Why us?

As well as wondering why we are doing this, you might also be wondering why we are the ones doing it. Let this page put your mind at rest.


o(^▽^)o Matthew Rowe

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I am the leader of the project, so I guess that your greatest concerns are aimed at me. What do I know about making books and teaching English? Quite a lot actually, but before I tell you, here is a little bit about me.

I know I look really young, but I swear I am 32 years old. I feel it on the inside, trust me. Looking so young, and being the youngest in the family of British type people, has meant I’ve been treated as a younger person and in turn, I act like one. I feel very much in touch with younger people than others my age. I come from the UK but I have been living in Japan for over 3 years. I love it here; the culture, the people, the constant threat of imminent disaster, it’s awesome. My favorite color is blue. I love movies and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wish I could draw. I played the guitar once. Also, occasionally, sometimes, I wash behind my ears. Is that good enough for you? No? Ok, let me continue.


o(^▽^)o Matthew the teacher

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In 2004, I began work with children when I worked as a play worker for unprivileged children in the area around my university. Then, from 2007 until 2009, I volunteered time at a primary school in England. There I taught children from the ages of 3 – 7. In 2008, I took time abroad in Italy and gained a TEFL qualification. Then in March 2009, I moved to Japan. In my first year here I taught at Junior High school and some Elementary schools and kindergartens on special day visits. From March 2010 to the present day I have worked at two senior high schools in the city of Sendai, Miyagi. Yes, that’s still in Japan. I’ve also taught privately with adults and online. So that’s over five years of teaching at all levels.

I’ve often been praised for my clear, virtually accent free voice, friendliness and creativity in my lesson designs. I enjoy the hell out of it too, and I’m constantly at war with the soul draining drills and rote learning that is the norm in Japan

o(^▽^)o Matt the Writer

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This is a picture of me from 5 years ago when I published my first book. I am a writer you see. I have books on Amazon (and other places) called ‘Not All Of Them About Zombies’ and ‘Better Off Dead’ with a second novel on the way soon. Both of them are self-published, so although I might not have sold a lot of copies and become a bestseller, I certainly know how to put a book together and get it out there.

I’m sure I’m not the best person in the whole world for this project, but for sure, I am the best person in the world who had the idea for this project! If there is anything else you want to know, just ask!

o(^▽^)o 向山高校の2年生 a.k.a. Mukaiyama Senior High school’s 2nd Grade

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Well, I chose this lot because I work with them. I don’t have many to choose from, right? Aside from that, it’s a perfect fit anyway. The 2nd grade have just been learning how to express opinions and arguments, with reasons of course. So the logical next step is for them to write a review, I think. It uses all these skills and it pushes them further.

Of course, there’s also the excitement for them of publishing a book. Can you imagine how it would feel to publish your first book in another language at the age of 17? It would feel pretty darn amazing, I think. I’ve published a few books in my own language and that was cool. I want to give them some excitement because they are stuck in a Japanese school the rest of the time. It’s a place where teachers just give facts, they drill practice and all quizzes are essentially fill in the blank questions. There’s no room for creativity and little room for excitement. Don’t get me wrong. The school is great, the teachers too, but it’s still part of a flawed system. This lack of excitement coupled with the Japanese people’s natural tendency to be reserved and shy, means that they find it hard to improve their skills in English. Even if they want to learn, they don’t come to me to practice. They don’t seek out as many opportunities to use their English as they should.

Plus, Mukaiyama’s kids are something special. As I mentioned, I teach at two schools. Both of them a very high level. My other school is more academic though and you can feel it walking through the halls. The focus is on writing and achieving high marks. While here at Mukaiyama, everything and everyone is more relaxed and friendly. They don’t have school uniform, the students are very talkative and it’s in a beautiful – if hard to get to – location on top of one of the city’s mountains. There’s just a lovely atmosphere. The school is a model for a change in the English teaching system that is coming next year to all Japanese high schools, so we are pushing them to try new things and build their confidence. I swear, if they were just motivated enough, they could be the best damn speakers on the planet. They are so warm and interesting, I’m dying for them to risk opening up.

So I hope this project excites them and gets them using English more, even if it is mostly a writing project.

Chevelle Abad

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Chevelle is a popular freelance artist who I found on deviantart. Look here: link She’s a western gal but she draws in a lovable anime style that is perfect for our needs.

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I’ve hired her to create a logo and banner for the website. Also, she will make the book cover, depending on how much my students contribute to that side of things. Obviously, I want them to do most of it, because I want it to be their book. She’s ready and on standby, which is no comment on the level of her talent. Seriously, check out that link.

o(^▽^)o Marisa Livingston

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Is the excellent illustrator, found over here, who I’ve worked with on a few projects now. If you need proof of her brilliance just check out my novel’s cover image.

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She’s quite mysterious though, like all good superheroes, so all else I know is that she is probably in Detroit and almost definitely likes characters with their sleeves rolled up. She’s on back up for any artwork needed.

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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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