The 3rd Anniversary of the Disaster in Japan

20140311-150752.jpgby lilsuika on deviantArt

So here it is. 3 years on from the great disaster and 1 year on from the official publishing date of the project’s book.

I wish I could report much better news, but both situations are rather disappointing. While Prime Minister Abe continues to ignore the ongoing problems in the Tohoku region, covers up mistakes thanks to the secrecy bill he passed despite massive opposition, misspends charity funds and distracts the world with the shiny waste of money that is the Tokyo Olympics, now we also have the problem of children growing up in the shadow of the disaster.

Children are suffering from the effects of not just the disaster itself, if they were alive then, but the prolonged stress of living in pitiful temporary homes and being forced to live indoors because of fears of radiation. Mental health issues are up, physical development is way down. Japanese children are already robbed of a lot of their childhood as it is, but this is so much worse.

Similarly, our book has been out for a year but sales are poor. The initial thought was that all it would take was a good idea and people would jump on board to help, but that is not the case. We were unable to raise much money in the crowdsourcing Indiegogo project and so we couldn’t afford to advertise the book much. Even so we are still just a small team of three teachers.

In truth, I didn’t want to show numbers publicly because it is kind of embarrassing, but maybe that is what it will take to get people to take some action, help our project, even with just a share, and start raising some serious money to help disaster victims.

We are selling about five books a month now worldwide, but we have only just made 100 USD in the American market, while the combined remainder of the international market is less than 30 USD.

If we were to take that money raised and give it equally to each student who contributed to the book (just as an example) then each person would get about 50 yen. That’s not even half the money needed to buy the cheapest useless piece of rubbish from a bargain store. So how are we supposed to help all these victims?

20140311-152418.jpgHow long could you live like this? 3 years?

20140311-152451.jpgWhy does she have to?

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the earthquake. As I write this, it’s just past the minute when the tsunami first struck land, wiping out over 30,000 lives instantly and damaging countless others. Let’s do something to help those who survived. Let’s make them realise they are not alone, like they think they are.

Just share this post That’s all I ask you to do. All you have to do is click. You do that thousands of times each day with no consequence other than cat pictures and music videos. So make one click count and share.

I hope that when the anniversary comes around again I can bring better news for you

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Presentations

Hello everyone. How are things now that summer is coming to an end? I can’t wait for all this humidity to finally clear!

This is just a quick update. There is nothing to report for the book project. Only that we are still planning to begin writing more reviews for a second edition over the winter vacation. And we are about to reach a milestone in sales, but I don’t want to reveal numbers as it is a little embarrassing. Basically, we need to sell more!

So please spread word of our project to help tsunami victims!

Students have returned from their summer vacation – though it isn’t much of a vacation as they still come to school every day for their club activities – lessons have started, and next week, the second grade will give their presentations on Japanese anime vs Cartoons. It should be interesting and I plan to provide a report on here.

So that’s it. Please keep spreading the word and help us sell more copies of this unique book.

Thank you!

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!

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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.

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.

Finished!

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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.

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 http://www013.upp.so-net.ne.jp/dankato/mukaiyamaletspop.html. 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。http://www013.upp.so-net.ne.jp/dankato/mukaiyamaletspop.html 日本人と友達に教えてください。お願いします!

Format

Hello folks,

I recently published a video on YouTube showing how I am formatting the book and its current status. I’m writing this blog from school though and while the school computers block YouTube (which is completely bizarre because it’s an incredible resource for teachers) andmy iPad cannot access anything but the YouTube app or mobile site through which I cannot get the embed code. So for now, here is a link:formatting video I’ll add the embedded video when I return home to the land of unrestricted Internet. Boy, am I glad I’m not living in China!

I’m still formatting, but its progressed a little bit. We’ve had a few new founders thanks to the article published about us last week, but we are still far behind. http://www.indiegogo.com/letspopculture so please spread this link!

In other news, I’m doing a speech project at my other school and on Monday a boy gave a speech on his favorite type of music. It’s Visual-K, a very Japanese mix of glam rock and heavy metal. For the speech he drew some very cool pictures. So, I asked the teachers if I could get permission to use his pictures in Mukaiyama’s book. They agreed and so did the boy. He’s from the wrong school but I’m desperate for more illustrations so I don’t think it matters too much! He’s still a Japanese student.

I’ll keep working, and post another update before the weekend.

Damaged

So here is a video I recorded today of me running around the school looking for cracks… It shows youths damage that is still waiting to be repaired after 20 months (I said 18 in the video because I was too lazy to count).

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.

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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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