Recently, I traveled to Itsukushima. You must know it because it is probably the most famous shrine-island in the area. The island is right next to Miyajima and is famous for the saltwater eel.

The first thing I enjoy about Itsukushima is the beautiful "gate". It is probably the most famous thing on the island. When I went, it was cover partially by the sea.

Similar to Nara, Itsukushima also has many deer that run free. It is nice to see them walking around, but I noticed that many of them had ticks on their ears.

Itsukushima also has many smaller shrines on the island. I really enjoyed finding them as many of them are hidden and must be sought out.

The five story pagoda is also magnificent to see. I really enjoy its red color.

Lastly, I went to the new Hiroshima Outlets to try some tsukemen. It was really good. It had a very smoky flavor. Like "katsuo-bushi". It was a really nice day.

Written by David Press-Dawson


10 Months in the Land of the Rising Sun

SES Teachers Amy, Dallas, Taz, Josh & Adrian
Sakura tress blooming in Hagi City
Hello friends! They say, "Time flies when you are having fun!" This past year has been quite an adventure for me. I have been lucky to see and experience many places in Japan, meet many fun and interesting people (both students and new friends), and I have also traveled to some other countries in Asia. Working at Shunan English School and living in the Chūgoku region has been wonderful.

Earlier this year, I went to visit my friend in Hong Kong for my 25th birthday. I really enjoyed touring around this big city. Some people call it the "New York of Asia". There are many public paintings (murals), and it was interesting to see the mix of Chinese and British cultures in this city. I recommend visiting this unique place!

Hong Kong skyline from Kowloon
A mural in Hong Kong central district
I have been lucky to have many visitors, both family and friends, come to Japan. For Golden Week, I met my brother and my friend Evanne in Tokyo. I had a great time, and many laughs with them. We toured around Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Universal Studios, and also Seoul, South Korea! Tokyo itself is such an enormous city, there are endless places to see and discover. Kyoto is my favourite city in Japan because of its many beautiful and historical buildings. I also enjoy Osaka because of the variety of things to see; it really reminds me of Chicago.

Evanne & Blake at Ginkaku-ji Silver Pavilion in Kyoto
Driving MariCar in Asakusa, Tokyo
One of my favourite places in Japan is Miyajima Island, with the beautiful Itsukushima Shrine. I really enjoy touring the historic temples and hiking Mount Misen. When my cousin Bradley and his friend Leon came to visit Yamaguchi Prefecture, we went hiking to the top of this mountain.

Dallas, Leon & Bradley at the top of Mount Misen
With my friends Ayami, Yoko & Tomoko at Itsukushima Shrine
Did you know that every year on July 1st there is a huge Canada Day party in Fukuoka? I learned about this event online, and I went to it with my friends Connie, Riku, Matt & Amy. It was a really fun day. The Canada Day party had many Canadian foods and drinks that you could try, including beer, wine, lobster tails, poutine, smoked-meat sandwiches, roast pork, and many Canadian desserts. The party was at a hotel near Canal City, and there was a lot of entertainment. It was great!

Canada Day party at Il Palazzo Hotel
During the hottest time of the summer, my friend Mason from California came to visit again. My company car was having some troubles, and it broke down inside of a tunnel on the Sanyo Expressway! Luckily, we were rescued by SES staff members, and eventually we went to Kyushu for a little vacation.

Nagasaki Peace Memorial
Dallas & Mason in Nagasaki
We enjoyed Nagasaki City for two days, seeing the historical districts and trying not to melt in the heat! I enjoyed seeing the Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Park. I think it is a very important place to visit, so that we can always remember the tragedies and loss that happens from war. After Nagasaki, we went to the hot spring capital of Japan, Beppu City in Oita! It was very relaxing! 

