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!

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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

Winter Doodles for December

It’s that time of the year again! Christmas wreaths are up on doorways and lamp posts, and Christmas decorations are everywhere. I feel that it is time to amp up my Hobonichi creativity and start decorating some December pages in advance!

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(Image source: Hobonichi Web store 2015)

Inspired by Hobonichi’s cover on cover from 2015, I decided to doodle some of the Christmas tree illustrations on my own. Here’s a video of my doodling. They comprised of simple lines and shapes that anyone can recreate. Draw some strings of lights hanging from the top of the page. You can also draw a snow man with candy canes growing out of snowy banks. Enjoy!

I’ll be sharing more of my Christmas doodles and sketches soon!

Stationery in Taipei – Vision Stationery

Taipei is a pretty small city, and yet so many interesting stores are crammed in its limited space! What I love about weekends is that I’m able to hop into a bus and go on an adventure of exploring new cafe and stores. A friend’s recommendation brought me to Vision Stationery 明進文房具.

Vision Stationery is tucked in a small alley near MRT Liuzhangli Station 捷運六張犛站. The brassy sign is next to the brightly lit glass wall of the shop itself. The warm yellow light is very inviting to stationery addicts like us.

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The owner, Mr. Chen, is a stationery addict himself. He is very selective about his products, and he took the effort to try out all the items he sells before putting it on the shelf. He is very particular about paper items and notebooks, because he believe that good quality paper and system can help people achieve great things. Behind the small cashier is a small stack of recent notebooks that he is test writing before he starts selling them.

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Taipei Stationery Hotspots

Stationery addiction’s a national trend. Not only are illustrators designing new products and producing washi tape from their artworks, we can see new stationery boutiques popping up all over the place. Some are nestled within local cafes, some are sold in wholesale stores, and some are hidden in such secretive places that only the stationery addicts know where to go. For the stationery lovers out there that would like to check out the stationery scene in Taipei, I will make a brief guide to the kinds of stationery stores that you can find here!

Large Stationery Stores

  • Jieu Da Stationery 久大文具行
  • Guang Nan 光南
  • Stepping Stone 墊腳石
  • Kingstone 金石堂
  • San ming bookstore 三民書局
  • Eslite 誠品書局
  • Kinokuniya 紀伊國書店
  • Tokyu Hands 台隆手創館
  • JSF Mall 金興發

Entering these large stationery stores is like going into candy land for stationery fanatics. The selection is large and varied. From pens to folders and from washi to art supplies, there are too much to choose from, and at very cheap prices too. Jieu Da Stationery & Guang Nan are stationery stores that are the favourites among students, because of their relatively affordable prices of all kinds of pen and paper tools for student use and normal office supplies. Jieu Da offers membership cards and you can buy things at up to 20% off normal market prices. Guang Nan offers similar selection of stationery at already discounted prices. Stepping Stone Kingstone bookstores have a whole floor dedicated to stationery supplies, and they have more authentic Taiwanese designer stationery in stock. The best location to browse through all four of these stores are at Taipei Main Station.

Another three Bookstore/Stationery Stores are San Ming, Eslite, and Kinokuniya. San Ming Bookstore carries more stationery items that are from Taiwanese wholesale stationery companies, including designer’s washi such as Kikisui and Chuyo. Eslite goes for a more modern look and features imported stationery items at higher prices. Its bookstore are beautifully designed and is great place to while away the day. Kinokuniya offers more Japanese oriented stationery items such as Midori Traveler’s Notebook items and fabric pouches. If you are visiting the Kinokuniya at Breeze Center, make sure to check out Tokyu Hands just a few floors above to see more Japanese stationery items!
If you are visiting the famous Shilin Nightmarket in Taiwan, then there is another stationery store that you must not miss. JSF Mall (pronounced Jin Shin Fa) is right next to the night market. It has the most selection of diary stickers and at super valuable prices. Many of their notebook and stationery items are Korean-inspired but made in China. You can also find many Taiwanese brand stationery in this store as well~
Unique Stationery Boutiques

  • Tools to Liveby 禮拜文房具
  • Vision Stationery 明進文房具 (review here)
  • 1 over 1 Workshop 一分之一工作室
  • Plain Stationery 直物文房具
  • Hsiao Pin Ya Ji 小品雅集
  • Pinmo Liang Han Paper Lab 品墨良行 巷內店

These boutique stationery stores offers more selected items, and their owners are all stationery addicts as well. The items that they chose from Japan, Europe, or even locally designed are very tasteful and beautiful. The environment is very quiet and homey, and all the stationery items are laid out like pieces of art. Tools to Liveby is a local favourite because they designed many stationery items themselves. Their most favoured items are the beautiful scissors and gold and silver midori clips. Vision Stationery has a very friendly owner who lives to provide quality paper that are fit for fountain pen. He offers a variety of Midori Traveler’s Notebook items as well (usually at the most valued price in Taipei). 1 over 1 Workshop is easy to overlook if you don’t follow the address, because it is within a neighbourhood apartment and you actually have to be buzzed up through the door bell to enter. A unique feature of this workshop is that they have a table dedicated for you to test out their planners and journals and many pens you can use to test-write. Hsiao Pin Ya Ji is the place to go if you are a fountain pen lover, where they offer a variety of selection from beginner’s to more expensive brands. It’s actually the friendly customers there that would often pat you on the shoulder and give you recommendation on what to buy. I’ve yet to visit Plain Stationery but it’s also on my bucket list~ Pinmo Liang Han Paper Lab is also an interesting stationery boutique to visit. Their feature products are handmade notebooks and paper products!

Stationery Cafes

  • Treellage Life Cafe 樹樂集
  • 61 Note Shop & Tea
  • Mogu Cafe 蘑菇
  • Ryou Cafe 日楞咖啡
  • Meet Bear 覓熊咖啡店

Online Venues

  • Masking-tape.tw 小徑文化
  • books.com.tw 博客來

Hobonichi flip through December 2014 – part 1

I got my hands on the Hobonichi Techo planner in November last year. It was the English planner, and its December pages actually start from the 24th. Of course I couldn’t wait to start using it already, so I skipped ahead and actually started using the 2016 December pages! I figure that I would have gotten a new planner during planner season (September – November) later this year, and it will all cycle out eventually.

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My hobonichi planner set-up includes a cover page that I put on the inside of the planner cover. This one is a collection of inspirational phrases that make up the Good Life Project Creed. For those who would like to know more, the author and host of this website Jonathan Fields hold talks and conversations with entrepreneurs and incredible people. I love watching his videos and listen to his podcasts. This creed really speaks to a lot of things in life that we face, and which inspires us to be amazing everyday. I would always flip to this cover page for daily inspiration.

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