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  1. #1
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Badger's Avatar
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    The Hobonichi Techo thread



    Some of us are rocking the 2015 Hobonichi Techo, and itís different enough from other items on the market that I thought I would create a thread as a place to discuss anything related to this particular notebook.

    While ďTechoĒ means ďplanner,Ē and it can be used as such, it has many other uses: personal log/diary, sketchbook, commonplace book, and so on. In the 14 years itís been around, itís attained great popularity in Japan, where people use it to record any and all of the things that matter to them.

    The Techo is not inexpensive (with shipping from Japan to the Midwest, I paid something like $36 for mine), which is more than what most people want to pay just to flip through it and maybe give it a go. I bought the Techo in order to entice myself to write more, especially because Iíd become bored with the larger books I normally use.

    Below, Iíve compiled some features and my initial perceptions of the Hobonichi Techo. This isnít exhaustive by any means, and there are probably many people on the internet who have done a much better job of describing the form and function. Hopefully some of you will find this useful, though.

    #1 Overview and specifications
    Size and Paper
    The Techo comes in an English-language A6 size and two sizes in Japanese (A6 and the larger A5 ďCousinĒ). There are multiple covers you can get for it, but I think it looks pretty handsome on its own. The English language version is black leather-like card stock with ďTe ChoĒ stamped in gold on the front, along with the logo of the design group ARTS&SCIENCE, who collaborated on the English version. The book has a lie-flat binding and the most subtly rounded edges.

    The Techo is printed on Tomoe River paper in black ink, except for Sundays, which are printed in orange. The paper is simultaneously tissue thin and very strong, a seemingly impossible quality with which anyone familiar with Tomoe River paper would be familiar. The paper can take fairly thick/wet ink without bleeding or feathering. I use Zebra 0.4 gel ink with good results.

    The bulk of the Techo is printed with a 3/16Ē x 3/16Ē grid (see below for more details on layout). This is quite small. My handwriting takes up one half of each squareís vertical space, so the size works for me, but it may be annoyingly small for others. Of course, no one said you have to fit your writing in the little squares.

    Layout
    The Techoís first few pages are dedicated to calendars of various sorts. First, thereís a full year at-a-glance calendar for both 2015 and 2016. Next, each month is presented in index format with one line per day, running from December, 2014 to March, 2016. Next comes a 2-page spread calendar (2 facing pages per month), also running from December 2014 to March 2016. This calendar has enough space to jot down appointments or to-do items, record birthdays and holidaysóstuff like that. The Techo provides spaces for the last four days of December, 2014, before launching into the day-by-day sections.

    Each monthly section is prefaced by a ďComing Up!Ē lined page, where you can write down upcoming events, things youíre looking forward to, or whatever else you decide.

    The daily planner page for each day lists the date (day and month), the day of the week, the phase of the moon, and notes if thereís a holiday, and if so in which countries itís observed. At the vertical midpoint of the page is a number ď12,Ē which allows you to divide the page into AM and PM actuvities if you wish. At the bottom of the gridded space is a knife and fork symbol, which you can use to write down your dinner ideas or plans (I use this space to record what I actually had). Below the grid is a quote by a designer, thinker, author, etc.; these quotes arenít exactly always uplifting, but they are generally interesting. (For example, the quote for January 2 reads: ďI think that there is a difference between what we want to do and what we are capable of doing.Ē) Thereís a lot going on in each spread, but the delicate lines and spare, sans-sarif font help maintain a clean and airy look.

    At the back of the Techo there are 14 note pages, dot-grid printed in orange. Following that there are several pages of facts and information, such as international dialing codes, holidays of various countries, tips for traveling in Japan, and international clothing size charts. The last page has room for your personal details.

    To be continued . . .

  2. #2
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Badger's Avatar
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    . . . Continued

    #2 Why the Techo is and isnít like other daily planners/journals
    First, Iíll say this: like all calendar-type journals, the Techo is a commitment. Its arrival in my life created some moments of internal friction: first, because it competed with my other notebooks, and second, because its use was relegated to pretty much just this year.

