I went to Osaka!

I visited Osaka last month, and had a really good time. I brought along my Hobonichi Cousin to record it all and a few pens – Pigma Micron F and 01, and the main Zig Clean Color markers that I use.

It was great to finally meet Instagram friends in person and go to the concert of my favourite group, which is Kanjani8 of course! More on that later…

Took an overnight flight from Perth to Singapore, then onto Osaka. Thought I’d start drawing my meals for fun to keep me occupied during layovers and flights.

Reserved my ticket online for the Rapi:t train into Osaka, which meant I had the whole carriage to myself! Met my friend at the station, and later was introduced to the goodness that is Horai 551. Basically like Osaka-style Chinese food and absolutely delicious.

Spent the next day trying to stop being so sleepy, and acclimatise to the heat. Curry is the way to go! Hawaiian themed things seem the rage at the moment, with McDonalds even having a moco loco burger. Continuing that theme for the day, grabbed some takeaway at a Hawaiian burger place for dinner. Something different about burgers in Japan that I have trouble pinpointing. I’m guessing there’s more seasoning in the patty maybe.

Visited U-Arts, a great little art supplies shop which specialises in cat things: washi tape, notepads, sticky notes, cards, postcards and lots more.

Lemon is the adorable housecat of my friends, who loves chewing on plastic and sleeping on her back. Even though the belly is exposed, she won’t let you touch it…

Next day we made a trip out to Chiridoribashi to find the Shikaku store and gallery. Chridoribashi is out in the ‘burbs, so it’s a small space and I presume the owner lives upstairs. There’s even a sign saying to close the front door so the cats won’t escape.

That week the Misaki Tanaka exhibition was showing, and there were loads of people inside the shop. I spent a few bucks on Ishiyama Azusa things and zines by Mon and Nakamura Kyoko.

There was a summer festival just setting up in the area as we walked by. There was something going on at the temple so we watched for a little while, and I snapped a tiny chihuahua.

There also seems to be a cat that always sleeps at the station. It has a collar on, so I guess someone must be feeding it?

Kyoto day! Rode the old fashioned train cars to get there. Visited the new Tobichi Kyoto store, which sells Hobonichi related goods, and also had the Higuchi Yuko Babel exhibition there at the time.

Wednesday was an easy day where we went to Kyocera Dome to buy Kanjani8 concert goods the day before the concert. This year’s theme is ‘Jam’, which is the title of their music analysis/performance show. Kanjani8 are Johnny’s, which means they’re essentially an idol group, but they’ve become quite a good band as well.

My favourite member is Maru, so I ended up with a Maru fan (uchiwa), strawberry jam themed penlight, concert themed patches and a zippered pouch with jam jars on it.

Hung around the Aeon mall next door, and I discovered the key lime yoghurt frappe that Starbucks has in Japan. Tastes like cheesecake to me, and so good.

Concert day! I hadn’t been to a Kanjani8 concert before, just watched everything on DVD. So the stage and concert arena was super exciting to me, and the fact that the whole opening section were band songs… they pretty much nailed their parts, even poor Yoko on trumpet. Lighting and design were great as well, and I really liked the super tall screens (10m high?) to the left and right of stage. Had a good view of the whole area, as there were a few smaller platforms right around.

Not pictured: going to Torichiki after the concert, which is a chain owned by the father of one of the members of Kanjani8 (Ohkura). And then bumping into other fans of Kanjani who also thought it would be a good place post concert. And then shoving all our Kanjani uchiwas in their faces.

Next day was marked by a pilgrimage of sorts to member Murakami’s hometown, Takatsuki.  It’s a small town about 20 minutes from Osaka Station. The local Tower Records staff are big fans of Kanjani8 and have a section out the front devoted to fan art, release a regular fanzine and have a permanent display of Kanjani8 merchandise. There’s even a guestbook you can sign while you’re there. They gave me a little card with Kanjani8 characters drawn on it for buying related stuff (the issue of Bass Magazine with Maru on the cover).

Last night in town, and I also hit the jackpot at the secondhand Book Off. Lots of 108 yen Kanjani8 singles, some with DVDs even, and a pristine best of album. Thanks whoever offloaded all these! Had to repack my suitcase because of it, but worth it!

Watched Saturday Plus which is old people’s tv, but it has Maru as a host. Went to Komeda’s Coffee for lunch, which is always busy. Sandwiches come in lots of 3, when really I’m used to just eating the 2 and being done with it. Prawn katsu sandwich was delicious. Took a train to the airport, turned into a giant sook because everything and people were great and now I had to go home.

More plane food. The best was from Osaka, even the bread roll was nicer. Top tip: avoid eggy and sausagey breakfasts, at least in economy class anyway.

Then home to sooky cat Astro, who was so happy he purred everywhere and sat next to me for ages. Start unpacking all my goodies (mostly a million stickers) and find the creepiest place to put the Maru uchiwa. He is currently looking down from a fake cactus.


The rest of my stuff has been suitably Kanjani-fied. Concert patches come in handy for decorating a plain Hobonichi cover.

Workspace – July 2017

Welcome to my desk!


Here I keep books related to drawing and notebooks, markers, pencils, washi tape and other bits and pieces. Sitting on the desk is my current Hobonichi Cousin avec and original size Hobonichi.

The desk is the Lisabo from Ikea. It’s quite skinny so it fits well in my small space.


Mildliners, Zig Clean Color Brush, Van Gogh pencils, and other pens.


Hobonichi guidebooks, Illustrator Note magazine, previous year’s Hobonichi, books by Sugiura Sayaka…


MT masking tape rack purchased from Japan- I think MT have these available on their shopping site. You’ll need a shopping service to ship it outside of Japan.


See you again soon!

Hobonichi Techo flipthrough

Here’s a little video I made of the year so far. It’s interesting to see how drawing style changes over time, and how different pens create different lines. I’m using the Hobonichi Cousin, which is the A5 size planner. I can fit a lot into one page that way 🙂

Here’s some more pages featured in the video:

Looking forward to the next six months of the year!


Everyday has something different about it – that’s worth recording.

Like many people, I have a bad memory for everyday things, and keeping a notebook helps. I like Austin Kleon’s thoughts on keeping a log book of daily events, no matter how small.

I use a Hobonichi Techo to make drawing and journalling a daily habit. Founder Shigesato Itoi has some interesting thoughts on writing a “life book”.

It doesn’t matter what notebook you use – one with daily dated pages will help to prompt you to put something down. Even if it’s one word, that means something in retrospect.

So here’s to a new beginning, and a record of where you’ve been so far.