Welcome to Penguins Creative!

A Stationery addict and lover of all things colorful. At Penguins Creative we celebrate Hobonichi, planners, writing tools, stickers, washi tapes, watercolor, and creative journaling. Put those all together to create memorable pages of your life each day!

“The starting point of discovering who you are, your gifts, your talents, your dreams, is being comfortable with yourself. Spend time alone. Write in a journal. Take long walks in the woods.”

– Robin S. Sharma

2018 Hobonichi Covers Release!

IT’S OUT! The much-awaited day for all stationery addicts out there. September is journal war zone in Japan and Hobonichi has released its series of line-up now to satisfy our craving. They call it “Advance notice.” We hate it and love it. There are always those covers that are too pretty to use or some that captured our hearts but the price tag scares us away.

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No matter whether you’ll be buying the cover or not, it’s always fun to look through all the “lifestyle” photos of Hobonichi in real life (imagining myself in a flowy skirt and holding the Hobonichi with  blurry romantic backgrounds.)

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Before I dive into the world of Hobonichi, let’s go over some basic vocabulary so we all are on the same page (beginners take note!)

  • Hobonichi – Obviously, the brand name
  • Techo (手帳) –Japanese for “journal or planner”. It literally translates to “account in your hands
  • Hobonichi Techo – Refers to the Hobonichi brand journals, no matter the size. Your Weeks, A6, Avec, Cousin, are all “Hobonichi Techo” or “Hobo” as I like to call it
  • Hobonichi Techo Planner (A6 English) – The Engish Version A6 size
  • Hobonichi Techo Original (A6 Japanese) – The Japanese Version A6 size
  • Hobonichi Techo Cousin (or the Cousin) – The Japanese Version in A5 size (there is no English version of this, yet)
  • Weeks – The slim palm-sized version of the journal that is pocket friendly (Don’t mistake it for the “Weekly” as that is an A6 Hobonichi notebook insert that has vertical daily schedules)
  • Avec set – The type of Hobonichi that is divided into half year booklets (Jan – Jun, and Jul – Dec). They are available in both A6, A5 sizes but only in Japanese (so far…)
  • Covers – The greatest appeal of Hobonichi each year. The various covers are collaborations with different artists, brands, and designed to protect your journals and look good in your bag and on coffee tables.

What you need to know about Hobonichi Covers release in 2018

1.) Save the date!

There are some key dates that you can take note of, whether you are international Hobonichi users or luckily lives in Japan…

  • August 23rd, 2017 – What has changed this year?
  • August 24th, 2017 – Hobonichi accessories line up a.k.a. things you stuff into the box to justify for shipping and process fee
  • September 1st, 2017 – THE SWARM a.k.a. Hobonichi Techo release for sale!

More dates to note are available here

2.) Fun archive quotes

Each year Hobonichi announces its new release in different ways. We all love the little comics that are released each day which personifies what we think about the Hobonichi. These cute cartoon characters are lovable and perfect to print out and stick in your journals! (More cartoons here)

3.) Triple the size! Weeks MEGA

Introducing Weeks MEGA! This is one news that Hobonichi announced before August 23rd. Remember their survey late last year for all Hobonichi users? Apparently many people have reflected that although Weeks is a good size, they wish there are more note pages. It looks like the MEGA version is only available for basic colors, not the more artistic ones.

I personally wonder if this defies the purpose of the weeks, which is to be light and super portable. I like how it is so slim it fits into my pocket literally. Plus I rarely use the note pages anyway. However, I could also see the appeal for users who perhaps keep the Weeks at their desk and carry it around from meetings to meetings.

4.) They know I like penguins

Honestly though, what’s with all these penguin-themed covers? Just a few month ago I bragged to my friend about my resolve to just stick with the Cousin Avec only…yet Hobonichi came and slap me back into reality with these awesome covers and patterns. I don’t know how many people have tagged me on social media informing me about these covers. I KNOW I KNOW! STOP tempting me!

This penguin is actually a children’s story book written by Shigesato Itoi and illustrated by Teruhiko Yumura. As for the “strawberry field” cover featured on the top right, I’m just wanted to point out the excessive use of penguins as accessories to tempt me into other covers.

5.) “Cover Only” Price Change

Ah….the harsh reality of civilization, labor, and manufacturing costs. I happen to come across this note.

“Due to an increase in material costs and other unavoidable factors, starting with the 2017-edition, it has become difficult to maintain the usual price of our Colors and Faux Fabric covers. In order to maintain the price of the covers, we will be offering these covers at the usual price when bought as a set with the Hobonichi Techo book. We apologize for the trouble, but when ordering the cover without a book, we will not be able to keep that price, so Cover Only orders will cost slightly more. Please add to your cart as a “Book & Cover set” to keep the cover’s lower price.”

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BUT! I decided to check out the notifications on THIS year’s web store and it seems that this announcement was already in effect for 2017 covers. So basically I don’t see any drastic price hike. If you’ve already bought a Hobonichi last year, the prices are basically the same.

All in all, I’m super psyched more news release from Hobonichi. I personally will definitely be getting the Hobonichi Techo Cousin Avec again for 2018. I need the bigger space to write, sketch, and use up all my washi tape and stickers! However, I’m still undecided about the Weeks and Original size…

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I’ll end this post with a quote from the founder of Hobonichi and his note and thoughts about the Hobonichi Techo this year. You can read the whole article here.

