“How do you like FUKUSHIMA?” 【Edwin English School Director:Gary Spry】

Style Koriyama special interview in English.
“How do you like FUKUSHIMA?”

I’ d like to ask foreigners about Fukushima. This is a relay-style interview series. In this segment, we will ask foreigners who are active in Fukushima Prefecture about what they have felt and found in Fukushima.

Edwin English School
Director Gary Spry

He founded Edwin English school in 1986. He has been almost 40 years as an English teacher in Japan. We interviewed Gary about what brought him to Japan, about life in Fukushima, and so on.

He started Edwin English School in 1986 and about 40 years have passed since he became an English teacher. We asked what brought him to Japan, and about daily life in Fukushima.


Where are you from?

I come from Plymouth, located in the south-west of Britain.

Could you tell me the local specialties and interesting places in Plymouth?

The pasty is the local and traditional dish in my hometown. A long time ago, miners brought it underground and ate it holding the hard outside part with their dirty hands. They ate only the soft part of it, then threw it out. Nowadays, you can eat every part of the pasty.


Also cider is a local specialty. It is different from the one drunk in Japan. Our cider is an alcoholic drink made from apples. The alcohol content is almost the same as that of beer. Unfortunately I have never seen it in Japan.


Plymouth is a beautiful city by the sea. There is a fishing port and a military port.



There are many famous spots, but especially Dartmoor National Park on the inland side is very famous. In the park, you can see sheep, cows, horses, foxes, rabbits, and so on. Anybody can go in because it is a public spot.

Dartmoor National Park

Dartmoor National Park

What did you do for fun as a child?

I would play a lot of sports like soccer, cricket or rugby.

Gary Spry

Gary Spry


What brought you to Japan?

When I was an English teacher in London, there was a student who came from Sukagawa-city.
One day, the student told me that he would found a new English school in Fukushima and he wanted me to work with him so I decided to come to Japan. It was when I was 24 years old.

Gary Spry

When you came to Japan the first time, did you feel some differences between Britain and Japan?

At that time, the biggest difference I felt was the work-style. In Britain, work time is work time, free time is free time, but I felt it was different in Japan. Free time seemed to be managed by the company.
Also, there is a strict seniority system in Japan and age is important in a hierarchical relationship. Our country doesn’t have such a concept. On the other hand, the ”CHOU-NAI-KAI” was new and interesting for me.
In daily activities such as shopping, I didn’t feel a big difference.

I think Japan is a very safe country. The quality of restaurants and customer services is very high. When I had my house fixed, the repairmen were also very polite.

I like Japanese food. Fish, vegetables, wild plants and all. I like sashimi too. As for grilled fish, I especially like saury, salmon, and trout.

What do you do on your days off?

I enjoy watching sports, exercise, reading books, watching movies, contract bridge online, and mountain walking. I have climbed Mt. