Saturday, 31 March 2012

HAPPY VERNAL NUCLEAR EQUINOX DAY

Just a quick note to wish Our Friends in North Korea a happy Spring Nuke Rocket Launch Day (it's important not to be culturally insensitive to other folks' traditions, huh?) and to dedicate the following video to their illustrious leader.

Carry on.

 

Friday, 30 March 2012

'SELF-PUBLISHING IS SO EASY' 10 Q&As WITH KEVIN O'SHEA

Careful! Turn your back for even a second and some pesky upstart will publish an ebook -- without asking anyone for permission. Fancy that! But Our Man says: Get with the now, grandpa! (Or something). Ultimately, the opening of the publishing world can only be a good thing for truth, justice and he Abikan Way, not to mention readers and writers (maybe not so good for the legacy publishers, but even they should benefit from an expansion of interest in reading and writing, unless they want to be all sniffy about it and sulk in their previously inaccessible paper castles in the sky). But enough about them, let's talk about us -- the readers and authors (for we are the same thing these days). And the latest is video blogger Kevin O’Shea who kindly humoured Our Man with 10 answers about how he became an author. On your marks, Kev...

1. Tell Our Man about your book. What's it all about?
Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal is basically a how-to guide for people who are interested in teaching in Japan or South Korea. It is an easy to read guide that gives them a lot of factual information about preparing to move abroad, searching for work and how to prepare yourself for the rigours of managing a classroom. The book also gives people an idea of what they might expect when they are suddenly immersed in a new culture. Along with this how-to information are a series of real-life stories from my own experiences. Readers can learn about some of the ups and downs of working in the language industry in both countries, in an amusing way.

2. Why did you feel compelled to write this book?
I have been an active blogger for about eight years. I started my first blog while living in Seoul and continued it when teaching in Busan, South Korea. While living and working in Busan, I discovered YouTube. Still in its relative infancy, I became a video blogger when not many where doing it. I filmed aspects of my life in Korea. That was in 2006. I continued vlogging once I moved back to Canada and studied in a teacher-training program at the University of Ottawa. I had been in Korea for more than five years and wanted to share some knowledge with those out there thinking of going to Korea to teach. I made a video about teaching in Korea and the different types of schools there. My “How to Get a Job in Korea” video went viral and the emails filled with questions about teaching abroad began to roll in.

After becoming an elementary school teacher in Canada, I moved to Japan. I continued to vlog and make videos about teaching. I tried to answer people’s questions about life and work in Japan and Korea, but found it difficult to do so in the limited timeframe a video gave me. I also found it difficult to get in-depth with my answers on my blog.

After years of answering the same common questions time and time again, I decided to put them into a book format. Some of my most popular videos on YouTube, where I go by BusanKevin, have been storytelling videos. I love telling stories about life abroad so I decided to add some of that flavor to the book.

Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal was about 50/50 facts and stories (true stories). Now, when people come to me and as me these questions again, I can point them in the direction of my book. I think it is a great starting point for people interested in teaching abroad. There is a lot of negative information out there about teaching and I hope this book will put a positive spin on things.

3. Why did you go the self-publishing route?
Being a YouTube content creator and a blogger, I suppose I am pretty in tune with technology. Before becoming a teacher I worked in the game development industry as a 3D artist so I have been in love with technology my entire adult life.

Recently I have been hearing more and more about the advantages and wonders of self-publishing. Once upon a time if a writer wanted to do so they had to make a large personal investment to have their own books printed. This vanity publishing would basically reach family and friends. Now, with ebooks, people who self-publish have the possibility of reaching a much wider audience. The fact that I have been vlogging for so long and have so many wonderful subscribers, I realised that I already had a built-in audience.

In 2012, self-publishing is so easy. I suppose I found it intimidating until I researched more.

4. How did you decide on the price of the book?
To be honest, I probably didn’t put a great deal of thought into this. I realised that most novels for sale on Amazon’s Kindle Store went for between $2.99 and $9.99. I know my book isn’t very long so I didn’t expect people to pay the higher range prices so I chose $5.99. I thought the amount of time and energy I put into this work justified the price. Basically, it took me 10 years of teaching in three countries (I taught elementary school in Canada between my time in Korea and Japan) to acquire the knowledge to be able to put this book together.

