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Very often I get the question, “What is Shigesato Itoi up to? What does he do when he’s not making games?” I then often point to articles written and translated by Chewy that explain who Itoi is and what his normal job is.
Probably THE biggest thing that his company produces now is what’s called the “Hobonichi Techo” – “Hobonichi” is the name of Itoi’s site/company, and “techo” is a Japanese word for something like “notebook”, but they want it to be called a “techo” outside of Japan too, in the hopes it’ll be one of those words that English speakers adopt, like “honcho” or “karaoke”. In short, though, the Hobonichi Techo is a planner, diary, notebook, scrapbook, and a million other things all in one. It’s very customizable – some people even use them as wallets! And when a year is up, you can put it on the bookshelf with other years’ and have it be like a family album or personal memoirs of that year.
Anyway, the techo is the flagship item of Itoi’s company and has been a wildly huge success in Japan over the past many years. And with that success, the company decided to try releasing the techo outside of Japan – and awesomely enough, the translation/localization task fell to Chewy! I’m so jealous!
You can order the techo and its various upgrades/customizations from Itoi’s website, but because it’s a bit daunting to navigate (even though the ordering stuff has been translated into English) Chewy has made a supplement “walkthrough” on how to order the techos and what’s so great about them. See these links!
Chewy was kind enough to give me a free English techo the other day and it’s been surprisingly great. For the last year I’ve used a dinky little $3 planner I got from Walmart, but I instantly tossed it aside after a day or two with Itoi’s planner. I know that’s not saying much, but I’d genuinely recommend one of these techos if you use planners, diaries, journals, notebooks, or anything else already, or if you want to try to get yourself more organized. It’s really hard to explain in words why people love them so much in Japan, that’s something hopefully Chewy can expound upon sometime.
My one other tip is this: if you pick up a planner, you don’t NEED to get a cover (I’m fine without one) but the covers are really cool and they all have their own little extra uses – you can turn your planner into a wallet, for example.
Unfortunately, the English covers are kind of bland and a bit expensive, but you can order a Japanese cover. They’re more stylish and come in many different styles. You can even download cover images to print out and use as your planner cover, including this official MOTHER 3/Mr. Saturn-themed cover!
The hope is that the English techo/planner will do well for Itoi’s company (and my secret hope is that if it does well Chewy will get asked to continue to do more work for Itoi’s company… and then that’s when we strike and get all the MOTHER games and novels officially released in English and we get EarthBound 64 betas and more acknowledgment from Itoi himself and lots of free candy.) Hey, I can dream, can’t I? 😛
I’ve skipped a lot of details here, so there might be things in there that interest you! And at the very least, you’ll have a better idea of what Itoi and his company are up to!
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