I am fundamentally a weekly kind of person. I’ve used the same one-week-per-spread format across many brands (the Japanese brand T’Beau, Paperblanks, museum planners, Moleskine weekly twin sets in pocket and regular sizes and special editions) consistently for the past twenty years. So my biggest worry upon taking the plunge into a Hobonichi was whether I could keep up with the daily format. I wanted to record more diary-style information than previously, but I also had a history of abandoning daily journals a few days into the new year.
Six months on, I have to say that the Hobonichi venture has been an unqualified success, because I have filled up nearly every page till now and am still going strong. And getting antsy for news of next year’s planner, too, because this time I’m going to get the larger Cousin AND the regular planner, both! This planner has made me sit down, not every day, but at regular enough intervals, to write down the particulars of my days.
I like the pull of the special paper, and I also like the fact that the grid-lined space invites me to use it freely for non-journalling purposes. My Hobonichi is becoming not exactly a diary but a snapshot of random bits of information on a variety of interests scattered over certain periods of time. I can’t draw so I haven’t attempted much by way of illustration; what I rather do is record factual information on topics of current interest, calling up my arsenal of colored ink and colored pencils. Early in the year I drew constellations after reading Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries. A couple of months later I read a succession of books on Africa, which made me realize that my geographical knowledge of the continent was sorely lacking, so I drew maps. Maybe information drawn by hand is indeed better absorbed, the way experts argue that drawing letters help develop children’s brains. I certainly hope so. I also write down stationery wish lists and bits of information on pens and pencils that I want to save from emails on spare pages. I don’t paste things onto it much because I don’t want it to get too bulky; also, I’ve found out that masking tape tends to curl the paper, probably because it’s so thin.
(Last year’s MT Mizumaru Anzai special edition, the illustrator who was Haruki Murakami’s longtime collaborator.)
That said, the one issue I have with the Hobonichi is covers. The standard one I have is too ugly and unwieldy, and the nicer ones are just too expensive. In any case I feel that covers somehow detract from the simple beauty of the planner itself. I may just go coverless next year.