The Podcast Weekend

Best Laid Plans Ep #58: All About Hobonichi. (Plus some life talk.)

September 6, 2021

This episode topic probably isn’t a surprise to anyone as I’ve been super into the 2022 Hobonichi release! I looked back and the 9th order I’ve placed from the Hobonichi store — my very first was in the spring of 2014, and I haven’t missed a release since.

Though the pandemic definitely had me foray into about 334 other planners, I do have deep love for the Hobonichi product line, the store, their design elements, and more. So this episode is dedicated to Hobonchi info, with a sneak peak at my favorites in the 2022 release.

Link to the store is here! On the top left, you can toggle between English and Japanese. And on the top right, you can choose your currency! I don’t think this was always an option, and I am actually used to looking at a Hobonichi price points in yen. But great that they have this option – I’ll use it next year!

I am obsessed with this cover and it is headed my way!

Error note: I went through the various options for purchase, including the A6 English, A6 Original/Avec, A5 Cousin/Cousin Avec, and the Weeks. I forgot the relatively newish Day-Free! The Day-Free contains monthly layouts and then blank (grid) pages, without specified dates at the top. This is the bullet journalist’s answer to Hobonichi (if said bullet journalist can tolerate Tomoe River Paper).

It is a long weekend over here. I have been spending it with the kids. It has been a bit of a lonely + depressing slog at times, and not as bad at others. That said, I am finding myself really needing some positive things to look forward to. I’m feeling kind of sad and empty and I think it’s just . . . not enough positive things on the horizon. I know in these ‘uncertain times’ we can’t plan too much, but I need more than I currently have. Trying to work on this.

I am on call starting tomorrow for the next week so . . . I guess that will be a distraction, if nothing else. I really want to work on staying positive and calm (a lifelong project) so wish me luck.

giant bugs + friends at Flamingo Gardens


❏ SC Workout (40 minute total body strength from her new STRONG month)

❏ Trip to new-to-us park + tree zoo with friend (and reader 🙂 ) A!

❏ ALLL of the week prep activities: make lunches, put schedule up on board, etc

❏ Record BLP ep for next week – 2 mini-reviews with some daily planning page discussion

❏ Hopefully watch another episode of The Chair on Netflix


  • Reply Keren September 6, 2021 at 7:59 am

    It’s interesting you say going back to Hobonichi journal is a form of nostalgia to pre pandemic era.I also bought now the same journal I had 3 years ago. I think the main reason is that I tried bujo and undated journals and it didn’t work for me, but maybe nostalgia made me pick the exact same one I had.
    I have to comment about being left handed and smudging , as a native Hebrew speaker who is right handed and has been writing from right to left for her entire life I really don’t think smudging is related to the direction of writing, but primarily to the pen you use and the paper. I haven’t noticed a difference in smudging when I write in Hebrew vs. English, just that some pens tend to smudge.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 6, 2021 at 6:20 pm

      I think I would smudge less if i wrote right to left! It’s that going down a line, the whole side of my left hand is by necessity on top of and going past the prior lines. Maybe it’s the way I hold a pen or something but I am confident I could have a neater journal in Hebrew ☺️ If I could write in Hebrew, that is ….

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 6, 2021 at 6:21 pm

        Agree it is also extremely paper and pen dependent too, though!

  • Reply Stephanie September 6, 2021 at 8:18 am

    Thank you for mentioning the day free! Just looked and it’s got what I actually use in my current hobonichi without some of the things I don’t use (weekly layout I’m looking at you).

  • Reply Cheryl September 6, 2021 at 10:10 am

    I haven’t listened to this episode yet, as I don’t think the Hobonichi would work for me based on what I’ve seen when I’ve heard you mention it previously. (Though I will likely listen to it later this week). But the 2022 Planner Pad will be available 9/15 (much later than in years past; the company appears to be going through some pandemic-related restructuring). Any chance your PlannerPad review is scheduled to coincide with this upcoming date? I’m so eager to hear your thoughts about it.

  • Reply AMA September 6, 2021 at 10:25 am

    I was in the rut of “what to look forward to” for a while recently. It does make things harder :(. Hope you find something to cheer yourself soon. For me it’s been – a skincare routine – feels like I’m following in your footsteps! – and now a kitchen remodel (just planning stage) – not your jam but it’s really nice to have something ELSE to focus on. Hang in there Sarah!

  • Reply Natasha September 6, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    I loved The Chair! I am not usually a binge watcher but somehow watched it all in a weekend and was sad when I had no episodes let!

  • Reply coco September 6, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    I agree that there’s not much to be excited about in the near future gives us the feeling that we will be in this state forever which is depressing. yet, it’s a good opportunity to really get back to the basics and find out what matters to us. I’ve been in this state for few weeks before I got covid (fully vaccinated with Pfizer) without direct contact with a confirmed case. I was in doubt of so many things at first but then I began to feel grateful for many things. Dig deeper and found what matters to me the most, and I realized I have all that I ever need to be content, regardless the state of covid.
    I know it’s easier said than done, it’s a process of self discovery.

