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Dongara, draft zero and Meet the Authors

Hooray! I have officially finished draft zero of book 4 in the Takeshita Demons series…YAY! (And thanks to Shirley Marr for the concept of a draft zero – the draft so drafty it doesn’t even count as a first draft)

– I am off to Dongara for an authory visit…hooray! Really looking forward to meeting everyone and have some fun activities planned. (It’ll be a 3-day visit counting travel time, so THANKS to hubby and toddler for manning the deck while I’m away xxx)

– Am also looking forward to a Meet the Authors workshop at the Hyogo Centre on the weekend. It’s a fundraiser for book vans in Japan, so if you’re interested in Japan, writing or just a fun afternoon, come on down!


Meet the authors: IBBY fundraiser for Japan Bibliotherapy Appeal

Kumiko-trilogy Briony Stewart

The Kumiko and the Dragon books, by Briony Stewart, are magical and charming and recommended for readers aged 7+. Meet Briony at this fundraiser and pick her brain for writing tips!

Writing tips, cultural gems and more…

Ever thought you could write a book, but don’t know where to start or how to get published?

If so, come along to the Hyogo Prefectural Government Cultural Centre‘s Meet the Authors workshop and learn the tricks of the trade from Briony Stewart and myself…

Proceeds to Japan Bibliotheraphy Appeal

All proceeds will go to help fund a fleet of minivans for the International Board on Books for Young People Japan Bibliotherapy Appeal. These vans deliver books to children affected by the earthquake and tsunami for a much needed therapy program.

Plus Japanese cultural presentations

Even better, Meet the Authors will be preceded by a Japanese cultural presentation at 3pm by two visiting university interns from Hyogo Prefecture. The workshop fee includes all sessions and I can totally recommend them: they’re fun and interesting and if you love Japan, you’ll feel right at home.

Saturday 24 September
Hyogo Cultural Centre
$20 per person

Be sure to reserve your place by calling (08) 9385 9002 or emailing

Meet-the-authors Japan fundraiserDownload the flyer here


Celebrate Japan with high tea and some Nonchalant Bombasi-tea

Fancy some Japanese tea sampling or traditional Japanese tea cakes?

Want some fabulous entertainment from performer, musician, and author, Anne Norman — and her alter ego Camellia Cha?

Check out this terrific event being hosted by the Hyogo Prefectural Government Cultural Centre in Perth, WA, this August 20: The Hyogo Centre consistently put on great events and I can’t wait for this one…

Nonchalant BombasiTEA Hyogo Prefectural Government  Cultural Centre

Download Nonchalant BombasiTEA Flyer

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More top teaching resources from the Dept of Education and Hyogo Centre’s Year 9 Japanese workshops

Hyogo Centre Japanese workshop team

The team pose in front of the money tree, where each leaf holds a message of hope from students and represents a donation to the Pray for Japan cause.

This month I’ve been working with the team at the Hyogo Prefectural Government Cultural Centre on some workshops for Year 9 students of Japanese.

The workshops were great fun and involved:

– lots of useful Japanese,

– some spooky Japanese art and culture (thanks to the Art Speaks Japanese language resource kit from the Japan Foundation Sydney), and

– a fun chance to combine both in a Make Your Own Monster exercise.

PLUS…raising student awareness of jishin and tsunami in Japan

Jessica Perrin (kneeling second from left in the front row) also ran some very relevant and emotional sessions created to raise student awareness of the tsunami and earthquake disasters in Japan.

Jessica is a Japanese teacher and scholarship recipient of The Japan Foundation Short-Term Training Program for Foreign Teachers of the Japanese Language.

Scroll down to download Jessica’s lesson plans and resources

Jessica created a list of teaching resources to go with this workshop session, as well as three lesson plans (see below), and she has kindly agreed to let me post this on this blog…thank you Jessica!

Disaster Resource – I love you baby,_Fukushima: A lesson plan that looks beyond the nuclear disaster at Fukushima to explore the natural and cultural beauty of this prefecture. Includes lyrics to the YouTube hit “I love you baby, Fukushima.” (lesson created by Jessica Perrin)

Disaster Resource – Jishin: A lesson plan covering jishin, the Japanese word for earthquake, including information on earthquake training in Japanese schools. (lesson created by Jessica Perrin)

Disaster Resource – Daijyoubu: A  lesson plan introducing the Japanese phrase daijyoubu and its deeper cultural meaning and many uses, in good times and bad. (lesson created by Jessica Perrin)

Japanese Disaster Resources Project
Compiled by Jessica Perrin

A number of links are listed below for your reference to learn more about the disaster and the response of the Japanese people. This is a small selection of the resources that are being gathered to help you to engage and inspire your students.

20 ways to teach about the disaster in Japan across the curriculum: Developed by the New York Times newspaper the site aims to build student understandings of the damage and effects of severe earthquakes and tsunamis with “ready-to-go” lessons plans.

Japan quake map: See the depth, size and location of quakes since March 11.

News footage as the quake struck: This short news clip clearly shows the force of the quake with how much the buildings shake.

Japan’s earthquake history: Peter Aldhous at the New Scientist produced an interactive graphic showing the location and information of all of Japan’s earthquakes.

