Hobonichi Techo 2018 9

It’s been extremely quiet on my blog recently as my day job has been keeping me overwhelmingly busy.

To prove that I’m still alive I thought I show you what the postman brought yesterday.

It has (again) been an expensive luxury: after import fees, import handling and shipping has been added the final bill was eye-watering. In the end the cost of the actual diary was nearly exactly 30% of the total cost of getting it from Japan to the UK.


How I use notebooks 8

After listening to last week’s Pen Addict podcast I thought I should really spend some time finding out more about bullet journalling. I have of course heard about it in the past, but never spend the time to learn about it.

The podcast made me think about how I use notebooks now and how I used to use them.

The Kompagnon image from my 2011 blog post

The index in a Field Notes Lunacy memo book

I used to think that I use them like everyone else, but I remember that the post about my Brunnen Kompagnon once had a pingback from a Russian website and when I used Google Translate back then, to see what it is about I saw that they commented that I use a specific system1. I just checked the pingback again, it’s mentioning a system called ‘superfocus’ – well, something else to read up on another day.

Well, here is how I used notebooks today

I usually leave the first page blank so that I can then create an index – I don’t always create the index,though. The picture on the right shows an example. I write what’s on the page and draw a line to the right. I will then mark the corresponding page at that spot to make it easy to access.


In terms of Hobonichi use: I will tick off tasks I have done. If I haven’t done a task I won’t tick it off or I will put a cross in the box. I only cross the date out (in the image below the 10 for 10th January) once all tasks are dealt with, but I do sometimes move tasks to a future date, indicated by putting an arrow to the right in the box.

By the way, I never got an English Hobonichi explanation with my orders, probably because I ordered the ‘avec’ version, which is only available in Japanese. When I ordered the Hobonichi cover on discount, mentioned in my last blog post, I got an English language explanation. Turns out their system is so well designed and intuitive that I used it the right way, i.e. using the space left of the vertical line on a page for appointments and the space on the right for notes (unless the appointments need too much space).


  1. which I wasn’t aware of []

My Harris Tweed Hobonichi Techo cover


Esplanade London's Harris Tweed Hobonichi Techo coverI still carry my Hobonichi Techo in the Galen Leather case, but I thought it would be nice to have a thinner alternative when I don’t want to carry ‘everything’ (phones etc) with me in one pack, so I ordered this Harris Tweed cover.


Too good looking to resist

..well, at least the point about it being thinner is my justification now. The truth is that I couldn’t resist ordering one after I saw how good looking this cover from Esplanade London is when I read Susan M. Pigott’s post at The Pen Addict. I’m not sure why there’s London in the name though, the cover seems to be from Kent. I guess London sounds good, especially for international buyers, but here in the North London doesn’t always conjure up the best associations.

Luckily I got one with a pen loop

Luckily I got one with a pen loop


Luckily Laura, the woman behind these covers, agreed to put a pen loop on the model I ordered. It normally doesn’t come with one.

Not much storage space

Not much storage space

Storage wise the case could be better. The ‘pocket’s on the outside are quite small – even too small for a Kaweco Sport or an Ohto Tasche. I guess you could put an eraser shield or a credit or loyalty card in there.

More storage space on the back, but not enough for a small pen

More storage space on the back, but not enough for a small pen

Harris Tweed

This is actually my third Harris Tweed item. Harris Tweed is wool cloth handwoven by islanders in their homes in the Outer Hebrides, an island chain in the North West of Scotland, about 100 miles North or Ireland1.

The cover and my rucksack/backpack

The cover and the rucksack/backpack


The coat

My first Hrris Tweed item was coat I got in 2014 (for my 40th birthday). Here’s a photo from that time. It was cheap, but the lining was poorly made, so I had to get it redone in my home town, but even with the cost of having the lining redone it was still good value for money. By the way: the little one’s hat was knitted by Shangching.

My second Harris Tweed item was a rucksack / backpack from Timberland. I was very lucky as a Timberland outlet store sold it for around £20, it was originally several times that price.


Esplanade London's Harris Tweed Hobonichi Techo cover


My third Harris Tweed item is this Hobonichi cover. I paid £29 (~$37; €34)  plus shipping. Royal Mail was rather slow and it took a week to arrive, but I finally got it. It is great and since I use the ‘Avec’ version of the Techo, the six months version, using this cover and the Techo makes for a really slim diary carrying solution compared to the leather cover.

Esplanade London's Harris Tweed Hobonichi Techo cover

I was originally tempted by a Scottish Lochcarron cover from Hobonichi, but import fees etc would have made it very expensive, so I’m happy I found this alternative thanks to Susan M. Pigott’s post at The Pen Addict

Esplanade London's Harris Tweed Hobonichi Techo cover

Price and exchange rates: July 2016.

