In Japanese

Its the last day of donations! Please do your best to spread the word! Instructions on how to donate are also available in Japanese So tell this link to your Japanese friends.

プロジェクトのindiegogoのチャレティーは最後日ですよ!日本語で説明があります!どうぞ。 日本人と友達に教えてください。お願いします!

Last Chance

I’ve formatted half of the book now. The traditional section is actually very long. The movie section is quite short, Most movies are by the two animation greats of Japan. Do you know who they are? If you don’t you should definitely buy our book, and if you do, you should buy our book to check!

There’s only 3 days left on our Indiegogo campaign! We’ve raised less than a quarter of the meager target!

So I don’t know what else to say except PLEASE share this link like crazy:

If not for me, who has, by the way, worked so hard for this project I might seriously have depression if it completely fails, then do it for the students who desperately need help but don’t even realise it, and all the disaster victims who need new homes.

Please! Just two seconds of your life can change so many others for the better.

20121129-102734.jpg if you don’t help, this cat will hate you forever, and probably die horribly cursing and screaming your name…

Have a nice day!

Like Butter

Hello again!

It’s been a busy week. So busy I took time off yesterday for a minor illness and still did lots of promotion for our IndieGoGo fundraiser. In fact, I scored us a guest blog feature on a publishing blog. It’s called The Masquerade Crew, and while they focus mainly on fiction they cover all sorts of publishing efforts. The Organiser was generous enough to advertise my latest novel a lot on Twitter, so I asked about this project too. You can read the article here.

While I continue to find other ways to advertise our fundraiser, I am a bit worried that we have received no donations in the past week. I think the proverb ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’ really applies here! I understand other people are not as passionate about this subject as us, but I am genuinely surprised that there has been no small contributions of $1 or so. I mean, what’s $1 dollar really? You’ve probably lost more money down the back of your sofa, and it could really help change people’s lives here.

I just don’t want everyone here to be disappointed.

So, I’m going to make a short video now about the earthquake and the damage done to our school. I’ll post it here and on the IndieGoGo page when it is ready.

Spread the word

I’m not going to ask you to donate money. I’m going to ask you to donate 10 seconds of your time. I’m going to give you the link to our IndieGoGo fundraiser and I want you to share it somewhere: Facebook, twitter, mixi, tumblr, YouTube, … It doesn’t matter. Here it is:

We have until December 1st to raise $1,999 USD or I’ll collapse from stress, my teachers will go back to teaching soul sapping lessons, my students will lose hope in anything they do for school, English education in Japan will continue to fail and earthquake/tsunami victims will still struggle to rebuild their lives. So help, why don’t you?

It’s been one week, that’s 20 % of our time, and we’ve raised $305 USD so far. That’s only 15%, so we are a little behind schedule! That’s to be expected, as word has yet to be spread of our work. As more and more people share, donations will start to come more frequently.

Back at school, I have put up a quick poster to show students how well our fundraiser is doing. So don’t disappoint them, and don’t embarrass me! Share that link!


I’ve also been bugging students to contribute more illustrations for the book. So far I have gotten a few doodles but I’m hoping I’ll have some more drawings worthy of being chapter headings and not just page decoration. Still, they are cute.


That’s it for now. Keep following the Facebook page for more regular updates, and the Indiegogo page for more regular, detailed and fun updates. Videos coming soon!


Hey there, normal people. I’m a movie star now. Haven’t you heard? We made this great film telling people all about our project and its just so fantastic that people have propelled its stars into outer space. Literally. They strapped us to a rocket and now as we float through space our heads are popping…

But enough of the bizarre imagery. There is some truth there, and that is that we have made a video. It even tells people about the project, but I doubt it will propel anyone to fame. It’s online, on YouTube, you may even be able to find it, but I’m not advertising it yet because I want my select audience of beta testers to have their premiere so they can inform me if there is any problem first.

I don’t think there are any major problems. In fact, I think it turned out really well. Some parts surprised even me. However, it was a little rushed as I only had just over a week to film and edit it, ready for the Indiegogo project page’s launch on Friday. So it is a little rough, but I really tried hard to make it much better quality than my usual YouTube efforts and the students put in a great performance too, after a little persuasion.

So this is it! We are only 3 days away from starting the funding drive! Now is the time to start telling people about our project and the all important soon to be open page at

So what are you waiting for? Go! Tweet! Facebook! Tumbley tumblr…!


