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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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.
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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!

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!

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!

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!

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: http://www.indiegogo.com/letspopculture

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!

Closing Time

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Hello,

Sorry for the long delay in blogging but I hope you have been following our Facebook page. I kept meaning to update here as well but opportunities for important advertising kept cropping up and stealing my free time. Not to mention work.

Well, first up, I’m sad to say that we are in the final week of our IndieGoGo fundraiser, but we have only raised a fraction of the target. It’s very is heartening but if I’ve learned one thing from this project it’s that you can have the best idea in the world and you can have incredible passion for a subject but that doesn’t mean you can make other people like it. It seems people would rather pay for mind reading headphones than help people get out of poverty and the ruins of disaster and help a disillusioned youth gain a passion for education. Well, I kind of knew society was like that all along.

I’ve tried though. I have been and I still am posting regular tweets and contacting groups who might be interested in our work. This has included a competition run by IndieGoGo themselves to find the campaign with the best perk. I ended our campaign but just like the fundraising, the competition is tough. The winners get a cash boost to their project. What is more important is that it offers lots of closure and free advertising. If you want to vote for our project, then go here. Voting is open until Wednesday and you can vote once every hour, you can even vote again from different devices. So if you have spare time you can really push us up the charts! Thank you!

So this is it. The final push. I know we aren’t going to meet our target, but it is said that over 60% of funds for these things come in the last few days. So we might still get a high total yet. Plus, whatever we raise, every $5 will buy one book to distribute here in Japan and who knows how many disparaged students that might inspire! So please don’t be shy, spread word of our project and donate if you can!

http://www.indiegogo.com/letspopculture

Cheers

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:

http://www.indiegogo.com/letspopculture

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!

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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.

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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!

Premiere

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 www.indiegogo.com/letspopculture.

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

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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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