Hobonichi - for those that want to be told what to do

First impressions with the Hobnichi Techno notebook


Alex Johnstone


June 21, 2022

I’ve looked at them a few times over the years but never bought one. They are pretty expensive - I guess from import duties etc. from Japan - and, you know, it’s just a notebook. However, I saw that the 2H 2022 ones were up for pre-order at a local online store and so I went for it. Being half the year means that it was maybe half the price.

Just half a year

Just half a year

Look on reddit or forums or wherever and people rave about the quality and paper and how nice they feel. Again, something I didn’t really buy when reading about it online. However, I’m now in that camp of “ermahgard this is the nicest notebook I’ve ever had.”

The paper feels smooth and is remarkably well suited to just about any pen and ink type you have. Even the cover feels nice. A lot of people get covers and holders for their technos, which do offer benefits such as pen holders and extra pockets for cards or tickets etc., but the vanilla notebook seems durable enough to keep it bare.

It comes in A6, which I initially thought would be too small, but now I appreciate the small size, as it makes it easy to bring back and forth to work or anywhere else I want to take it.

The biggest difference to most other notebooks, even ones with fancy paper and covers, is the prescribed layout inside. There are a lot of sections inside it. It’s similar to a diary but there’s more than just days of the week. There’s a year index, a month calendar, the individual days, a timetable, a top 100 list, favourites list, contacts, and probably a few other things I’ve forgotten. The individual days have the date, the moon phase, time slots, a meal journal, and a todo list part. There’s just so much in it but it’s all very well organised and laid out.

Whilst there’s a general way to use each section, you do have the freedom to do what you want. I like using the yearly index for a habit tracker, and the top 100 list for a book tracker. I’ve only just got mine so I might change these or find other uses.

Cutesy instructions included

I could do all this with a blank notebook, and one at the fraction of the price. However, I quite like being told what to do. Like the defaults in software, good ones are well thought out and you’d be wise to at least try it that way.

My half year doesn’t start until 1st July, so I’m only partially using it right now. I’ll see how I get one once the month rolls around. I think it could be just what I’m looking for, or it could be that I’m romanticising a heap of paper.