The Jibun Techo/Hobonichi Cousin Dupe Review

I love finding a good dupe.

By that, I don’t want a copy. I want something that’s inspired by but is still different to the original. That might be something that was missing, or a different format that works better for me.

To me, the Jibun Techo is a dupe for the Hobonichi Cousin that makes one (amongst others) large change. It doesn’t have any daily pages. For those that don’t do daily planning or aren’t up for using those dailies as collections (like I do) the Jibun Techo seems like a great compromise.

However, despite not having all those daily pages the price isn’t that much cheaper.

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This is where the Ali Express dupe comes in. An undated A5ish planner* with structured weeklies but no daily pages.

Could something like the Jibun Techo be my planner of choice in 2020? Or do I love my daily pages too much, even if I don’t end up using them all each year?

Like with the Weeks dupe I purchased a little while ago, this arrived surprisingly quickly.

With just a dent in the corned of the back cover, it also arrived relatively unscathed.

The packaging around the planner seemed to suggest there was a lot more pages inside than I thought. It claimed to have sections for financing, social relations and movie lists, among others. Spoiler: I couldn’t find most of where these things could go.

Upon opening it up, the first planning page you’ll find is what I guess they call their attendance section. I quite like the flexibility of these pages as I think you could use them quite creatively. You could use these for habit tracking, expense tracking or as plain old yearly forward planning pages.

There’s 24 months worth of rows here so you could even split up and use the top for habit tracking and the bottom for just general forward planning. There’s also 12 pages of these in total.

Next, you have your standard monthly pages. Twelve month’s worth in total.

Unlike the Weeks dupe I tried, this has the perfect amount of rows so you’re covered no matter when the month starts and ends.

At first glance these pages look quite spacious but there’s added elements that really limit the usability of them for me. For a start, there’s a little empty box in the top left hand corner of each day. It seems too large to put the date in but I’m not sure what else I’d use it for. Then there’s the mood tracking bit which I really don’t like. I’ve never tracked my mood and can’t imagine starting now.

Then, there’s an awful lot of checklists dotted around all over the place. I would have preferred the side and bottom to have just been kept as plain grid paper, so I could do what I wanted with it. Strangely, I actually really like the empty box at the top left that is presumably for you to write the month in. I feel like you could be quite creative with that.

The grid lines themselves are quite imposing. After using Hobonichi paper it might take some getting used to. However I much prefer having very visible grid lines as opposed to just blank pages (I can’t write straight).

Now would be a good time to talk font. It won’t be for everyone.

I love the simplicity of the Hobonichi fonts and this looks a little… blocky? For my tastes. There’s not huge amounts of it and so it would be fairly easy to cover up with stickers and the such, but it’s definitely something to look out for.

Next we move onto the weekly pages themselves.

There are so many things on these pages! After coming from a simple Hobonichi Cousin layout this is so busy it took me a while to really take everything in.

So on the top left you’ve got another one of those boxes you’ll recognise from the monthly pages. Great for a sticker or something decorative. Below that you have lots of checklist boxes. Just like with the monthly pages, it feels like having the checklists really limits how you can use this section The fact that it’s also got the horizontal lines running through it just further limits the usability of this for me. I would imagine if I were to use this full time I’d be covering it in stickers each week just to make it work how I want.

In terms of the days themselves the times of the day are very obvious and not discreet at all. As someone who doesn’t use the timing on the Hobonichi Cousin columns, I really don’t like this. There’s also another mood tracker section and two different weather sections (one at the very top and one at the bottom). Not sure those are really necessary.

I could definitely make this layout work, particularly as each day is sectioned out, which is exactly how I’m planning in my Cousin weeklies right now. You would just have to either ignore the times and extra little bits, or cover them up.

It was at this point I realised this wasn’t so much a dupe of either a Cousin or a Jibun Techo, it’s a clear copy. The styling in this though seems a lot more harsh.

Next it’s time for a few daily pages.

These are nestled in the back but you don’t get enough for a full year. 

I actually quite like the design of these, they’re nice and simple. I also like the way that they’re split into two meaning you could use each page for two days if you didn’t have enough to fill a whole page.

As someone who doesn’t use daily pages much for daily planning this is kind of ideal for me. There’s 50 pages of these in total and so if you used two days to a page they’d last a decent length of time. I do think I’d miss having whole pages that could be used for collections though.

Now it was time to test the pens on the paper!

This paper, much like the Weeks dupe from a couple of weeks ago is smooth and thick. It also handles most pens surprisingly well. 

No issues with feathering or smudging and everything dried quickly. On the back of the page there was very little ghosting at all. 

The mark you can see on the page is actually a manufacturing defect. In terms of build quality this is pretty good. Aside from a few problems like the above I couldn’t see any real issues with the quality of this.

If you’re debating buying a Hobonichi Cousin, this* is a decent option to try out the size for a bit first.

At only $14* it’s also a really good price.

If you’re after the Jibun Techo, I’d be inclined to go for the real thing straight away. As long as you can get hold of one, they’re not as expensive as the Cousin and I much prefer the styling of it over this dupe version.

Have you tried this planner? Or the Jibun Techo? I’m debating purchasing a Jibun so I can review it in comparison to the Cousin. Let me know if you’d like to see such a review in the comments!