A message from Shigesato Itoi: A book that measures 5/life

Now and then, we’ve discussed what we could do to celebrate Hobonichi’s 10 year anniversary. Even looking back at my old “Kimagure Camera” segment, I see pictures of my dog and reminisce about how young she was, and think of things she was or wasn’t doing at that time. It’s always been fascinating to look back even a year or two and see what’s changed. I like reading through my old Hobonichi Techos, too. Looking back with hindsight makes it easy to see the changes and the surprising hints to things that have happened since. That’s what’s most interesting to me: Collecting the little bits and pieces of everyday life that accumulate across the years.

Looking back or forward across a decade feels too distant; circumstances change a bit too much for the end result to feel like your personal reality. Cut that in half, to five years, and you’ve still got major life changes to reflect on — and it feels like forever, just like ten years.

That’s why we decided to make a single techo that spans five years. It’s not just a journal of your life. You can use it just like the standard Hobonichi Techo, taking notes and making sure it’s always on you as you go about your daily life. It’s not a 5-Year Diary, but a 5-Year Techo.

Collecting the little events and occurrences of your five years is fun. You can set down the time your family threw you a graduation party, or when your neighbor’s tree was in full bloom, or when hurricane season seemed to come late. When you read back through all those small entries I think you’ll get a full grasp of just how alive you are.

People often tell me how interesting everyone who appears in our Hobonichi articles must be. But that’s true of all of us — and I think you’ll also find yourself more interesting the more you write. It’s a pleasure to take note of how interesting you are, and to become more interested in yourself.

Five years is 1/4 of a twenty-year-old’s life.
It’s 1/10 of a fifty-year-old’s life.
Thinking about it that way, it’s pretty amazing to keep record of what equates to 5/life.
Being able to fill in the entire book will surely leave you prouder of yourself than when you began.