Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop

First, a huge thank you to The Journal Shop for sending me this 2015 Hobonichi Planner to review. At first, I wanted to post my review several months ago (as I've had it for several months). I just couldn't figure it out though. I didn't know what to say about it aside from: I don't get it. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that this planner and I really clicked. As such, this is a mid-year review, and the 2015 planners are sold out, but get yourself on the 2016 list so you won't miss out! My apologies for such a late review, but given how popular these planners are, I wanted to get it.
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (4)
ABOUT

Techo - Japanese daily planner. In Japan, a techo is used for more than scheduling, it's also used as an agenda, a diary, sketchbook for jotting things to chronical the owners daily life. Each day comes on a page that can be customized to fit your creativity and personal style.

Size: A6
Color: Black
Price: £35.00
Where to buy: The Journal Shop : 2015 is sold out, but do sign up for 2016!
The Journal Shop Logo
APPEARANCE
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (6)
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (5)
It's a cute, attractive planner. It is compact, portable, and has an interesting design. I flipped through it and at first, felt it was fairly bland, simple, and plain. That's not a bad thing and I guess that's the point; the user is to do with the Techo what they want.

The pages inside were a little complex, and there were A LOT of them:
  • 2015 Year on Page calendar
  • 2016 Year on Page calendar
  • 2015 2 Month per page calendar
  • 2016 2 Month per page calendar
  • December 2014 - March 2016 Month per page
  • Day per page calendar
  • One "Coming up!" summary page prior to the start of each month
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (11)
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (12)
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (13)
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (14)
EACH DAY:
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (15)
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (7)
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (16)
  • day, date
  • month 
  • moon info
  • week number
  • quote at the bottom
  • month calendar on the right bottom corner
A few blank red dotted pages at back
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (10)
Random info:
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (9)
  • International size chart
  • Random selection games
  • Guide to ryokans
  • How to take a japanese bath
  • Spices & herbs around the world
  • International country codes/dialing codes
  • National holidays
  • Personal notes

PERFORMANCE & FEEL
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (17)
I was so curious and excited to receive this Hobnichi. I was hoping to try the larger (Cousin/A5) size, but the Journal Shop kindly sent me the A6 to review, so I am very grateful to TJS for this opportunity! I've had it for several months now, using it, getting to know it...

The paper is Tomoe River - some of my favorite fountain pen-friendly paper to use. Drying times are not fast, but it does well with a variety of media, and it doesn't feather. Show through is going to happen, especially with wetter media/inks/writers, but bleed through is unlikely.

The beautiful thing about this paper is there are so many pages fit into the planner. The downside is that it becomes warped if wet,  making it harder to flatten the entire thing, particular with the small size planner. If you have a cover, that helps keep it closed and then it's not so much an issue. If you have a naked planner, it stays more warped. In addition, the longer drying times means you can't scribble something with a (wet) fountain pen/gel pen and close the planner quickly - the wet ink will print over to the other side. I've done this countless times and then been horrified by the ugly print over, and sad that the other page was made ugly.
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (21)
If it isn't a planner you carry with you, but rather more of a diary, this probably won't be an issue. Otherwise, you'll probably need a blotting sheet or two with you.

I found finer nib sizes to be more convenient based on the grid of the planner, and drying times/show through, but that doesn't mean you can't use broad nibs as well - it is Tomoe River, it can handle it.

I like the day per page idea a lot - there's lots of space for notes, tracking, and planning: daily activities, exercise, health monitoring, food diary, blog planning and scheduling, and doodling. If you're clever, talented, and artistic, then you can art daily. I enjoy the monthly calendars at the front for an overview of the weeks/months to see appointments and due dates, but there is less space.

As for the design: I find the day per page layout cluttered and busy. The date is in a light color and doesn't catch my eye easily. I keep having to search for it on the page. Maybe there's something wrong with me, because I know where it is, but my brain just doesn't want to focus on it. The quotes at the bottom of the page, although nice, just take up space I could have used otherwise.

Decorating my planner was a really, really stupid mistake. I tried to add some color with stickers and washi tape. It definitely added color but, unfortunately, I did not think about the fact that it is very compact and the paper is very thin. "Post decoration", it was significantly thicker, bulky, and warped. This made it harder to write in. Nice move, Ziza. My error here was thinking that I should decorate my planner. In the end, when the Hobo and I clicked, it didn't even need these decorations.
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (18)
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (23)
I tried using this for keeping track of my Currently Inked pens, which I enjoyed because it helped me remember when and what I inked. That's not much of a life planner though, is it?

I discovered 'listers' on Instagram using their Hobonichi planners to make daily lists - what do you love, favorite foods, etc. I made up my own that suited me, but I liked this idea because it captures what I liked and who I am in 2015. When I look back at this in a few years, I'm probably going to be really mortified. I think this will be my favorite way to journal, in a form. I've tried journaling before and after a few years, I felt like I was more tied down to what I had written than freed, so I shredded everything and it was great.
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (24)
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (25)
Review 2015 Hobonichi A6 Planner @TheJournalShop (26)
PROS
  • Portable and compact.
  • Great paper.
  • Very simple, tidy, overall plain design (but in a good way). If you use one every year, they're going to look fantastic and clean, all lined up on your shelf. 
  • Fun to accessorize and change up - many added goodies available to accompany the Hobonichi (covers, for example). 
  • Lies flat. Very convenient as there are many pages. 
  • Well-made, high quality.
  • Probably the best way ever to get kids (and yourself) into journaling and writing - if they have their own Hobonichi, they can carry it around, jot down their daily feelings and notes per day, or doodle, and whatever else. 
CONS  
  • The journal is not inexpensive.
  • Accessories are not inexpensive either!
  • A little complicated to get the hang of the system (or I'm just slow).
  • Busy pages.
  • For me, the quotes are nice, but I would have preferred the space for writing/notes. 
OVERALL 

To be honest, it took me a long time to figure out how I wanted to use this planner to its full extent, and to really enjoy it. I'm trying it as a creative outlet as well, and I think that will be more successful, and I also think the larger size would be more successful for me. I'm not really artistic or creative... so this should be interesting, carrying on from here.

I am completely fascinated and in awe of those amazing artists I see using their Hobonichis daily for their incredible work. I wish I could create work like that! I shouldn't wish. I should work towards it. How do you use your Hobonichi? I'm really, really enjoying the list per day concept though. It's like journaling about who and what I am here, capturing my here and now.

I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. 

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