  • Reply Kylie Miller September 6, 2021 at 8:43 pm

    Hi Sarah – I just wanted to say thank you for your posts and your podcasts. I’m in Australia and we have certainly taken a different view and way of dealing with covid but its also fascinating to hear what is happening for you. we have a lot of Australian bran planners as well so I’ll be weighing up what I’ve used before and the Hobonichi in the coming days… just wanted to reach out and say thank you for all that you do 🙂

  • Reply Lisa S. September 6, 2021 at 9:04 pm

    Thanks for adding a Day Free mention– I bought this version last year with the hope I could keep some of the elements working for me in the Avec but tweak some of the features that were not. 2021 is the first year I’ve stuck with the same system for an entire year so needless to say I love it. I save myself the time of drawing out the great calendar spreads but avoid the wasted on me weekly time blocking (I do that digitally). I customize the blank pages and have space for a monthly goals page, a single page weekly checklist, daily pages + even a little bit of flex for when another list need strikes. I purchase two books and treat it like the Avec since there isn’t enough room in the day free if you anticipate using a full page most days, but I like getting that fresh start book mid-year so I don’t mind.

  • Reply Sarah September 7, 2021 at 2:35 am

    Loved this episode! I currently use a Weeks, but have ordered an A6 for home for next year, and also ordered a 2021 day free for work a few weeks ago, which finally arrived today after COVID related shipping delays – yay! Was finding my current work planner (Octagon design weekly planner) just didn’t have enough space, as working from home some days due to extended lockdown here in Australia, and needing a better system to ensure tasks don’t get missed, with a mix of being on site and at home (also a doctor, with a mix of clinic work and inpatient consults, and a research appointment). My 7 yr old has an animal crossing cover on the way – she is using an old unused Cousin, that my husband gave me in 2015 (with a beautiful Mina Perhonen cover), several years before I tried Hobonichi and I never used. I think the A5 day free will be perfect for work, as will enable me to manage multiple different lists of outstanding work tasks, but also time blocking on non patient contact days, and planning (conferences, leave etc). I have a 2022 weekly supplement on the way, that I can add into the pocket if still using it next year, otherwise considering the Midori monthly stickers, to allow me to continue using it next year, to track things like planned leave and conferences, and to record CME. Hopefully my current one will last until the spring release. I’ve ordered the Count the lights cover for my A6 but now coveting the Tambourine. I used to bullet journal before trying the Weeks, in a Leuchtturm (too heavy), or a simple Delfonics notebook – will be interesting to see how the A6 goes, as I relied heavily on weekly spreads for bullet journalling, and I do like the layout of the Weeks, but find myself needing more space some days – considered the Weeks Mega for 2022 for this reason, but I think these don’t lay as flat, and I felt like a change (plus a fun cover!).

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa's Yarns September 7, 2021 at 9:54 am

    I’m debating getting a Hobinichi cover because I think my W222 and the accompanying note book would both fit? I got a cheap cover from Wonderland, but it only fits one notebook so I think I want something different that fits both.

    I feel you on not having much to look forward to. With 2 young kids, travel is just not happening right now and that’s not even related to covid. We just don’t like to travel when a kid is < 1. It's too much hassle. My husband and I haven't spend a night together away from the kids since our oldest was born in 2018, besides my c-section for #2 which was not relaxing obviously. 😉 We are hoping to go somewhere in 2022 for our 5 year anniversary. I was thinking we would go up to my parents' lake place this fall, but the baby, who is usually extremely chill, screamed for a good chunk of the 3+ hour drive there and back so I can't bring myself to repeat that trip again. So we are kind of stuck at home for awhile. But we plan to go to Arizona in February to see my sister and will visit when my parents are there.

    Could you take a weekend and go visit your sister? That feels pretty low-risk with you being vaccinated. A solo trip would probably feel really good right now! And I bet your sister would LOVE the company!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger September 7, 2021 at 7:23 pm

      It does fit! I used to have both in a cover. Bit tight but definitely okay. Could still fit the pen in the pen loop.
      I’d love to go to NC and also to bring A back to NC!!! Want her vaxed first though!

  • Reply Marjorie September 17, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    I loved this episode! I have been using the Hobonichi the last 2.5 years, all because you had raved about it so much in either BBW or maybe in your blog? Anyway, I’ve briefly experimented with other planners since then, but I’ve come back to the Hobonichi and will probably stick with it for a long time. It’s just a classic.

    One quick note: the reason why Hobonichi also offers an April start and not just a January start is because in Japan, many companies’ fiscal years run from April-March. The school year starts in April, too. I taught English in Japan for a couple of years in my early twenties, and I just got so used to it that it doesn’t faze me to use an April start planner, even though I’ve lived here in the US half my life!

  • Reply Jillian October 4, 2021 at 12:11 pm

    I have been a long time planner lover, going back to 1994 with my first Franklin Covey that I asked for for Christmas. I only found your pod cast recently and have been binging it for the last few weeks. After this episode I have decided to give the Hobonichi a try for my 2022 planner and look forward to trying it out.

    Thanks for all the great recommendations!

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