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Tips for Buying EarthBound

January 4th, 2013 | Itoi, Merchandise


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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45 Comments to Buy One of Shigesato Itoi’s English Language Planners!

Dan said on Jan. 4, 2013

I bought one when you posted that interview with him a couple months ago! It’s really nice. 🙂

wiiarebrothers said on Jan. 4, 2013

Thanks for the link to the guide. I’ve been wanting one for a long time and I just saw that they made one in English this year with ART&SCIENCE. It’s weird though that they make an English techo, and that hobonichi store doesn’t have an english option.

Chewy said on Jan. 4, 2013

It’s not “the store doesn’t have an English option” as much as “the third-party online check-out service doesn’t have an English option.”

pk_stan said on Jan. 4, 2013

I think we can all agree here that Chewy is like the most awesome person ever. 🙂

Mato said on Jan. 4, 2013

Yeah, it’s crazy – I remember just a few years ago when she was just starting to study the language and now she’s already at Level 99 and one-hit killing gigantic translation bosses.

TWJ said on Jan. 4, 2013

How much is shipping to the US?

Tiktaalik said on Jan. 4, 2013

What cover would one select if you wanted to make use of the MOTHER 3 PDF cover? I guess look for a cover that has a “Cover-on-Cover” type?

Chewy said on Jan. 4, 2013

Good thing I still have Tomato-sempai to keep guiding me from driving off cliffs or other violent kanji-related deaths B-)

I meant to add generally expected prices:
Planner book: 2500 yen
Cover: varies (non-leather usually 1500 ~ 3900 yen)
Shipping to America: 1200 yen (book only), 1500 yen (book + cover)
Handling fee: 500 yen

Plus a couple bucks taken off because sales tax is removed from the equation.

Chewy said on Jan. 4, 2013

Yeah, the PDF covers fit inside the “Cover-on-Cover” plastic sleeve.

Alexis said on Jan. 4, 2013

Wait, it says that shipping is October ?? What does that mean ?? Please tell me that it’s because the forgot to change it from last year or something, ’cause I’m interested in buying (the book only, I think the default cover’s cool!).

Wikzo said on Jan. 4, 2013

After I listened to a podcast about EarthBound on Fangamer.net (http://fangamer.com/blog/2012/11/12/podcast-140-earthbound-discussion/) with where Lindsay Nelson talked about the Techo, I decided to give it a try and ordered it. It took less than a week to arrive which took me by surprise (I live in Denmark).

I have been using it for everyday-notes since I received it. Luckily, it had a few days before 2013, so I could “practice” using it.

I use it to write small diary-like notes of what I have made during the day. There is enought room for small sentences. The book quality is really nice; it feels good in my hands 🙂

Wikzo said on Jan. 4, 2013

BTW, I did not buy any covers, since they felt a little expensive. However, I found that the leader on the actual Techo is really nice, and I don’t really want to cover it with anything.

I like the concept of being able to customize it with a cover, so many next year I will try it out. I hope they will keep releasing it in English from now on. Maybe they should consider making a 100% English-written site, since it can be a little intimidating ordering it. Or they should start selling them at something like Amazon. I am sure that would help a lot in selling the Techo in English-speaking countries!

PSIPunky said on Jan. 4, 2013

Selling it on Amazon would be great and I would definitely get one. I’m still iffy on going to the foreign website.

Off topic, I love the quote on the unofficial guide by Itoi about making a song.

Chewy said on Jan. 4, 2013

Shipping is listed as October (2012) because the website was up last year before it went on sale. It’s fine now.

FYI, for a long list of reasons, it will probably never be listed through Amazon.

kenisu said on Jan. 4, 2013

Aaaaaand if it does become an English-adapted word, you can be sure most people will mispronounce it and say “tek-o,” just like they say “hairy carry,” “carry okee,” and “mane guh.”

Mr. Tenda said on Jan. 4, 2013

^ By the same logic, does a November ship date (“11月末出荷”) for a Japanese cover (ie: セルリアンブルー) mean they’re available now? I really like this cover and wanna order it!

Poe said on Jan. 4, 2013

I bought one of the Japanese covers a few weeks ago. So yeah, they’re available now as far as I know??

Chewy said on Jan. 4, 2013

Yeah I’m not quite sure what the deal is, so I’d assume that if the button lets you buy something, you’re good, and if not, you’re outta luck.

Anonymous said on Jan. 4, 2013

Darnit! I wish I’d known the English-translated Hobonichi was done by Earthbound familiars, as I probably would’ve given more consideration to buy it XD. I went ahead and bought a Japanese one about a week ago 😛 .

While I did like the English version for its larger grid, I ended up going with a Japanese one because it has a task checklist at the top (which comes in really handy in remembering homework assignments.) Any chance this feature will come to the English version next year?

meleemario said on Jan. 4, 2013

This seems like a really neat idea. Although, I have to admit, I too share the same dreams as you, Mato! It seems Itoi has really been catering to us Westerners lately, I hope something good will come from it!

Chewy said on Jan. 4, 2013

Anon: Yeah I was super bummed they took out the task list at the top, but I’m impressed that as I use the English version, the whole page feels a little bigger by not having that. It’s weird. And I also have such big to-do lists that I don’t think I’m in a position to complain—my lists spilled onto the rest of the page all the time anyway.

