Tag Archives: e-book

An Introduction to Marshmallow-Go

When I first arrived in Japan it was for one year. I never believed for a moment that I could reach any level of fluency in the language. After five years of French not making a dent in my synapses and three years of Spanish hardly faring better it seemed a fair assumption to make.

Four and a half years on manga still holds little allure for me. I still watch too few Japanese movies. Japanese TV drove me away early on by seemingly being about a collection of thirty or so foreigners lined up like hina no matsuri dolls for the sole purpose of surprising the easily surprised. I still can’t sit seiza style without feeling like I’m about to snap an ankle or lose total feeling below the waist.

Some things have changed though.

My usual rice portion size has tripled. I consume raw fish with a glee that would have made my picky childhood self believe I’d suffered some kind of sharp impact to the head. Earthquakes below a six don’t wake me up anymore. I don’t think Japanese is impossible.

That last one surprised me. More than the sashimi and the seismic shifts the idea that another language could worm its way into my brain seemed utterly unfathomable. How could it hope to make an impact beyond confusion? This collection of sharp angles and squirls that originated from another culture to the already foreign one I found myself in could never make its mark in the same way, surely?

Well, it did. And more than anything else out here, the language itself, the ability to speak to people in day-to-day life far from my English classroom, made me feel at home.

It has also confused, frustrated and annoyed the hell out of me.

I still don’t speak Japanese. I am however, fluent in another variant of the Japanese language. A dialect that emerged in Nagano and then found itself in Shizuoka. It has only one native speaker.

The history of this dialect is rather short.

It is however very reasonably priced and can be found at all good online retailers.

It can be found at Amazon UK, Amazon US, and Amazon Japan. It can also be found, for those with an iPhone, iPad etc. on the iBooks store.

It’s also available via anyone stocked by the publisher BookBaby.

Note: While around sixty percent of the book is new material, a large chunk has come from the blog because it acts as scaffolding to the rest of what I’ve written. The e-book is however still worth every penny you’ll pay… which really isn’t very many at all. 

Thanks again to everyone involved. 


Thanks to the lads over at Asobi K Design for the work on the cover.



Picture Perfect: Marshmallow Sensei is looking for artists

Dear Readers,

This blog has always been rather lacking when it comes to the visual. I guess it comes down to a personal bias really. I’ve simply never felt like photography, specifically my attempts at photography, captured what it was I saw and felt at that moment in time. It never did justice to the memory I held. I just felt like it couldn’t capture the totality of what I experienced because that’s the limit of photography. It is able to capture a moment but not necessarily the feelings with that moment for me is imbued with.

That was always the point of this blog. It was never supposed to be an objective view of Japan. It was always my personal view. Nothing more, nothing less.

There are more than enough blogs out there claiming to tell the truth about Japan. I sincerely hope that if you read this blog that you don’t feel I have done the same. My niche in blogging is sadly, just little old me trying to work out what on earth I think is going on half the time and whether it’s funny enough, amusing enough or just about interesting enough to devote some energy to digitally scribbling it down.

However, none of this means I’m not aware of the power a picture holds. Two of my favourite blogs include artwork from a good friend of mine. Without his efforts Mind the Flash and Gokiburi: On Madness and Mushi wouldn’t be half as fun, or half as read for that matter. More importantly though, I enjoyed the collaboration. I loved seeing my words re-imagined, reinterpreted though the eyes of a reader. It reminded me of what I loved about writing in the first place; that once those words are printed they’re out of the author’s hands. They belong to the reader now and if as a writer you do a half decent job, then the reader can taker pleasure in filling in gaps, dreaming up a whole world to flesh out the skeletal framework you first built.

On a side note, there’s also my awesome Twitter profile picture by Sarah Adams aka @speckledwords.  

So, here’s the point.

The blog has been about for about two years now. In that time I’ve written about fifty posts of wildly varying quality and popularity. I’ve received requests for help, fan mail (Thank you Switzerland!) and even had someone impersonate me on facebook (creepy). A couple stories have even been translated into German and Japanese for online newspapers.

Now, they’d always been a plan of sort, long before I came to Japan even, to write for a living if at all possible. Eventually it just became to write at all.

Now, as much as I enjoy blogging, the form is limited. So I want to put together an E-book; me and every other blogger in the world, I know.

However, if I do this I want it to be more than a couple new chapters and some extended essays and articles built from the foundations of well-read blog articles. I want that feeling of collaboration again.

So here it is, if you’re an artist, a designer, an illustrator etc. and you’d like to add your stamp to the book get in touch. Have a ramble through the blog’s archives and when (or if) you find a subject you can work with create something! You’ve read my opinions, my perspective and I’d love to see what you can come up with by working with the words on the webpage.

The deadline for these entries is July 31st because that’s when I’ll be getting started with my work holidays and my intent is that the additional material will hopefully, in part be inspired by the work I receive.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,