With my parents at Himeji Castle
Trying takoyaki in Dōtonbori district
In August, I was very happy to have my parents visit me in Japan. They stayed at my house here in Yamaguchi, and we went on a road trip to Osaka. Along the way, we stopped in Hiroshima and Himeji. It was a long day of driving, but we had a fun weekend in Osaka, sampling food and enjoying our time together as a family. I made sure that my parents tried sushi, takoyaki (octopus balls) and a few other unique Japanese foods.

SES Teachers Mari, Amy & Dallas in Kurashiki, Okayama
Now that September is here, I will enjoy the cooler temperatures that come with autumn. I also hope to enjoy some fun times with my students and friends before I leave Shunan English School in October. Bye for now!



Everyone knows traveling is expensive. Traveling throughout Asia and Southeast Asia is known to be lower in price, but still it costs money to leave the country and live (for short time) in another country. This summer vacation, I went to visit my cousin in his new home of Geneva, Switzerland. It was an amazing experience and a place that I highly recommend for people to visit.

In order to get to Geneva, I took a very long route. I took the bullet train to Fukuoka, then the subway to Fukuoka International Airport. From there, I took a small jet to Shanghai, China where I waited in the airport for 6 hours for my flight to Paris, France. Once I was in Paris, I took a train to Geneva, Switzerland. So from Tokuyama to Geneva was probably 32 hours in total. A very long time, indeed.

After arriving in Geneva, we took a trip to Bern, the country's capital city. Bern was very nice and we had a chance to try potato pancake called, "rosti". Bern is a German speaking city although Geneva is a French speaking city. Also, in the south of Switzerland, they speak Italian. In Bern, we also saw a beautiful river that runs just outside the city.

After Bern, we went to the city of Gruyere, the home of the world-famous Gruyere cheese. There we tried Gruyere cream and berries. It was a real treat and tasted very good. Even better than Hokkaido! There is a famous old residence in Gruyere that we also visited. It was really a beautiful place that was surrounded by amazing mountains. It looked like a movie.

The next day we visited the French city of Annency. France is only a 5 minute drive from Geneva so it was very easy to get there by car. Annency is a stunning city, which is built on the water of Lake Geneva. It looks very similar to Venice, Italy. I enjoyed a galette there, which is similar to a crepe, but it is made with a buckwheat flour instead of wheat flour.

Another day we went into the city of Geneva and explored the "old city" and the lake. It was a beautiful place and we really enjoyed the Lake. We finished our day by hiking up a mountain and eating fondue while looking at Mount Blanc in the French Alps. A truly stunning time in Geneva.

Written by David Press-Dawson


Amys Obon Adventures

Hello its Amy again!

Hope everyone had a great Obon holiday last week.

Whilst most of the other teachers spent time exploring Japan, both myself and another teacher, Dallas, decided to go further abroad and explore the Philippines.

The view from our hotel in Cebu

We landed into Manila on Sunday evening and spent time relaxing at our hotel before our departing flight to Cebu on Monday evening.

When we arrived into Cebu we spent a few days relaxing by the beach, soaking in the sun and exploring parts of the island. My favourite thing that we did here was go and see the Whale Sharks!

After Cebu we traveled by ferry to the island of Bohol. To me this was the nicest and cleanest island that we visited. We also did lots of exploring before we had to head back home to Japan. We saw the Chocolate hills, Tarsier monkeys and man-made mahogany forest.

The views of the roads in Panglao

It was so nice to spend most of the week relaxing and experiencing another different culture. The Philippines are very different from Japan but one great thing that they have in common is how friendly and incredible the people are!

Here are a few photos from my trip below.

Found this graffiti on a wall at a petrol station

Dallas and I in the man-made forest 
Me - red faced and sunburnt in the Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills of Bohol

A mural at one of our hotels!

Thanks for reading and as always, if you'd like to see more of my adventures, follow my instagram here



Obon Holiday

Hi, I am the new teacher Charles. I just recently join the wonderful SES team. Last week was the Obon Holiday I had the week off. I got to travel to Tokyo, Osaka and Hiroshima. It was exciting to see the different cities.