Esplanade London's Harris Tweed Hobonichi Techo cover and my Timberland bag

  1. In the past I had fun looking around these islands on Google Maps. []

My new diary – hint: it’s a Hobonichi Techo 7

Today is the first day in my new diary.

For many years I’ve been using the diaries that my employer has provided. I have shown them previously in this blog post where I put a NFC tag (from a price tag) in my diary, so that my phone goes quiet when I put it on top of the diary (e.g. in meetings).

From digital to analogue, Apple Newton -> Nokia Communicator -> Filofax

© Rama CC-BY-SA-2.0-fr

© Rama CC-BY-SA-2.0-fr

Well, here’s a short version of my diary experience. In the 1990s I used to use the Apple Newton’s calendar (there was a point when the old model was sold very cheap in 1994 or 1995, so I couldn’t resist and bought one. Later there was a point when Apple offered you the later model for a very small fee if you returned your old Newton, I did that, too.).

© Oldmobil, CC-BY-SA-3.0

© Oldmobil, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Well, after Apple decided to drop the Newton I bought a used Nokia Communicator and used it as my diary.

Later, in 2001, when I moved to England, I bought a Filofax. My Communicator was pretty slow by then, maybe because all the memory was used up. In the 1990s Filofax wasn’t very well known in Germany. I think I only knew about it because of the 1990 movie Taking care of business – the German title of the movie translates as “Filofax – I am you and you are nothing”.

My old and new paper diary

Size comparison old and new diary

Size comparison old and new diary

Well, let’s fast forward fifteen years. I used to like the Lyreco diaries my employer provided, but this time they ordered a slightly different one and it seems so much worse, so I decided to buy my own diary. I didn’t really consider a Filofax because I remember that I found flipping pages in the ring bound Filofax annoying …so I thought I try a Hobonichi Techo. Lexikaliker, as usual one of the early adopters of new trends, has mentioned the Hobonichi Techo in 2013 ((I wonder how many items would me much less known in the stationery fandom if it wasn’t for him. The Swiss Wood pencil, the Pollux, the Janus, the Greande,  … this will be a very long list.)).

The kind of work I do means that I need a diary from summer to summer, rather than January to December, so I bought the Hobinchi Techo avec, July – December in A6, just to try out whether this is for me. My previous diary used to be A5 and Susan M. Pigott’s excellent review at The Pen Addict indicates that A6 might be a bit small, but I thought I try ‘portable’ for now, I can then still switch to A5 in January if this one turns out to be too small.

First observations


My first observations: the diary is not as thin as I thought it would be. According to Nanami Tomoe River paper has nearly half the thickness of copy paper, but this six months diary seems about half as thick as my twelve months diary (if you deduct the thick lids), even though my old diary has lots of extra pages before and after the ‘page a day’ section.

The Techo isn't as thin as I expected - The diary on the right has twice as many pages

The Techo isn’t as thin as expected – The diary on the right has twice as many pages

Pencil leads

The Orenz is a great pencil for this diary, the 0.2mm lead helps to write small so that you can get more on a page. I did also try to use my Color Eno leads, but these coloured leads don’t like to ‘stick’ to the paper and the colours are very difficult to read. Have a look at the image below. W15 and W14 (in graphite) are easy to read, but the word in orange (Assessment) and the squiggly line in green (both Color Eno leads) are not.

Graphite is easy to read, coloured leads are not

Graphite is easy to read, coloured leads are not


Erasing on this paper is great. The ink on some printed documents can rub off if you use an eraser, but when I use an eraser1 on the Hobonichi Techo the graphite gets removed but the print on the pages stays, just as it should.

I have recently started using an eraser shield, in this case Staedtler’s eraser shield2 and it is a great addition to the Hobonichi (you can see it on the left in the image below), especially if you use very fine leads and write small.


Hobonichi Techo avec Jul-Dec

Now housed in my Galen Leather cover


As usual, please open images in a new tab to see the high res version – this doesn’t work for the 2012 and the Creative Commons images.

I have bought the Hobonichi Techo avec from the official store for ¥‎1188 (~$11.60; £8.70; €10.40) plus postage.

Price: June 2016

Exchange rates: July 2016

I have already linked to the Hobonichi Planner review at The Pen Addict. If you want to read more I suggest reading Shangching’s and Sola’s reviews.

Maximising pen storage while staying jeans pocket friendly

Maximising pen storage while staying jeans pocket friendly

  1. The Faber-Castell dust-free. []
  2. Made in Taiwan, Shangching helped me get it, together with the Orenz I use in the Hobonichi. []