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


Morning fellas and ladies,

We had a fun weekend with the culture festival, and two days off school to rest and recover….



… But now it’s back to work!

Almost all of the first drafts have been handed in now…. I think. I still have to check some.. So there is another big pile of marking on my desk. It’s a common sight. Some of those will be second drafts but I don’t know which until I get that feeling of deja vu and check my class lists. Ah, iPads are so useful too. I use an app called Teacherkit. It’s great for keeping track of students. It’s free too.

Anyway, must get on. I’ll maybe update again, after the marking.


Summer Fun

Hello again,

It’s been a while. I’ve been on vacation, and took a lovely trip to Hong Kong. It’s really great over there. Anyway, now that I’m back, I can continue to give you information about the project.

It’s summer vacation now. All the students have chosen their topics and there is quite a variety! It’s surprised me, but I’m very pleased. Here is an example of one class’ topic sheet.


So, now, during the vacation, the students are writing their first drafts of their reports. The deadline is 1st September. After that, I’ll mark them and ask them to write a final report on computer. That is what we will use in the book. They’ve done so well at choosing interesting topics that I’m sure their reports will be just as impressive!

As for me, I’m going to start preparing for the project funding drive. I’m going to have some advertisements made, I’ll spread the word online and I’m going to contact a few, more famous people who might be interested in just writing a tweet or Facebook post to their legions of fans for us. Every little bit helps!

You can do the same! If you tell people about the project we can get more backers and raise a huge amount of money for earthquake victims and get more copies of this book ready for the release date.

I’ll be updating here, and on our Facebook page, more regularly now. So please come back and follow our progress, or click that subscribe button on the right hand side of the page. Thanks! We all appreciate it.

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!

Budgetary regards

Hello again!

It’s great weather here in Japan now, so I’m in a good mood today.


I’m also in a good mood because I worked out the budget for this project and it looks good for our success.

First of all, I did some research. As you know, I intend to use Kickstarter to help fund this project. I looked at projects on their site and to me, it seems that projects with targets under $2,000 do very well. I’m glad to report that our target will be under this total!

    The Math

I hated math at school so this took me a while. First of all, I looked at two different sites. To publish my novels, I used Lulu in the past. However, since I am in Japan and they don’t print in this country, shipping charges are extortionate! So a quick look at the numbers showed me that this would be an unreasonable option. It would make the Kickstarter target too high, and people don’t want to give us money just to post some books to ourselves.

So next I looked at Amazon’s Createspace and I learned two great things about shipping.

  • If we order from there, shipping is a mere fraction of the price with Lulu.
  • If we are patient we can get free shipping by ordering the book in bulk as a customer! That is, as long as the book is available in the store.
  • So, I think the first option is ideal, to satisfy our backers sooner rather than later, but the second is a viable option should our Kickstarter project fail.

        The Budget

    So taking all costs into account, here is how our budget looks.

    For this example, I have used an estimate of 300 books at 150 pages each, which should be enough to satisfy backers. Obviously, the more money we raise the more copies we will need and be able to order! In short, the more help we get, the better your rewards will be!

    (the first figure is in Japanese yen, the second is USD, what Kickstarter operates in)

    Printing is 300 / 4.00 per book (300 books is 95,000 / 1,200) (200 students, 100 backers)
    Global distribution fee 100 USD
    Shipping is 237/3.00 per book
    Illustration 15,800 yen / 200 USD
    Postcard gifts 30 each / .38 (200 =6000 / 76)
    My overtime 1000 ph / 8.00 p/h = 2 h a day for 2 months = 16 x 60 = 960
    Apologetic meal and present for neglecting girlfriend during project 4000 yen / 50 USD
    Kick starter amazon take 10% = yen or USD
    TOTAL = 3835 USD for a 300 book run with safety margins for printing and such

    This is high


    I want this to be a success so here is what I’m going to do.
    First of all I don’t want to be paid. That’s stupid (-960).
    Secondly, we can get free shipping if we are patient so if we pay for shipping, I’ll pay for it (-900)
    Thirdly, apart from copies of the book, I’ll pay for all incentives and rewards (-76)

    That makes the new total $1,899!

    Just in case there are changes or I have made mistakes let’s round that up to a nice neat number, with a bit of shopping psychology thrown in…

    So our Kickstarter target will be….

    Will you help us reach it? Do you think this is reasonable?

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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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