3 Months in the Land of the Rising Sun

Koeikan Junior High School
Hello everyone! My name is Dallas Peeling. I am from Vancouver, Canada and I have been working at SES since October 2017. I chose to come to here because Japan has a really good reputation as a great place to teach English. I love how my classes are so different, with a big variety. From teaching children, teenagers, adults, and senior citizens from all English levels, it is a fun and enjoyable challenge for me.

I always tell my students, "No stress, no stress in my class". Although I do not speak Japanese yet, I have also studied other languages. Including French, Spanish, Italian and Swahili. I understand your experiences as language students. So please, always relax and have fun in my class. 🙂

I am really enjoying Japan so far! I think the Japanese people are very polite and respectful, and it is a very beautiful and safe country. I enjoy travelling and practicing photography, so Japan is a perfect place for both activities!
Kanokami - Shunan
I will share some of my photos below. In October, I went to Shimonoseki and Tsunoshima with my colleagues. We enjoyed lots of fresh sushi at the Tsunoshima fish market, and driving around the picturesque Yamaguchi Prefecture.


November was busy. I went to the Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine in Oda, and the very impressive Izumo-taisha shrine. I visited Miyajima Island with my colleagues, and I revisited when my friend from California came to stay with me.
Bridges in Oda

Izumo-taisha Shrine

My friend Mason at Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island
While my friend from California was visiting, we went to Kyoto, Hiroshima and Tokyo. The fall leaves were turning many different colours, and they looked very beautiful. We did a lot of sight-seeing, and enjoyed sampling much Japanese cuisine.
Fushimi-Inari taisha in Kyoto

Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavillion in Kyoto

Changing colours of the autumn leaves in Kyoto
In December, I went to Kitakyushu with some colleagues. It was very cold and windy, but we enjoyed some hot matcha tea to warm us up!
Traditional cafe in Kitakyushu with Taz - sensei
For the Christmas holidays, I returned to Canada to celebrate with my family and friends. Last year I was working in Tanzania, East Africa, so I was not home for the Christmas holidays. It was nice to spend time with them. 
With my grandparents, cousins and siblings in Canada
When I returned to Japan in January, I spent some time touring around Tokyo, Osaka, Nara and Iwakuni. It has been a very busy month for sure, but I have really enjoyed seeing the many beautiful sites, trying new food, and learning about Japanese culture. 
Tokyo Tower stands out against the skyline.

Osaka Castle

Many friendly deer in Nara

Kintaikyo Bridge in Iwakuni.


Welcome to 2018

Happy 2018 everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful and exciting break whether it was seeing family, catching up with friends or enjoying some peace and quiet.

For me, I chose to do a 10 day round trip of Japan with my good friend and fellow SES teacher, Taz! We managed to visit 6 prefectures (one by accident), see USJ, Disney Land, Disney Sea, visit Temples, Shrines, shop, eat, be tourists, get lost and most important of all, have fun!

I will try and make this blog as short as possible so here are a few photo highlights from the trip. Enjoy.

December 25th - Found Hogwarts
Our first stop was Osaka and we simply could not resist visiting the famous Universal Studios Japan. As a major Harry Potter fan I was like a child at Christmas (literally) and when we were walking around the place I could do nothing but smile. I had so much fun here and I definitely recommend that you visit if you haven't already. And don't forget to take a ride on the Flying Dinosaur! 
December 26th - Beat the crowds at Fushimi Inari
When we told people we were going to do Kyoto in a day they all laughed. But as 5am came we embraced the journey from Osaka and our first stop had to be Fushimi Inari! It felt great beating the tourists and we got to take loads of cool pictures. If you want to come here, I would recommend coming early in the morning or late at night, by the time we left at 9am the place was already starting to become crowded.
December 26th - Made our very own ramen!
Here is Taz and myself making our very own ramen (from scratch). We booked this place just before we went and it was such a fun experience and the food was delicious! The shop is called Ramen Factory Kyoto and I definitely recommend that you come here. The staff were great and the shop also does Halal meat (a rare find in Shunan!) so it gets double the bonus points for that.

