It appears that I underestimated the ability of Japanese bureaucracy  to be annoyingly complicated. The copyright laws here differ to the extent that we will have to pay a large sum of money to see even a student’s illustration of a character and that’s per image, not per character! In other words we need more money. So our budget will have to rise. I’m really sad about that, but I still believe this project has the potential to attract a lot of interest and generate the money. I’ll have to push harder to advertise it though.


Hi folks!

I hope summer has been an enjoyable time for you so far. It’s really hit Japan now. Monday saw the temperature rise to 36’C in some places. That wasn’t here in Sendai, but it must have been close.

Well this is just a progress report. After informing all the classes about the project, students are busy thinking about their topics. Here’s a picture of one classes sign up sheet. It was taken just a few hours after the introduction.


There’s a good variety of topics, with some that have even surprised me. If you know what all of them are, I guess you don’t need to buy our book but I hope you will support us anyway, because we want as many people as possible to know about this project. So be kind and share this site on your facebook or twitter. Thanks!

Tomorrow, I’ll return to Mukaiyama and I’ll see how many more topics are written on the sign up sheets. I gave them the deadline of Friday to choose. So hopefully they will be nearly full. The problem is duplicates. I want the book to be interesting with many different topics so I’ve asked the students to all have different topics. I’m guessing I’m going to have to force several students to choose again. We’ll see tomorrow.


Hello again,

Sorry for the silence. For a while, I thought the project was dead, as my company did not want to risk doing it. However, my school are so enthusiastic that they are going to do the project themselves (freeing me and my company from any harmful implications of responsibility). I’ve been asked to continue documenting it’s progress so the project and the blog are alive again.

More very soon as we reshuffle a bit.

Almost out the gate

Today we went to the school’s principal to discuss the project with him. He seems very happy to pursue the idea. The talk was all in Japanese with only a few comments from me, but it seemed straight forward.

The principal here’s quite keen about the use of technology and such in school (he likes iPads for example) so I was confident he would take to it.

Now all that remains is to get my company’s permission. They seemed to only be concerned about my school’s willingness so I’m hoping it’s all okay. Stay tuned!


How is everyone? It’s nice to see the site has had some visits since I made the original post. I hope to see it gather many mo visitors and regulars. Mind you, I haven’t started advertising it yet.

Recently, I’ve been planning ahead for the main advertising drive. Anyone who has visited our Facebook page will know that, at present, there is only a rubbish stand in placeholder icon and a banner from an old photograph of students work that is vaguely related to the project.


Don’t worry! That’s just there until my illustrator, Marisa Livingston, finishes the final image! Judging by her past work, it should be pretty awesome! I’ve worked with her several times now. She designed my book cover for my debut novel, for one thing and look how awesome that is!


So, soon we’ll have a decent looking Facebook page and the Kickstarter page will look gorgeous too.

Designing the icon

I want as much of this project to be decided by, if not made by, the students themselves. However, it’s too early in the process for them to be informed and this needs to be done to gain followers, so I played with a few ideas myself.

I knew I wanted to have at least one iconic high school student in it, and have it directly relate to either pop culture or a damaged Japan.

I’ve also recently been influenced by Danny Choo’s ‘Moekana‘ images too. Danny Choo is an British-Japanese ambassador of Japanese culture and he does some great work to promote all things Japanese, especially anime and his own character, Mirai Suenaga. He also makes a TV show called ‘Culture Japan’. So go and look around his site. He’s got some great posts there.

Anyway, after rejecting a few ideas like a high school student wearing an anime mask, the school mascot dressed up like an idol, I decided to go with a more traditional ‘ganbare!’ image: students cheering on with their mascot. ‘Ganbare’ is a phrase in Japanese that has many meanings, but it could be translated in this situation as ‘don’t give up!’, ‘keep trying’ or ‘fight on’. It shows students taking action which is the underlying purpose of this project.

I hope the icon image will appear on the final book cover but I also want to see a multitude of pop culture characters fighting for attention too. Hopefully, most of them will be drawn by students.

So what do you think? Any more ideas for the icon or book cover? I’m open to suggestions.

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Fundraising ends!

The EndDecember 1st, 2012
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