In part 1 of this post I looked at the Jibun Techo by Kokuyo, a simpler and more compact competitor to Hobonichi planner.
Kokuyo also make a pretty ingenious trifold A5 cover, which not only will work for the Jibun Techo but also a Hobonichi Cousin, Moleskine, MD Midori A5, Seven Seas, Taroko journal, or any other A5 or A5 slim notebook. The cover is vegan leather (aka plastic) and polyester canvas (aka a different kind of plastic). It has three riveted ribbon bookmarks and closes with an elasticated band. There are outside pockets in both front and back, big enough to store my A5 shitajiki as you can see. One thing I appreciate is that the elastic band is so firm when it’s unfastened it doesn’t flop around, it sits nice and tight against the back of the cover (see right pic).
The trifold design allows for easy carrying of the Jibun Techo 3 book system. In the photos I actually have a Hobonichi Cousin A5 notebook, not the Jibun Idea book. You can see how well it fits.
The planner slips into the cover just like a Hobonichi cover. The Life book nestles next to it in the back cover. The Idea book or other notebook attaches via a clever split plastic sleeve, which swings out to give you the trifold. The same plastic sleeve design sits in front, although that one doesn’t swing out.
The inside back cover has three horizontal slots for business cards/credit cards/sticky note holders, and there’s one more vertical one in the foldout sleeve.
Bonus: the cover comes with a free spiral bound notebook, and the paper in it is surprisingly good.
One big advantage of this split sleeve system is you can insert either a spine-bound notebook or a top-bound jotter pad/note pad into the space.
The whole thing makes a slim package convenient to carry or throw in your bag. The pen loop is elastic, and amply big enough for a Lamy Al-Star or even chunkier pen.
But not only the Jibun Techo set will fit in it. Look! This sucker will hold a large Moleskine plus a notebook, a Hobonichi Cousin with a Hobonichi notebook, or a Taroko Enigma by itself (just), meaning it will also hold a Seven Seas Writer/Crossfield by itself.
One thing I see a lot is people saying they love the design of the Safari, but dislike the khaki color of the A5. The Kokuyo A5 cover comes in four appropriately sober and businesslike color options.
I got my cover, including the notebook, on eBay for about USD$35. Shipping was free. Compare that to USD$118 for the Safari A5, plus another $20 for shipping and handling. My experience with this seller was fantastic. The cover arrived in New Zealand from Japan in a week (and remember, that was with free shipping).
Yes, the Safari is better quality, with more pockets, and arguably will last longer. It’s more elegant, although the Khaki color is not to everyone’s liking. But you can’t argue against that price difference. If you’re looking for a sturdy, practical, well-designed and non-precious journal cover you should definitely consider the Kokuyo.