The first part of the trip was going to from Tokuyama Station all the way to Tokyo Station. I woke up very early at around 6:15 AM on Saturday to ride the Shinkansen. The train was really fast, but the trip was still very long. It took over 4 hours to get to Tokyo.

On Sunday, I went to Asakusa to meet with my Japanese teacher. She showed me around Asakusa. We rode a rickshaw around Asakusa, got our fortunes at Sensoji Temple and I ate okonomiyaki for the first time. It looked very weird; however, it was very delicious. I really like okonomiyaki very much. 
Looks like vomit but tastes like heaven

On Monday, I left Tokyo to go to Osaka to meet with my father. My father arrived from Kansai Airport and it was wonderful to see my father again. We both love Japan very much and we were going to have a very fun time together.
Meeting my Father at Kansai Airport.

Wednesday night, My father and I  met up with a few friends that were also in Osaka. We went to eat dinner and afterwards we went to sing Karaoke. We sang everything from the Beach Boys, John Denver, Queen, and even a Disney song. Even my father sang a song and his voice was so beautiful.
Singing the classic "Beat It" by Michael Jackson

We went to see the very famous O-torii Gate in Miyajima on Friday. There were so many people and deer running around Miyajima. It was surprising that the deer were friendly with people. We decided to buy a picture from the photo shop. The photographer took some food and herded a deer to be in the picture with us. It was so cool!
The deer with no fear

The holiday was very enjoyable and it was very cool to see so many different places. I can't wait to explore Japan more!

Wakayama, My Second Home

Tanabe City, in Wakayama Prefecture, is my second home. It's a small city surrounded by countryside; its probably most famous for ume-boshi (pickled plums) and the Kumano Kodo ancient pilgrimage trails (a world heritage site).

I lived there for almost two years and made a lot of friends and great memories. Shunan city is almost 600 kilometers away from Tanabe, so now it is difficult for me to see my friends often.

During the Obon vacation I took a trip back to my old hometown of Tanabe, and I met up with lots of old friends and colleagues. I didn't tell them I was coming home so they were very surprised to see me!

We spent a couple of days catching up in Tanabe; singing karaoke, having barbecue and socialising. After that we went on a roadtrip around the Kansai region; first we went to Kobe and then to Osaka.
In Kobe, we visited Harborland to ride on the ferris wheel and play arcade games. Then we went to Chinatown, where we ate some traditional Chinese dishes.

At the end of the trip it was sad to say goodbye to my good friends from Tanabe. But during Christmas vacation they plan to come stay with me in Shunan city.


Where will I go next?


It has been a few months since my last blog post so here's an update on what I've been up to.

A few weekends ago myself and another teacher, Dallas, decided to get away from Shunan and take a weekend break to Busan in South Korea. It was a place both of us had been wanting to visit since we came, and so we booked the short 45 minute plane journey from Fukuoka and off we went!

When we arrived we were both happy to be back in the city and close to the beach. It was lovely to also meet up with friends and enjoy the new experiences of exploring a brand new place. We ate delicious food, visited some of the tourist attractions and walked along the beach. Although the weather was a little rainy, it was still an enjoyable weekend. 

Here are a few photo highlights from the trip 

Dallas and I posing in front of the sign of Haeundae Beach in Busan

Haedong Yonggungsa Temple by the Ocean

Gamcheon Culture Village, I recommend this place!

Gamcheon Culture Village, Harry Potter steps

Gamcheon Culture Village, there is artwork to be found all over the village

Gamcheon Culture Village, the stairs to see stars!
As you can see we had a fun weekend immersing ourselves in all the different sites of Busan. I highly recommend that you visit here, even for just a weekend, as the atmosphere, food, attractions and views are all excellent. 

I am going to continue exploring Asia whilst I am here so be ready for more posts from me. Hopefully my next stop will be...Hong Kong!

If you want to see more photos from my adventures here in Japan (and from the world) you can view my instagram here 

Thank you