December 26th - saw the Kinkaku-ji! 
 Still on our Kyoto adventures we felt that we could not miss Kinkaku-ji! Although there were lots of  tourists here the place wasn't too crowded and we managed to take several amazing pictures like the one above. The temple is breathtaking and definitely worth checking out when in Kyoto! 
December 29th - Disney Land day!
 As we made our way North of Japan to Chiba we decided to embrace the winter coldness and visit both Disney land and Disney sea. Both were incredible and I was far too excited by all the magic and detail in both parks. Although I do prefer Disney Sea, Disney land was also so much fun and it was my first time ever at a Disney park which made the experiences extra special. 
December 31st - Saw the New Year in Shibuya crossing
Here am I in Shibuya crossing at New Years. The atmosphere here was amazing and so much fun, and I enjoyed celebrating the new year here because everyone was so happy! After the countdown we went and sang karaoke (very badly) and danced our way into 2018.
January 1st - Became a samurai for the day
After having a much needed sleep we woke up and headed straight to the Samurai museum in Tokyo. We did a guided English tour which took maybe 1 hour 30 minutes to complete but it was so worth it. Not only is the museum fascinating and the tour staff informative and funny, but the tour is very interactive and we got to dress up like Samurai at the end.
January 2nd - Saw Mt. Fuji, our last stop before home!
Our last stop before our flight back to reality was to visit Mt Fuji. And before you ask, no we didn't climb it! However, it was breathtaking to see and no photos do the mountain justice. Hopefully one day I will have climbed Mt. Fuji but for now, seeing it in real life was good enough for me.

And there you are! They were my ten days travelling Japan. I am hoping to do lots more travelling in the future as I want to tick off every prefecture in Japan. So far I have visited 10/47 prefectures in 2 months, so I think I'm doing a pretty good job! 

Thanks and once again Happy New year!





One of the main reasons I came to Japan was to try as much food as possible. There are so many choices of food here in Japan. My favorite type of food is soup, so I usually like to eat udon, somen, soba, or…


Of all the foods that are available in Japan, I think the most delicious and easily available is ramen. Ramen is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to eat a very delicious meal. I often eat ramen at least once a week, but occasionally three times a week.


In this article, I will list my “Top 3” Ramen choices in Shunan City. I will rank them in ascending order, from three to one. I realize there are many choices and other people’s choice will be different. These are my personal choices for the best ramen in Shunan.


Number 3: Tori-No-Suke “Tori Paitan”
第3位 とりの助 

I chose Tori-No-Suke as my number three because it is simple and delicious. Most ramen shops in Shunan serve Tonkotsu ramen, but Tori-No-Suke serves something different. The roasted pork at Tori-No-Suke is very soft and full of flavor, but the real star here is the broth, which is made from chicken. The broth is creamy, like Tonkotsu, but does not have a strange smell, and tastes lighter.

とりの助 のラーメンはシンプルでおいしいです。周南のラーメンはほとんどが豚骨ですが、ここのラーメンは違うんです。・・・

Number 2: Yasushiboy “Shoyu-Tonkotsu”

第2位 ヤスシボーイ 

I chose Yasushiboy because it is a very, very delicious soup. The shop is located in Kume and does not look special, but the ramen here is amazing! The double soup gives it an extra savory flavor and the noodles are also unique because they are flat. I also really like the free bowl of rice at Yasushiboy. The price here is also very good.


Number 1: Kaoru “Tori Soba”

第1位 カヲル

I chose Kaoru as my number one choice because it is the best ramen I have eaten in Japan (so far). The soup is unique because it is chicken base, but it is not heavy, like Tori-No-Suke. It is available in either a salt base or soy sauce base. The broth tastes like pure chicken flavor and is very clear. After you finish your meal, you do not feel tired like other ramen shops. Another great point is that the chef uses ingredients from Yamaguchi Prefecture, so everything is fresh.


