Anime Ascendant

An anime club help site that offers advice and support


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Fundraising Ideas Inspired by Japanese School Festivals

School festivals are central to all manga and anime centering around Japanese schools as well as Japanese society.

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Everyone participates in the school festivals, even the foreign English teachers like myself. Last year, I was faced with the school festival, and though I wanted to do something as typical as a cafe, rules kept the maid outfits at bay. “There are only two places where food can be made, and they’ve already been claimed,” a teacher told me with a sympathetic smile. “You’ll have to come up with some other idea for the English Club.”

Great. I guess my anime dreams of doing a maid cafe couldn’t come true. Ideas, I thought, I need ideas. Of course, my students couldn’t come up with anything. You’ll find that unless you offer Japanese kids ideas, you won’t come up with anything concrete.

For those of you in the same situation or you want to do a fundraiser, here’s a list of ideas you can do with a small club (3 to 5 members) or more.

1. Cake Walk (Musical Chairs + Raffle): Use Daiso vinyl tape and make footprints or circles on the floor into one big circle. Put numbers in each circle. Participants will stand on the circles, and when the music starts, they will walk to each circle. When the music stops, a number will be called. The participant on the called number will win a cake or a prize. For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cakewalk_(carnival_game) . (A similar game in Japan is called Fruits Basket.)

2. Costume Booth (Halloween Japanese traditional wear or costume + Photography): Get a lot of costumes and props. Designate someone who will print pictures and put them in cellophane holders. Participants will pick what costumes they want and the theme of their photograph.

3. Skit: Pick a Western Japanese-origin plays or skit such as Momotarou (“Peach Boy”), Tsuru no on-gaeshi (“The Crane Wife”), Issun-boushi (“The One-Inch Boy”), or Kobutori jiisan (“The Old Man with a Lump”). Adjust the script, pick the actors, and perform the skit on stage.

4. Names in Cursive Japanese: For more artistic people, participants will get their names written in pretty cursive. If you’re into graffiti, do names in graffiti.

5. Dance: Do a traditional dance from a different country (i.e. Philippine’s tinikling or binasuan or Mexico’s folklorico) a Japanese prefecture such as eisa (Okinawa) or the Lantern Dance (Kanagawa).

6. Western Eastern bazaar: Get lots of new knickknacks (stickers, posters, bilingual books, toys, stuffed animals, bracelets, snacks, etc.). Set up a booth or room with the items all tagged with prices. Get a register or cash box and put someone responsible for it.

7. English wanage (Ring Toss): Make rings and stands out of cardboard and tape. (I would use Daiso colored tape to make the rings and stands more interesting, seeing that cardboard is pretty ugly.) Use vinyl tape as a distance marker. Give participants the rings and prizes after they’ve gotten the rings on the stands successfully. For an English Japanese-involved ring toss, put pictures on the stands. Show the participants an English Japanese word. They will throw the ring onto the matching picture of the English Japanese word.

8. Basket Toss: Make balls out of tape and set up cardboard boxes. For an English Japanese-involved basket toss, put pictures on the boxes. Tell the participant an English Japanese word, and they will throw the ball into the matching picture. You can also do this with teachers’ pictures and tell the participants a teacher’s profile (where they’re from, the subject they teach, the homeroom they’re in charge of).

9. Western Anime Cafe: Pick any theme for your cafe. Get refreshments (cupcakes, brownies, muffins, breads), drinks, utensils, table clothes, napkins, and props that fit the theme. Set up nice tables and have the club members be waiters (make shifts!). Customers will come and order food and drinks from an all-English Japanese menu. The waiters will take the orders in English Japanese as best as they can. For the non-food option, still set up the cafe the same way but make a separate table with different candies, knickknacks, and lots of gift wrapping materials (ribbons, wrapping paper, tape, scissors, cellophane bags, hole punches, and stickers). Customers will look at a menu of themes and make a gift for their friends, parents, or lovers. The waiters will only clean up after the customers and offer suggestions to them.

10. Movie: Make a movie with the club before the school festival (summer vacation is the best time to do this if your festival is later on in the year). Sit down with the club, write the script, schedule times to film, practice all the scenes, film, edit, and add Japanese subtitles.

