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)

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
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)
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

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)
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

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. 


Azizah Asgarali said...

Already done :)

Jen said...

I like the idea of using this as a "day in the life' type planner. I am not nearly organized enough to use it for its intended purpose - I miss things that are on my refrigerator calendar, so I'm pretty sure i"m not the intended target for this. It is really pretty, and I don't know, I kind of like the washi tape and whatnot you put on yours.

Tracy Lee Belford said...

Nice review. I bought one this year to keep better track of the little things that happen every day. New restaurants, friends visiting, letters in and out to pen pals, vacations/trips, purchases of pens, inks, and related ephemera, pens inked and when and with what color, etc. I have decorated my pages too, and love that fatter used feel it gives and I think yours looks excellent the way you did it. It is a reflection of you. I use a chronodex stamp on every page of mine to track my day in a way that is far more useful to me, and it leaves lots of space to write notes and other things. One of my goals for 2015 was to be more creative, so I am trying to doodle more and open that part of my mind. It is super challenging for me, but the smaller space of the Hobo means I don't have to go big and feel uncomfortable. I would be overwhelmed with a lot of space. I just doodle some smaller things and not necessarily every day. It has now become one of the most important things I carry with me every day, along with the Staedtler fineliners I bought to use in it, in addition to my fountain pens. I have a blotter sheet cut to fit and it solves any ink drying issues completely. Smears are part of the love if they happen, and they sometimes do. I will be getting another one for 2016.

Josephine Robertson said...

Maybe because I have a cover I *like* that my journal becomes fat and bulky throughout the year. You can sort of see if it fill up as I go along. And I love when the paper gets crinkly and warped, makes it feel lived and used in. I'm a huge fan on these little guys!

Susan said...

I keep trying to understand what the draw is with Hobonichi. I bought a techno for 2015, but wound up selling it because I couldn't see how I would use it. I went back to my Midori. But, I really want to try the Cousin. I thought I ordered a July-December Cousin in A5, but it was all in Japanese (you can't get them on the English store) and I wound up with the A6. Oops. At least the six-month planner isn't expensive, but the A6 size just seems too small. I like the Midori calendar that has two pages per day. A schedule on the left side and dotted lines on the right for to-do lists. That just makes more sense to me. So, I'm conflicted. I really want to "get" the Hobonichi, but the Midori seems to just work for me.

Roger N. Dominick said...

I bought one of these to use as a boring business planner, with a smattering of appointment keeping on the side. I am always abashed when I see the creative uses people put their techos to -- but i've found it VERY useful for, well, planning my days. (A little depressing when so many tasks carry over, but that's neither here nor there.) It's really helped me, work-wise.

I can almost see myself ordering another one (maybe not with a bright-yellow cover, this time) for next year so I can have the all-business planner and a more diary-type thing with limited space where I can scrawl some stuff and maybe do a bit of scrapbooking and art.

jaz said...

i have the a5. With only half year done, its too fat to take anywhere. I almost wanted to do surgery on the binding and ringbind it. Next time i'll either get the half year or go back to the regular book journals. i like completing a book. it feels satisfying, even if it is several books per year. but this hobonichi has helped to doodle and explore sketching and watercolors.

Bob said...

Good review, I'm glad somebody else had a hard time getting it. I haven't yet so it's in a drawer. I'm an avid daily journaler so maybe I'm just stuck in my comfortable ways.

Rob said...

After seeing that .. I bought it :) Thanks for feeding my addiction!!

Deborah Roggie said...

I replaced my DayTimer with the Hobonichi a year and a half ago, and the result is a lot more fun. It's evolved from a simple planner to a planner/visual diary hybrid. I add washi, stickers, and pictures printed from the web to make my pages colorful. Animal and monster stickers comment on the events of my day like a furry Greek chorus (using little dialog balloons like in comics).

I've started drawing more in my Hobo because when I look back at old pages, I prefer the ones with original artwork. Fountain pens do smear awfully easily, so I use them sparingly. Sakura Micron pens are fast-drying and waterproof; Zebra Mildliner markers and color pencils are indispensable. Pilot HiTec-C pens are fun to use, as are Faber Castell brush pens. (I've even tried watercolors. They don't bleed through Tomoe River paper, but the page gets awfully wrinkly.) But be warned--the ink for rubber stamps will bleed through.

The book does get fat as the year goes on. I kind of like that.

Tanja said...

I hadn't used my Hobonichi in a while but recently decided to get back into it!

(When I properly use it) I heavily rely on the weekly pages of the Cousin(A5) for my planning, and the monthly pages for an overview (did I plan too much?). I sort of separate those from the daily pages, as in, I don't do any planning on the individual daily pages. I do often make notes about the day. I think you could say I use the month + week for planning and the daily for recording + reflecting.
Example: I had an appointment at the hospital to see my doctor. I wrote down something like 'hospital' on the day in the month-overview, and on the week-page I wrote down the appointment at the exact time, with all the required details. Then, after the appointment, on the day-page, I wrote down what we discussed and what we planned.
Today I wrote down my currently inked list (after flushing and cleaning and making everything inky).
I used colour-coded platinum preppies (sp?) to write down my things, but unfortunately, two of them cracked, staining my pretty pencil case *sob*. Decided to switch to Sakura Pigma Microns, just to be on the safe side. I mean, I can still reflect, record, doodle and whatnot with my fountain pens on the day-pages, but for the quick planning the Microns will work better imo.
I don't do a lot of artistic things in it, because for me, it's a planner first and I really like to have that part sorted ;)

Tarah said...

Great review! I am not sure it is my 'thing' and after this review, even though I am glad to hear you got into it, I am sure it isn't my thing ;) - But it can be good for a daily written meditation journal, much like your daily listing though. As a daily planner, I really like my midori pocket size with fillings. The planner is more compartmentalized which I find more to my liking. Also it fits in my bag easily and fits as a better daily carry.

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