A great deal of Hobonichi Techo users we spoke to save their books after the year is over. Once they’re done using the techo, they don’t throw it away, but keep it, along with both the good and the bad things inside. – Shigesato Itoi

This is going to be my fourth year of using the Hobonichi Techo. I’m so proud to be a part of the huge “Hobonichi Techo” community. It has led me to great adventures throughout these years and made me more conscious about things that are happening every day. Furthermore, Hobonichi has become the bridge to so many precious friendship all over the world, which I talked about in this interview with Hobonichi earlier this year.

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Just like every one of you, I have not yet decided on which cover I’m getting, but I’m getting antsy and can’t wait to see more pictures that you’ll share of your choice!

Olive Edition Traveler’s Notebook review

After I’ve significantly calmed down after the unboxing excitement this morning, I’m now able to write this review of Olive Edition Traveler’s Notebook. As I’ve written in preview post over at Urban Journaling about the Olive TNs, these beauties were released on Friday 3/24 Japanese time. Another predicted star product from Traveler’s Company, the Olive Edition had captured many green-lovers and TN fans’ hearts. I was able to get my hands on one of them by asking for a favor from my friend in Tokyo. She actually queued up the morning at Traveler’s Factory Nakameguro, before the staff arrived to open the store!

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(image credits: Traveler’s Company)

Her efforts were greatly appreciated, and I’ve been waiting for the package to arrive everyday since! (She posted it to me as soon as she can on Saturday) Today I was finally able to go to the post office and pick it up. Little did I know that the whole package came with a bunch of other goodies… Continue reading

Penguins Creative’s Weekly Thought Doodles

I’m asking for a nice group of people to share this habit and inspire each other. If you would like to receive this weekly page, please subscribe here!

I’ve been thinking that I have neglected my A6 Hobonichi techo too much! Normally I use this as my work and school catch-all, but sometimes I also use it to record inspirational quotes and murmurs of my reflections. Are you interested in seeing those pages?

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If yes, I’m currently testing out a weekly newsletter that includes a page of my A6 Hobonichi Techo musings. It includes some random doodle and a few sentences about my life, my observations, and that hopefully resonates with you as well!

2017 Hobonichi Unboxing

It’s here! It’s finally here!

The sun was bright and the sky was clear as I happily skipped my way to the Post Office to pick up my Hobonichi order.

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“Shoes?” The lady behind the counter asked as she processed my yellow box

“Um…yeah.”

“Girls and their shoes~” She replied

Girl, you have no idea. Sometimes it’s hard to explain one’s stationery obsession with someone who’s not interested in this hobby 😉 I was grinning from ear to ear as I carry my prize all the way home!  Continue reading

My Hobonichi Adventure in Seattle

In Late August, I embarked on a week long trip to Seattle to visit some friends. Of course I have to bring my Hobonichi along with me to journal and record the things I see and the places I’ve been. Although I’ve already built up a system or a habit of journaling in my Hobonichi, the hard part about doing it while you’re traveling is that your day schedule is so full, you’re usually exhausted at the end of the day. Fortunately, many of my plans in Seattle actually are stationery and planner meet ups with fellow journaling addicts, so we spent a lot of time in cafes writing in our Hobo or Traveler’s Notebook!

My simply set up consisted of a pen case with my favorite pens: Uni Pin fine line waterproof pigment ink pens for drawing, Uni Style fit for journaling, my TWSBI Eco fountain pen, washi samples, some sticker sheets, a small sticker book, and a portable watercolor palette! (For a more comprehensive read about how to keep a travel scrapbook, or you can check out a post about my traveler’s notebook!)

img_5700(This was taken at Sea-Tac airport while waiting for my flight back to Boston.)

I’m just going to jump right into it and show you my first fabulous meet up with three amazing girls in Seattle: Phyllis, Leah, and Sandra. They were kind enough to make time for me to meet and we all gawked and geeked over our Hobonichis. Of course we brought multiple journals, and there’s always the inevitable Planner Tower: Continue reading

Hobonichi July News Teaser

Oh Hobonichi, you drive us crazy.

Hasn’t it only been a few month since the last announcement from Hobonichi, which was the 2016 July-December Avec? How evil of the company to be feeding us tidbits and getting us all excited about next year’s planner when it’s still summer!

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(Photo credit from 1101.com)

However, being an avid fan of the Hobonichi Techo, I’ll happily take whatever they hand out to us. In fact, I had just penciled in that burst of excitement on the day of the news onto my Cousin Avec (July 19th, when Hobonichi made me scream in my bedroom and scared the hell out of my roommate).

Here are a few highlights of the news release and how I feel about them:

1. 79 Covers will be announced on August 19th! 

Ladies and gentlemen, mark your calendars! I’m positive Hobonichi will be sneaking a few peeks here and there of the new covers through various social media outlets. Continue reading

HOBONICHI Flip Through 2016 January

A bit belated, but I still want to take the chance to show you guys a flip through of my January pages in the Hobonichi Cousin. January marks the second month I started using the larger size Hobonichi planner.

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First I’ll do a quick review of the stationery tools I use mostly in my Hobonichi pages for my creative journaling! If you are impatient to get to the flip through portion, scroll down to the end of this post! Continue reading