Travels Around Yamaguchi and Hiroshima



Hello everyone! My name is Ryan, one of the new teachers at SES. I've been living in Shunan for about 2 months now, and I've done a lot of traveling to some beautiful places near Shunan. I want to share a few of my experiences with you! Thanks for reading!



The first place I visited was Iwakuni! Iwakuni is very famous for the 5 arch bridge, Kintaikyou! This bridge was very beautiful. Also, you can see Iwakuni Castle if you take a short tram ride up a mountain. This mountain is very small, but it has great views. I went to Iwakuni when the leaves were starting to turn red and yellow, so it was a very beautiful drive as well.
Iwakuni  Castle
5 Arch Bridge


The next weekend, I went to visit Miyajima Island, near Hiroshima. This was a very great place for sightseeing! Miyajima is a beautiful island, with many fun places to see, and delicious food. I especially loved seeing the deer, and seeing the famous Tori gate.
Miyajima at sunset



Next I went to Akiyoshidai, the famous cave in northern Yamaguchi. This place was very beautiful! It is a long cave that you can hike through, and in this cave you can see some amazing rock formations. Be careful though, it is very cold inside the cave!
Entrance to the cave


After that, I went to visit Hiroshima, to see the famous Peace Park. This place was very powerful and very moving. I think that everyone should go see Peace Park. You cannot support war after you have been to Peace Park.

Atomic Bomb Dome


Finally, I went to see Yamaguchi City. In Yamaguchi City, I ate lunch and Jibiru, which is a delicious craft beer brewery and restaurant. If you like beer and good food, I recommend that you go to this place. After that, I went to see Rurikoji temple. I love temples, so this place was very fun for me. Right now, near the pond, they have Yukizuri set up on the trees in preparation for the winter. It's very beautiful, and the yukizuri reminded me of Kanazawa.

Yukizuri on the trees at Rurikoji


That's all of the sightseeing so far. If you have any recommendations of other places I should go to, please tell me! Thanks!

Ryan Myers




As an American staying in Japan, there are many small details we don't know about living here.

In this post I will talk about the "Top 3 Lessons" I have learned while living in Japan.

3位 いつも「ごめんなさい、すみません」と言うこと



No.3 ALWAYS SAY SORRY. It is well known in America, but it is really true. The Japanese culture of bowing and apologizing is something that I have really picked up on. I always make sure to be the last one to apologize if I do something wrong. Throughout my time in Japan, I have learned to humble myself and do what is best for the situation and not do what is best for me.

2位 「友好的であれ」ということ




No.2 BE FRIENDLY Similar to the previous lesson, I have learned to always be friendly to others. In America, we often are rude to strangers, but in Japan, it seems people are a lot nicer to each other, even if they do not mean it. While I am on hikes, I always try to say, "Hello!" to people I meet on the trail. Also, it helps me interact with Japanese people if I am friendly towards them, instead of frustrated because I can't speak Japanese well.

1位 「ご飯の中に箸を刺さない」こと



No.3 NEVER REST CHOPSTICKS IN RICE This lesson is less known to Americans, but it is very important to be a considerate person in Japan. In America, it is common to leave our spoons or forks "stuck" in our food. But in Japan, it is a much more serious "faux pas" to leave your chopsticks in your rice. I won't go into detail because you already know, but it is something I probably will never do again, even when I go back to America.

Written By David Press-Dawson.


Shunan Fun Times



This is Charles again. I have been here for nearly 5 months now and time has flew by. It has been lots of fun living in Shunan City. I have been able to experience the local life here and meet many different people. Here are some adventures that I have had.

Getting Ready for Fun times with Alex



I went to a local sake festival in Aozora Park about two months ago. It was amazing because there were 16 different sake breweries from Yamaguchi Prefecture. One of my students owns a brewery and he invited me to enjoy the festival. We tried 13 different types of sake from Yamagata in Shunan, Toyobijin in Hagi, and even Dassai in Iwakuni. My favorite sake was Mori from Yamagata's Brewery. I liked Mori because it tasted much different than the other sake. I also said goodbye to one of my students since he was moving to Singapore for his job.

Cheers with one of my students



I also celebrated my 27th Birthday here in Shunan. My birthday is on November 23rd. We went to an izakaya near Tokuyama Station. My friend Matt invited some of his company students to come celebrate with me.  They got me a happy birthday sash, a birthday hat, and a fan with lots of Yen on it. It was the best birthday gift. We ate, drank, and laugh throughout the night. I even spoke some Japanese and Chinese.

Quality Fun for Quality People


I can't wait for the Christmas Break to go on more adventures. Until next time.




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

こんにちは!エイミーです! この夏私はダラス先生と一緒にフィリピンのセブ島に行ってきました!

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