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Gave Up - Hobonichi


I love stationery of all kinds, and sometimes like to review it as well.


Gave Up - Hobonichi

Fred Pilarczyk

Last September, I, along with many others, rapidly refreshed my browser at, eagerly awaiting the drop of the 2016 Hobonichi planner. I bought the A6 "Techo", a cover, and some stencils. I was prepped for January 1.

It's August, and my Hobonichi hasn't been touched in about a month. The little planner with the lovely Tomoe River paper is now on my shelf, lonely, unused, each day blank. Why? I've successfully used planners before. I really enjoyed the 2015 Exacompta one (review), and was more than happy to use it. So why didn't the Hobonichi grab me in the same way?

The more I think about it, the reasons are pretty obvious.

It's not the size of the notebook. A6 is small, but that doesn't bother me. I use smaller notebooks all the time and have no issues. It's obviously not the paper, which is lovely to write on. I don't think it's the thickness either, as when I was using it I'd put it in my backpack and it was never an issue.


I think the first issue is the layout. While it's great to have a day per page, I feel like putting a whole day of meetings and all is actually quite a pain with their layout. The grid is very small, and if you have back to back meetings (like I do), it feels a bit unreadable. I tried using stop and start indicators to make it easier to read, and that kind of helped, but I still felt busy days did not fit well into such a tight grid.

And while the Tomoe River is wonderful, I'm learning I'm not really a fan of using fountain pens in my planner. Meetings shift and change too often so that I wind up just scratching things out. Pencils make a lot more sense for meeting scheduling, so the lovely paper is kind of a waste on me in this instance.

If you look online, a lot of people use their Hobonichi planners more as a personal journal space. There are amazing images of people painting in them every day and effectively drawing their life in it. I think that's awesome. However, I didn't buy it for that purpose. I have plenty of journals, with a lot more space for getting my thoughts out on paper. I did try writing 3 positive things that happened each day in it, which I think was a cool experiment, but I'm 99% sure I'll never go back and look at them. It feels kind of like wasted effort, and I don't want to keep multiple journals just because of my spending habits.

The last thing I will probably write in my Hobonichi.

I guess I could try the Cousin for 2017, but I really don't feel an overwhelming need. I think it's moreso not for me, and in this instance I feel like style is being pushed way harder than substance. Due to that fact that paper planners are helpful, I will probably go to Exacompta again or maybe a planner from Rhodia.

For those that love the Hobonichi, I think that's awesome. I'm glad that I've realized it doesn't fit into my workflow, and in a few weeks when everyone is freaking out on the latest version, I'll be happy to sit back and not need to worry about getting one.

And here's the inspiration for the title and my willingness to let go of it (for those of you who didn't get the references).