11. English Japanese Scavenger Hunt: Give attendees a scavenger hunt paper with tasks such as “Find three married teachers” (3人の結婚したの教師を探してください). If they complete the task, they get a stamp on their paper. They can show their stamps at one location (if you have no room, use a kiosk or table-top cart) and get prizes. If you’re looking for examples of this kind of activity, it has been done at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Okinawa for their annual festivals (おきなわ国際協力・交流フェスティバル[English][Japanese] ).

If you’re having trouble coming up with school festival ideas for your anime club, just think of a fundraiser or carnival event and try that.


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Fundraising Ideas from a Charity

Looking for some more fundraising ideas? Need some volunteering help? The Water Project, a non-profit organization that gives clean water projects to communities in sub-Saharan Africa, has a list of fundraising ideas for you and your club. Some of the fundraisers include 2-week water challenges, water races, and water parties as ideas that can help your club and give to the charity.

For ideas, please go to http://thewaterproject.org/resources/fundraisingideas_2012.pdf (a PDF).


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Member Survey for Your Anime Club

A good way to find out what your club wants is by doing a survey. You can plan meetings and events that your club members will like, which means they’ll keep coming to your club. This survey can also be part of a new member’s starter kit to make your club more official and welcoming for newbies.

Member Survey (Word)

Member Survey (PDF)


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How to Spend Little to No Money

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How to Spend Little Money on Everything

“How do I do events when there’s no money in the club?” First, you have to think about how to keep costs low. The best way is to plan ahead of time (weeks to months in advance) and ask for help.

 

For meeting rooms

If you’re a school or library club, ask your advisors for help. They can tell you where to reserve free rooms on campus or they may offer their room for use. Recognized university clubs may get assigned rooms through Student Services or they can book rooms in the libraries and around campus.

If you’re a community club, you can ask local cafes or restaurants to hold meetings. This gives cafes and restaurants a chance to get more customers. Mom-and-pop shops and small cafes are more likely to allow your club to meet there.

 

For places to hold a big event

If you’re a university club, there are many places on campus to hold a big party or event. Usually your Student Union is the best place to start because they offer recognized clubs discounted rates for good rooms. However, if you want to keep your costs down, use a classroom or a member’s place.

 

For food

Your club can ask restaurants and businesses for food donations. Make a small solicitation packet (only two pages) that says what event you’re doing and what your club will do for the business if they donate food. It’s better to meet the manager of a restaurant than to email the packet. Sometimes, restaurants give club discounts or coupons instead of a food donation.

 

If the restaurant or business will donate food, you must go through your student government (middle schools and high schools) or on-campus Food Services (universities) to get permission to serve their food.

 

Another option is to do a potluck-style event (best for small events that are not open to the public). Make a sign-up sheet with food categories (appetizers, entrees, sides, and desserts) and have members and officers write down food they can bring.

 

For decorations

Banners, signs, piñatas, and labels can be made by your club members with paper, cardboard, paint, and markers. You can also find free printables from event-planning blogs and websites. For food placements (warming trays, cake stands, table covers, and serving utensils), borrow them from a local caterer or ask members to bring them. Flowers, vases, corsages, and ribbons can also be donated by a local florist. For balloons, all you need is helium, so go to a party shop and ask if they can blow up your balloons for a discount.

 

For entertainment

Ask your members or friends to perform or DJ. If you decide to get a performer or DJ from outside of your club, try to find performers from schools in the music department or performers from other clubs (ex: traditional dance performers from the Pacific Islander Student Association). They usually do performances for free or at a very low cost. No matter what performer(s) you go with, always negotiate any prices or pay-rates (money per hour). Also, university clubs can apply to their Student Services or student government (usually Associated Students) for an event sponsorship or grant.

 

For marketing

Use social media. It’s free and fast. The number one free and most effective way to spread the word is by visiting other clubs’ meetings and events and telling their members about the event. The most costly way to market an event is by using fliers. Ask your advisor(s) if they can print some fliers for your club. Another alternative is if each member prints a small set of fliers. Of course, this saves the money bank account, but you don’t want to spend money right out of your pockets, right? Again, use that solicitation packet and go to any local printing shops and businesses for sponsorships or discounts. Usually printing shops at universities tend to give clubs more discounts than chain printing shops. Also, don’t be afraid to go online and find some deals. Just make sure that you have a lot of time to receive the materials.

