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Shigesato Itoi reflects on his friendship with Satoru Iwata


After the devastating news of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata’s passing, Shigesato Itoi has updated his daily blog, Today’s Darling, with a post reflecting on his intimate friendship with Iwata. Iwata often stopped by Itoi’s Tokyo office when he was in town, and has appeared many times in interviews on the Hobonichi website, which he helped launch back in 1998. Hobonichi staff have compiled a list of some of the feature interviews they’ve had in the past. The interviews are only in Japanese, but you can find the list here.

The list does, however, include a 11-page interview with Iwata from 2007 that was translated into English, entitled “Mr. Iwata came to our office, and we had a nice talk over supper.

My unofficial translation of Itoi’s message from today’s blog is below.

When I’m parting with a friend, regardless of the circumstances, I find it best to just say, “See you later.” We’ll meet again. After all, we’re friends.

That’s right—nothing unusual about it. I’ll see you later.

You went on a trip far, far away, even though it was planned for many years from now. You wore your best outfit and said “Sorry for the short notice,” though you didn’t say it out loud.

You always put yourself last, after you’d finished helping everyone else. You were so generous as a friend that this trip might be your very first selfish act.

I still can’t grasp what’s happened. It feels like I could still get a light-hearted e-mail asking me out to lunch at any moment—after you’ve made sure lunch wouldn’t disrupt my schedule, of course.

You can invite me out whenever you want. I’ll invite you, too.

So for now, let’s plan on meeting again. You can call me up whenever you like, and I’ll give you a call, too. I still have a lot to talk to you about, and if I come up with any particularly good ideas, I’ll let you know.

So let’s meet again.
No–I suppose we’re already meeting. Right here, right now.

What’s a haramaki, and why is Mario on it?


Shigesato Itoi’s company, Hobonichi, is mostly known overseas for its quirky but versatile daily planner, the Hobonichi Techo. Another major product is one less familiar overseas: the haramaki, or belly warmer.

Abakabonpapas this old but informative PingMag article points out, the haramaki was once strictly functional underwear that had a grandpa-image similar to yellowing long johns. In 2001, Hobonichi reinvented them as fashion items to layer with your clothes.

You know those everyday momentary chills you get when you bend over and your shirt rides up a little? Gone. I see London, I see France, I see someone’s wearing a super handsome belly warmer over their pants. Studies have proven that wearing this thick, extra layer around your stomach keeps the rest of your body warm in the winter. It’s also great in the summer when trapped inside all day under a blasting air conditioner.


Before and after wearing a haramaki.

The 2014 Summer collection includes three very special designs created in collaboration with Nintendo. One design stars Mario, and two designs feature Mr. Saturn from EarthBound.

While the sizes were designed around the relatively smaller body of Japanese people, the terrycloth material is incredibly stretchy and large enough to fit most westerners. You can wear it directly over your skin, over an undershirt and under your shirt, or completely over your shirt.

You can find size charts and ordering instructions here.


The 2014 Summer lineup in a Loft department store in Tokyo.


Hobonichi Haramaki Size Chart & Ordering Instructions


Looking to buy a haramaki belly warmer from Japan? Here’s an English translation of Hobonichi’s size chart, and ordering instructions until there is an English store available in the future. For now, feel free to use this walkthrough to nab a limited-edition official Nintendo design while you still can!

Size Chart

While each haramaki has slightly different material ratios, they’re all made of comfortable short-loop terry cloth with a lot of stretch. So if you’re just a little larger than a certain size, give it a shot!


F = Large / S = Small / XS = Extra Small / C = Child
F +10 = Tall Large / S+10 = Tall Small





Note: 100 yen is about $1.00 USD. Sales tax is removed at checkout for orders shipped outside Japan.

  • Adult size: 3400 yen (~$34)
  • Child size: 2900 yen (~$29)
  • Adult tall size: 3800 yen (~$38)
    *The Nintendo series does not come in a tall size
  • Shipping & handling to North America: starting at 1700 yen (~$17)

Ordering Instructions

  1. Access the Hobonichi Haramaki store.
  2. Find your product and click on the size you would like to buy.
  3. Choose “←Continue Shopping” or “Proceed to Checkout→”.
  4. Click on “English” option in cart.
  5. Follow these instructions to create a store account and check out.

