Last weekend, I had a wonderful time in Yamagata. After a quick flight from Komaki airport, I landed in Yamagata and gave presentations all afternoon on teaching grammar and doing extensive reading with children at MY English School. I had a great audience, some of whom came all the way from Sendai to attend. The owner of MY English School, Ryan Hagglund, has given presentations in the past on creating a positive school culture, so I was really looking forward to seeing his school and meeting his staff. I was really impressed with the teachers I met, who seemed genuinely interested in their professional development and learning about the latest research and new ideas.
Afterward, we went to an izakaya restaurant with really interesting décor. I learned that Yamagata sake is the only sake in Japan that has "geographical recognition," just like champagne goes.
The next day was a beautiful spring day, so Ryan took me to Yamadera, a temple that can only be reached by climbing a thousand steps. It was a little tough to get to the top, but we were rewarded with gorgeous views of the mountains. We even saw a Japanese serow, a mountain goat, munching grass on the side of the mountain. Afterwards, I enjoyed eating BBQ with some of the MY English School teachers and Ryan’s friends.
Yamagata is very famous for its sakuranbo cherries. Unfortunately, I was a little early for the main cherry crop, but I could still buy some cherries at the station.
I am grateful to MY English School for a very fulfilling weekend, meeting such dedicated teachers and having a chance to enjoy the natural beauty of Tohoku.