Hi, it’s Derek from Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi. One of the great things about being a Smith’s franchise Japan owner and English teacher is the generous amount of holidays that one gets each year. This year, Smith’s Head Office gave us 14 days off for the Smith’s Golden Week holiday. I will share some things that I did during the break with you. Let’s get started!
Trip to Mimasaka, Okayama Prefecture
My Japanese wife is from the city of Mimasaka in Okayama Prefecture, Japan. During her work’s Golden Week holiday, we visited her family there with our kids. We don’t have a car, but here in Japan we don’t need one due to a great transportation system. To get there, we simply took a Hankyu Railway train from Tsukaguchi, Amagasaki to Umeda, Osaka. Then we took a bus from Osaka Station JR Express Bus Terminal. This JR bus service is cheap and I like the view of nice mountains and cedar trees from the bus along the way.
Upon my arrival at my wife’s parent’s house on May 3, I enjoyed tendon which is rice topped with tempura (fried vegetables, seafood or meat) and a choice of sauces. My mother-in-law had made a lot of tempura, so it was fun choosing from a large variety of tempura to put on my rice. It was delicious!
Drive to Tottori Sand Dunes
On May 4, my family, parents-in-law and I went to Tottori Sand Dunes in Tottori Prefecture by car. It was a pretty drive with lots of mountains and we went through lots of tunnels through mountains!
Tottori Sand Dunes History
Spanning about 16 kilometers of coast along the Sea of Japan, these sand dunes are up to 2 kilometers wide and 50 meters high. They were created over thousands of years when sand from the nearby Sendai River was washed out to sea and eventually redeposited along the coast by the ocean’s currents. Today, the continuous movements of the tides and coastal winds constantly shape the sand dunes, providing an ever-changing landscape.
It was my first time to Tottori Sand Dunes. What an amazing sight! While many people wore some kind of footwear to walk on the sand, I chose to walk barefoot like my kids. In some spots the sand felt quite hot, but it was OK for me. Once we all reached the top of a slope, there was a beautiful view of the Sea of Japan. Wow!
There was a very steep slope going down to the sea. My family and I went down to the water. The kids had a great time playing in the water. My daughter also enjoyed collecting seashells for a necklace that she wanted to make for her friend. (^.^)
Great Leg Workout
After that it was time to climb back up the slope. It wasn’t easy because it was very steep and we slid backwards with each step, but it was a great leg workout! My being fit came in handy!
I was surprised to see a man paragliding there. Look at him go!
He reminded me of Smith’s School of English founder Mark Smith who also does paragliding as you can see by clicking here.
After leaving Tottori Sand Dunes, we went to a restaurant which sold seafood dishes to have a late lunch. I enjoyed fried fish with tartar sauce, sashimi (sliced raw fish), miso soup, rice, etc. It was good. I like Japanese meals served on trays like this which have a variety of dishes to enjoy together.
After our late lunch, we went back to my wife’s parent’s house. It had been a great day packed with lots of sun and exercise!
Back to Tsukaguchi, Amagasaki
The next day, I went back to Tsukaguchi, Amagasaki which is both my home and the location of Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi. Although teaching English in Tsukaguchi is great, it’s nice to get away sometimes to refresh myself. Holidays like the Smith’s Golden Week holiday allow me to do that.
Souvenir Gifts for My Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi Students
It was nice to see my students of English again after the Golden Week holiday, sharing my trip with them and asking them what they had done during Golden Week. I also enjoyed giving them some sweets I had bought for them as omiyage (souvenir gifts) in Okayama and Tottori Prefectures.
Thank you Smith’s Head Office
Thank you Smith’s Head Office for the nice long Golden Week holiday! I enjoyed it a lot! (^.^)
Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi