Something completely new for our shop! Yamato glues and adhesives from Japan. This all started when I needed a new glue stick, and my research took me down a very deep and expensive rabbit hole of importing a selection of glues from Japan.
Japan is, of course, the stationery capital of the world: they have an incredibly rich history of high quality, natural stationery goods, along with innovation and precision.
Many of my favourite fountain pens and inks come from Japan, along with their beautiful paper, but they have a vast array of office supplies and crafting materials, elaborate and elegant washi rice papers, tools and sundries for every purpose and job. Every time a customer comes back from Japan and shows me pictures of the stationery shops they’ve visited and all of these Japanese-language-only stationery items, I feel a deep and gaping hole in my very being.
Yamato has been making their starch paste in Japan since 1899, and it’s a classic for school children to have in their backpacks and at their desks. I love anything with a good story – you know they’ve been doing something right if they’ve been doing it for a century – but I also love that their oldest starch pastes are still made with all-natural ingredients.
Since then, they’ve also created a huge number of different tapes and glues, and they even have 25 different types of their iconic starch pastes. We’re carrying a few different sticky things from Yamato.
This is their standard Arabic Liquid Glue, sticky enough for keeping heavy papers together, but safe enough for kindergarten fingers, along with a sponge-tip applicator. It’s a PVA glue, so it will be stronger than the starch pastes that Yamato also make, good for arts and crafts.
It’s the most widely used liquid glue in Japan, with a very highly recognizable label – I’ve even spotted it in a few stationery shops around the world as well, and we are proud to join the ranks.
Above is their standard glue stick, which works just how you imagine it to. It’s a very smooth glue, and they note that they’ve specifically made the glue soft enough for easy application. Despite its softness, it doesn’t mush like some school glue sticks. Like you might expect of Japanese stationery, it’s very simple, but it’s an excellent glue stick.
They also make a glue stick pen. Actually, they sort of had to sell me on this one, and I wasn’t sure what to expect – I thought it might be liquid glue but it turns out it’s a very thin glue stick that extends as you use it up and you twist the grip. Being very thin, it fits in a pen or pencil case easily, but being a solid glue, there’s no risk of it leaking out. I think this is going to the be one I’m going to carry around with me in my case on travel.
The glue stick pen also goes on a fluorescent yellow, and dries clear, so you know exactly where you’ve applied it. It has a thin tip, which also allows you to be more precise with where you’re putting the glue, helpful for putting on small pieces of paper or to get into corners.
We also brought in this adhesive glue tape, the Yamato Nori Pro Glue Tape – I’ve seen so many journalers and crafty people using it to apply to the backs of ticket stubs or scraps of paper to put into their Traveler’s Notebooks, and I couldn’t resist bringing it in for the shop. I think I’m sort of a glue person – I like my tape to be washi tape – but we’ll see how this goes.
It’s great for putting up small pictures, scrapbooking or journaling, making notes: it’s a fairly strong adhesive, but the tape can rub off when you’re done using it.
Yamato is well-known for these other products, especially with their distinctive packaging, but they’re probably most famous for their line of starch pastes.
I think Japanese children recognize these distinctive green tube and jars of starch paste from their youth, but it’s also frequently used for pasting specialty papers in crafting or arts. I know a lot of artists seek out this type of paste specifically for for their more delicate work, but it’s also great as an all-natural alternative to more aggressive glues, some with their own distinctive smells.
These starch pastes are made from tapicoa starch, and are great for things you want to keep long term because they’re acid-free – gluing in leaves and flowers into your journals, or onto cards and notes.
These jars of traditional Yamato Washi Nori Starch Paste is made of the same tapioca starch, so it is also acid-free, non-toxic and made from natural plant materials, however it’s been specifically designed for Japanese washi papers or rice papers, traditional paper that is extremely thin and delicate.
It has a smooth consistency, and allows you to apply it to thinner papers without wrinkles or damaging the paper.
People sometimes joke that when Caleb goes to school, he’s going to have the craziest supplies.
I’m all for Japanese glue sticks and Blackwing pencil crayons, but I wonder if at a certain point he’s going to want to fit in, and insist on a pink pearl. If this does happen, I hope he’ll one day be saddened by the memory of having turned his back on Yamato, before running back into the open arms of his stationery mama.
Caleb is already actually very much into the concept of glue sticks. To my surprise, one day a few months ago he identified a glue stick from my drawer and knew how to use it – and was in fact wielding it with some high spirited swipes. I’m so used to knowing everything he knows, but I think he must have learned at his Sunday School, where he does come back with gluey crafts every once in a while.
He’s proven to be able to sustain a very short-lived but exuberant interest in crafting – colouring, gluing things, watercolours, writing “letters,” sticking stickers – before it spiraling fairly rapidly out of control into paint on walls or stamping the cat. Anything involving scissors is probably the height of the excitement, followed closely by anything involving an ink syringe and filling up from a bottle of ink. Basically anything with a hint of danger.
While I can’t fault a short attention on a three year old, he seems to be able to watch construction vehicles in the courtyard for twenty minutes without a problem. I guess Caleb seems to be more of a “do-er,” like helping to move boxes around, or stock the shelves, or pack orders – he likes some real action – but I’m holding out hope that he’ll have some secret interests in something creative yet.