Hobonichi Techo Planner A6

So sorry this has taken so long. I’ve been dealing with a lot of administrative stuff and been a little stressed out since I came back. The reviews for July and August will be a bit late as I have nothing new to review as of now. I will try to get some stuff in later this month and will hopefully get back on track come October. Thank you so much for your patience. It really means a lot to me for you to stick around even with the irregular schedule. See you soon!


Now this is a product that I had been waiting to get for a long time. I initially discovered the Hobonichi Techo during the time it first got extremely popular and there were several stationary bloggers that were extolling its numerous virtues. I’ll admit that I wasn’t very keen about it in the beginning. After years of scheduling and managing my weekly agenda with the excellent Calendars 5 app from Readdle. I never once gave a thought about buying and maintaining a physical planner. That all changed last semester when I found that I wanted to stop depending on my phone to manage my life and I discovered the limitations of the notes and what I can jot down. Alongside this discovery, I realized that it would be a seamless transition because everyday, I focus on writing my notes down in a notebook instead of using a laptop. Just transferring my schedule over to a planner would not be that difficult because of how much I write already.


So I pulled the trigger and purchased the Hobonichi Techo from JetPens and with bated breath and excitement, I waited for it to arrive. Shipping was fast as always, and within 3 days, all the pens and the Hobonichi were in my hands. Keep in mind, that I had ordered the Techo in the middle of January, so I was a little hesitant to start using it right away and stored it away until the beginning of February. I remember clearly even to this day, on January 30, I excitedly opened up the Techo and started my first page on the 1st of February. Carefully having planned out my day in advance, I decided to keep the markings minimal to leave as much space as possible for any notes I wanted to write. Surprisingly, I found that for regular entries regarding classes and schedules, it wasn’t all that helpful, as most of the due dates for assignments were easily accessible through my school’s assignment portal, Canvas. Without those, I came to realize that it wasn’t the daily occurrences that needed notes, it was all the meetings with groups and friends that I needed to keep track of. Oftentimes, the specific room numbers and locations weren’t able to sync with Google Maps on the Calendars 5 app, which caused me to turn to the Notes section to keep track of room numbers and anything I needed to bring. Now that I had the Hobonichi, it was extremely convenient to write down the specifics of the meeting. I also found that in my case, I remembered a lot of the information off the top of my head, which is a benefit that comes with writing stuff down.

While the Hobonichi clearly became an integral part of my daily writing and just about replaced my smart phone app. There were some things that I had a couple of frustrations with. Since 2016, the amount of hype regarding Tomoe River paper was something that I absolutely could not ignore. With many stationary review blogs extolling its many virtues, I knew I had to get my hands on some. However, the biggest thing that stopped me was the price. Tomoe River notebooks were prohibitively expensive. I remember that there were some sellers selling sample packs of 5-10 pages to try out before investing in the journal. The problem was, no matter when I went on, they were always out of stock. Ultimately, I decided to give up on getting it and chose instead to wait until it became widely available through some of my favorite stores. I never thought that my first experience would come from the Hobonichi and I can definitively say that this paper caused me a lot of headache. To this day, I truly can’t decide whether I love it or not. The paper is silky to the touch and when using any king of pen, it’s smooth. At the same time, due to its thinness, ghosting can be a real issue. I noticed this most prominently when using a Pilot M nib. There were several instances where I just could not focus on writing down my notes because the words on the other side of the page were distracting me.


Another downside to the Tomoe River paper was that it took a much longer time for the ink to dry. Many times when I thought the ink had dried sufficiently, I closed the planner only to find ink smeared on the following page the next morning. This really annoyed me as I have a thing for keeping pages clean and neat. Overall, there were so many great things I experienced, but it took me a long time to get used to the TR paper’s inherent “flaws”(these are subjective, so while they may be flaws to me, others might not mind as much).


I have to say that the Hobonichi definitely changed my mind regarding physical planners and I feel that they are a great alternative to a smart phone app. An app does offer convenience and will outperform a planner in terms of efficiency of planning and visualization in some cases. With the ubiquity of smartphones and how attached users are to them, it is a bit of a trip to write in a planner, but it’s something that taught me a lot about prioritization of tasks and gave me some very important insights into how I manage my time and what I could be doing to better my productivity. There are a lot of things I want to get done nowadays, I always used to complain that “I just don’t have the time”. After close analysis, it’s come to my attention that is simply not true and that I need to focus on planning out tasks and completing them. I’m honestly not sure if I’ll end up getting another Hobonichi as I’ve been dying to try out some other alternatives like the Midori planner and the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter, both systems that have been promoted and loved by some of the people I really look up to in the stationary world. While I don’t know about the future, I sure know that I’m currently loving the Hobonichi Techo and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to start keeping a physical planner.

Nock Co. Sinclair


From its inception in September 2013, Nock Co. has become a household name in the pen case industry. Though there are numerous offerings from well-established pen accessory companies, Nock Co.’s unique and well-designed cases always manage to make them stand out in the crowd. They have since expanded into paper products and have increased the various colors they offer their cases in.


The list of materials that all the Nock Co. cases are made of simply ooze quality. All cases are made from 1000D Nylon with DWR (Durable Water Repellant) Coating. The coating makes the fabric hydrophobic, simply put, it makes water roll right off. A welcome addition as my clumsiness has led to water being spilled on my case many times. The inside material is Nylon Pack Cloth, which protects the surface of your pens and is durable enough to withstand constant friction from taking out and inserting pens into the slots. There are 3 pen slots provided, allowing for storage of up to 3 fountain pens, six non-fountain pens or a mix of the two. As shown in the last picture, I opt for 2 fountain pens, usually one with black ink and blue ink, a standard ballpoint and a pencil for scantron tests and the like. There is also a dedicated slot for a pocket notebook, which I often use to store my Field Notes notebooks, though this can be used with any pocket notebook of that size. I recommend keeping only one in there as it gets rather difficult to store and take out if there’s more than one. The zippers are YKK, which means that they will last a very long time. Overall, a huge win for those who desire a case made from quality materials.


The Sinclair is one of the later additions to the line, as it was developed well after the original Kickstarter campaign. From the moment it was announced, I knew I had to have one. The zippered design and compact form attracted me away from my Hightower which I often had retention problems with the pocket notebook. It managed to slip out numerous times and I had to make a conscious effort to put it in my bag right side up. Now that I have a Sinclair, I can throw it in however and not have to worry about a thing.


A real winner from Nock Co. Ever since I backed the initial Kickstarter, Nock Co. has grown into a well-known brand that is designing some awesome cases and paper products (I have their note cards!). The Sinclair is hands down my current favorite offering from the guys at Nock. However, with the blistering pace they’re setting and the innovative designs their showcasing, this might change in the near future. I highly recommend this case to anyone who likes colorful, well-designed and amazing pen cases. If you’re reading this, keep up the great work guys!

Galen Leather Field Notes Cover

This is a review that has been a long time coming. I was first approached by Zeynep through the contact form on the blog back in April. She informed me of a company she and her brother had started, Galen Leather and how they had just opened an online store for handmade leather goods. I was very interested as I had never owned a leather notebook cover before. I’d been meaning to get one for the longest time, but just couldn’t reconcile spending that much money on it. Most of the options I found were in the $60 – $70 range and way more than I could afford. When Zeynep so graciously offered to send me a cover free of charge for a review, I didn’t hesitate. Again, this product was given to me free of charge to review. I will strive to be as objective as I possibly can be and to not let this affect my review.


The first thing I noticed when I opened the package, was a very nicely designed box with the company’s branding. It was slightly bulging and I didn’t know why until I opened it up. The Field Notes cover I received, (No.55 in black leather) was still a bit stiff as it hadn’t been broken in, leading to it pushing up against the box. It was secured with a simple cardboard slip that ran around the sides and a little explanation on the history of the company on a separate slip of cardboard. It also came with an “evil eye” charm that I forgot to take a picture of. You can read up about the story behind the charm here.(credit to Gentleman Stationer for the link)


Straight out of the box, I could tell that this was a solid product. Thick pieces of leather with burnished edges and it looked fantastic with the oils providing a nice shine. A surprising fact was that it smelt really nice, which I had never experienced with any of the leather products I’ve owned. All of Galen’s products are made with locally sourced 2-3mm vegetable oak tanned leather (source: Galen Leather Care) They give very clear and simple instructions to deal with any questions you might have regarding how to care for the leather on the same page I linked above. The stitching is very precise and even along the edges and the burnishing on the edges gives it a very soft feel for such thick pieces of leather.


The cover is very simple to use as all you have to do is slip the last page of your Field Notes notebook into the slot and it’ll securely hold it no matter what. I’ve put this cover through its paces for nearly half a year and I couldn’t be more satisfied with how well its held up.


On the inside, there is an elastic pen loop that can accommodate various sizes of pens be they fountain or regular in length and width. It is positioned very comfortably and is very functional and easy to use. I’ve put everything from the Retro 51 pictured above to my Karas Kustoms INK. The elastic worked perfectly all the time and I didn’t have worry about the pen falling out due to any jostling.


I actually don’t use the card slots too often as I usually carry all my cards in a wallet. However, when I have used them, they performed very well and securely held the cards without fail. I never had to worry about whether anything would fall out because of how the leather grips onto the cards. The cards don’t even need to be textured for the leather to gain purchase, the two cards I used for this shot are my Campus ID and my driver’s license (both of which took some time to maneuver into proper position so as to keep the details hidden). These cards have a matte like finish with barely any texturing, yet they are held properly in place by the slots and are easy to pull out and insert again.

All in all, the Galen Leather Field Notes covers are good quality, solidly built and functional handmade leather products that are well worth their asking price. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen any other covers made as nicely for the selling price listed on Galen. If you’re looking for an affordable and long-lasting Field Notes cover, look no further than the offerings from Galen Leather. A big thanks to Zeynep for reaching out and providing me with this cover. I wish her and her brother Yusuf all the success they deserve for bringing such high quality products to the market. Look forward to more orders from me in the future. 🙂 Check out their products at their website: Galen Leather.

P.S. This is review 1/3 for today (10/30/16). Second review dropping in a couple of hours.