5. Any advice you'd give to aspiring self-publishers?
Go for it! If you have a written work that you really want to share with an audience, it is easier now than ever before to do so. It was free to publish my book on the Kindle Store. I just had to write the book and upload it! It was a little difficult to figure things out, but I was determined to do it myself. I of course had some other people help me edit it and a friend who is a graphic artist designed the cover for me. Aside from the actual writing process, publishing was extremely easy and accessible. 

6. What was your approach to PR?
Luckily, I am relatively wired in to the Japan vlogging scene and have quite a few followers on my three YouTube channels. I have been talking about this project for the past few months on YouTube, Twitter and my blog. I asked my followers to support the book (by at least spreading the word) and some members of the j-vlog and Korea blogging community to get behind me.

I plan to do interviews with fellow bloggers and have as many as possible review my book. I also plan to contact some local newspapers back in Canada.

7. How many people were involved in the project?
The number of people involved in the actual writing/creation process was relatively small. I did ask several teachers in Korea and Japan to fill out a short survey for me last year. That definitely helped with a few sections. Most of the information and the stories presented were from my own knowledge and experience.

I have to really thank my mother and father with the editing/proofreading. My father, a skilled writer, did a lot of editing work and I am forever grateful! A good friend of mine, Danielle Shibano, a teacher and graphic artist here in Japan, designed the cover for me.

8. What have you learnt about yourself as a result of writing and publishing the book?
I suppose I learnt a few things during the entire process. To begin with, I learnt that I simply could do it. I suppose it is comparable to the first time I completed a full marathon in 2008. Once I did that, a new confidence formed within myself when I realised I had completed something most people may never do. Finishing this book has definitely given me an even stronger sense of confidence.

I also learnt that it could, at times, be very difficult to balance writing and family life.I am married with a very young child at home. Having a young child can be very unpredictable. Sometimes I planned to write a certain number of pages on a given night but my son didn’t want to sleep or was sick. Basically, the writing plans went out the window. Sometimes, I felt guilty for spending so much time sitting in front of a computer and not interacting with my family. It can be difficult to find the right balance.

9. What's your next project?
I am already planning my next project. This one won’t be about teaching and only a little bit about Asia. I am a Canadian and one who has lived away from home for a long time. I think I am going to take a humorous look at Canadian culture from the eyes of an expat who has been away for a long time. I think I will share stories about Canadian culture and my experiences.

This may not appeal to a lot of my YouTube fanbase since many come to my channel and blog for Japan- and Korea-related content, but I’m sure if they enjoy my storytelling style and humour, they will like it.

10. Anything else you'd like to say?
I would like to thank the j-vlogging community for supporting me during the writing process and now that the book is complete. I also want to thank all of those wonderful people out there who have loyally watched my YouTube videos and read my blog. They are the reason I wrote the book.
Now that I have completed my first book, I know that I can do it. Self-publishing an ebook wasn’t a difficult or daunting process. I am now very eager to start working on the next one.

Kevin O’Shea is a Canadian who lives and works in Japan as a teacher. He has worked as a teacher in Korea, Canada and Japan for more than 10 years. He is a marathon runner and You Tube video blogger. On You Tube he is known as “busankevin”, “jlandkev” and “runcausitsfun.” He lives in Kobe with his wife and son. His blog is HERE.


Teaching in Asia: Tales and the Real Deal is available from Amazon HERE.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

CNN AND OTHER ANIMALS

Lest anyone thinks Our Man has it exclusively in for Fox news and the rest of the Murdoch muppets, he could pick another target...

