Tag Archives: Hobonichi Cousin

Out with the Techo; In with the Bullet

I bought the Bullet Journal two and a half years ago via Kickstarter but decided I didn’t want it anymore once I got it. Now, after all that time, I’ve decided to use it.

Part of the problem was the size. It was too cumbersome to carry around every day unless I was carrying a bag. However, soon after I decided not to use it, I bought a Hobonichi Cousin that was about the same size and started carrying that to act as a daily log. Then I decided I didn’t want to carry it around and it became a colorful version of a diary.

Last  year I used the pocket sized Hobonichi Techo as a daily planner. I quickly adopted a version of Mike Rhode’s bar system, mostly because it gave me a chance to use lots of colorful inks on the Techo’s terrific Tomoe River paper.

The problem was that I spent a lot more time scheduling activities and making them look pretty than I actually did doing them. By the end of the year I wasn’t carrying the Techo every day, although I did spend time filling in activities for every day. When I was carrying it, I barely referred to it.

In addition, I’ve also slowly embraced online versions of planners as they can be programmed with reminders and can be changed more easily.

Because of this, and because the Leuchtturm1917 paper is pretty good–and because it forces me to use something that’s been sitting on a shelf rather than buy something new–I’ve decided to use the Bullet Journal as my planner/organizer this year.

I like the simple lists and bullet system especially when supplemented with an online calendar that links to all my devices and my main email account.

There is still the problem of the size of the thing, but I’m willing to give that chance. I will also tear off the annoying binder elastic strap thing.

At this point I’ve used it a week and am already rethinking how I want to use it. I kind of miss the daily log, especially recording the weather and what I wore that day, and want to incorporate a version of that in some of the extra space on the page.

I’ve already incorporated a “number of times postponed” system when things that get scheduled one day get moved to another.

Once I settle on a system, I’ll take some pictures and offer a follow up.

Until then I’ve got planning to do. Oh, and a few things to do, too.

Hobonichi Techo Cousin Planner–End of Book Review

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.

Noodler’s Apache Sunset bleed through.

Noodler’s Apache Sunset from the above bleed through staining a third page.

Wancher Matcha laughs at Tomoe River, even from a smooth M nib.

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”.

The “patina” (aka scuff marks) on the Caucasian flesh tone beige cover.

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.

Another example of the “patina” spots and of the peeling end tape.

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.)