My #2018Planner: The Hobonichi Techo (Or, Talking Too Much About Writing On Paper)

It was a few hours into January 1st when my friend Joel giddily sent over photos of his Hobonichi Techo 2018 Planner for his yet-to-be-posted blog entry. Upon seeing them, I felt a rush of excitement, then shame. Excitement, because I am always, always happy to welcome curious wanderers into the loving arms of #hobolyfe, but shame, because where was my blog entry?

One of my mythical New Year’s resolutions is to create more content for myself. As a full-time freelancer, most of the output I put out is for work, for a particular brand, in a voice other than my own. I loved the work that I do, but over time, I found myself growing increasingly uncomfortable with the word speaking in the first person. With the exception of yelling into the void that is Twitter, I never talk about myself online. People who work in social media often find themselves preoccupied with accounts other than their own, their own left to gather virtual dust, but I’m hoping to change that this year.

Beyond any need for a personal creative outlet, – after all, look at all the pictures I take but never post, the dolls and figures that are displayed but never talked about – I feel like this can be an exercise in self-discovery and rediscovery. That quiet consciousness is something that I feel may have been lost in the fray that was 2017. Who I am now is a far cry from who I used to be, very upfront and front and center, a lover of stage and spotlight. As I grew older, I grew to appreciate behind-the-scenes machinations, and found myself completely immersed, then fulfilled in that realm. Over time, though, that comfort became complacency, and I took that a little to the extreme. I think I’m almost reclusive now. I tend to hide behind my work, the brands I handle and the brands I create, because it feels safer to detach, to completely toss away that piece of one’s self as a means of self-preservation against things like judgment and appraisal.

I’m hoping to strike the happy balance between here and there this 2018. Finished is better than perfect, set this first entry be the first of many produced in a more-or-less timely manner.


I began keeping a planner in 2006. It was a Starbucks planner, the nondescript brown volume with “find your favorite” and a steaming cup etched on the cover, its stickers unconsciously collected by my late father over the course of multiple meetings. Each planner I had since then, I maintained religiously. By the end of the year, all of them ended up bloated with the mundanities of my daily life, a riotous reflection of the things that were. (I was never good at preserving them after that, though, so I have no idea where all of them are now, but what I’d give to see what my younger self was preoccupied with way back when, hahaha.)

If I try hard enough, I can probably recall every planner I’ve kept since then. That’s because I never did keep the same type of planner, it was always a different one each year. That was part of the fun of November onwards, scoping out planners for the year to come.

A phrase I picked up from the local planner and journal community – because yes, it does exist, – is “planner peace,” the result of years of fiddling and experimentation that led to the discovery of the particular book and writing system that works, just works. I believe I found that, my planner peace, with bullet journaling in the Hobonichi Techo Planner.

I don’t think I’d be exaggerating if I say that the bullet journal system changed my life. Like many of us who are accustomed to writing things by hand, I have my own little set of symbols and signifiers, but what bullet journaling gave me was a way to unify and centralize all of them across the months. Bullet journaling seems intimidating at first, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s the smallest bit. The bullet journal system isn’t a stickler for the rules, and you are encouraged to learn them then break them, adapting them as needed to fit your particular needs.

This is my second year bullet journaling in the Hobonichi Techo Planner, the English version of its original Japanese counterpart, aptly named the Hobonichi Techo Original. This is the first time I’m using the same exact book, the same exact system, for two years in succession. I’m already looking forward to the days and weeks to come!


It all begins with this, the basic black book that is the Hobonichi Techo Planner. Year in and year out, it looks the same, the only change being the year etched on the spine. This slim volume is 450 pages of wonderful. Click here to learn more about the Hobonichi Techo Planner and its features.

This is how the pages look like inside, a grid view with little quotes for each spread. I already placed a sticker on a particularly notable day, hehe.

One thing I didn’t do last year but will be doing this year is tracker spreads. Here is the first one I made, the only one at the time of photographing. My Year In Pixels will be a daily mood tracker, a color assessment on my day and how it went. I didn’t know what colors to use for what mood, so I ended up consulting Inside Out and adapting the colors from there, hehe. I’m hoping for many joyful yellow days in 2018.

I used my favorite XOXOs to mark the days and months, each X as a day from 1 through 31 and each O as a month from 1 through 12. I used a Hobonichi Basic Stencil for this. With my love-hate relationship with my own handwriting, stencils are a boon to me.

As are stickers! The stickers seen in the preceding photos are from these sticker pads by Recollections. I got these two, Trendy Icons and Planners Gotta Plan, from Michaels during my most recent trip to the States.

