What is this all about?

Hello, こんにちは,

Welcome to the blog!

My name is Matthew Rowe. I am the ALT (Assistant Language Teacher) or Native English teacher at Mukaiyama High school in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan.


That’s me trying to look Japanese, but don’t let it put you off. I’m generally a decent guy.

This blog will record the progress me and my students make in finishing our book project.

What is the project?


My 2nd grade students are going to write articles on parts of modern Japanese pop culture. They will write reviews of everything from movies to video games, comic books to music and illustrate the book too – because many of them are excellent artists! With their command of English they will express opinions and facts about some of Japan’s most famous characters and celebrities. There will be some you know and many you do not. So here is your chance to learn direct from the Japanese consumers they were designed for.

Why am I doing this?


My 2nd grade students have been learning to express opinions with reasons in English class. So, I wanted to have them write reviews in their first project of the school year (Japanese school year starts in April) as the next step up in their education.

I know there are many people around the world who are interested in Japan and Japanese culture. However, in English, they often have to rely on advice and information from travelers or ex-pats. The problem with this is that it is always an outsider’s perspective. I’m sure fans of Japanese culture and those who are just curious would also benefit from insider information of Japanese people, but they can’t speak English well, right? Wrong!

The Japanese are much more capable than they think. They just need to take the opportunity. Yes, they are often shy and so don’t take those chances, but it’s my job to give them opportunities and they can’t escape my class! Mwuahahahaha!


Can you imagine how good it would feel to know you could contribute to and publish a book in a foreign language? It would be amazing, I’d imagine, because I’ve published some books in English and that felt pretty darn good. It would be an incredible boost to their confidence in their English ability and in general.

Why are we doing this?


As I am sure you are aware, last year, on March 11th, East Japan was hit by a massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Our city of Sendai was one of the closest to the epicenter and suffered great damage. The school itself only had a few broken windows and the library started to fall down, and all the students and teachers were fine. However, everybody knows someone who lost their home, their family, friends or everything. Only 3 kilometers away entire neighborhoods were swept away, leaving only rubble behind.




Over a year later, many people are still living in temporary housing, schools are damaged and without resources, businesses are failing and spirits are shaken. The disaster disappeared from the news after a few days, but the effects of it are still deeply felt across much of the country.

By publishing this book and making it available for purchase around the world, we hope to raise awareness of the continued struggles here and to donate any profits directly to those people affected by the disaster, those who need it the most. Many charities collect donations and the majority of the money is lost in red tape procedures. However, thanks to connections in the local cable TV studio, I am able to bypass this step and give the money directly to the people.

What can you do?

On this blog, and the soon to open Kickstarter page, you can follow the progress of the project from its inception to the day of release and beyond!

Most importantly though, this project will be funded by Kickstarter. In order for this project to work, we need more money. We hope to get enough backers to enable this idea to reach its full potential. The money will help to pay for:

    – Global distribution
    – Advertising
    – Professional illustrator
    – International shipping of the final product
    – A present and slap up meal for my girlfriend who will be much neglected during the period of this project’s execution

So, if you are inclined, you could:

    – tell people about the project
    – pledge money to the kickstarter page
    – buy the book

and most importantly,

    – help out the people of Tohoku, Japan.
  • Thank you for reading. I hope you will come back again and support us!

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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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