Written By David Press-Dawson.


Akiyoshido Cave

Hi everyone, it’s Taz again.


We decided to go to Akiyoshido Cave in Mine during the Obon break.  It was a lovely, sunny day – there were 3 of us and we drove there.  We managed to find parking with ease as there were a lot of small parking lots with prices stated in big writing.


We went to the ticket office for the cave, looking at the restaurants and gift shops as we passed.  At the ticket office, we asked about the discount for foreigners, but we had forgotten to take our passports!  I had a picture of my passport on my phone, so luckily I received a discount!


As soon as we stepped out of the ticket office the beautiful sights hit us.  We began taking pictures straight away, of course!

The walk up to the cave was amazing, with a beautiful preview of what was waiting for us inside.

Once we stepped inside, it took a short while for our eyes to adjust to the darkness – such a change from the bright and sunny day outside.


We were amazed by the breathtaking sights of the cave – as we walked uphill and downhill inside the caves we were in awe of the sights.

Some parts of the cave had been named – here are some of the ones we found funny…

We came out at the other end of the cave, but didn’t know where we were or how to get back to the car!  We decided to walk back through the cave to get back to the start…


I would love to go back to the cave with some of the new teachers, and this time maybe explore some of the surrounding areas as well.


Keep an eye out to hear more about my adventures in Japan!



I enjoy Japan!

Hi everyone! It’s Alex. I’m from Seattle, so I’m really enjoying the colder temperatures recently. I’ve been in Japan for almost 7 months now. I love it here. Japan is so beautiful and I love traveling all around, especially in the Japanese countryside. Every chance I get, I love to surround myself in Japanese nature and look at the beauty.



I’ve been to Miyajima many times, and recently I went this fall, to see some of the leaves.

Here are some pictures from my nature walking around Miyajima.


Here are some pictures from my nature walking around Miyajima.

I also hiked to the top of Mt. Misen. I didn’t use the ropeway, I really enjoyed the challenging hike.


I also recently went to Mikuradake, a small mountain in Hiroshima Prefecture.


Here is Mikuradake. I went to the top of the middle peak.

Here is me at the top of Mikuradake. The sun was very bright! And there was a tiny bit of snow falling. The hike was very challenging. It was very steep near the top, so there was a chain that we had to climb to reach the top. It was so fun.


Japanese food is so delicious. I love eating sashimi. Since it’s getting colder now, I am really enjoying ramen. I like going to new ramen shops and trying different kinds of ramen. I’m looking forward to trying some winter nabe. 


So far I’m really loving Japan. I hope to do more hiking in the future, trying many more different kinds of food, learning more about Japan, and most of all looking forward to summer when I can go swimming in the seas surrounding Japan. 



Climbing Mount Taikazan

Hi everyone,


It’s Taz here – I’m from Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England.  I have been in Japan for about 4 months now and I am really enjoying it here!


I am not a very fit or active person but I recently decided to climb Mount Taikazan in Shunan!  All of the other teachers were busy or didn’t want to go, so I decided to climb it alone.  I used my phone’s navigation system to get to the bottom of the mountain, then I parked my car and walked up.  I considered walking up one of the trails, but I saw a sign warning me of snakes!  😱


I decided to just walk along the road which the cars take to get to the top of the mountain.  I took some beautiful photos of the sights along the way up…


…and once I got to the top.

It was very quiet going up – I only saw 1 other person as I was climbing the mountain and, once I got to the top, I saw another 4 or 5 people.


I enjoyed the sights so much that I decided to go up Mount Taikazan again the following week, but this time I wanted to see the sunset from the top, so I decided to drive up.  I drove up and enjoyed the peaceful view at the top of the mountain, again taking lots of pictures.


It was a bit scary walking around in the dark afterwards, when I went to find my car!  😕


The weather is a bit colder now but I hope to climb up again in the Spring, as I think it will be beautiful in a different way!


Hopefully I will add more about my adventures soon…  🙂