|Brand Name||Hobonichi Techo|
|Item Weight||7.2 ounces|
|Product Dimensions||4.1 x 0.6 x 5.9 inches|
|Manufacturer Part Number||A6_2017|
Hobonichi Techo Original A6 Planner Notebook (January Start) 2017
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- A6 Size (Monday-Start Week)
- Functions as a notebook, planner, journal/diary, and sketch book.
- 180-degree lay-flat stitch binding
- Tomoe River paper
- 464 pages
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The book’s compact A6 size and page-per-day format provide a place to generously fill an entire year’s worth of spur-of-the-moment thoughts while still staying comfortably portable. After years of testing, the graph paper has been set to 3.7 mm for optimal writing comfort. The graph paper design has also been printed in light colors so users can either customize it to their own layout or ignore it completely. The various calendars and pages are great not only for writing down your plans for the day, but for doodling, pasting event tickets, and filling in pages with any whims that come to mind.
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I bought the Japanese version because I wanted the moon information, I liked the grid more, and I liked the checkboxes at the top. I would've gone for the English version, though -- it has a nicer layout down the left hand edge of every page (only markings for 12 and dinner), and I'd appreciate it more because I could read every page. Writing in it isn't a concern, though -- despite the smaller grid.
Tomoe River paper means that you're going to be able to see through pages easily -- even the original printing on each page is visible through the pages when you get it. That's not too bad, but it might anger some people. It's not ink bleeding -- it's just visible. Note, however, that PaperMate gel pens (InkJoy, gel, 0.7mm) will definitely bleed through. Fountain pens seem to be better on this paper, actually.
I was really skeptical about the "lay flat" binding, but it really does work. Writing in it in January is just as easy as it will be to write in it in September. I'd say that it performs far and above the best as far as laying open for an A6 size planner. I've never had this work on other planners (including Moleskines) so that's a huge plus. I've found myself leaving it open and turned to the day almost all day. It looks nice to have open, and it makes it much more usable than it would be without the lay flat binding.
Probably the biggest elephant in the room is the fact that Hobonichi sells these planners for a far better price ($18.79 USD, compared to the current Amazon listing at $36.99 USD). You're paying a significant markup to get this from Amazon. Shipping from Japan is going to add about 2,500 JPY, which equates to roughly $20 to your oder, though. This means that you're almost better buying on Amazon for the shipping alone, but you should be aware that you're being heavily marked up here. You also don't get the toast plate and the pen -- those'll be $5 extra on Amazon, so again, things to consider if you're planning on jumping into this. A lot of people like the fact that Hobonichi Techo sells accessories like covers, bookmarks, and other little gadgets. If you're even remotely considering buying any of these, you should just consider ordering from the Hobonichi website directly in a big order. 2,500 JPY gets offset fairly well if you buy even two of the Hobonichi Techo products (such as a weeks planner and an original) on Amazon -- at that point, you're paying a non-insignificant markup.
Should you buy this planner? You should. Make sure to look at the features, because it has a lot of unique pages that make it very flexible and fun.
Should you buy on Amazon? If you need it in two days, you should. If you want more features, accessories, or basically anything other than just the planner, though, you're paying a huge premium to get it on a US site. The English version, for example, is $23 on the Hobonichi Store, but it was $45 on Amazon, last I checked.
First, be aware that this is the "Original." While it's perfectly functional, it's primarily in Japanese. I mean, the dates and times are in English, but the quotes at the bottom and all the reference materials in the back are in Japanese. If that bothers you, the English version is called the "Planner," and Amazon carries that as well.
I chose the Hobonichi primarily for the paper. The Tomoe River paper, while quite thin, is heaven, especially for fountain pen users like me. Unless you use a super juicy, bold nib, you shouldn't have any problems with bleed-through. There is slight ghosting, but you will see that with ball points too, and ball points actually leave a greater physical indentation in the paper than a properly-used (read: lightly held) fountain pen.
The month-on-2-page section has a Monday start to each week, more common outside the US. They do make a version with a Sunday start, but I don't think Amazon carries it. Be aware that the "Original" charts Japanese holidays; you'll need to add American holidays to the calendar yourself.
I really enjoy having a full page-per-day to plan, journal, track medications and other things. The page has very light graph lines that keep your writing neat, and there are about 5 check boxes at the top of each daily page for to-do's or whatever.
Another tool I found useful is a section in the very front I use for habit-tracking. Basically, there are three monthly columns per page. Each day of that month is listed vertically, with a number of grid boxes next to each day. Say you want to keep track of every day you go to the gym: make one column per month your gym tracker, write "gym" at the top, and check the box if you went that day. Another column could track your reproductive cycle. A third column might chronicle whether you made progress on a goal, like not spending money. Having a visual representation makes it really easy to see whether you're keeping your commitment or whether you're backsliding.
There are so many really well-thought-out features I can't list them all. I'm really pleased with my choice and am already looking forward to next year's Techo!