Two Buses

Hello folks, how are you doing? Summer vacation is almost here and that will mean some downtime for the blog, but before we go, I just wanted to update you on whats happened recently.

As you know, we’ve been finding advertising the most difficult part of this book project. I think we have a really great idea, with a really unique method and we can help a lot of people in all walks of life here in Japan, but it practically means nothing if people don’t know about us. We’ve not had any good marketing opportunities for ages and then, just like buses, two appeared at once.

Recently, the local newspaper, Kahoku Shinbun, came to the school to interview us. They visited twice. The first time they spoke to me and the Japanese teachers about the project. Then they came back to interview some of the students. This week, the article appeared in the paper. It was a small section on page 17, but advertising that article on Facebook has got us a lot more views and likes. Unfortunately I had to take it down due to copyright issues. I was going to post it up here too but I can’t. You’ll just have to take my word for it that it was cool, because heaven forbid more people should actually read the article that they wrote for the express purpose of people reading it! When will japanese companies stop thinking so small? We could help so many more people if we could show the world what we were doing.

However, I’m just happy that It’s been a good time for marketing the book at the moment.
20130719-153303.jpg

Our second opportunity was that yesterday, Katie Adler of English with Katie interviewed me on her live Internet radio show. It was mostly in the name of my Japanese culture blog, Sakura Panda Tea Time but we talked a lot about my writing and the books I have published too. She was very interested in the school’s book project so we talked a lot about that.

If you want to check it out, there is a link to the recording here: link

So that’s it until the end of August. The students are working on their anime presentations and I’m off to China for a couple of weeks. I’ll update Facebook when I can, but otherwise, see you in the new term!

Advertisements

Waiting in the Wings

Ooh look! It’s a rare moment of free time. Watch, children. Don’t startle it. It’ll run away if it senses you watching. Then we’ll have to do work.

The first edition is complete, in the shops and selling…. Maybe. In fact we have nothing else to do for it, apart from on-going advertising. I am pleased to report that we will also be interviewed by the local paper this Friday. So that will help us too.

Meanwhile, the second edition is yet to be started. It is waiting in the wings. The 2nd grade students are just starting a presentation project. They are comparing Japanese anime to Western cartoons. It’s a build up to their book project. Practice at expressing their opinions in detail. This time in the safety of their groups.

It should be interesting as we are telling them to use video and slides. I am interested to see what examples they pick. I have always been a fan of cartoons. I got into anime a little but the bad storytelling puts me off now. They think its great though. I’m wondering if it will bring any otaku (anime nerds) to the surface.

Once that project is finished, they will be writing their reviews for the book, over the holiday. I wonder what we will get this year. If you check out the book you’ll see that someone reviewed Shingeki kyojin or Attack On Titan which has become the most popular anime of the year. That’s how far ahead of the curve we were.

So if you want to know what’s going to be cool next year from Japan, support our next effort!

20130625-125805.jpg

Presented!

So I guess I should really write a blog. I’ve been meaning to but with one issue or another it always becomes a time suck. Well here we are, still in limbo.

The first edition has been finished and in shops for a while now. Sales are trickling in but we really need to spread the word more and more. However, slowly it is happening. We are still a few weeks off writing the reviews to add to the next edition. Right now, students are gearing up for the midterm tests. So, it’s all very busy.

In May, I had the opportunity to present the book in front of a prefectural English teachers meeting, which definitely generated some interest. It’s also funny how different the stage looks from in front of the glaring lights and how hard it is to judge if the microphone is working. Still, after sitting through a two hour lecture in Japanese, the brief ideas of what I wanted to say to the group flitting through my head, I actually made a bit of a mess of this. However, I got the message across. After the presentation, which was only a few minutes, many of the teachers looked at the book and one of them even bought a copy right there.

With that done, there isn’t much on the horizon until we start the project with the next lot. S unless we have a staggering increase in sales or the book spontaneously combusts or something, we’ll keep our head down.

Please share news of this project with anyone you think might be interested.

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.

20130403-193015.jpg

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.

Finished!

