The size of the Hobonichi Techo Cousin didn’t put me off as I only intended to use it as a desktop item but the color did. Unfortunately, for reasons involving expensive covers that are sold separately, the Hobonichi Cousin comes only in Caucasian flesh tone beige.
The Cousin is an A5 sized planner with 544 pages of Tomoe River paper. The pages include daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly planners with several black pages at the end for notes. Each day has a quote (in Japanese, though) that is supposed to serve as a source of wisdom, inspiration, contemplation.
The Cousin filled the role of my daily log and it was nice to replace the average paper of the MUJI notebook I’d used before, with the terrific and fountain pen friendly Tomoe River paper in the Cousin. I ended up using the monthly planner to keep track of days I actually wrote and the daily pages to write my log entries. I also used the blank pages as a scrapbook for random stickers and labels.
The paper was terrific, with only a few pens and inks bleeding through. My Noodler’s Ahab flex nib scored the paper and caused lots of bleedthrough and Noodler’s Apache Sunset ink is oily enough that it tends to soak through. Wancher Matcha, as good as it looks, laughs at pages made of any paper and makes them cry.
My biggest problems with the Cousin was that it simply was trying to do too much. Out of the 544 pages, I left about 100 pages unused. This isn’t so much the fault of the planner as much as it is a testament to the way I used it. However, I don’t see why it needs monthly, weekly and daily planners under one cover.
As for the cover, despite being on my desk, it showed a surprising amount of wear and tear. It is glossy card stock, but a year of being pulled in and out of a slot next to my PC wore both sides of the cover, including the side that wasn’t against the metal. A fellow Cousin user has dubbed this as “Hobonichi Cousin patina”.
I also noticed that the end tape started to peel and that the cover that was against the warm computer began to separate from its backing paper.
It is a good planner though, and most of my problems with it are a matter of personal preference. It has a lot of space for recording events and even writing follow up, which is nice. I find the daily quotes to be useless, though. After a while, I didn’t even notice them, except when I wished they weren’t taking up so much writing space.
I would recommend the Cousin, especially if you’re willing to splurge for a cover, or just make one yourself from some construction paper. (Alas, gone are the days of making book covers from paper grocery bags.) Even if you’re ballpoint pen user, you’ll like the paper.
However, as I’ve written before, sort of, this year I’ve decided to pare down some of what I’m using by combining my planner with my log. I’m also not going to keep the log in the same way. (But that’s fodder for a future post.)