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Woohoo! We have officially launched KECKARA issue number 1! Well, almost a week has passed since the official launch at the Tara-matsuri (winter codfish festival) on the 12th of this month, but it’s still exciting to see the fruits of our labor manifested into something tangible, and see other people excited to hold our first issue in their hands. We have started to receive calls from the local people saying thank you for creating this publication, and that they feel inspired. We have been getting other calls from the local supermarket and convenience stores asking when they will be receiving their copies, as customers have been asking for them. The response has been overwhelming and this is more than what we could have asked for or anticipated. Thank you so much for all your support!

Now, making the first issue of KECKARA was not exactly an easy process. Granted, much of it was on the fly and without extensive planning, we naturally ran into many problems and issues, including not getting approval to use some photos at the very last minute (literally hours before sending files to the printers) and all the all-nighters cramming things in. But the biggest hurdle we had to get past was the budget problems.

We initially planned on printing 5,000 copies on some really nice paper, but had to cut that down to 4,000 and also downgrade our paper selection because of sponsor issues and other unexpected costs. But we got through them and managed to get it printed regardless!

Now, knowing being half the battle, we wanted to be prepared this time, so we decided to start fundraising from a quite early stage for issue #2. Simultaneously for our issue #1 release event, we decided to sell some awesomely designed stickers at the festival. Like the way most other cities/states in the world have a symbolic icon, Karakuwa also has their official flower/fish/bird/tree. So I took those four things, and decided to create an image inspired by these Karakuwa icons. And thus was born STICKARA!! (Term which was coined by a wonderful lady from California.)

Karakuwa’s official fish = Neu/Ainame (Fat Greenling), tree = Matsu (Japanese pine), flower = Camellia, bird = seagull

These limited edition, waterproof stickers sell for 500 yen a pop, and is crammed with stickers of all sizes so you can stick them to anything from your car, laptop or even your cell phone. KECKARA is all about great stories and dreams from the people of Karakuwa, and my personal goal also is to make the reading and visual experience, through art and design, fun and positive as well.