I’m not sure if it’s coming to next year’s edition, because it’s still far too early to discuss changes when it just came out. Hobonichi edits the Japanese version every year based on customer input, but I’m not sure how they’re going to approach the English version since that one is a collaboration with Sonya Park, who was responsible for the design changes. Perhaps if enough people write in with comments, they’ll be open to considering things the way they do with the Japanese version. (I’ll be posting contact information to do that later on.)

Mr. Tenda said on Jan. 5, 2013

Just bought mine! Can’t wait, I’ve wanted one of these ever since I first learned about them. I’m moving too, so it’ll be a great way to start the new year.

Deraj626 said on Jan. 5, 2013

Oh, candy. 😀 😛

Sinth64 said on Jan. 5, 2013

Bought one. So excited, and I’ve never even used a planner! Any suggestions on methods of application for someone who can’t seem to stick to any organizational plan?

Also awesome work (in general) Chewy, I’m impressed.

Evil_Watermelon_2876 said on Jan. 6, 2013


If you would like to contact me, here is my email:


Ness1985 said on Jan. 6, 2013

^Oh look, it’s one of Giygas’ minions.

BusterTheFox said on Jan. 6, 2013

…Um… lol…? I think?

I feel like buying it just because it’s made by Itoi. >.>; Heheh. I have no clue what I would use it for. Basically, I sleep, play video games, go to work, play video games, sleep, and then buy stuff sometimes on Payday. I… guess I could use it to make notes to myself for games. Like… Goals? Like… getting three stars in all of the grand prix’s in Mario Kart 7… and getting Duster and Boney up to Level 15 in Hard Mode during that one short point in chapter 1 where you have them both… So I can be overlevelled for Chapter 2…

Meh. Sounds like something I would use Notepad for. xD Plus, it’s not like I can’t remember it anyway.

Any other things I could use it for…?

Evil_Watermelon_2876 said on Jan. 6, 2013

@NEss1985 I am FORMERLY one of Giygas’ minions

@BustertheFox No. you’re right

Mrs. Saturn said on Jan. 6, 2013

I went ahead and bought this. Even though I’m out of school, I’m still trying to teach myself certain things and a planner could certainly go a long way towards helping me stay on track (and I want to support Mr. Itoi, of course).

Chewy said on Jan. 6, 2013

Buster: For people who aren’t in school and don’t have a job that would need a planner, it’s still good to keep it for personal goals. Things you’ve wanted to do but can’t get motivated, etc. because it helps to have it drawn out. So it’s good for bettering yourself. Goals are important to have, I think. It makes our lives move in a direction. But that’s my personal feelings about it.
Also, I’m not someone who keeps a journal, nor do I want to, but it ends up being one anyway because by keeping it on me, when I have an “a-ha!” moment, I can write it down. Some people use smartphones to make notes of random thoughts they don’t want to forget (name of song to download later, cool car you see drive by, question to ask someone later, etc.), it’s good for that if your habit now is to make a mental note that disappears just enough to leave a memory hole you feel bad about. One thing I love using it for is ticket stubs. Lots of people like keeping ticket stubs (plane tickets, admission tickets, con badges, etc.) and it looks like clutter when those float around your room. Tape it to that day’s page, and voila, scrapbook in, clutter out.

Mex12 said on Jan. 7, 2013

Why is the bundle with cover+planner cheaper than just planner?

Chewy said on Jan. 7, 2013

The planner starts at 2500 yen, and if you get a cover, the price of the cover is simply added to that. So the bundle isn’t cheaper, nor is it discounted.

LabrynianRebel said on Jan. 8, 2013

If they had an American distributor so I wouldn’t have to pay overseas shipping I might get one. It would be nice to have a nice book to jot notes down in.

UG_Bubbleman said on Jan. 8, 2013

Awesome, ordered mine last night. I believe 18,080 yen equals to nearly $21, right?

Mato said on Jan. 8, 2013

Uh oh, I hope you’re not too shocked, but that’s more like $210.

Mex12 said on Jan. 8, 2013

ah okay, i see. didn’t realize that it was 2,500, not 25,000 for the planner alone. $ 197.21 is a little steep for me.

Mato said on Jan. 8, 2013

Huh? 2500 yen is about $28. I wouldn’t pay for a 25,000 yen planner either 😛

JoJo said on Jan. 8, 2013

Im bummed. This thing looks so cool but it is just too expensive and I really don’t see any extra value besides that it supports the creator of my most favorite game ever.

UG_Bubbleman said on Jan. 8, 2013

Wait.. what? o_O
I’ll have to check on that now.

UG_Bubbleman said on Jan. 8, 2013

Thank you, Mato. I got to cancel it just in time. I still want one, gonna try using the guide again for a cheaper one instead. 🙂

Chewy said on Jan. 8, 2013

UG_Bubbleman: Oh, phew, I was just about to let you know you could cancel it. You should be fine if you get one without a cover (plus shipping = roughly $46) or separately add a cloth cover from the Japanese section (which would total to about $67.)

Mimi said on Jan. 10, 2013

Can you pay with debit card? Because I don’t have a credit card :/

Mato said on Jan. 10, 2013

Most debit cards can be used in place of credit cards – is there a Visa or Mastercard or other credit company logo on your card? If so, then you can use the card like a credit card and it’ll draw from your normal balance.

Mimi said on Jan. 10, 2013

Visa! Thanks a lot I’ll try to buy one c:

Tourist said on Jan. 19, 2013

Does anyone know how long it takes to ship? I’ve gotten an email in japanese saying it has, but I have not been billed yet according to my bank account.
Does this transaction usually take more than a week?


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