If you're looking for the perfect planner, stop. This is it. If you're not someone who gets excited about notebooks, read on and be converted.
Like all the best things, there's a quirky history behind this planner. Shigesato Itoi is something of an icon in Japan, having started as a branding guru (I know, but it applies here), worked as a voice actor in some Miyazaki staples (including My Neighbour Totoro), and eventually creating the notebook we're here to talk about.
In essence, the planner has everything you need and nothing you don't. The paper is worth a special mention, it's Tomoe River and designed to deal with all kinds of ink. It's ruled with small squares, and each two-day spread has a quote, which don't tend to the inspirational, they deal out something more akin to home truths. One of my favourite things is the tiny knife and fork icon at the bottom of each page, making weekly meal planning easy to jot down.
The notebooks quickly became a firm favourite in Japan, selling millions of copies. The English language version was launched in 2012, in collaboration with Sonya Park of cult label ARTS&SCIENCE.
You can buy your Hobo online, but a visit to the Tokyo or Kyoto store is an absolute treat. You'll also (probably) get a surprise gift. Last time I scored a great pen and a set of dice with different dinner options on them, designed to take the stress out of meal planning and inject more randomness into dining (assuming you want to eat quite a lot of pork-based options).
The stores also look like they've sprung to life from Ghibli films. This is the Tokyo outpost:
You can buy covers for your planner, and there are a huge variety of options. I love the soft-covered and perfectly sized book solo, but I can see the appeal of having somewhere to tuck pieces of paper and business cards.
This is my pristine 2018 version on the first day of the year. Six months in, it's showing the signs of love, but continues to keep me perfectly in line. I won't be without one again.