 

For T-shirts

Getting custom T-shirts made are very expensive. It could be anywhere from $10 per T-shirt to $25 per T-shirt depending on the design, colors, and print style. The cheapest way to make custom T-shirts is making them yourself. You can buy a pack of iron-on transparencies (around $8), print the design on the transparencies, and iron it onto a plain T-shirt ($5 to $10). There are no hidden fees such as design fees (usually $20 per design), color fees (adds $5 per color in the design), T-shirt fabric ($3 to $5 for low-quality cotton, $20 for organic cotton shirts or polos), or print style fees ($10 for heat transfer, $15 or $20 for screen-printing).

I need more help!

If there isn’t an item here you’d like advice on, please comment or you can find Advisor Jd on Skype at handle jeridel.banks on Fridays (US) and Saturdays (Japan).

 


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The Ultimate Anime Club Meeting Ideas and Activities List

“So…what’re we doing today?” The quizzical stares, the deer-in-the-headlight eyes, always haunt me at some of the meetings I held my first few attempts at creating a cool club meeting. (If you’re looking for ideas that aren’t in person, see the post “COVID-19: Can Anime Clubs Survive?“)

To avoid disastrous moments of awkward silence and “let’s get out of here” whispers, here are a few ideas you and your officers can do:

Icebreakers

Birthday Race – Make two teams. Within a time limit, the members must make a line sorted by birth dates. The team to make the line first is the winner.

Meishi or Business Card Game – Make pairs. Each pair will get a 3 cards. They’ll write their names on the cards. On the back of each card are stamps. Each stamp is worth different points. The members don’t know how much each stamp is worth until the end of the activity. Members will first introduce their friends (“This is Amy”). One person from each pair will janken or play Rock-Paper-Scissor. The winners will take one of the losers’ cards. Members who lose all of their cards must sit down. Once most of the class has sat down, the activity should end. Show the members the points per stamp. The pair with the most points wins.

Pass the Present – Wrap a small present with 6 to 10 layers of wrapping paper or newspaper. Play a Japanese song as the members pass the present around. When the music stops, the member holding the present must answer a question before unwrapping a layer. The game ends when someone finally unwraps the last layer and claims the present.

Suguroku – Give each member a worksheet. The members will play janken or Rock-Paper-Scissor with each other. The winner will become A. The loser will become B. The loser must answer the winner’s question and sign in the appropriate box. Now the winner can go forward by one box.

Truth or Lie – Members will say or write 3 things about themselves. Only 1 of the 3 statements will be a lie. The other members will guess which is a lie.

Parlor Games

Fruits Basket – The members will sit in a big circle. One chair will be removed, so one person will stand in the middle of the circle. The member in the center of the circle will say a statement about themselves (“I am sixteen years old”). If any of the sitting members can say the same thing about themselves (“I’m sixteen years old too”), they will change seats. When the moderator of the game says “Fruits Basket”, everyone will change seats.

The Hot Seat / Taboo – Members will split into teams. Each team will pick a new “hot seat” person. The “hot seat” person will sit in a chair facing their team. The “hot seat” person can’t see the board. The team will pick a category (ex: Japanese Food, Shoujo Anime). There are 10 words in each category (Shoujo Anime might have High School Debut, Ouran High School Host Club, Skip Beat, Honey x Clover, Otomen, Kimi ni Todoke, Lovely Complex, Peach Girl, NANA, Sailor Moon). The team can’t say any of the words in the category. They can only give hints to the word. Give them a time limit. If the “hot seat” person can say the words on the board within the time limit, they get one point per word.

 Karuta– Make many cards with Japan-related pictures (kimono, chopsticks, rice, sushi, sashimi). Put the members in small groups. Each group will get a set of the cards and they will spread them out evenly on the tables. The caller (whomever is calling out the Japanese words) will say the words in Japanese. The members must hit the correct picture card to get a point. The member with the most picture cards is the winner.

Ninja – This game has the same rules as Red Light, Green Light.

Shiritori – One person says or writes a title or word from an anime, manga, Japanese video game, song, or movie. The next person will say or write a word starting with the last letter from the first person. For example, if Person A says “Dragon Ball”, Person B will say a word starting with L (Love Hina, Legal Drug, Loveless).

Activities

Cosplay contest.

Decorate paper fans.