    Like many of you, Iím a notebook freak. I have a bunch of little books that were given to me or that I bought over the years, some of which I havenít gotten around to writing in yet (Iím looking at you, cloth-bound blank journal purchased back in The Year 2000). I have minuscule handwriting, and it takes me a good long while to fill up even a 24-sheet notebook. For the past several years, Iíve taken to writing in notebooks roughly the size of the 3.5Ē x 5.5Ē Field Notes memo books. If I am very prolific, I can fill a book in around two months. When Iím working, I tend to draft in a combination of Field Notes and yellow legal paper, both of which seem to be most conducive to getting words down on the page. When Iím out and about, the Field Notes (or the even more petite Moleskine Volant XS) comes along with me. It fits well in my back pocket. The Techo, which is about the size and thickness of my Book of Common Prayer, is not quite so portable.

    I quickly nixed the idea of using the Techo as a planner. Once I got an iPhone, all my scheduling and task management took place in a combination of iCal and OmniFocus, which helped me escape my pet peeve of always having to cross things out and squeeze in new writing whenever my plans changed. Thus, I knew that the Techo would function as a daily writing book, a repository for whatever I was thinking about that day.

    This led to my slight worry that between my tiny writing and my tiny reserve of motivation to write in the first place, the Techo might not be filled adequately. I donít deal wellóor logicallyówith pressure when it comes to writing. Thereís just no middle ground. Either I would write daily on every single page, or 2016 would roll around and the Techo would remain blank, used only as a paperweight. The multiple calendar views I described earlier all needed to be filled in with something, but I didnít want to duplicate information, so what would I put in there? Clearly, I was suffering from best-use paralysis.

    I dithered about what to write on the daily pages for so long that January came and went. I finally just started using it for whatever I wanted to write, with the one restriction that I had to do work-related writing elsewhere. I could make lists of random things, write in complete or fragmented sentences, and I would try, but not force myself, to fill in the whole page. I sometimes draw or sketch the things that are around me, quite often the dog as he snores next to the book shelf. Leaving January blank would bother me, so I decided that every day, I would fill in that dayís page as well as a page from January. Eventually, it will fill up and my obsessive side can relax somewhat.

    I decided to track cash savings and specific types of expenses in the monthly index section. In the monthly calendar view, I marked off travel days as a visual record of when I was home and when I was away. In retrospect, I think I could have made more efficient use of both of these spaces, but Iíll live with it for this year.

    Something Iím also doing is allowing the bookís nature to change and evolve as the year progresses. Right now, Iím using the space to think about topics for some (non-work) essays Iím planning, as well as letting ideas ferment. But itís free to become a travelogue, or a record of the restaurants I visit on vacation, or a place to construct an Amazon wishlist so greedy and over the top it cannot be committed to electronic form, ever (though thatís unlikely). Writing often is helpful because it improves the mindís elasticity; perhaps I will become more flexible (that is also unlikely, but you never know).

    ETA: Buy here.
    Last edited by Badger; 02-09-2015 at 04:37 PM.

  3. #3
    Forum Member Rocks's Avatar
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    I have the English A6 Hobonichi and the weekly planner called Weeks. I love the A6, and like the Weeks. The Weeks is less exciting and just gets some little lists and daily schedule and notes the times I go to the Y.
    I write in the A6 every morning and basically doodle and try to make my doodles look like drawings. I've written in a diary for years, so it's not a hard habit to use the Hobo ( I write in my diary first, then draw something in the Hobo). I'm actually pretty crazy about it. This is my first year, and won't be the last. There's a fairly active group on Facebook "Hobonichi Techo Eye Candy" where users post their art and make you feel comparatively bad about your own, lol.
    There's a lot of talk about pens and such.

    I'll take pictures later. It's too dark now.

  4. #4
    Forum Member blackbird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badger View Post
    . . . Continued

    #2 Why the Techo is and isnít like other daily planners/journals
    First, Iíll say this: like all calendar-type journals, the Techo is a commitment. Its arrival in my life created some moments of internal friction: first, because it competed with my other notebooks, and second, because its use was relegated to pretty much just this year.