One thing I started doing last year was keeping track of moments of gratitude and inspiration. The bullet journal system allows personalizations like this to be seamlessly integrated into the daily hubbub of to-dos, and this was something I took to heart. One thing I didn’t do, though, was keep a central index of these moments, for easy reference later on. The index is something the bullet journal system recommends, but was something I didn’t feel equipped to do in 2017. I definitely feel more than equipped now, and I look forward to keeping track of the year in this way. (Who is Jason, though, haha!)

These are mainstays carried over from 2017, updated for 2018.

I use a Hobonichi Card Case for the stickers I inadvertently hoard during every visit to an artist alley or indie art event.

The Hobonichi Techo Planner comes with daily pages, which usually suffice, but for days when they don’t, I tack-on a to-do list using these I have these stationery pads from Eri BloodBerry. I am a ridiculously huge fan of Eri BloodBerry’s work – as in, ridiculously. I own four of her notepads, which are super cute and the perfect size for slipping into the pages of a Hobonichi Techo Planner. I carry a few sheets of each design with me at all times, held together with magnetic bookmarks of her own design and creation.Throughout 2017, I used Victor Nikiforov and Yuri Katsuki from Yuri!!! on ICE to hold these sheets together. I recently retired them with the 2017 volume, and I look forward to spending 2018 with her All Might and Small Might Izuku Midoriya from My Hero Academia. These are the cutest things, I swear, they have little butts and everything. Please visit her page for more of her work!

The Pilot Frixion, particularly the Pilot Frixion 0.38 Slim, has been my pen of choice for ages, but I’m mixing it up a little bit for 2018. Instead of carrying multiple pens, I’m giving the three-barrel version of the same a try. I’ll be using a Pilot Frixion 3 Ball 0.38in  Little Sailor Moon this year, because I grew up in the 1990s and “tsuki ni kawatte oshioki yo!” was in the water I drank.

Part of the charm of the sameness of the Hobonichi Techo Planner is finding a sleeve to go with it!

My sleeve for 2017 was Thank You All by Sebastian Masuda. Once you see it, you’ll see why, haha. There wasn’t a similarly designed sleeve in this year’s line-up that spoke to me as much as the Thank You All did, but at around the same time, I started seeing people deck out their plain sleeves with patches using a clear Hobonichi Cover on Cover. With inspiration found, it was decided from there. I wanted Raspberry sleeve from the Colors collection, with my heart set on finding a banana patch to place on the front.

My book-sleeve bundle was purchased from Scribe, the clear cover from Crafty Lane. My usual go-tos did not let me down.

My search for a banana patch, though, was proving fruitless – pun intended, hehe. Pineapples seem to be the quirky yellow fruit of choice, and I saw an abundance of that but not much else. I was very vocal about this seeming injustice, and a dear friend of mine took it as an opportunity to show me that all is not lost in this world. This banana patch, plus another banana of a different design, were found too deeply in Divisioria. I am grateful for the no-occasion-needed thoughtfulness that finds itself working in the company I keep. Thank you!

And here is my 2018 line-up, more or less! These are the ones that are going to be used most often and almost daily, the “every day carry” or EDCs of my planner life, so to speak.

I used my Hobonichi Techo Planner with white-hot fervor throughout 2017 and I’m glad I did. It was a good year for me, all things considered, and I have a near-obsessive record of all the friends and memories made along the way. Once I figure out how to, maybe a flip-through is in order. (Flip-throughs are a thing in the planner and journal community too.). I can’t wait to do the same for 2018.

If I can keep this up, I’ll have a follow-up entry on the journals, secondary pens, and portable printers that I keep in pink baskets by my bed. I’d also love to talk more about how bullet journaling changed my life and my personal bullet journal style sometime in the future, once I have a couple of entries in, but for now, please click here to learn more about bullet journaling! The video is great!


Because I don’t know how to end this entry, let me do so with a quick link list of local resources!

  • Scribe Writing Essentials: A go-to hub for all things planner and journal, Hobonichi or otherwise, easily accessible with multiple branches across the metro. They stock books and book-sleeve bundles.
  • Crafty Lane: An online store with a great selection. I get my Pilot Frixion pens and Hobonichi accessories from here.
  • PlannerAddicts Philippines Buy&Sell: A rabbit hole of suprising finds! I like to window shop and exercise impulse control here. Hahaha.
  • Hobonichi Users PH: Inspiration awaits! A small but active community of Philippines-based Hobonichi users. So nice to see how everyone else uses theirs! I’m a long-time lurker, but hope to start posting here too, soon!

Until next time! (Please, self, let there be a next time, haha!)


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