The silliest thing? A subscription to CNN. Our Man is actually old enough to remember when CNN was cutting edge, the future of news and all that. (Oh, and he, er, did appear on CNN International once to flog QUAKEBOOK and managed to give the double peace sign before they cut the feed). Which reminds Our Man: he must stop biting the publicity hand that feeds. Because Jon Stewart does it so much better:



Oh, think you can do better news, Our Man? Yeah. Check out RECONSTRUCTING 3/11 - if not for you, then for that special pet in your life.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

OUR MAN WITH A REVOLVER IN THE LIBRARY


Hey look, Our Man is an author ON GOODREADS. Well, an editor. But he will be an author real soon too of that novel that he should be editing again right now instead of writing this post. What is Goodreads? It's kinda like Facebook for people who don't give a crap about virtual pina coladas but do care about books. Do drop by, review a few of Our Man's books like RECONSTRUCTING 3/11 (see what he did there?) and we can all have a virtual smoke together in the virtual drawing room. Just watch out for Colonel Mustard with the candlestick.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

'WORLD IS CRAZY' AND INDEED IT IS



In amongst Our Man's travels to flog his latest book, Reconstructing 3/11 (remember?), he came across this video. Vonnegut was maybe the first author Our Man discovered who was fun to read and seemed to have something worth saying. Until Vonnegut, Our Man didn't know you could do both.

Our Man's next project is to publish his novel, Half-Life 2:46. One more round of rewrites and edits should be enough to get it to the stage where Our Man will be proud to put his name to it, and that it will be fun to read and have some other more intangible or unexpected worth. That it inadvertently inspires a reader to cure cancer would be cool, but at least to turn the sodding television off for an evening or two would be a victory Our Man would raise a glass of 7-Eleven Chile wine to.

Speaking of drinks, may Our Man plug Joanne Greenway's first book, The Teas that Bind, which Our Man has just bought. He shall be doing a Q&A with Jo once he's read enough to ask a sensible question or two.

Carry on.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

JOURNALISM FROM SCRATCH


Our Man is proud to have had the chance to answer Indian journalism students' questions about Quakebook, Reconstructing 3/11 and his imaginary cat. They didn't, of course, have any questions about his imaginary cat, but that didn't stop Our Man. Curiosity didn't kill this cat, oh no. Or something. Just click on the link here, OK?


Friday, 16 March 2012

NOTES FROM A JAPANESE TV SHOOT


So this is the story of how Our Man met a strange man next to the park toilets on a rainy Monday afternoon a month or so ago.
"Is this Abiko-san?"
Our Man, sitting on a rain-sodden bench where moments before the crew had booted off the hobos of Abiko with jokes that here was a Hollywood star, looks up from tapping away on his laptop that is not connected to the internet and exclaims, "Hello, nice to meet you!"
We shake hands.
We repeat this touching vignette three times, trying to capture the passion and surprise of that unsurprisingly unpassionate first meeting. Our Man gains a new appreciation for the hardworking members of the porn industry.
Then Our Man fake-tweets under the gazebo. And again. And again.
The camera crew re-adjusts and shoots us as we walk up the park path, Naito-san fake-talking to Our Man, Our Man fake-listening.


Of course, it's Our Man's fault he was at the park at all. Or he should say, it's Our Woman's fault. She, very sensibly, made it quite clear she didn't want these interlopers interloping into our private lives. So that left the park.
Naito-san had tried his best to get into Our Man's bunker with the six members of Asahi TV crew -- him, the camera man, a sound boom guy, a young man who spoke good English, the interpreter and the driver (whom Our Man mistook for a hobo having a fag at one point).
"Abiko-san, you must understand it is raining and the park is no good, it would be much easier for all concerned if we just filmed at your house."
He must have considered this a winning proposition, that any reasonable man would agree with, because that's all he had.
"Nope, not on your life."
"What?"
"I like you, Naito-san, but I don't sleep with you. I sleep with my wife. If I let you into my house, my wife will never sleep with me again, so no, not going to happen."
"Oh."


