Life

Good Mondays – Hobonichi Techo

I’m beginning to notice a pattern with my Good Mondays entries haha. Pens, books, and now, a planner/journal system. You know, I guess it’s not hard to deduce that being a booklover and a writer, the things that make me happy are book-related things. Or at least the joyful things I think of first tend to be book-related things. I’m sure as the weeks goes on I’ll have other hobbies or situations to be grateful for. But for now, bear with me, it’s going to be more paper goods.

So, today I’m going to talk about the Hobonichi Techo – a yearly planner that’s apparently a cult favorite, and comes in limited release every year. I was browsing jetpens.com a few weeks ago (my s.o. really needs to keep me off this website so I don’t bankrupt us buying stationery!) and they had a banner featuring the Hobonichi Techo on the front page. So I got curious and clicked, and many, many Youtube videos later, I basically got hooked. The layout is pretty much exactly how I need it to be, AND it comes in Simplified Chinese version. The paper are thin and good to write on (although slightly debatable when it comes to fountain pens due to its thinness, but I mostly use gen pels so it’s not a problem), the colors are beautiful and pastel, and everything just looks so tidy and organized and clean. And the accessories, oh my! So many stickers and covers and all kinds of stationery just tailored for this brand. Unfortunately they go out of stock really, really quickly, and because Japan loves its exclusives, sometimes there’s one shipment to the US and if you miss it, well then you’re just SOL. And they can get very expensive, so I just ended up buying a hodgepodge of accessories that I think are essential but are made by cheaper third parties. (So instead of a beautiful $8 first-party pencil board I got a $1.50 recycled plastic one. Works the same.) Right now I’m still waiting on the last bits to come in, which is funny, because this planner starts on Jan 1 of next year so I can’t really use it now anyway. It’ll just have to sit prettily in my drawer until then.

Now I know you’re asking: my dear, you already have bullet journals and actual journals and task notebooks – why do you need yet another planner? Well, to be truthful, I don’t. However! It makes me happy, and I think I want to use this as a dedicated work journal. So right now I use my bujo for everything – appointments, work goals, chores, food to eat, people’s contact info, etc. I mean, that’s how bujos are meant to be used – a catch all. But I found that I need a little bit more structure when it comes to prioritization. Right now I feel like my work goals get lost in the minutiae of everyday living. Write two pages, followed by doing the laundry, followed by phone call from a friend, followed by another page of writing, followed by a blog – it’s just so jumbled. Some days when I have a gazillion chores to do I might only write a little bit, but then I would feel like I achieved a lot when in actual work, I’ve done very little. And the reverse happens too. This is not conducive to accurately gauge how much work I’ve done and whether I am on track for my goals. If I have dedicated work planner, I’d be able to isolate my actual workload. Because you know, sometimes how much we think we’ve done is not necessarily how much we’ve actually done, and come review time we’re either caught off-guard how little we’ve accomplished, or don’t give ourselves enough credit when credit is due. And that’s just no good at all.

Or I just really like having such a cute and useful notebook by my desk. That’s a legit reason too.

Life

Good Mondays – Pens

Alright let’s start our official Good Mondays post – where I post something that makes me happy (and hopefully the happiness is contagious? ahaha bad word choice but you know what I mean) so I can get through the rest of the week. Or more like a daily gratitude post – thankful for small things, but weekly – anyways I should just get on with the topic, yeah? Today – pens!

More specifically – gel pens! So you know from my past posts that I do bullet journal religiously. I mostly use fountain pens with it, and they’re great, but lately I’ve been bitten by the ‘more color all the time’ bug and changing ink every time is a huge hassle. I actually don’t own any colorful pens – it’s either expensive fountain pens or cheap plain black BICs, so I thought, let’s go to the middle and buy some nice gel pens, eh? I kinda went on a shopping spree and bought a bunch different ones to test out. I’m a sucker for muted colors, I found, so sepia, various “colored” blacks (that also sounds bad, but I just meant like red-tinged black, blue-tinged black, etc.), deep green and navy and aubergine and etc. They just look very…calm and centered? Without being boring. And god knows we all need some calmness right now.

I got three separate sets: the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner in Summer Festival, the Uni-ball Signo UM-151 in Off-black, and the Zebra Sarasa Push Clip in Vintage Color 2. They’re all slightly different thickness but all write very smoothly. It’s funny, because I’m trying to consolidate and streamline my life but ended up dividing things into categories anyway, like with these pens. I was totally just going to use them interchangeably for everything, but found myself delegating the Zebra ones to writing long journal entries, the Staedtler ones to daily logging, and the Uni-ball to everything else. I think it’s mostly because the Zebra ones are thicker, therefore more comfortable to hold, and so best suited for when I need to write for an extended amount of time. And it really tells me something about my psyche when I’m drawn to the yellows in all the sets first. Yellow is a happy color, and I could definitely use some pick-me-ups, so my notebooks are just swamped with bright and cheery colors now.

It’s kind of silly to be so happy over such mundane things like a set of pretty gel pens. And even sillier that so far my happy things are all stationary products haha. Well, these are abnormal times, folks. Normally I’d be ecstatic over going to a good restaurant or watch a good movie or going to a good concert – none of which are possible right now and probably for many months to come. I know people have been going to bars and restaurants regardless, but I need to be extra safe because of my upcoming medical procedures. I guess obsessively recording and organizing my life is a way for me to cope with the stress, so pardon me while I celebrate tiny things like a smooth-writing pen on thick, none-feathering paper. And if the color yellow reminds me of sunshine and brings a smile to my face, then everything is working as intended, and I’m only thankful that such small gestures are actually enough.