Hobonichi & Bullet Journal

Hobonichi & Bullet Journal

Ok, yes, I’ve succumbed and started a planner blog.  I’ve resisted for months but I can resist no longer.

Why Plannerphile? I’ve love stationery, planners, and planning all my life, I’m a psychology PhD candidate and Professional Organiser so I thought plannerphile, that is someone obsessed with planners and planning, would be super appropriate.

What tipped me over the edge and made me go public with my addiction?  It was the Hobonichi.

I have been a Japanophile (or should it be Nipponophile) since Kumiko Onishi joined my primary school class in the late 70’s.  Play dates at her house were so exotic and the stationery, toys, food – gosh everything was new and “kawaii”.  I remember being so jealous of her perfect (and I mean perfect) handwriting and when she moved away I relished receiving letters in her precise hand.

Click forward a few years, after feeding my passion for all things Nippon with a short visit to Tokyo with my parents in 1984, an opportunity arose for my husband and I to take an extended honeymoon (by extended I mean 18 months) in Osaka, working as conversational English teachers.  Best time of our lives!  Most awesome of all was the shopping; stores like Loft, Tokyu Hands, and Kinukuniya stock all the superior writing instruments and stationery a tiny gaikokujin plannerphile can handle.  Getting to the point, yes…  when I recently found the Hobonichi Techo on Instagram I was apoplectic with excitement.  The Japanese just do planners, stationery, pens, … stuff so well. The Hobonichi is no different and I knew I needed to have it.  When I discovered the Hobonichi Cousin  I could hardly breathe.  It is the planner to end all planners and it would be mine.

Why is the Hobonichi Cousin the shiznit? I’m so glad you asked…

I’m gonna let the Hobonichi website explain the features (enhanced slightly by moi) then I’m gonna tell you why you need this planner and how you can use it to Bullet Journal like a boss.

“Cousin Hobonichi Techo Features:

  • Spacious, A5 size with plenty of room for pasting and writing
  • 180-degree lay-flat stitch binding
  • Tomoe River paper; ideal for planners
  • Light grid paper design you can write along or easily disregard
  • Year overview (like a bullet journal month spread)
  • Month to a double page spread
  • Week to a double page spread
  •  Day per single page
  • 24-hour timetable with 30-minute increments
  • Daily quotes in Japanese curated from Hobonichi website articles
  • Different colour page every month
  • 3.7 millimetre graph paper matches original Hobonichi accessoriesThe Cousin is only available with a Monday-start week and in Japanese but the days of the week and the months are in English.”

ALL that in an A5 layout you ask?  How is it not as thick as a brick and twice as heavy?  It’s the Tomoe River paper; thin and light it’s strong and resistant to bleeding – an ideal choice for a planner. That is the reason why the 500+-page Hobonichi Cousin is so compact.

Bullet Journaling in the Hobonichi Cousin

So now, how am I going to use this awesome planner in 2016?  Planner geeks around the world understand the “planning the planner” process.  Assessing the features of the planner and making it work for you.  This is what I’ve come up with…

First is the Year overview, much like the bullet journal month spread but all 12 months are over two double page spreads.  Genius…

IMG_3025 So I’m planning on using this year to two double page spreads like I would my bullet journal month page.  This will include major appointments, birthdays, school term dates, deadlines for my PhD, that type of thing.  Really an overview of the two halves of the year.  I plan to use the three bullet points at the top of the section for pre-planning the month’s focus or theme.

Second is the Month to a double-page spread which I don’t currently set up in my Bullet Journal but I know many of you do.

IMG_3026This is where I plan to hash out the month in more detail, the next level down, so it will include PayDay, cleaners visits, term dates, excursions, events, birthdays, kids parties, and appointments.  There is a spot around the edge of the page for the months To-Do’s in more detail – like we do when bullet journalling – so I have space to detail my deadlines and other goals/tasks for the month.

Thirdly is the Week to a double-page spread.  Currently I have separate large desk planner for this and I use it for planning my day by the hour and making note of large bills I need pay and that kind of detail.

IMG_3028This is where I can settle down with a bevvy of an evening and take stock of what has happened earlier in the day or during the week and allocate time to tasks that need to get done the next day.  This is also the perfect spot for habit tracking for the week in the space at the side and bottom of the pages. Sigh…I’m just loving the macro to micro planning process the Hobonichi Cousin allows for.


Fourthly is the Day to a page.  Here is where the action happens.  The detailed To-Do list, gratitude list, actual record of how I spent my time during the day, food journal, water intake, doodle of the day – the options are endless.  Because this planner is laid out so well it’s possible to get a bit creative on the daily page.

IMG_3029 Basically this is the daily bullet journal!

So all you planner junkies how do you feel about the idea of using the Hobonichi Cousin as a complete planning system incorporating the Bullet Journal ethos?  The only problem I see is the migrating of items to make  “collections” because there are some blank pages at the back of the Hobonichi Cousin but not many….hmmm

Love to hear your thoughts… and your feedback on my first post 🙂