One Month with the Hobonichi Techo

The front cover of the Techo

I have been using the Hobonichi Techo for one month and thought I would put a post up to show my initial thoughts and experiences. Last year my new years resolution was to do something different each month, kind of like a 30 day challenge. My February challenge was to write one page at the end of every day documenting what I had done and anything else remotely interesting. For this task I obviously reached for my Field Notes collection. Turned out I was totally enthralled in this process, moreso than I thought I would be, and this eventually turned into a habit that I continued for the remainder of the year. During that time I went through 7 Field Notes books. Most of the time my notes consisted purely of narrative about my days events. But in some instances I would stick in something from a place that would remind me of an event. Some of these small additions include confetti from an Arcade Fire gig in Earls Court, or a receipt from a Dolphin watching tour in the Algarve for my birthday. Both of these events would have passed me by before or merged into everything else, but now I remember them more clearly because I noted them down.

Feb 2014 - Dec 2014 - Journaling in Field Notes 

Feb 2014 - Dec 2014 - Journaling in Field Notes 

My 2014 Journaling collection

My 2014 Journaling collection

To bring this back to the point of this post, this year I decided to try the Hobonichi process. Normally I wouldn't have invested in something like this due to commitment issues and a general lack of interest in planners, but there is something different and intriguing about the Hobonichi Techo. I was lured in by the cool design, the Japanese aspect and the Tomoe River paper. And I knew I would use it! 

I have now been using my Hobo for a month and thought I should record some of my initial impressions. 

The paper is unreal.

It's ridiculously thin but yet every day I get to play with my fountain pens and record everything I did during that day and the paper handles it so well. I have used a range of nibs from EF Pilots through to a B nib Kaweco and the Hobo has taken them all on. Huge, huge selling point for me. 


The Hobo has allowed me to use a broad range of my humble ink collection. It's a good indicator on what inks I use a lot - Diamine Orange - and it also shows the day I've received a new fountain pen or ink in the post, as this is usually the first place I try it out. 

It's a lot smaller than I was expecting.

I was very surprised when I first got my hands on my Hobo by its small size, but its actually a positive for me. It doesn't weigh me down if it has to travel with me, and it's not too bulky.

Size comparison against Field Notes and a TWSBI Mini

It's used look.

Every day when you turn over a new leaf of paper you get this great used look. The ink on the page almost creates this rippling effect and when you have gone through a few pages the Hobo takes on a worn feel. I really like this, it feels like I have recorded something worthwhile and interesting. At the end of the year this book is going to look amazing.

The bi-daily quotes.

Very Japanese quotes included on the left hand side of each double page, and quite simply they make me smile. 

The monthly and annual calendar page views.

This is a small thing for me but it again brings me back to the quick and fast analogue world. Normally I would check a date in my iPhone which would mean unlocking the phone, opening up calendars, scrolling through to find the month, then the date. Not a big deal but now with this to hand, its there right in front of me on one page and I can scribble down something quickly without setting reminders, times etc. All winners for me. 

Downside - one page only.

If you've had a day when tonnes of stuff has happened, you're restricted. One page only rule. If you're a big writer this may not work so well for you. 

Downside - my growing pile of Field Notes

I haven't been using as many of my Field Notes now that the Hobo is in my life. 

In Summary

The Hobo definitely isn't for everyone and I can see why people don't like this option, but I am finding it a really great addition for me. I am pleased I shelled out the money to give this a go. I saw another article last week which shows that Hobo have released a 6 month version of the same books. I will probably give that version a try next year but I think Hobo has now become a daily part of my journaling habit. 

Sources of Hobonichi Goodness

For some great Hobonichi Techo pictures check out this great Tumblr blog

Another great source for Hobonichi ideas is from the Usage Examples page on the Hobonichi site. Some great pictures here where you could get lost for hours.