20130221-090443.jpg

Morning folks,

Last week I finished editing the book at long, long last. It had been hanging over me for 6 months so I was ecstatic to get it done! I wanted to dance. So, after that, I had a relaxing weekend and the other teachers checked the copy to make sure there were no problems.

They came back to me with a typing error (somehow I got the Principal’s name wrong even though I copied it from a paper) and concern about photographs. It’s the first time any of us have published a book with photographs so naturally we are a bit worried. Even more so because this is Japan, which as everyone should know, is super strict and has a variety of specific and needless rules. Honestly, you would not believe some of the requests that the owners of Doraemon’s image gave us to use their character’s picture! However, all photographs have been found using Flickr’s Creative Commons license search feature and are available for commercial use with full credit given to the photographers. The other pictures are either my own, granted by Danny Choo of Culture Japan, or random drawings done by students. So I can’t see any problem.

Even if there is something wrong, we can easily edit the file and reap load it at not cost. It’s not like the old days where publishing was set in stone. Though the caveman era might be going back too far….

So today, I’m going to add text to the book cover image and upload that. I hope to finish today.

Final leg

Hi there,

It’s been almost a month. All that time I’ve just been trying to squeeze in bits of edits here and there but I absolutely must get the book published before the end of the school year! It would be sad to keep the students waiting.

So to bring you up to speed, the school has decided not to do further fundraisers. Partly this is because how terrible the Indiegogo project went. I can only blame myself for not knowing how to market it properly, but it did surprise me how few people were interested. I thought we would reach our target easily.

Anyway, using the ~500 USD we got from that, we are going to buy about 50 copies of the book and keep some in the library. The rest will be distributed to other schools in Sendai. I’m really sad that we couldn’t at least get a copy for each of the students who contributed. I hope they will be happy.

As for the editing, I’m just adding the final pictures. The Japanese teachers have set up the Createspace account with Amazon, so I then just need to upload it. The problem is how long it will take for Amazon to ship the preview copy to us.

So I’ll get on with that. You keep supping your tea. You can also enjoy some illustrations done by students that will feature in the book.

20130202-144925.jpg

20130202-145001.jpg

20130202-145020.jpg

Happy New Year Delays!

20130108-100030.jpgChristmas lights here in Sendai.

Hello! And a Happy New Year,

The new term has started. All the students and teachers at Mukaiyama wish you a successful and productive new year!

I’m afraid that the winter vacation proved to be busier than I expected. So I wasn’t able to complete the book on time. As such, our new target for sending it to the publishers s the end of January. Please don’t be concerned. This doesn’t affect the quality of the book at all, we just want to make sure we finish a quality product.

It’s coming along nicely, though its important to me that we have a finished product before the end of the school year (March, here in Japan) as I fear some of the students will forget about this project!

That’s it for now. I’ll resume more regular updates as I get settled back into work!

New Japanese Culture blog

Hello, hello.

Things are progressing slowly. Tomorrow is the last day of school before the winter vacation. So I’ll finally be able to have more time to devote to formatting the book. I’m almost done. I hope to have it complete and ready by the end of the vacation.

However, I also wanted to promote my new blog and YouTube channel that I am starting with my girlfriend. We have both been living in Japan for several years so we are going to make videos about Japanese culture with the aim of helping newbies and presenting differences to foreigners. So if you are interested in learning even more about Japanese culture, please head over to the main site. There you can find links to all our sites on the web. The address is:

Http://Sakurapandateatime.blogspot.com

We’ll release our first video next week but our twitter and tumblr is already active.

Take care, with the end of the world and all, and have a good Christmas! Though I’ll probably blog again before then.

Aftermath

20121214-115749.jpg

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.

20121214-115308.jpg

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!

Rushed

Sorry for the delay, but I’ve been swamped with marking. As soon as the Indiegogo project finished, mid term exams started. The deadline is very tight! I’ll update more when I finish but I’ll be contacting donators soon. Thank you for all the support!

Previous Older Entries

Blog Stats

  • 1,069 hits

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.

Machuusensei on Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.