Opening the Hobonichi is quite the experience. To be honest, I mostly ordered the planner to get my hands on the Earthbound notebook cover. After missing out on a restock at JetPens, I decided to order one right from the mothership in Japan: 1101.com.
Even though I purchased the Hobonichi as a notebook cover, I wanted to give the planner a shot. I wasn't looking for a daily schedule book, but I had some different ideas. The first section is a two-year calendar, not much to do here. The next is a calendar that keeps each month as a set of rows. I didn't find a good use for this section either. I assume if you just need to track hours or something simple this would come in handy.
It is a bit odd to start a yearly notebook after January, but oh well, I'm not going to let a good notebook go to waste. Also, the Hobonichi runs through March of 2019, so I'll get my twelve months out of it.
In the regular monthly view calendar, the next section, I keep a "Don't Break The Chain" tracker. I have five habits I try to do every day and mark if I completed them here. This area lets you build your chains on a monthly view with enough space to track a few different habits.
The other half of the book is a daily calendar where you can do whatever you want. It has grid lines, and a suggestion to log your food at the bottom. Each pair of pages has a quote, along with tracking the phase of the moon each day. This is a perfect place to keep track of random ideas you have. Just keep it on your desk while your working. The lay-flat design makes it convenient to leave next to the keyboard while working.
It's intentionally flexible, and if you check out Hobonichi’s site, you can see how people are using them. It could also be a simple journal or a daily sketchbook. Of course, you could also use it as a basic planner, but where is the fun in that?
The cover is more than cosmetic. You get a ton of storage. There are different size card pockets on the inside. There's another bigger pouch on the outside. Hobonichi adds a nice touch by including a plastic cover to protect the design. It even features an opening for the rear pouch.
The case holds the book shut by using two pen loops. It's a perfect size for the bonus multi-pen that came with the notebook. (There’s also meal planning dice, which have just become desk decorations.The combination of Raw and Pork came up one too many times to be practical.) You also get two bookmarks for each section of the planner.
There's a final section of dot grid pages that are for notes or other unstructured use. If you ever run over on your daily space, or just want a blank space to play around in. It's been a couple months since I got the Hobonichi and the habit seems to have stuck. The Techo has been the center of a transition to more analog work.
I can see how the Hobonichi got its cult following. The paper feels great to write on with a variety of pens. At the end of the book, there are notes on Japanese culture and holidays. The Hobonichi Techo charms you from the moment you open it. It seems designed to be inviting from the start. The 8-bit style of the Earthbound cover only adds to it. Also, how else are you supposed to get a Mr. Saturn sticker?
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