GEEKY SHIT: Hobonichi “Techo” Planner

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You’ve reached 2015! Congratulations! But what now? Now… we plan.

My favourite way to simultaneously look to joys ahead and reflect on days passed is to scribble and draw my way through a notebook. And there’s no beating the Hobonichi “Techo” planner.

Designed by Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shimbun, the company owned by Itoi Shigesato, creator of the Mother series, the Techo planner is more than just a notebook or diary. Each year since its release it has undergone revisions based on user feedback. Famously, it contains daily quotes from Japanese personalities, writers, and the creator himself, Itoi Shigesato.

techo01The basic planner is designed to be paired with any of a large selection of covers (sold separately) with spaces for business cards and a pencil. I chose to buy the Mother 2 (known as Earthbound outside of Japan) cover, showing scenes from Onett, the home town of the game’s protagonist. The planner is approximately A6 size, and is designed to match the common size of Japanese paperback novels.

Itoi has stated that this planner is designed to capture the quiet spaces between daily motions, when we’re alone and reflecting. I’ve taken the opportunity to consider whether I allow myself enough time for that, and I’ll have this planner as proof either way. It’s made from a bleed-resistant, but very thin paper known as Tomoe River paper, allowing the planner to be around 450 pages long, but still thinner than a standard manga volume. The binding allows it to sit open on a flat surface for ease of writing.

For fans of the Mother series, having daily doses of hand-selected quotes from Itoi and others is definitely a selling point. A few cultural points of interest, public holidays, guide to herbs, country dial codes, clothing size charts and other pages pad out the volume, making it a useful on-the-go reference. In an age where everyone carries a tiny, powerful computer with a connection to the Internet, you can almost feel Itoi’s call to a simpler time, very much in line with the themes of Mother 3.


The Onett cover also comes with a Mr. Saturn pencil board, showing a depiction of everyone’s favourite armless inventors on one side, and a guide to the Mr. Saturn in-game font on the other. If you’re not a Mother fan, then there are a variety of covers made of different materials with a wide range of designs. There’s also the option to buy the original Japanese version, or a slightly larger A5 planner.

If you’re in the market for a note book, the basic planner will set you back ¥2,700 and my Onett cover was a further ¥2,592. It might seem a little steep to pay around $50 for a complete planner, but if you spend time in its company each day, you’ll find it a worthwhile investment.

We wish you a Happy New Year from the team at The Action Points Podcast! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, schedule some time out every day/week/month to be creative in ways you’ve always wanted. Thanks for joining us for the ride, and we look forward to spending time with you in 2015.

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6 responses to “GEEKY SHIT: Hobonichi “Techo” Planner

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