    Like many of you, Iím a notebook freak. I have a bunch of little books that were given to me or that I bought over the years, some of which I havenít gotten around to writing in yet (Iím looking at you, cloth-bound blank journal purchased back in The Year 2000). I have minuscule handwriting, and it takes me a good long while to fill up even a 24-sheet notebook. For the past several years, Iíve taken to writing in notebooks roughly the size of the 3.5Ē x 5.5Ē Field Notes memo books. If I am very prolific, I can fill a book in around two months. When Iím working, I tend to draft in a combination of Field Notes and yellow legal paper, both of which seem to be most conducive to getting words down on the page. When Iím out and about, the Field Notes (or the even more petite Moleskine Volant XS) comes along with me. It fits well in my back pocket. The Techo, which is about the size and thickness of my Book of Common Prayer, is not quite so portable.

    I quickly nixed the idea of using the Techo as a planner. Once I got an iPhone, all my scheduling and task management took place in a combination of iCal and OmniFocus, which helped me escape my pet peeve of always having to cross things out and squeeze in new writing whenever my plans changed. Thus, I knew that the Techo would function as a daily writing book, a repository for whatever I was thinking about that day.

    This led to my slight worry that between my tiny writing and my tiny reserve of motivation to write in the first place, the Techo might not be filled adequately. I donít deal wellóor logicallyówith pressure when it comes to writing. Thereís just no middle ground. Either I would write daily on every single page, or 2016 would roll around and the Techo would remain blank, used only as a paperweight. The multiple calendar views I described earlier all needed to be filled in with something, but I didnít want to duplicate information, so what would I put in there? Clearly, I was suffering from best-use paralysis.

    I dithered about what to write on the daily pages for so long that January came and went. I finally just started using it for whatever I wanted to write, with the one restriction that I had to do work-related writing elsewhere. I could make lists of random things, write in complete or fragmented sentences, and I would try, but not force myself, to fill in the whole page. I sometimes draw or sketch the things that are around me, quite often the dog as he snores next to the book shelf. Leaving January blank would bother me, so I decided that every day, I would fill in that dayís page as well as a page from January. Eventually, it will fill up and my obsessive side can relax somewhat.

    I decided to track cash savings and specific types of expenses in the monthly index section. In the monthly calendar view, I marked off travel days as a visual record of when I was home and when I was away. In retrospect, I think I could have made more efficient use of both of these spaces, but Iíll live with it for this year.

    Something Iím also doing is allowing the bookís nature to change and evolve as the year progresses. Right now, Iím using the space to think about topics for some (non-work) essays Iím planning, as well as letting ideas ferment. But itís free to become a travelogue, or a record of the restaurants I visit on vacation, or a place to construct an Amazon wishlist so greedy and over the top it cannot be committed to electronic form, ever (though thatís unlikely). Writing often is helpful because it improves the mindís elasticity; perhaps I will become more flexible (that is also unlikely, but you never know).

    ETA: Buy here.
    I have a bit of a notebook/planner obsession, but have been very disciplined as of late regarding buying them. But I am incredibly intrigued by the Hobonichi Techo, especially by its versatility. Where can you buy one in the U.S.?

    Sent from my phone using Tapatalk.
    "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." ó Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  5. #5
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    Nanami Paper | Notebooks, Journals, Paper Pads, Letter Sets, Envelopes, Pens and Pencils from Japan was selling the English Techo in the US. Unfortunately, they are no longer doing so.

    Besides the wonderful organizational capabilities of the Techo planner, what makes it so attractive to fountain pen fanatics like me is the Tomoe River paper in it. This paper is thin, but FP ink does not bleed through, and one can even do some drawing and painting with a rather large variety of pens. There are multiple sites that have reviewed the Techo and would have images of it. The Hobonichi site itself has a lot of photos and examples of how people use it not only for planning and scheduling, but journaling, art, etc.

    I find that the A6 size is a bit small for me and prefer the A5 size of the Cousin. But, that's only available in Japanese, so one misses the daily quotes and the help pages that are part of the fun. For planning though, Japanese is not an obstacle, as dates and everything else are in English.

    Here are a few sample reviews. I looked at all of these back in mid 2014 when I was seriously thinking about buying one. There are a couple of reasons why I chose not to, but it's an individual decision.
    Review: Hobonichi Planner 2014 | The Well-Appointed Desk
    Hobonichi Techo Planner Review - OfficeSupplyGeek
    Hobonichi Planner 2014 Review | THE UNROYAL WARRANT
    The Hobonichi Planner: Lindsay's Unofficial Guide To The English Techo

    Oh wait, the Hobonichi website does list the following stores as suppliers in the US.

