I see it all over my Instagram. The twee vertical layout with the doodles everywhere, the avalanche of new kits by my favorite shops, the near constant display of new planners written in Japanese. The Hobonichi craze has arrived and I am surrounded by skinny notebooks with dainty lines and weird paper.
I’m not new to the Hobonichi Planner. I got one for Christmas 2017 where I did a halfassed unboxing and kept calling it a “Hobo-chini”. I bought my mother one this past Christmas (and struggled to find stickers for it… totally side-eyeing all the options now). I’ve held it in my hands, smelled the paper, and butchered the name like a clueless white woman.
I can safely say with full conviction, I do NOT want a Hobonichi planner. Yes, they are beautiful to look at and alluring to covet, but this is the one siren song I can resist. This is not to planner-shame anyone who has paid for the express shipping on Jet Pens to get theirs at near Amazon Prime quickness; I will ooh and ahh at your unboxing videos and planner spreads. This is one voice in a sea of many saying, “ehhhh… not for me”, and I will tell you why.
5 Reasons why I don’t want a Hobonichi:
The paper is a chore to work with:
This seems like a thing people either love or hate. Since it is the most important thing in the Hobonichi appeal, I would like to go on record and say that I hate it. Hobonichi uses “Tomoe River Paper” which is super thin and supposed to be resistant to bleeding. My problem with it is that it takes a while, like a couple minutes, for any kind of more viscous writing fluid (gel, felt tip ink, etc) to fully soak in and dry. Which means if you don’t let it dry, it smears… badly. The planner doesn’t lay flat so, you either have to hold it open for your pen to dry, use a special blotting paper, or use a ball point, which still smears but not as badly.
If you’re artsy and want to do beautiful doodles, this could be a great option for you. I imagine that Tombows would be right at home with this paper. But, if you’re like me and you want to jot stuff down on the go without hunting for the right pen… not so much.
I can’t write that small:
A big part of the Hobonichi appeal is how small it is, and I get it… small things are cute. Case in point, me. Whereas my stature may be on the petite side, my handwriting is not. I blame working in preschool where I had to write large for the littles to copy, or maybe it’s a handwriting based Napoleon complex. Regardless, I need space for my big loopy d’nealian style letters and I can’t fit more than one word per day in the Weeks layout. If the point of the planner is to plan, then I need space to write said plans. Otherwise, how will I know that I went to that Facebook event with the squirrel mascot?
This seems very similar to the previous reason and it’s in the same vein. I like to put a LOT in my planner. I track things, I chart things, I provide color commentary on the state of my life… my planner is a living scrapbook and I shove a lot in there. The Hobonichi is on the small size and would require me to curate the details of my life to fit in the pocket-sized pages. So much of our lives are curated anyway, and I love having my planner be a semi accurate representation of how I want to live my life vs how I actually do.
Starting a new planner system SUCKS:
This isn’t a cheap hobby. Like, let’s just lay that out on the table right now. The planners themselves cost money, plus shipping is always a pain. You’re potentially looking at ordering from overseas. It adds up fast.
There’s also a “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” situation going on… So you get a new planner. Then, you probably are gonna have to get a couple new pens to see which ones work the best. Chances are a big reason why you are tempted by the Hobonichi is because you’re seeing all the pretty kits and accessories that shops are coming out with for this style, and you’re gonna want some of those.
Next thing you know you’re buried under your $2 Tuesday purchases and multiple pens in slightly different shades of black and you’re slightly aghast at the Etsy charges on your PayPal account, but you STILL don’t have what you want to make this layout work right for you.
Bandwagons and such:
Fucking FOMO. It gets us all at some point. In fact, I bet everyone reading this right now can think of three things in their office/planner/craft area right now that they bought just because they were popular and you didn’t actually need them.
Planning is a double gut punch because not only do you get the “omg I want the cute things” feeling, but you feel as though by owning the cute things you will gain the skills to get your life together. But it won’t. You’re still not gonna update it regularly, forget what day it is and miss that appointment, and not check all the boxes on your hydration tracker. Maybe this particular planner is the key to unlocking your productivity and inner organizational goddess, and once you do that please let me know what it’s like. Chances are that unless you already have that level of success using something similar, this is just gonna be another planner on the shelf of “well-this-didn’t-work” items.
I don’t want a Hobonichi. I know how my brain works and I know that this is a trend I don’t need to jump in on. You shouldn’t feel like you need to jump on it either to keep up with the Planner-Joneses. We can like the Instagram posts and imagine what life would probably be like if we were “Hobonichi People”. Then we can go back to our well worn, over stickered, monster planners and appreciate the beauty they contain too.