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Life with the Hobonichi Techo 2015

So it’s nearly June which means I’ve been totally delaying this post for ages now. But in my defence, I totally needed time to try out this product and see how it really works etcetera etcetera – and now I’m proud to say it’s a keeper! I’ve been itching to do a review of this so bear with me.

What I’m really talking about is the famed Japanese planner, the Hobonichi Techo. It might sound really foreign to people here, especially because Singapore doesn’t carry any Hobonichi products at all, but trust me when I say it’s a fantastic planner and I’m a total convert.

Here’s some info off their official website:

The original Hobonichi Techo was created in 2001 from the Japanese website Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shimbun. Every year, the techo’s design has been refined and updated to reflect the demands of users. There are three sizes: the Japanese paperback-sized “Original,” the A5-sized “Cousin,” and the weekly-diary formatted “Weeks.”

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Credits to

Most people use the ‘Original’ size, which is a really petite A6 sized planner. It looks totally understated on its own: a simple little black book with the Japanese characters for ‘techo’, along with the ARTS&SCIENCE logo (it’s a brand owned by Sonya Park, who’s the founder of the planner) printed in gold foil on the front. Simple as it looks, the price will come at a shock. A friend and I ordered it off their website and each planner (with shipping) cost us around S$50. I initially didn’t expect it to be so expensive, and was a little startled when I saw the converted rate, so but hang in there when I say it is still worth my every dollar.

When my Hobo (as I affectionately refer to it) came, I used it with a S$2 Daiso cover because I couldn’t bear splurging on a cover. But honestly, the amount of covers that both the store and places like Etsy offer is too tempting to not get  one, so I caved in like two weeks later and bought this. This time, I got it off a preorder on Carousell and paid S$29! Pretty sure it’s cheaper than getting it alone, shared shipping costs and all that jazz.

And here are my snaps of the Hobo!

 photo IMG_7807_zpsevv95cok.jpg I love that it comes with an external plastic cover to protect the one inside. A cover for your cover, aye? Gotta love the Japanese.

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Each side of the sleeve comes with ample slots for cards/stickers/sticky notes and more, as well as inner slots at the side to slide in notes you’ve taken at a class/work meeting.

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One of the best things about the Hobo is that it gives the user one whole page a day. Simple and brilliant concept that is super under utilised in journals. I suspect it’s to save space and because 365++ pages (journals usually offer a month or two into the next year) means a book that’s too thick and heavy to carry around on a daily basis. With the Hobo this isn’t even a problem because *tears dramatically* they use this fantastic, expensive paper called Tomoe River (read a review of it here) – it’s lightweight, thin, doesn’t smudge easily and is basically the holy grail of paper. The paper’s thinness yet durability is why the Hobo is able to give users a whole page a day, which is something I really appreciate because I don’t just jot down my appointments, I want to be able to make plans and draw and pencil in my food (see picture above) okay?

Look at me, gushing over paper. But I assure you that it makes all the difference.

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I slot in at least one pen at the side of Techo to carry around, rotating between the usual blue or black ballpoint so it’s versatile enough for everyday use. I used to carry like three in there (Muji pens fit, tried and tested) until it got a little heavy and bulky for my bag. Would totally do it again someday though! I’m a closet turtle that brings everything with me.

Anyway because those photos were taken earlier this year, here are more recent snaps:

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Love how there are great quotes on every two pages – they really inspire/get you thinking.

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Here’s how I use my Hobo daily:

  • Jot down my meals every day. I like some form of routine/order in my life, even in the smallest forms, and taking note of what I eat everyday consciously reminds me if I need to be eating better. You’ll be surprised at how effective this is.
  • Plan my daily activities/appointments/to-do list. 
  • Make mini journal entries if it’s a slow work day. I also try to write down memorable things that happen to me so that I can look back and recall them after.
  • Sketch and pencil in things whenever I can to personalise the pages. I went crazy and bought a zillion pens from Muji in every imaginable shade, along with a ton of stickers, so I could decorate the pages. I haven’t been utilising them artistically as much as I wish I have, so I’ll keep at it!

In short, this is one planner that I’ve never regretted buying, and I’m definitely going to get the 2016 version once it’s out! And if you’re a planner enthusiast, I strongly urge you to too. If you need any further convincing, read this fun interview with Ms. Fujimura, who works with ARTS&SCIENCE, on how she uses the planner. You’re welcome!



    • Hello there! I highly recommend it if you’re not too budget conscious – because like I mentioned it’s pretty steep for a planner! But I’m sure you’ll love it.

  1. Hello! I loveeee my Hobo as well. Did some water coloring on a few of the pages and really is the holy grail of paper as mentioned by you! 😀 Will you be getting another one for 2016?

    • Hi Wendy! Glad to find a fellow Hobo lover 🙂 I’m already making plans to get my second Hobo, but I admit that it’s quite expensive and I’m tempted by so many other options in the market! I”ll probably give it a bit more thought and decide by October. How about you?

      • Hi Rachel! I was actually deciding between Midori traveller’s notebook and Hobonichi and I’m giving myself until November to decide. 🙂 What other options are you looking at?

      • Hi Wendy! I was actually looking at the Midori as well, but I couldn’t make up my mind about the different customisation options. I also picked the Hobo because I wanted something a little “harder” and more “book-like”. I imagine the Midori to be a lot softer. As for other options, I’m honestly perfectly fine with picking up a non-discreet, simple planner from Kinokuniya or something. 🙂 But we’ll see!

  2. Hello again 😀
    I used to get my planners from Kino as well but I don’t think I’m going back to those…Hobonichi really changed my life. I think I’m spoilt by it hahaha!

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