“Hobonichi” is Japanese for “almost every day.”
“Techou” is the Japanese word for “diary.” The characters literally read “hand book,” but since the English word “handbook” refers to a guide or instructions, it’s better to translate it a “diary.”
Then again, another Japanese word for diary is “nikki” and translates to “daily article.” I haven’t been able to find a definitive difference between the meaning of “techou” and “nikki.”
Anyway, the Hobonichi Techo is so-named because of an online newspaper started by Shigesato Itoi, a Japanese copy-write and incidentally, creator of my favorite video game of all time, Mother 2.
The newspaper is called the “Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun” or the “Almost Daily Itoi Newspaper.” It’s a nice website that features articles on all kinds of things, and eventually, they released a diary designed by Shigesato Itoi himself.
Hobonichi was then translated by one Lindsay Nelson who had been a fan of Mother 2. She contacted and encouraged Itoi’s company to produce an English version of the Hobonichi Techo, which gave us the Hobonichi Planner.
So what’s the deal with Hobonichi? Well, people are obsessed with them; there’s a kind of subculture of people who use the Hobonichi Techo and the art of making the diary look beautiful. It isn’t just about having any old notebook to write in; instead, people find ways to turn each entry into a work of art.
I fall into that category as well.
To say I’m obsessed with the Hobonichi Techo is an understatement. (I spent a few hours tonight trying to design a new cover for mine. When the creativity strikes me, it strikes me hard.) I’m now madly obsessed with stickers and washi tape- washi tape being decorative sorts of tape that instantly make any page look more colorful.
I’ve owned several diaries in my life, and I rarely finished writing them until I was in high school. Completing a handwritten diary is a great feeling.
It’s a great feeling to write down memories and experiences from the day, and it also services as a sort of scrapbook- I tape or glue in ticket stubs and such to help me relive and remember various experiences.
In this day and age of blogs and all the high-tech things “contraptions” we use to communicate and write, there’s something soothing about putting that all away and pulling out a book to handwrite in.
There are several “types” of Hobonichi Techo.
The first is the Original, which is A6 size. You’ll have to look up the sizes as clustering them all together here would be too much. My Hobonichi Techo from 2015 was an A6.
The second is the Cousin, which is A5 size. Cousin is the size I currently have.
Then there is the Hobonichi Planner, which is also A6 size but in English. It’s popular, even in Japan.
Then we have the Avec, which is half a year- each one is divided into January through June and then July through December. I think it comes in both A6 and A5 sizes.
Last, we have the Weeks, which is, as you guessed it, dedicated to Weekly entries. It’s design is a bit different, and the actual paper size is the same as an A6, I think, but you’ll have to visit the website to really understand these things.
In addition to the actual book, the site sells covers for the books. This is where the fun begins because one can starts to customize the book. I get the cover because I like to stick extra things like tickets and so pictures and such into the pockets.
So, how do I use mine?
The Yearly Section has become a sort of “migraine tracker” when I remember to use it.
The Monthly Section is where I write down new words I’ve learned in Japanese or Hebrew and sometime specific holidays or tasks I have in a month.
The Weekly Section is where things begin to heat up. Each night, I write a To-Do List for the next day, and I go through the To-Do List from the previous day and mark off what I accomplished and what I didn’t accomplish.
The Daily Section is where I journal or scrapbook or draw, depending on how I feel. Trust me, on those migraine days, I don’t usually feel like writing much.
Okay, this entry’s getting a bit long, so I’m going to end it here. Thanks for reading this far!