Ever since I can remember my Mum has kept a diary. Me, well, I managed to keep one successfully for nearly a year whilst I was in college, but it wasn’t very detailed. Any other time, I failed miserably. I tried a normal diary, journaling, bullet journaling… everything fell by the wayside within a month or two.
Then I finally decided to treat myself to a Hobonichi Techo Planner. A planner so expensive compared to others that if I failed at writing in it regularly then I’d effectively thrown away a lot of money. Perhaps a stupid thing to do considering my inability to keep up pretty much any other diary or journal I’d ever had!
Always late to the game, I bought my first Hobonichi in January this year (rather than planning and getting it last year). At £35 it was the most expensive diary/planner/book I’ve ever bought but was it worth it?
The Hobonichi Techo is an A6 sized Japanese daily planner. The page layout allows for quite a lot of flexibility, so can be used for more than scheduling your day/week/month/year. The Hobonichi Techo can be used as a diary, journal, sketchbook and however else you care to chronicle your daily life.
The planner begins with 2 pages of yearly calendars: The current year on one page and the following year on the next page. Great for looking for a date at a glance.
This is followed by vertical monthly calendars showing 4 months across a double-page spread. These begin with December the previous year and end with March the following year, meaning you can note down important dates for the beginning of the following year.
Next up are monthly calendars with each month being spread across a double-page spread. This gives plenty of room for planning a month.
The bulk of the planner is the daily pages. Each month begins with a “Coming up!” page which I use to keep track of my penpal letters for that month. The daily pages are in grid format and have plenty of space for marking out your day, however you wish to do it.
I love that each page spread has a quote. Friday, 8th November 2019’s quote reads:
“You can’t really control photography. You can take great photos one day and find yourself unable to take good photos the next. Photographs are always a product of the things you encounter along the way.” – Kotori Kawashima, photographer. (So true!).
At the back of the planner are a handful of dot grid pages, an Important Contacts page, some very handy International Size Charts, a Conversion Table, some quirky information pages (Traditional Japanese Household Items, The Japanese Zodiac and A World of Traditional Sweets), International Country Codes / Dialling Codes, National Holidays (from around the world) and a Personal Notes contact page in case you should be separated from your Hobonichi Techo. Each Hobonichi Techo also has a unique number in the back, but I’m not entirely sure what this is used for.
I love how the Hobonichi Techo gives so much freedom of use, but I think the best feature of this planner is its paper. The Hobonichi Techo uses Tomoe River paper which is just perfect for fountain pen users. It’s buttery smooth and the pen just glides across the surface. Fountain pen ink just works and shows so well on this paper. Due to the thinness of the Tomoe River paper, you will see ghosting (which might annoy some people), but you won’t get bleed-through (certainly with fountain pen ink). The pages also lay flat for easy use.
Eleven months on, I can safely say that I have written in my 2019 Hobonichi Techo pretty much every day since I bought it. I don’t know if it was the sheer cost of it, the delightfully smooth Tomoe River paper or the determination of not failing this time. Either way, it worked and I’m now in the habit of writing in it most days. I’ve already bought my 2020 Hobonichi Techo (it’s pretty much unheard of me buying a diary/journal before Christmas, usually!).
Hobonichi products have a great cult status in the world of stationery. They aren’t particularly easy to get hold of in this part of the world, but, as with most things, they can be found online (online stationery shops, Amazon and Etsy sellers are your friends!). There are also covers and other accessories available for the Hobonichi planners. If there’s one thing the Japanese are good at its stationery!
Visit the official Hobonichi website.
Do you keep a diary/journal? Do you have a favourite one you keep going back to time and time again?