Do a manga or anime swap.

Do a manzai, or stand-up comedy, day.

Do Japanese calligraphy. Get some Japanese calligraphy brushes, inks, and papers and learn to write basic kanji (calligraphy) or your names.

Do Japanese story-telling, or rakugo. You can watch a video, bring in a rakugo artist, or you can do it yourselves (think of it as funny campfire tales).

Have a haiku contest or haiku reading day.

Knit or crochet stuffed animals or mascots (also known as amigurumi).

Learn the borrowed Japanese words used in English.

Learn the dance steps to popular songs from artists like Vocaloid, AKB48, and ARASHI.

Look up popular Japanese fashions from Harajuku, Tokyo, and Shinjuku.

Make buttons with your favorite anime, manga, or Japanese characters.

Make felt animals or mascots.

Make hanging paper koi.

Make keychains with your favorite anime, manga, or Japanese characters.

Make paper lanterns.

Make T-shirts of favorite anime, manga, or Japanese characters.

Make your Japanese name. Find the meaning of your name in Japanese or make up your own Japanese name. Remember, the kanji, or Chinese characters, are important to the meaning of your Japanese name.

Origami cranes are great for cheering up any depressive souls. Japanese people usually make origami cranes when someone’s in the hospital. Did you know 1,000 cranes equals a wish?

Play go.

Play Inaka Basketball.

Play Othello/Reversi.

Play Sengoku. This is an old conquest game played in Japan. You will need a map of Japan with the prefectures clearly defined and a lot of magnets in three different colors. Put the members into teams of three. Each team will pick a Japanese unifier (Nobunaga, Toyotomi, or Tokugawa) and a color as their team name and “armies”. Pick a prefecture. One person from each team will stand up. The moderator will ask an anime- or Japan-related question. The first person to raise their hand and get the answer right wins the prefecture. The team who “conquers” the most prefectures is the game winner.

Play Shingo, or the Japanese chess.

Scavenger Hunt – Make a list of things to find using Japanese words.

Visit the Japanese Consulate in your area.

Movies/Videos

Watch an anime or Japanese movie. Before watching the video, please get the anime company’s screening permission.

Make an anime radio show or podcast.

Make an anime music video.

Guess that Anime Opener/Closer. Members will make teams. They will choose a category (ex: Shoujo Anime, Shounen Anime). The moderator will play an opening or closing song from an anime. Members will guess what anime it’s from.

 

Add your ideas in the comments below!


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Summertime! What should my club be doing?

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It’s summer! Whoohoo!

Summer’s fun time, no-homework time, non-stop-movie-marathon time–I get it. I was there. I’m still there. But you know what summer time is for club officers and advisors? A good time to plan.

“Eeeeeeh?”

While everyone’s getting burnt on the beach, you and your pals can get a head start on this year’s club activities. I’m not saying you have to crawl out of bed at 8 AM and go to an officer meeting. I’m talking about planning stuff out before everyone comes back, sits in their chairs, and asks you, “What’re we doing today?”

It’s a good idea to plan now so that during the school year you and your club officers won’t be running around, scared that the food you ordered last minute won’t come in time, or the papers you didn’t get a month ago couldn’t sign themselves, or the guest you booked at the thirteenth hour suddenly bailed on you because you couldn’t pay them in  advance. Hey, it happens, but those types of things can be avoided by planning.

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This is what I recommend before bringing your ideas to all your officers:

1. Write down all the events and meeting ideas you want to do.

2. Make a yearly calendar with holidays and your school’s schedule. You can download a yearly calendar from Vertex42.

3. Make a yearly budget or budget each meeting. You can do this with your advisor and/or treasurer. If you don’t know what a budget looks like, you can download Anime Ascendant’s budget Excel file.

4. Make a contact list of all your officers. This should include full name, email address, and cell phone number.

After you’ve done this, you can talk to your officers about ideas and who help with those activities.

Here are a few ideas for what to do on your summer vacation as a club president/officer:

1. Do an officer retreat. This doesn’t have to be in a far away place. It can be at someone’s house for a few hours. Officer retreats are good for group bonding and making schedule decisions.

2. Do a conference call. If all the officers are far away, conference calls brings everyone together through Skype or a phone. It’s not as effective as an officer retreat when it comes down to group bonding, but at least you can get your schedules and duties down.

