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First Impression: A6 Kokuyo Systemic Notebook Cover (Image Heavy)

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I decided to try using a Hobonichi Techo Planner this year for my bullet journal. For that, I of course needed a notebook cover. After much scouring, I decided to try out the "Kokuyo Systemic Refillable Notebook Cover". I got that and the planner from JetPens (no affiliation, first time customer, very satisfied). Since the thing I wanted to know about this cover was nowhere to be found in any review, I decided to provide the information myself, along with first impressions - we'll have to wait until next year to see how it holds up and how well I like using it. (Large images so you can zoom in to see details.)




As you can see, it fits the Hobonichi well, including the two ribbons. (One review I read claimed it wouldn't quite fit the Hobonichi, but perhaps they had another notebook in there - I only have the Hobonichi. Another review claimed the ribbons weren't long enough for the Hobonichi, but as you can see, they are here.)


The thing I really wanted to know (but couldn't find in reviews) is if I could stuff multiple pens into the front pocket - so I wouldn't need a separate thing to carry my pens. As you can see, it takes five at once! (Waterman Laureat, TWSBI Eco, Sailor Pro Gear Slim, Pilot Vanishing Point, Pilot Penmanship) It's a tight fit, but I don't usually have 5 pens inked - usually 3-4, so it's good.




(Sorry about the over-exposure on the ruler, but hopefully it gives you an idea of the size.) Another reviewer said the elastic band was kinda wimpy. It's not the strongest band in the world, but it seems to work well. Time will tell whether it wears out. Here's a view of the back, with a passport size Goulet notebook (in at the same time as the pens; pretty sure I filled the thing to its limits - maybe a few slips of paper would fit inside):




(Sorry for the poor focus.) Finally, here are views from the side with the ruler (to see height of the book/cover) and from the corner, to see how it handles being stuffed:






Once I removed the pens, stretch marks remained down at the bottom of the pocket - they'd been in for maybe an hour at most. This doesn't bother me since I intend to always use this pocket for pens. Hopefully it won't stretch so much that it and the clips aren't enough to hold my pens in.


The overall quality of this cover is excellent - the stitching, seams, and folds in the fabric are sharp and clean - nothing sloppy here. The Hobonichi is about the limit of what you could fit inside, but it would easily take two of the little notebook that came with it. That notebook has nice, fountain-pen friendly paper. The only thing I have mixed feelings on is how the ribbon attaches to the cover. See the JetPens photos for a good shot of that. The knot is behind the top edge of the book binding and just seems a little awkward. On the other hand, if they'd sewn the ribbons into the fabric of the cover, you wouldn't be able to replace them if they wore out, whereas these would be easy to replace (for whatever reason, including just wanting something different).


And in the time it took me to write that paragraph, the stretch marks have disappeared, FYI.


I hope anyone out there who's looking for an A6 notebook cover will find this information useful. :) I'm looking forward to 2018 when I can use this thing and see how I really like it. :D

Edited by LizEF
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Great review, thanks. I'm going to a store today to check out the Hobinichi planners but I think they are limited to the standard covers.

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Thanks! I bought the planner and cover separately - just FYI. I kinda wanted the penguin cover that you can get straight from Japan, but $20+ shipping was too steep, so I went this way instead. I'm glad because while it's not as fun as the penguin cover, this one will hold all the pens I usually carry.

Edited by LizEF
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Thanks for the review! I have the B5 of that but didn't know they made an A6.

Inked: Aurora Optima EF (Pelikan Tanzanite); Franklin Christoph Pocket 20 Needlepoint (Sailor Kiwa Guro); Sheaffers PFM I Reporter/Fine (Diamine Oxblood); Franklin Christoph 02 Medium Stub (Aurora Black); Platinum Plaisir Gunmetal EF (Platinum Brown); Platinum Preppy M (Platinum Blue-Black). Leaded: Palomino Blackwing 602; Lamy Scribble 0.7 (Pentel Ain Stein 2B); Uni Kuru Toga Roulette 0.5 (Uni Kuru Toga HB); Parker 51 Plum 0.9 (Pilot Neox HB)

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  • 1 year later...

Just an update for anyone wondering about the durability of this thing - I've been using it for a year, and it's almost as good as new. The elastic band is still tight (and I used the Hobonichi many times per day, so the band went on and off a lot). The front pocket now has permanent stretch marks at the bottom from my pens, but this doesn't bother me. The ribbons and fabric have held up fabulously (I just put it in and out of a bag, or under my arm to carry). I figure it's got many more years before anything wears out.


I'll be using it again next year with my 2019 Hobonichi.

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Be aware there are two versions of each size of the Systemic. The one with the narrow elastic is a bifold. The one with the wide elastic is a trifold. The trifold is a little more expensive. I have both in A5. I like them both a lot.

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Very nice to know that these things are durable.

And also it seems compatible with thicker books like the Taroko or the Nanami Seven Seas

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you for this review. I really like the looks of that cover. And I LOVE that you can fit a few pens in it. Price seems very reasonable too. I think I'm going to get one for myself as well as a Hobonichi Techo or Weekly if they come in compatible size.

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