoke or put pen to paper. He might not have personally made these books, but they are unmistakeably him. I hope the things I create retain as much humanity as his.

You can support him here:


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