Sneak Preview of BK Original Planner "JIYU"

Sneak Preview of BK Original Planner "JIYU"

Update (11/9/19): We now have JIYU BK Planner available on our website (hooray!!!!) You can find the item here

I feel lucky that I can experience and witness the importance of how a planner/journal plays in someone's life every day through the work of Baum-kuchen. When I hear our community talk about planners and journals, the tangible artifact is so much more than the physical presence of a bounded paper. I hear that a planner with a beautifully designed layout can help you feel organized. A tactile paper inside the notebook can nurture meditative moments when your flowing ink from the fountain pen touches the paper. Open-ended pages can become the most forgiving and kind container for your deepest thoughts both hopes and dreams as well as sorrows and griefs. Flipping through past daily pages can trigger your visual reminder of how accountable you were to live the day fully. I know this because I, too, have experienced personal growth through these pages. These notebooks have true purpose in our lives. 

So when Frido and I started tossing the idea of designing the original BK planner to celebrate the BK 10th anniversary, the project quickly became our personal investment. "With limited real estate we have inside of the Traveler's Notebook size refill, what can we do?" became our constant question. We wanted to create a layout that allowed maximum freedom to customize what goes on each page while creating a sense of serenity and calmness that came with gentle order. As these pages get filled with life, we wanted the layout to fall back as a background. Each dotted grid important yet harmonious with the rest of the design. Frido painstakingly plotted every page of the planner using a pencil during his prototype phase. He was penciling in and erasing these tiny dots so many times; I thought he would disappear into the page. We wanted Tomoe River Paper to represent our design. Figuring out the paper size and quantity to import from Japan, which might be a familiar business to a printing professional, filled our memo pad pages with calculation. While we waited for Tomoe River Paper to arrive from Japan, we continued to test and tweak the design, moving a dot a millimeter this way and that way. 

The result is our "JIYU" planner. 

The planner pages are Tomoe River Paper (cream) and come with the below pages.

  • 6 months overview page
  • Goal setting page (which can be used for various long-term lists you would like to keep track of such as your reading list)
  • Monthly pages (6 months)
  • Weekly pages (6 months)
  • Blank dot pages
We asked Eunice to try out one of the prototype samples we produced. I hope you enjoy seeing a sneak preview of how our layout will look! I promise there will be more photos of how Frido and I are using our first JIYU Planner prototypes. They sure are filled with life!

Our current production schedule is pointing our launch date to be somewhere in November. 

We are so thankful for all the support and encouragement we received from our community through our process. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!! We can't wait to share this baby with you when we are ready! 


  • Britta: December 30, 2019
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    I am working on my set up and I really love the design but I am struggling with the goal pages. Do you have any example to give me an idea? Thanks for this beautiful planner….

  • SharonF: November 11, 2019
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    Beautiful design. Have been checking website daily to see when they would become available. Ordered 2!! 2020 covered!

  • PatriciaW: November 09, 2019
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    When will we be able to order or pre-order this planner?

  • Bridget: November 09, 2019
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    I cannot wait for these! This is my favorite and most practical/usable layout for my family’s needs! I will be happy to use TN again…I wasn’t as I didn’t care too much for the layout before, but this one will bring me back! Thank you!

  • Elisaberh: November 09, 2019
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    These look amazing, and I will be trying them for sure, though I’ve really loved using the passport size this year. Perhaps also venture into developing that size? Weeklies (horizontal) are a must for me. Great job!

  • Yves: November 09, 2019
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    How do I get on the waitlist???

  • Rebecca: November 02, 2019
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    Love this design!! Very unobtrusive and provides flexibility in how to use the blank or dotted spaces. I also like that the monthly spread has blank boxes and only a small box for the date so the spread doesn’t look too busy. And Tomoe River paper is a must. Now if you’ll also offer it in B6 Slim size, I’d be all over it!

  • Kathy: November 02, 2019
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    looking forward for this~!!!!!

  • Upstate Steve: November 02, 2019
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    The main layout looks nicely “balanced,” reminiscent of the block-per-day format of the TN Passport Weekly insert; also with good free-form usage of the extra area (upper corner of the right-hand page) of the larger Regular size. I especially like the dot-grid + blank mix; and of course the Tomoe R paper. I look forward to trying it out, despite having just received the 2020 Week+Memo refills last week! Two questions:
    (1) Will the production version be year-independent (like the prototype)? That is, will it be the user’s responsibility to fill in the dates in the correct places on the grid for each month? OK with me, just curious.
    (2) What is the spacing on the dot-grid for each day? Based on Eunice’s entries, it looks like there will be a premium on compact writing. Also OK with me, since I’m an EF guy (4 European FPs with EF nibs, 2 Japanese with F). But all of my stub nib friends might find it challenging.

  • Robyn Brown: November 02, 2019
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    I love this! So clean and elegant :) when will it be available for us mere mortals? (LOL)?

  • Jenifer Graham: November 02, 2019
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    This is beautiful!!!!
    Now I am torn if I should be waiting or go ahead and place my order or wait?

  • Debra Zyla: November 02, 2019
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    I could look at Eunice’s journal pages all day long. Both her journaling and these sample JIYU pages are so inspiring! I am particularly intrigued by the separate, ‘unbound’ dotted and blank spaces and look forward to seeing the final product.

    And this: “Frido…was penciling in and erasing these tiny dots so many times; I thought he would disappear into the page.” I appreciate knowing the effort, the thought, the process. Thank you, Wakako.

    P. S. I suddenly want to have a glass fish on my desk. ¯\(ツ)

  • Cheryse Phillips: November 02, 2019
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    I can’t wait to try the Jiyu notebooks. the pages look very clean and streamlined. I have been checking frequently to see if the planners have posted. Congratulations!

  • Sharon: November 02, 2019
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    This is lovely! Can’t wait for launch – I would love to purchase these for 2020!

  • Leila : November 02, 2019
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