3. Create a yearly schedule and email it to your fellow officers. Set a deadline for officers to reply. If they don’t reply in time, call them and ask them. You can download a yearly calendar from Vertex42 (http://www.vertex42.com/calendars/).

4. Meet with officers in groups. Maybe some officers are off vacationing in Hawaii and others are on the opposite end of the state. Make an appointment and meet with several officers at a time or one on one. At each meeting, tell the attending officers what others have said about the activities and duties.


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Small Sponsorship for Clubs

smallsponsorship_header Anime Ascendant offers small sponsorships for anime, manga, and Japanese culture clubs with events. Please complete and email the Anime Ascendant Small Sponsorship Application Form along with the necessary documents to contact@animeascendant.com.

Criteria for Application:

-Sponsorship is only for events outside of regular meetings. This can be a party, mixer, screening, fundraiser, or volunteer event.

-Before applying, the applicant club must link Anime Ascendant on the club website.

-For libraries, please send information on the process of donations to a library-affiliated club.

-Applications must be emailed with necessary documents at least 4 weeks before the event, including the day of the event as 1 day. If the documents are missing or the form is only partially completed, the application will be disapproved.

-Event(s) must promote Japanese culture, not just Japanese animation or manga.

This sponsorship only supports club events.

The sponsorship can be used for:

Decorations (streamers, table cloths, flowers, etc.)

Entertainment (guest speakers, DJs, performers, etc.)

Equipment (amplified sound equipment, megaphones, walkie talkies, etc.)

Food (drinks, food, serving utensils, eating utensils, cups, food warmers, etc.)

Prizes (anime, manga, Japanese cultural items, books, etc.)

Marketing (fliers, handouts, banners, posters, etc.)

Other (anything that doesn’t fall into a category above)

Steps in Applying for a Sponsorship

1) Submit this form via email at least 4 weeks before the event, counting the day of the event as 1 day.

2) Once the application has been reviewed, your club/organization president will be contacted. This contact will ask for details about the events and other sponsors.

3) If your sponsorship is approved, your president will be contacted about how to sponsor your club/organization.

The club/organization must place the Anime Ascendant logo on all marketing materials. If the Anime Ascendant logo or link is not placed on the club/organization’s website, all sponsorships will be invalid.


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Taking Over an Old or Inactive Anime Club

So you’re taking over an old or inactive anime club, and it looks like there’s a lot of dust to wipe off.

Make sure your club is still recognized.

For schools and libraries, clubs usually have to be recognized every year, so you’ll need to redo the application process or meet with the person in charge. The good thing is, if the original advisor for your anime club hasn’t left, you don’t need to make another constitution or find another advisor (unless they say they don’t want to be the advisor again).

Community clubs don’t need official recognition.


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Downloads

Need a document soft copy? Need some useful worksheets to make running an organization easier? These downloads are free and helpful!

Anime Club Contact List

Good for anyone to use as a contact list.

What’s a contact list? A contact list is a list showing any member’s information in case you would like to contact them for future events.

Why is it good to use? Whenever a member signs into a meeting or event, you can contact them for future events (see Marketing), add them to email lists, or use each sign in as a point (see Using a Point System).

Format: Word

Anime Club Event Checklist

A good checklist for planning an event.

I recommend every officer to use this!

Format: Word (to edit) and PDF (to write)

Budget Excel Worksheet

Good for officers trying to plan the year’s expenses.

Formulas are already in this worksheet so that your information can be added up automatically.

Format: Excel

Planning Film Guide (provided by High Plains Library District)

Great for people planning to screen any anime, movies, OVAs, and films.

Library clubs and school clubs can especially benefit from this guide.

Format: PDF

Point System Worksheet

Good for keeping a point system in your club.

Formulas are already in this worksheet so that you can calculate the points per member automatically.

Format: Excel


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Starting Out for Community Clubs

There are many routes you can take to start a community anime club.

1. Find members and meet up! Many times, people just meet friends who are anime fans. Later, more and more people get together, and soon, you’ve got yourself a full anime club.

2. Use online resources. Websites such as Meetup.com help to connect fans with other fans anywhere in the world. Facebook, Twitter, and Weebly.com are other resources you can use.

3. Start your own website and post the times and places of your club meetups.