Good evening,

It’s late evening as I write this. It’s also been a busy day, but the students are far into their final stage of the review book project.


The weather was a tiny it cooler this morning so I decided to ride my bike all the way to work. It’s fun and good exercise, plus I get to enjoy the great views, but it often has me hot and tired by the time I get to the top of the mountain. I thought I would have time to recover, but I was wrong. As it turned out, I had three lessons in a row first thing with marking that needed to be done before those classes. This is the disadvantage of not knowing my schedule from day to day. So I taught the three lessons and then I still didn’t get much of a break after that!

But enough about me. You’re here to read about the project. I’m pleased to report that the students of 4 of the 5 classes had their final lesson today. They were in the computer room typing up their final draft of their reviews. Some of those students are quick! Then, some of them are really slow too. That’s ok. Nearly everyone finished.


A few finished after school, but in the lessons there was a mad rush to save files as the bell chime creeped closer. We had a problem, because we had bought a few USB devices to save students data, but students were finishing too close together. So we ended up having the students save on their desktops. The problem with that was it was only temporary. If the students shut down the computers, then the file saved would disappear. We risked it anyway, and after the end of my three lesson run – while craving a cold drink and a comfy chair – I went from computer to computer with my USB drive saving each file in turn. I had to do this because the IT teacher wasn’t there today and only he knew how to access the network computer and save all the files together. So it was tedious, but the work got done.


As it turned out there was only one student who ignored our numerous instructions to leave the computers on, and he did delete two other students work, but we fixed the problem later.

In general everybody has done really well, but there are just a handful who are still writing their first draft. It’s a shame, but normal at any school. Tomorrow I have one more lesson and then the students will be finished. Other than some promo material and the prizes for our Indiegogo fundraisers, their bit is done!

See you again soon




We are like in the middle of the schools culture festival. That means that everyone is very busy. However we’re having lots of fun. All the classes have designed a particular event to raise money, play games or just have some fun. I joined the English club today at the other school. I had a display of English comic books, English movies, TV dramas, English food and English books. I think people enjoyed it, but there weren’t many visitors. I think all of the Japanese public are afraid of English. Tomorrow I have the event again and I am at Mukaiyama high school. I have the whole day in the media room to show videos, the first grade skit project as well, so it’s going to be so fun. The screen in that room is huge and the sound system is fantastic. So basically it’s like having my own cinema. Wonderful!

Some attention has been taken away from the project for a little while. However, last week the second grade students had some class time in which to finish writing the first draft reviews. As I said, some of them I’ve marked and returned them. I made a few corrections but they were really much better than I expected. Whereas some reviews were too short, I asked questions and when I felt an important point had been missed too. So I encourage them to write more and most of the students responded quickly with a longer review.


That said, still about half of the students have not handed in the first draft. They have until Thursday – that’s the deadline. It was good to see the students working in class. I didn’t get a chance to see them working over summer. So this was my first time. They work really well and personalities of each class are different, but generally they help each other and chat about the subjects.


Now, the students aren’t thinking about the reviews. All of the school is focused on the culture festival. It’s one of the few chances for the high school students to really have fun. They create shops or events in the school and many of them dress in costumes. You always find boys in schoolgirl uniforms and maid costumes. They like to do funny performances. Quite often there will be a group who will perform an AKB song. That’s the local idol group. The girls group.

It’s a good time and I’m tired from today. So, I must sleep before returning to the chaos.


The Cat Is Out Of The Bag

How are you doing? Is summer nice where you are or too hot?

I’m back a bit earlier than I said before. That’s because the English teachers had some further discussions. We decided that the summer vacation would be a great time to have the students work on the first draft of their review. Not only does this mean we can start earlier and give the students more time for writing, but it’s a longer period in which the project is active and I can provide information to potential backers when we start our Indie-gogo funding.

So, last Thursday and Friday I had lessons with Mukaiyama’s second grade classes. It was the end of a very hard week for me and I had full days of classes (since I was filming the 1st grade skit project as well for the school DVD) as well as interview tests to do after classes. Plus, the summer weather was particularly hot and humid that week. That should help explain why I look so tired and sweaty in the video below. Sorry about that. But yes, one of the other teachers filmed me introducing the project to one of the last classes. There is little reaction from students during the video, because they missed the finer details. However, I can assure you that when we handed out the newsletter after the recording stopped, and they read the Japanese explanation, there were plenty cries of ‘マジで?’ (seriously?).

I won’t comment further so as to keep this post reasonably short, but please take a look if just to laugh at how stupid I look.

This is it then, the project is under way! Please stick around and support us, because this is a brave venture for the school and the students are very excited now. Don’t let them work hard for nothing!

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Fundraising ends!

The EndDecember 1st, 2012
Our big fund raiser is coming to an end... Here's when. Thank you for all the support! We all really appreciate it.

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