For the past six years, I’ve made a point of buying myself a little Rilakkuma daily planner each January and using it to keep track of my appointments, deadlines, to-do lists, etc. These kinds of daily planners are widely used in Japan, perhaps as a result of the Japanese love of punctuality and efficiency (or maybe they’re so punctual and efficient because everyone uses daily planners?) Sure, you could use the functions built into your smartphone or tablet, but there’s something about writing things down that just makes you feel like you’ve got it all together. Also, and this is kind of geeky, but it’s sorta fun to flip through your old schedule books and see what you were up to on x date 3 years ago. In fact, Japan loves schedule books so much that you can now choose from a huge range of styles which are tailor-made to cater to specific lifestyles. Whether you’re a hostess, train otaku or exam-cramming student, there’s a schedule book out there for you!

Let’s jump right in with the top 7 “specialized” daily planners available for purchase in Japan!

1. Hostess planner

Being a hostess is a lot of work! (…Apparently. I mean, I’ve never tried it.) There’s a lot of customers’ names to remember, not to mention all that after-work schmoozing you have to do. This planner apparently has charts for filling in dates, customers’ names, and tallying up, erm, bonuses. It also looks fancy, meaning it won’t clash with your shiny dress! Perfect for ladies hard at work out there in the mizu shobai!

2. Anime otaku planner

If you know someone who’s a fan of the long-running Gundam anime series, then this planner themed around major character Char Aznable could be an ideal Christmas present for them! Each month features a different shot from the anime, and the shiny red embossed cover makes it a seriously cool accessory!

3.  Astronomy planner

If you’re a fan of science and all things space, then you’ll be over the moon with this planner which is packed with facts and figures! Star charts and constellations are included each month so you can keep track of the skies while you keep track of the minutiae of your daily life. You’ll never accidentally sleep through that solar eclipse or meteor shower again with this meaty reference book in your pocket!

4. Udon enthusiast planner

This stylish planner has dedicated areas in which to record consistency, taste and marks out of ten for a variety of udon shops in Kagawa prefecture. Available in muted green or understated yellow, this little souvenir will serve as a perfect reminder of your culinary jaunt around the prefecture!

5. Train otaku planner

If you’re one of those people who just can’t get enough of trains, then this is your new bible! It includes route maps, train serial numbers and other related in-depth train information encompassing most of Japan’s rail networks, and even the Shinkansen! There’s also even a little slot on the front cover in which to keep your paper ticket while travelling (although since we’re now firmly in the age of the IC prepaid train card such as the Suica/Pasmo/Icoca, surely only a noob would buy a paper ticket anyway?)

6. Historical planner

If you’re a Japanese history buff, then you’re going to need one of these in your pocket in case you forget any important dates or facts and for some reason find yourself out of wifi range. These planners have actually been sold in Japan for the past SIXTY years, and only this year are they finally being updated with new information (sixty years’ worth, in fact!)

7 . Jobhunting planner

Japanese university students embarking on the gruelling endurance march that is shuukatsu, or job-hunting, are no doubt in need of all the help they can get. Featuring 22 months’ worth of scheduling space, this handy book is perfect for writing down interview dates, potential bosses’ names and results of employment exams. Personally, though, the thought of having to spend 22 months pounding the pavements looking for a job has made my palms sweat so badly, I think I’m going to have to wrap things up here.

If, like me, you’re one of those people who simply HAS to have everything in (at least some semblance of) neat and tidy order, then there’s almost certainly a daily planner in Japan out there for your specific needs and tastes!

Main Image: Trendy.nikkeibp