I know that I was supposed to post about my planner choices earlier this month, and since I gave reviews of both the 365 Everyday Planner and the Slow and Steady planner, I was expecting to do that. But both planners had things that I didn’t enjoy, so, against my better judgement, I ordered a Hobonichi somewhere last week. This is the Hobonichi Techo Cousin, which is the bigger A5 version. Today it arrived, so here is my review!
This is a white bag, apparently normally it’s a yellow one? But they’ve run out? At least, that’s what I got from Youtube videos and other blog posts.
And there is a pink box inside!
The box comes with a couple of leaflets too. Why are they all so cute?
There was some brown packing paper, but I didn’t think that would be interesting to show. Instead, this is what’s inside the box. It’s not very filled, but I was soooo excited when I saw it all!
Three items: a pencil board, a Hobonichi Techo Cousin and some bits and a pen and little tray in the shape of a piece of toast. The pen and the tray are special items because I ordered from their Japanese store.
Before I five into the planner, here are closer pictures of the pencil board and the special items.
Now to the planner itself!
Name: Hobonichi Techo 2017 Cousin
Colour: Basic/No Choice Options
This is what it looks like when you take it out of its packaging, very neat! It was kinda scary holding it! It’s slightly thicker than my Rhodiarama A5 (about 1/4), and weighs quite a bit more, but it somehow still feels similar in size. Which I like as I enjoyed my Rhodiarama for the last couple of months.
Shiny shiny!! Remember the Slow and Steady 4 Month Planner? It was also an A5 and came with a plastic sleeve. Since I’m not one for bulky covers (and I haven’t really found one that fits the Cousin that has made me change my mind yet), I decided to try this, and even though the Cousin is a fraction thicker, it fits perfectly! Now I don’t need to worry about getting the book dirty.
The book starts with a two spread of yearly overview. On here the Sundays are red, Saturdays are grey and Japanese holidays are a lighter red. Not a lot of space, but nice enough for a quick overview.
Next up, monthlies. They start December 2016 and end March 2018. They’re all stuck together at the front of the book, so no more digging around for them!
Then, weeklies. These come with time slots so you can plan out your day and also with some space around the sides for notes and other things. Every day also has 3 check boxes at the top, if you’d like to use them.
The daily page I’m still a little scared/apprehensive about. In my Rhodia notebook I need about half a page per day, so to now suddenly have a whole page is kinda scary. For the Cousin (I’m not sure if either of the A6/smaller versions also do this), each month is a different colour and the daily pages are printed in the month’s colour. Which is a lovely detail.
A page consists of a date/week/moon box at the top with next to it 5 check boxes, on the left hand side of the page there is another time tracker line, though easily ignored if not needed. Very faintly at the side of the check boxes there is a thicker line down through the boxes, which lets you divide the page more easily between planner and notes. There is a Japanse quote at the bottom of the page, next to a small calendar.
Okay, for the calendar I’d like to note a couple of things that will make navigation for people a little easier. First, Japanese use the number of the month to indicate the month in general, no having to remember names, just the numbers. Incidentally, Japanese write dates as year-month-day, Europeans as day-month-year and Americans as month/day/year.
For the weekdays, every day has a Kanji followed by what technically stands for “day”. So, Monday is 月曜日 (getsuyoubi), which is a combination of moon 月 and “day” 曜日. I’m not going to write these out fully, I’ll just give the daily kanji plus its most common meaning and the day of the week, this will help with quickly navigating the planner.
月 – Moon – Monday
火 – Fire – Tuesday
水 – Water – Wednesday
木 – Tree – Thursday
金 – Gold – Friday
土 – Ground/Earth – Saturday
日 – Sun – Sunday
This is what the pencil board looks like, the front/green side has 5mm squares on them (the squares in the Hobonich are actually 3.7mm, so a little smaller), and the back is just a plain tan colour with a ruler. It also can be used as a bookmark and has a little tab at the top for this purpose (the tab says ‘today’). It’s practical for multiple things and because it does a good job as a bookmark, you’re also not very likely to just leave it anywhere.
The paper is Tomoe River paper, which is supposedly very good fountain pen friendly paper, and it does look that way. The paper is quite thin, so there is a good amount of ghosting, but there is no bleed, no matter what I threw at it. At the top of the page you can also see how the pen that was included with the planner actually performs, it’s very pretty and has very thin lines.
I don’t have many complaints about it apart from there being very few pages in the back that you can just make random notes (only 6 pages), which is why I didn’t use them for pen tests, I’m needing those pages for other things. Also, the lack of a pocket in the back also annoys me, but the book is actually supposed to be used with a cover, which all do have pockets and things like that, so I get why they didn’t add any.
I did make two modifications though.
The first is that I coloured the edge of the paper of both the monthly and weekly pages to match the daily pages that were already coloured. The colour match is not perfect, but it’s good enough.
The second one is that I added an elastic to the plastic cover so the book will stay closed even when I put it in my bag and stuff like that.
I’m actually really looking forward to using this planner! I will try to make a side by side comparison of all three planners so you can have some more comparison material. For now, I’m actually content with this planner as it has many of the elements that I want and need in a planner, including paper that holds up well with fountain pen use. I will still be using the Bullet Journal system in the Hobonichi, but I felt like I really needed a bit more structure for long-term planning.
Would you make the same choice? A different choice? Comment below!