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.


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!

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!


It’s on!

The IndieGoGo page is here and it’s on. We are now accepting donations until 1st December.

So please get over there and do what you can. Donate if you have money, even a dollar could change lives, but if you can’t, then share, share and share again! This really means the world to me and it could really change lives, but only if lots of people know about it! So please, I will never ask for anything again! Unless, I get stabbed or something, then I may ask you to pull the knife out. Be realistic here,

As the fundraising continues, I will continue to blog here, giving updates of our progress and our efforts to advertise the project. I’ll also be posting interesting tidbits such as videos and photos directly on the IndieGogo page, so be sure to keep following that!

So there we go! After months of hard work, this is finally happening! Here’s to a big success!


This is it! Or rather, tomorrow is it. Tomorrow the IndieGoGo page will go go live! In 24 hours you’ll be able to start donating to our project, and we sincerely hope that you will. All the teachers and students here at Mukaiyama are counting on you to help them and those people still struggling to rebuild their lives after last year’s earthquake.

Full information can be found on this site (hint: try the links above) but to donate, and watch the awesome video, you need to go to our IndieGoGo page at

Please, please please tweet this link, Facebook it, tumblr it, anything, just spread the word, especially if you know someone interested in Japan, helping charities or teaching. This project really can make a big difference, but only if more people know about it.

So tweet away, my friends. What would you have me do in return? I’ll do it! I promise.


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



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.

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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