Delivered!

A quick update for you. It’s still spring vacation and I’ve been enjoying throwing off all the stress of this busy year, and most of that has come from this project! However, I went into school to discuss next year’s lessons and I was pleased to see that our order of 65 books arrived. It’s great to see the finished, final version. The cover is all glam and corrected. Even the interior looks much better but I did nothing to that. It’s just psychological.

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So, we’ll be getting those signed as soon as students return to school and shipping them off to our Indiegogo backers. We also need to discuss what we are going to do with all those copies. Some will go in our library, the rest will probably go to other schools.

We also discussed doing the project again this year, with the new second grade. We’ll create a bumper second edition that will feature 200 more reviews. That’s double what we have now!

So, audience, you’ve barely had time to digest the first edition, but we want to know: for a few dollars more, would you be willing to buy a bigger, new edition next year? Leave your comments below.

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Released!

This is it! The book is now available in all Amazon stores. So I guess our release date is now. As of 20th March, 2013 ”Let’s Pop Culture! o(^0^)o A guide to Japanese culture written by real Japanese high school students in English!” is released!
goo.gl/N4zf6 (US) goo.gl/HehUf (UK) goo.gl/m66yT (JP)
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It’s been a long, hard road.

Today I’m visiting classes to give them the good news, show the book to those who haven’t seen it, and deliver my annual ALT prize for those students who made an effort with English this year. I made some key rings featuring the panda mascot of my Japanese culture blog (http://sakurapandateatime.blogspot.com). Hopefully, they will have the sense to get curious and google it to find out what Sakura Panda Tea Time is. It will be good study for them to try and understand what I am saying about familiar topics.

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Yesterday, I sent out the exclusive PDF version of our book to the Indiegogo backers. I’ve already had one person come back with how happy they are,so that’s really nice to hear. I hope the others are suitably proud.

We’ll be able to fulfill the other perks when the school receives its first shipment of books. That should be April 1st.

Aftermath

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Nothing much to report this week. Just another massive earthquake off the coast of Sendai. It was said to be in the same spot as the big one last year, and despite being about 18 months later, is said to be a massive aftershock of the March 11th quake. Fortunately everything was ok this time.

It measured about 7.0 on the Richter scale, occurring at about 6.07 pm on Friday 7th December. A tsunami warning was issued, and a meter high tsunami was spotted heading towards Ishinomaki. However, people were prepared this time. There were multiple warnings from NHK, the local broadcasting company, and I personally received warnings from my phone provider, my earthquake app (yurekuru – get it if you live in Japan! It’s free!) and my company… Twice.

I had recently left work, and because I had no change for the bus I had walked to the nearest convenience store to buy something cheap and get change. I was just picking up some bananas when the quake hit. It was immediately obvious as a stronger one. I paused. Normally after a second or two, a quake will build up in intensity or die out. This one carried on. I waited but then carried on shopping. The female clerk, in her 50s, was freaking out. She dashed around behind the counter and then squatted behind a til. The man carried on. There were only two other customers in the store. An old gentleman was at the ATM. He waited looking a little concerned. The other was a man in his 30s or 40s with a rebellious look. He defiantly carried on as if nothing happened. It was because of his action that I didn’t just stand around waiting. I wasn’t scared, because it didn’t build, but I was concerned because it seemed strong and could have been worse than we knew. I paid for my goods and walked back to the bus stop. The quake finished just before I left. It was probably about a minute.

At the bus stop I tried calling my girlfriend, but the lines were dead. I used a chat app instead and checked. I also got messages from a couple of friends then and my company. I reported that I was fine and got back to important stuff. Stupid company. They only cared if I was fit for work.

On the bus ride home, there was an aftershock but I didn’t feel it. I chatted to my girlfriend. Everything at home was ok. Before I got there, I had some more messages on Facebook saying they had heard reports of the quake in England and such. I left a status update that everything was ok. The town seemed busier, like the bubbles in a shaken bottle of cola, the people moved a little faster but there was no damage I could see.

When I got home, my girlfriend was a little scared but ok. The only damage was that our Christmas bell had fallen down, but my girlfriend later told me that had fallen in the morning. We shared our earthquake moments and then watched the news together and laughed at the newscasters with their helmets on. I kept an eye on Twitter for any emergency news but everything was fine.

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If you live in Japan and you are concerned about any earthquakes and getting information in English, I strongly suggest two things. First up, use Facebook to reassure loved ones. Unlike the phone function you will have access to this and they can also tell you what they know. Second, get on Twitter and, at the least, follow these two @DannyChoo and @earthquakejapan.

Danny Choo is an English born cultural ambassador and all round cool guy in Japan. He regularly tweets about his work with anime and TV but whenever there is a quake he gives as much information as he can in both languages. Earthquake Japan is linked to seismologists in San Francisco and they predicted this latest quake five hours before it happened!

Testing times

Good morning!

Today is the first day of the mid term tests so the students and the school are busy. First grade are nervous because it is their first tests. Personally, I find exam time very boring. I have no lessons because everyone is busy with tests; I can’t speak to students because they aren’t allowed in the teachers room at this time or they are busy studying; worst of all, after some time with nothing to do, when the lessons start up again I also get a huge pile of marking to get through!

Anyway, as for the project, I’ve virtually finished the Kickstarter page. I’m just waiting on the final banner and logo from my illustrator, Marisa. Then we will be ready for our start date. I still haven’t heard from my company, so if necessary I will email them tomorrow to make sure it is ok to go ahead with the project.

Sorry for the quiet period but please pass on word of this project. We still need all the supporter we can get. Hopefully, I’ll get back to you soon with a more exciting update.

Cheers,

Matt

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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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