What to do in an Earthquake: A great resource in easy Japanese with pictures for discussion

Discussion-stimulating video material: A very touching montage (also in English).

Hope Letters: Hope Letters aims to deliver letters of hope from all over the world to communities affected by devastation in Japan. Volunteers will translate letters and deliver them in a manner that limits burden on resources and infrastructures devoted to disaster relief. Through technology, Hope Letters aims for each letter to be read by multiple readers and to be preserved for future generations.

Pray for Japan: this website has a fabulous selection of posters created by Japanese children and
children from around the world with encouraging words.

• Singing Relays: Japanese company Suntory has organised two singing relays to give hope (here and here).  They say there are 30 different versions with 71 different people.

Let’s keep on sharing… Let’s keep on doing our part…….

Japanese Disaster Resources Project
Thanks Jessica!

This workshop was part of ongoing work by Ms Yuko Fujimitsu, Japanese Language Advisor for the Department of Education as part of the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP).

And while we’re sharing ideas on teaching resources, the following is a news clipping from the West Australian that celebrates some of the work of some students and teachers of Japanese in Perth: Well done everybody!

Students speak for quake victims with their art

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Make your own monster: in Japanese and English

Creating monsters with Japanese students at the Hyogo Centre

Me causing chaos at the Hyogo Centre…the students are inventing some awesome monsters!

I’m just back from a terrific conference with the Society of Childrens Book Writers and Illustrators. It was great!!

I am all inspired and fired up to start work on ideas for a Takeshita Demons book 5 (and I think book 4 is nearly ready to start writing!)

Monster self-introductions

If you’re looking for inspiration for your own writing, or you want a fun activity for teaching Japanese language or creative writing, check out the new Monster Self Introductions activity on my website.

We gave it a try with some Year 9s at the Hyogo Prefectural Government Cultural Centre last week and they came up with some super scary (sometimes hilarious) monsters. Well done guys!!!


There’s a tanuki in the classroom! Japanese language learning and yokai demons

Shingo the tanuki and the money tree

The Hyogo Centre’s Melissa Luyke with professional actor Shingo Usami in disguise as a tanuki.

Creative language teaching ideas

Today I was at the Hyogo Prefectural Cultural Government Centre as part of a series of workshops organised by Ms Yuko Fujimitsu, Japanese Language Advisor for the Department of Education as part of the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP).

We worked with Year 9 students from three schools (including my own school, Leeming Senior High School!) and spent the entire day in a Japanese environment…

…speaking Japanese, eating Japanese, thinking about Japanese geography and culture.

Yokai wall of fame

Yokai wall of fame

And that’s where I was lucky enough to come in, because a big part of Japan’s culture is its mythology, history and folklore, showcased very nicely in some of Japan’s ghost stories and yokai tales.

Language learning through art, literature and drama

There was a big emphasis on new or different teaching techniques and ideas for introducing ordinary grammar into the classroom.

The day’s activities included:

Tanuki Shingo Usami and presenter Cristy Burne compare bellies

Tanukis love to use their large bellies as drums. I’m using mine to grow a baby, but still, Tanuki Shingo’s belly is bigger!

– watching GeGeGe no Kitaro (perhaps the most famous yokai in the world) fight the awesome gyuuki (or ushi-oni).

– folding and pinning origami leaves onto a money tree (for donation to the Pray for Japan cause),

– language learning through drama (led by actor Shingo Usami), art (using the Art Speaks Japanese language resource kit put out by the Japan Foundation Sydney), and literature (me and some of the Takeshita Demons)

– Japanese story-telling and song-singing

– Lots of practise in listening and speaking Japanese, especially when it came to lunchtime (no polite request for a bento box lunch in Japanese = no bento box lunch!)

It was a great day and we have more schools coming tomorrow…


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8 bits of great news: HOORAY!

Keukegen demonLong time – no post! But I have heaps of great news to make up for it:

GREAT NEWS #1: Takeshita Demons and The Filth Licker are being translated into Indonesian! YAY!

GREAT NEWS #2: I’m performing at the Perth Writer’s Festival on Family Day: YAY! More details soon…

GREAT NEWS #3: I’m also appearing at the 2011 All Saint’s College Literature Festival. YAY!

GREAT NEWS #4: I’m getting heaps of fan mail from readers who love Takeshita Demons AND those with advance copies of Filth Licker…YAY!!

GREAT NEWS #5: I’m totally booked out for Children’s Book Week 2011 (in August!)…and there are more bookings coming for school hols YAY!

GREAT NEWS #6: I’ve had some great ideas for finishing off Monster Matsuri (Takeshita Demons book 3) and that will be rip roaring to my editor by year end

GREAT NEWS #7: The first review of Filth Licker is up: “some shocking twists and a fantastically involving story…” YAY!

GREAT NEWS #8: I spoke to a group of Year 9s and 10s at the Hyogo Prefectural Government Cultural Centre last week about Japanese yokai, mythology, history and how it informed and inspired Takeshita Demons. They were a great group and we had lots of laughs. Plus I got to eat proper Japanese bakery goods AND a scrummy bento. YUM!


So all-in-all a terrific few weeks…Super busy! And this week is the SCBWI WA Christmas Party too, so everything is happening at once. I *LOVE* hanging out with other people who love childrens books!