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  • A Fleeting Ripple

too many options: planners and life

The kettle whistles on the stove as you scramble to put the paper filter and set the dripper on a cute mug. Freshly ground coffee fills the house with a sweet, warm smell that puts your mind at ease. Meditation is good for you, but have you ever stood in your kitchen, enjoying the dripping of the coffee, breathing in the scent of it. There aren't many places your mind can wander to when the moment is as sweet as the coffee filling up the mug. All the water drains down, and you have to pour a bit more water now, so that you have a full mug. Some people have this down to a science, measuring each cup. I envy them a little, their meticulous attention yields the same cup every time. For me, it’s a game of luck, and some pours are better than others as a table spoon and a stovetop kettle are the instruments of my morning coffee.

My year usually starts around the beginning of September, as my birthday and the beginning of the school year are very close together. December is a little more than a calendar change and some nice dinner with family and friends. That’s why this past week has been a whirlwind of trying to get myself together and have a little self reflection. The school is opening sooner than I’d like and I have a lot on my plate. Am I worried? Hell yes, I’m worried. It’s going to be my busiest year yet, and the only thing I can do is to take it one day at a time. Work and school are piling up together, and I want to continue writing this blog. Not only because I already paid for the next year, but also because I like it a lot. I get irritated when I don’t take the time to mumble something about pens into the void of the internet.

First, I’ll get a little personal, then I’ll talk about some of the planners that caught my attention since the planner season is upon us. I kind of wanted to talk about all of them, but there are so many and I’m running short on time as usual. It’s going to be a long post.

So, get your tea or coffee, a little blanket maybe, it’s chilly in here. I’ll wait right here.

Did you get comfortable?

I haven’t been super consistent with writing this blog during the summer for various reasons, and I expect it might continue into the academic year. In order to make writing a bit easier on me, I’m going to be less strict. I try to keep this blog very stationery focused, rarely going off to tangents. That’s going to change. I want to talk more about the museums and places I’ve been. I’ll probably still talk a lot about pens and stationery, simply because I think about them a lot, but if there’s something else on my mind, it’ll go to the blog too. This comes through because I realized that the reason my journal has been sitting mostly empty, whereas my blog writing notebook has been used a bit like a journal. I carry it everywhere to jot down thoughts and ideas. So, why not merge them?

This also means that hopefully I’ll write more about taking care of your pens, preparing them for sale etc as well. So not strictly reviews, but things I think will be helpful. I don’t doubt that most of you know it already, but maybe I’ll show something that’ll make your life a little easier.

This is honestly the fourth time I’m writing this post, because it never felt right. I don’t think I can put this more eloquently, and I’m quite excited about this. I’ll try to write a bit in Turkish every now and then. Not direct translations of past posts, but something new about the pens and items I like so much. There are other Turkish blogs that are amazing, so I’ll try to strive to be half as good as them. I’ll give details later on, but I look forward to writing in different languages to keep using them and not forget them completely.

Well, with some plans out of the way, we can start planning for the next academic year. I don’t know why everyone is so hard on students, there are so many things happening at the same time. My Google Calendar looks more like a colour wheel than someone’s calendar. I mostly use it to keep track of my stuff, since it’s easy to connect multiple calendars to there, but paper planners are the most useful for me. Sitting down in the mornings for 15 minutes to actually plan my day and make a to-do list gathers my mind together. I feel more ready to take on the day.

Before Covid, I was an avid planner, but there’s nothing like global uncertainty to make you give up on it. Afterwards, I tried to start out with undated planners to ease myself back into it. The first one was the 019 refill for Traveler’s Notebook. It’s an undated weekly refill with the days of the week on one side and a blank memo page on the other. It worked well, since it was low-maintenance and didn’t require much thinking. Downside was that an undated planner didn’t keep me on track, and filling in dates got a little boring. Additionally, my planner was filling up quicker than I could keep up with.

So, the next part was a Midori One Day One Page in A6. Again, undated for the days, but it had the months. I’ll say it outright, the monthly calendar didn’t really work out for me, so I was using the Traveler’s Notebook and the A6 Midori at the same time. I loved the daily layout and the space to jot down everything. The downside was that carrying two planners all the time got heavy very quick.

