Hobonichi Interview Series | Inside Chotskibelle’s Hobonichi Techo Part 2

The Hobonichi  Interview Series  is a blog segment where we get a sneak peek inside the diary of another Hobonichi user. This is Part 2 of the interview with Chotskibelle, from Singapore. In this post you will get to see inside her lovely Hobo!

The Hobonichi has quite the cult following. Did you know that?

In all honesty, I wasn’t aware of the cult following behind the Hobonichi until I started using it and posting photos on Instagram. I was amazed that so many people around the world were using the Hobonichi, as I had always thought it to be a culture unique to Japan. I was so wrong! It was great to be able to see how people were using the Hobonichi in their own ways and I began to look to Instagram for inspiration. For me, I think that the best thing that came out of my impulsive (and slightly delusional) decision to buy a Hobonichi Techo is the number of friends I’ve made through Instagram. Who knew that there is such a large global community of journaling and planning enthusiasts?! Well, I certainly didn’t and I’m loving it! 

And do tell us about your love of cats?

While the majority of my Instagram feed consists of photos of the Hobonichi Techo A6 original in Japanese, which I am using as an illustrated journal, I occasionally post photos of my two monkey-cats. No, they’re not a new breed – I just call them my monkey-cats because they sometimes behave like silly monkeys trying to test my patience. Droolz is an 11-year old mask-and-mantle cowcat (yes, I Google-d that up) and Mi-chan is a 4-year old silver Persian. Both were adopted, although technically-speaking, we kidnapped Droolz (a stray) from outside a fast food joint. Droolz was given this name because well, he drools when he sleeps. Mi-chan was adopted last year from a rescue shelter. She’s partially-blind and somewhat deaf, so when she meows, it’s like the yowl of Chewbacca from Star Wars.

I’m an animal lover, even the slimy ones, but I’ve always been more partial to cats ever since I was a child. Our neighbor had a cat that liked to climb onto our roof, and my mom said that the first complete sentence I said as a 3 year old was, “The cat is in the up”. Clearly, the word “roof” had yet to be introduced into my vocabulary. My love for cats got me into trouble a number of times as I wasn’t allowed to have a pet then, but I had a penchant for sneaking home stray cats – one of which was a black kitten. My mom really freaked out with that one because black is considered unlucky in Chinese superstition! So yes, I’m a crazy cat lady and the Hubby can attest to that because I always try to pet any stray cats I come across, which is why hand-sanitizing wipes are a must-have in my bag.

Show us inside your A6  Hobonichi Techo…

Hobonichi Journal Entry - May 7, 2015
Hobonichi Journal Entry – May 7, 2015

Hobonichi Journal Entry – May 7, 2015

This was one of those days where there really wasn’t much going on and I was feeling a little overwhelmed with work. I was wishing that I was outdoors somewhere in England, sat on a brick wall like Humpty Dumpty, and enjoying the crisp cool air and the sound of nothing but birdsong.

Hobonichi Journal Entry - May 9, 2015
Hobonichi Journal Entry – May 9, 2015

Hobonichi Journal Entry – May 9, 2015

I came home and found that, to my horror, one of my plants had given up hope on life and decided to die. I’m notoriously known within my family that I do not have the green thumb and that plants always seem to die on me – even succulents and cacti. I think I shower them with too much love (water)!


Hobonichi Journal Entry - June 12, 2015
Hobonichi Journal Entry – June 12, 2015

Hobonichi Journal Entry – June 12, 2015

This is an example of how I illustrate what I did within the day. As you can see, I’m not doing anything spectacularly different from my usual days. However, I tried to make it a little interesting by writing down what was going on in my head. And I like using speech bubbles a lot.



Hobonichi Journal Entry - June 24, 2015
Hobonichi Journal Entry – June 24, 2015

Hobonichi Journal Entry – June 24, 2015

Sometimes my drawing skills are not good enough to draw what I really wanted to draw. For example, I really wanted to draw myself searching for the item that I was looking throughout the house, but I had to settle with drawing myself standing with my hands on my waist trying to recall where I had put it. Maybe one day I will be able to! I was also trying to figure out the set up for the filming of my YouTube video, and again, I used speech bubbles to capture my main thoughts for that particular doodle.



Hobonichi Journal Entry - June 26, 2015
Hobonichi Journal Entry – June 26, 2015

Hobonichi Journal Entry – June 26, 2015

On this day, I discovered a new online stationery store and had to exercise a lot of willpower and restraint to not go overboard with adding items to my online shopping cart. I thought I’d inject a sense of humor to it by imagining what my credit cards would say if they were able to think! Sometimes I also decorate using washi tape, and I stuck on a photo of a dish (chilled steamed barnacles from Kanto, Japan), which was served during the Japanese Omakase dinner that night with friends. I’d never had barnacles before, so I made it a point to print a photo and paste it in so that I can remember how it looked like. The chef jokingly called it a ‘dinosaur foot’, and it took me ages to work up the courage to touch it, let alone eat it! But it tasted better than it looked – if you can look past it’s slimy and cold shell!

Where do you find your inspiration for what to include?

I’ve been told that from my doodles, my daily life seems to be very interesting. It is actually very far from being interesting. Like everyone else, my life revolves around family, friends, work and my two cats. I choose to illustrate highlights of the day, or how I feel. But more often than not, my doodles reflect the things that I do and it can be something as simple as doing laundry. I have very bad memory and find it difficult to recall what I did and when, so most of the time, you’ll see that my daily entries show the sequence of things that happened – from AM to PM. But I’ve discovered that speech bubbles are a great way to inject humor into my otherwise boring doodles! On days that I think are really uneventful, my doodles reflect my dreams or wishes.

There are days when all I can think about is work and how busy it is, but instead of illustrating how dreadful it really is, I choose to draw happier scenes. Although I post my daily journal entries on Instagram, I try to protect my privacy by limiting the amount of personal information in my doodles. If I needed to write a journal entry for that day such as personal thoughts, I’d write in a separate piece of notebook paper and paste it onto the page. The Hubby was using a 2014 Hobonichi Cousin for a while but didn’t quite take to it, so whenever I need notebook paper for that purpose, I’ll just cut a piece of paper out of it, write on it and then paste it onto the page in my Hobonichi Techo.

Anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’m very grateful for the new friends that I have made through the Hobonichi community online, and have experienced so much kindness from it. It has also allowed me to dare to challenge myself in so many ways – from posting photos of my Hobonichi pages to reviving my dormant blog, to filming YouTube videos – it has been so awesome!

I’ve become friends with Di through Instagram and our common love for tea and pretty vintage teacups, and I’m very grateful for this opportunity to be featured in the Vintage Flicker!

Grindley "Cream Petal" from Vintage Flicker nicknamed "Emily"
Grindley “Cream Petal” from Vintage Flicker nicknamed “Emily”


Chotskibelle, thank you so much for showing us inside your journal !
For all you wonderful readers who want to connect with Chotskibelle, you will find all the details below. Part one of the interview here. 

Twitter :
YouTube:Chotski Belle

If you’d like to share inside your Hobonichi, do comment below.

Do you keep a planner or art journal?


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