2015 Hobonichi Review and 2016 Hobo Haul


The contemplating Salary Man sitting on the bulk of my Hobonichi 2015


I can’t believe that year 2015 is almost three quarters over! Looking at the picture of my Hobonichi Chunk, I can barely see the sliver of pages that are blank and waiting to be filled up. I would like to thank the Hobonichi User community on Facebook that had inspired me to start writing in a Hobonichi journal again, and what a wonderful journey.

I started out humbly in my English planner with diary entries, and gradually had courage to paint in water-colour, draw sketches and lots of doodling, and finally incorporating washi tape and stickers to create the style that is @Penguinscreative today.


I started writing since November in 2014, and vigorously continued throughout this year. Sometimes I do get lazy and let two or three pages pass by. Some days are so eventful that I barely have space to write down everything, and I wish I was using an A5 size instead. The best part about this journaling habit is that I have an excuse to lounge at coffee shops and try to fill up the empty pages!

The A6 Hobonichi is such a portable size. It fits easily into any bag, and the Nylon cover gives the vulnerable Tomoe River paper good protection. However, because there are a total of almost 400 pages in this booklet, it really does get bulky throughout the year, especially if you are an avid washi tape user.


In my Hobonichi, I mainly draw and paint water-colour, while occasionally decorating the sides with washi tapes and stickers. Because printing out polaroid photos are super convenient in Taiwan, I ended up pasting many photos in my daily entries as well. I do practice caution and try to space out locations where I stick photos on each page so that no particular area gets extra bulky. On slow days, I would just draw randomness to fill up space.



Writing in the Hobonichi has helped me develop a journaling habit each day. I find that it forces you to look at each day and find some meaningful things to remember. I love how I diligently record the highlights of everyday throughout the year. This way you won’t feel as if another year has passed and nothing has been accomplished!

(meet up with fellow Hobonichi lovers)

The Hobonichi community is super fun and supportive. It is through these Planner discussions that I met some really good friends! Then all types of stationery meet ups happened and you want those amazing people to leave some footprints in your hobo –> the Hobo swap!


Hobonichi entry swap with my best friend @esthermolinart


Mr. Shigesato Itoi’s (the founder of Hobonichi) signature!!!

NOW, the BREAKDOWN of this year’s Hobonichi A6 pros & cons that is influencing my 2016 Hobonichi Haul decisions


  • The A6 size is just the right size to carry in your palm. Fits into any bag easily
  • The tomoe river paper takes water-colour, ink, and any type of pen beautifully
  • The A6 size is perfect for recording daily highlights, and the space is not large enough to have the pressure of filling it up
  • It looks very cute when you lay it out on the table at a cafe
  • It forms a really cute and satisfying chunk after a whole year



  • things got really heavy, real fast with the booklet (don’t even mention the A5)
  • The bulk -up begin halfway through the year and it gets difficult to write on one side (Your hand hangs off over air)
  • Using washi and sticking in paper makes the back side hard to write (which is why you definitely need a pencil board, or create your own)
  • Sometimes the A6 is too small when you have a lot to write about
  • The chunkiness makes the pen loop harder to use (I always put a pen through both loops to prevent the cover from opening and risk bending the pages in my bag


For year 2016, I’m definitely moving on to using an A5 Cousin Hobonichi. The size of the page will allow enough palm space for me to write more comfortably. Most importantly, I’m converting to an Avec (which is two separate booklets: Jan-Jun; July – Dec)! I will definitely miss being in the Hobonichi Brick Party, but I will be more free to use as many washi and stickers as I want!

My order was made on Sept 2nd and now it has arrived safely at my house in Taiwan, awaiting my friend to pick it up and take it to me later this month to Boston. Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peak of my 2016 Haul through my sister’s virtual unboxing!


The tiffany-blue Hobonichi box that I can’t have ><



Unboxing!! (cue fairy sprinkle sound effect)


Some of these belong to my sister and my aunt, but my order consisted of the A5 and A6 Avecs and the Blue-Green cover! Wait till I pair it with the forest clear cover from year 2015!!!


(I LOVE this year’s tissue holder’s colours!!!)

This is the end of my 2015 Hobonichi reflection and here’s a beautiful picture of my Hobo in all it’s doodle filled glory! Here’s to hoping next year will be equally fun and exciting!!!


7 thoughts on “2015 Hobonichi Review and 2016 Hobo Haul

  1. zwenzens says:

    I can’t wait to buy my own Hobonichi! I have never accomplished a planner before (I feel very discouraged when I make writing or drawing mistakes) and someday I wish to finish one! Btw, I love watching your videos and watching you paint. Wondering if you could make a watercolor tutorial on your techniques? 🙂 I noticed that you don’t really color the whole thing… if you get what I mean 🙂 Much love from Manila 🙂


  2. Maria says:

    Your artwork is so amazing, April!
    I absolutely love your Hobonichi pages :). I totally understand that you want to use the avec notebooks next year, the techo gets soooo huge after using it for the entire year.
    I didn’t know the Cousin was also available in the avec version, that is really cool. I cannot wait to see your 2016 pages and how you utilise the new-won space on the Cousin pages 😀
    Thank you so much for sharing.


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