    Revolver

    136 Fillmore St, San Francisco, California
    1 (0)415 795 1748
    http://www.revolveronline.com

    Voyager

    365 Valencia St, San Francisco, California
    1 (0)415 795 1748
    http://thevoyagershop.com/

    Kinokuniya Book Stores

    Seattle Store
    525 South Weller St, Seattle, WA 98104
    206-587-2477
    http://www.kinokuniya.com/us/index.php/fho003

  6. #6
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    I'm in SF and when I checked in late December with Voyager, they had some 2015 Techos left but said they were moving quickly. We have a Kinokuniya but it does not stock the Techo as far as I know. I think the price for shipping from Japan works out favorably when you consider shipping costs within the US.

  7. #7
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Badger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoStanford View Post
    I think the price for shipping from Japan works out favorably when you consider shipping costs within the US.
    This is what I've found. Unless you live in the cities mentioned above, it may not be too practical to depend on one of the U.S. retailers to send you one. At least when I tried, you couldn't order from the Kinokuniya website; you would have to call the Seattle store directly and ask them to send it to you, which they're not used to.

    As I mentioned, I paid roughly •35,000 (about $36 that day) to have my Techo shipped from Japan. It was totally worth it too because the shipping box and little illustrated inserts were a beauty to behold.

    The Hobonichi Techo thread-imageuploadedbytapatalk1423575575-161915-jpg


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Forum Member Rocks's Avatar
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    Here's some pictures of my A6 and Weeks. I ordered straight from Japan.
    Here's the A6 with doodles.
    The Hobonichi Techo thread-img_1827-jpg
    The Weeks with cover on cover
    The Hobonichi Techo thread-img_1828-jpg
    And the inside of the Weeks. You get one week per page.
    The Hobonichi Techo thread-img_1829-jpg

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocks View Post
    Here's some pictures of my A6 and Weeks.
    If I could draw like you, I would get a Techo right away. Your Pikachu is so nice!

    I just don't know if I'm up to the extra effort it takes to keep a notebook in such attractive condition...though I do like pens and paper. Keep the pictures coming, looks great.

  10. #10
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Badger's Avatar
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    Panda bank

    The Hobonichi Techo thread-imageuploadedbytapatalk1423596882-584553-jpg

    Mr. You-Know-Who

    The Hobonichi Techo thread-imageuploadedbytapatalk1423596965-723869-jpg



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Registered User kansha's Avatar
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    Is the weeks sized to fit in a midori traveler's notebook?

  12. #12
    Forum Member monkeylady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kansha View Post
    Is the weeks sized to fit in a midori traveler's notebook?
    Is it sized to fit? No. Does it fit? Yes. It is slightly smaller than the TN inserts which can be an advantage for quick tactile access. I LOVE my Hobo WEEKS.
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

  13. #13
    Forum Member flaneuse's Avatar
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    Love your notebook and sketches, Badger! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the hob. I think I'd like to get one for 2016...something to look forward to!

  14. #14
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Badger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flaneuse View Post
    Love your notebook and sketches, Badger! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the hob. I think I'd like to get one for 2016...something to look forward to!
    Thank you! Both the bank and the dog are good models because neither of them ever move.

    The Techo has been a surprisingly nice addition to my life, especially since I gave myself permission to stop writing whenever I felt like I was done. On the Techo website there is a hint that you can use stamps to help dictate a topic or pre-organize your information for the day. I think that some of the example stamps had what the weather was like, what the person did/saw/ate, how they felt, etc. I imagine that having a template can be great, and the stamps would provide visual interest.


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  15. #15
    Forum Member eWalker's Avatar
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    Really interesting lineup @Badger!

    I loved the idea of dividing the planner in 6 months units, so you may carry less bulk and weight.

    It's maddening the amount of accessories they offer in their site... I closed the browser window in a hurry as soon as I realized that I was starting to weight the choices, comparing measurements and thinking about sets!

    Did you see the cover "Porter base" for the A5 planner?

    The Hobonichi Techo thread-slide_2-jpg

    Cheers!

    ETA: I loved your sketches, specially the wolf!
    Last edited by eWalker; 02-15-2015 at 04:14 PM.
    So much to catch up!

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