This being Japan, however, Naito-san had booked us all a room. An unheated lobby on the 11th floor of the Chuo-Gakkuin University in Abiko.
So this is where I sat with coat off and hot charcoal packs in my back pockets.
"What pictures did you take on the day of the earthquake?"
Not many, there wasn't much to see in my neighbourhood.
"What did your friends and family abroad say? Were they worried?"
Only the ones that watch TV. Our Man's Old Man, who listens to radio, was only concerned when the reports of contaminated water made it back home. I told him we only gave the children bottled water and I try to stick to beer, so he wasn't so concerned.
"How did you get your news?"
Through Twitter. Our Man did his usual schtick -- we are all journalists now, he likes Twitter because you can broadcast your thoughts without having to clear them with a boss. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Naito-san sensibly didn't pursue the logic of this, that if Twitter represented something honest, democratic and unfiltered, what we were engaged in was, fake, meaningless and just plain dirty.
"Can I see the original tweets from the day?"
If Our Man can find them.
"What about pictures from the day?"
Our Man just took one of kids wearing earthquake protection hats, they looked very cute.
"Let me see."
Our Man found the picture on his blog in a minute. Then he re-enacted finding the picture on his blog.  Then did it again. Twenty minutes went by as Our Man fake-scrolled around his website looking at a fairly irrelevant picture. None of these kids suffered. None of these kids died or lost parents to the tsunami. Much to the disappointment to the TV folk, no doubt. But that's the visual Our Man had for the TV.
Our Man wanted to point out the much more interesting posts he'd written, but he realised with dawning comprehension -- these relied on words to impart their meaning, not pictures.
And this was TV, duhhh.
"How many followers do you have?"
As of right now, 2,257.
He maybe was accustomed to TV ratings, don't know, but he was impressed.
"I'm impressed."
"Don't be."
"Why not?"
"Half of those are just trying to sell me pornography."


Later in the car back to the train station where Our Man had left his bicycle, Naito-san was curious.
"Does your wife really hate journalists? Did she use to work as one?" (because this would self-evidently explain her otherwise irrational hatred).
"No, no. She's just married to me. But I think she has enough experience to know that too often journalists are alcoholics or divorced, or divorced alcoholics who never care about the people they report about."
"Oh."
Naito-san was nonplussed. Our Man felt sorry for him, needed to lessen the blow. "Actually, she just likes her privacy and didn't want strangers traipsing up and down the house."
"Ah." A rueful nod of agreement.


Five hours of Our Man's life, whittled down to 15 seconds of screen time, RIGHT HERE. The day after the segment aired, Our Man was stopped in the street by his neighbours.
"Hey, were you on TV? You wrote that book? I must buy it."
The power of television.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A BIT MORE THAN 15 SECONDS, BUT STILL NO FAME

Here's Our Man pontificating about Reconstructing 3/11. Perhaps he should think about changing his shirt for all these video things, Reconstructing His Wardrobe...?

Monday, 12 March 2012

OUR MAN'S 15 SECONDS OF FAME



You may need to be in Google to see this TV Asahi clip from last night's 3/11 disaster anniversary special. And also, don't blink you'll miss it. Love that they zoomed in on "Quakebook" and my tweet.

Cheers, Asahi!

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BzGe7e3LT9uKbDBGTEV4cGJSbldzMmM5Y18wN3FpUQ/edit?pli=1



Saturday, 10 March 2012

JAMIE AND THE TRUTH ABOUT VOLUNTEERING AFTER 3/11




Our Man is honoured that Jamie saw fit to join his Reconstructing 3/11 project. And that he did this Skype interview for him. You can go get the book now, OK?

Friday, 9 March 2012

RECONSTRUCTING 3/11 - THE BOOK - IS LIVE!

Our Man is pretty proud of this little beauty that has just hit Amazon:




















Check it out here.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

SHOULDER TO SHOULDER



Our Man hasn't liked the phrase "standing shoulder to shoulder" ever since Tony Blair used it to describe his preferred position with George W. Bush, but it has to be said, this is exactly the phrase to use right now.

Our Man stands shoulder to shoulder with anyone who has been bullied by a certain fantasist "journalist" who is thriving on the oxygen of notoriety. Our Man will not name him or speak of him again to avoid fueling his fantasies. His latest enemies appear to be Jake Adelstein, Quakebook and Our Man.

Well, all Our Man would like to say on this matter is he prefers to define himself by his friends and allies, not his enemies.

That is all.