Around May, I got lucky and found the Hobonichi Cousin at a huge discount. I decided to give it a try for a few months before the planner season struck to see if I’d like it and would want to continue with it. It was pretty much perfect. The layouts were great and the Tomoe River made me actually want to use it because the fountain pens behaved really nice on it. Before this, Tomoe River felt more like a novelty rather than a very useful paper. Yes, the pens behaved great and the ink colours looked amazing, but I couldn’t really justify the price. In this planner, though, the paper shines with its lightness and high performance. It’s really the perfect planner paper.

The only problem is that the planner is in Japanese. Thankfully they wrote the names of the days and months in English too. Please don’t be like me and get too caught up in the excitement. Read carefully in what language you’re ordering the planners in. Especially the beloved Japanese ones.

I might’ve found my “perfect” planner in Hobonichi Cousin, but that doesn’t mean my attention doesn’t drift to others. The planner season is in full swing and I love reading about all the new stuff. The excitement and people lunging (figuratively, through their computer screen) for covers and all the fancy stuff is so fun to watch. To end this post, I want to talk about a couple of other planners that caught my attention.

The first one is the Midori Hibino A6 Diary. I don’t know why Midori is so averse to weekly layouts, but if this one had a weekly layout instead of the monthly one, I was going to get this for 2024. It also has Tomoe River, and it’s good that it does, because you don’t get only one page per day, but two. With the lovely leather cover and gold foil stamping, it’s also really, really pretty. Leave it to Midori to come up with the best looking stuff. I had also never seen this planner before, so I don’t know if this is new or has been around for a while. Look, Midori, I love you, you’re doing great, and I want to buy your products. You’re just not letting me.

The other one that seems pretty cool is the Kokuyo Jibun Techo. The only downside of it is the initial commitment, which unnecessarily highers the bar for entry for me. There are three notebooks that you pretty much can plan your whole life in. This one’s weekly layout is great, and I do like the idea behind the separate notebooks. I feel like it’s a great system if you don’t want to go through the excitement/panic of the planner season and just commit to one system that has everything in one place.

The last and the biggest temptation for me is the Original A6 Hobonichi. So much so that I ask myself whether I really need the weekly layout if I have Google Calendar on every electronic device I own. Well, for one, I do like that layout… I also love the A6 size, it feels so much more portable and handy than the A5.

These are hard decisions, but being excited about a fancy planner makes me actually use it. The only empty pages in my current Hobonichi are the ones for the summer holiday, since I had nothing planned. That was the whole point of my summer holiday. If a nice planner keeps me excited to keep my life organised and on track, be it. I’ll keep being excited about the planner season.

Even though the new stuff is great, don’t forget to enjoy your current planners, they still have a good few months in them. Try not to go overboard with the accessories, which I’m also guilty of. Man, I really do love planners.

Thank you so much for reading this long, long post. I hope your tea/coffee didn’t go cold.

Disclaimer: I am part of the Atlas Stationers affiliate program, so... Know that before you click the links? They're a great shop either way.


Sep 10, 2023

I like using the weekly insert for the A6 hobinichi. It's my mini daily journal, although this year I finally caved and bought one of the 5-year hobonichis that I want to use as a household renovation/phenology/writing progress diary.


Nurul Neri
Nurul Neri
Sep 07, 2023

I cannot plan for the life of me, which I only discovered after a few years of trying to buy planners that work. I am merely a record keeper of things that has passed and once I accepted that, even I love the formats of Hobonichi. So I get the enthusiasm and excitement too, haha! Despite not using it to plan my life, but rather to remember my life in the future. I have also accepted I don't need to use all the pages (only after year 3) and as long as I use it for something, it has achieved its purpose and worth my money. So far I am only on Hobonichi (all of them - techo A6, Avec…


Sep 07, 2023

Best wishes for your upcoming busy year!

I'm delighted that you are continuing with your blog as I enjoy reading your thoughts on pens and stationery (I too love the Hobonichi Techo). I don't comment much as I never have much to add but I wanted to let you know that it's not just an Internet void - there are people like me that very much appreciate the effort you put in. I particularly enjoy your opening paragraph which always sets the tone for a few minutes of reading pleasure and I look forward to how your posts will develop as you include the changes you've been thinking about. Thank you.


Sep 06, 2023

You know you don't have to buy all three Jibun Techno notebooks, right? The planner is available separately from outlets like JetPens in the US (in three styles: the Biz has fewer colours than the standard, and there's a Lite version with 52 gsm paper). I've never used the Life or Idea notebooks, but the planner works well for me.



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