Orders are shipped within 1~3 business days and mailed express, so you can generally expect them in about a week.

Questions? Ask in the comments!


Today’s Darling, 12/6/2013

From Today’s Darling, Itoi’s daily blog:

I’ve been working for most of my life, now, so people remember different work of mine from different periods in my career. There’s something that makes me happy about that, so I can smirk about some of it and say, “Yeah, that was me.”

In particular, after making the MOTHER series, the players have grown up into adults, and they talk about the effect the game had on them and the memories it’s created. It makes me feel like a teacher reuniting with his pupils. Nowadays, I look back on all the hardships I faced creating those games, and I often think and say how glad I am to have done it.

The television series about our hunt for buried gold always gets people curious. They ask if anything came of it, and tell me I should do it again sometime. But I just say that nothing came of it, and I can’t.

Once in a while, I’ll meet someone who tells me they sent in entries to my magazine columns Hentai Yoiko Shimbun and Manryu Slogan Juku.

My main profession of copywriter is one that I performed without attaching my name to my work, but people still often give me as an example of a professional. And the television show “YOU” that I hosted for a short period of time, to this day people tell me they would always watch it. People even bring up my work writing lyrics for TOKIO.

But me, personally, I’ve forgotten it all. I’m always relying on other people to remind me of everything because I kept no records of anything, and my memory’s not very good. I haven’t done the math, but I think Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shimbun is the longest and most fulfilled job I’ve ever held. It’s the first time in my life that I’ve been able to continually push ahead without ever losing sight of my motive, and I think it will be the last. Perhaps that’s why I want to reach so many more people now than I ever have.

Thanks for visiting Hobonichi. Seeing all the things that come to an end makes me want to do my best.

Official Earthbound 64 Cancellation Interview

The following article is a three-way discussion between Shigesato Itoi, Shigeru Miyamoto, and Satoru Iwata concerning the circumstances of the Earthbound 64 cancellation. The discussion goes on for quite a long time as they pore over every detail they could possibly think of to explain exactly what happened when they pulled the plug on the ill-fated Nintendo 64 game they’d been working on for a total of six years.

This discussion was posted alongside the official cancellation announcement on August 22nd, 2000, so it’s 13 years late to make it out of Japan, which isn’t surprising considering the volume. I recommend sitting down to read it when you’ve got time to burn.

(Original article can be found here.)



To Everyone Who Waited

A Discussion between Shigesato Itoi, Satoru Iwata and Shigeru Miyamoto about the cancellation of MOTHER 3.

Discussion Participants

●Shigesato Itoi
MOTHER 3 creator/scenario writer

 ●Satoru Iwata
MOTHER 3 producer
Former president of HAL Laboratory, current head of Nintendo’s corporate planning division and consultant at HAL Laboratory

●Shigeru Miyamoto
MOTHER 3 producer
Head of Nintendo Entertainment Analysis and Development

Itoi: We’re publishing this discussion before the opening of Nintendo Space World which runs August 24-26, 2000. Upcoming games are announced on the 24th, but some people may be surprised to see MOTHER 3 absent from the lineup. So before that happens, I’d like to have a discussion between the three of us so everyone can understand why MOTHER 3 disappeared. I’m very sorry to say this, but we’ve recently decided to discontinue the game’s development. Is “discontinue” the right word?

Read more…

The 64DREAM – December 1997 Interview: Shigesato Itoi and Shigeru Miyamoto Discuss the Nintendo 64DD

This issue celebrates the magazine’s one year anniversary with a discussion between two of the video game powerhouses at the time: Shigesato Itoi and Shigeru Miyamoto. They discuss their professional relationship, the unpopular Japanese TV advertisements for the Nintendo 64, the 64DD (two years before its release), and lots and lots of random personal questions!

Read more…

Satoru Iwata and Shigesato Itoi Discuss MOTHER 2 Before Virtual Console Release


Shigesato Itoi recently sat down with Satoru Iwata to share a discussion in commemoration of the MOTHER 2 release on the Japanese WiiU Virtual Console. Iwata did most of the talking, and former Weekly Famitsu editor and current Hobonichi employee (and token MOTHER 2 guy in the office) Yasuhiro Nagata headed the interview.

KameDaniRyuu has translated the three-part interview and posted it online. You can find the translated interview here and the original Japanese page here.


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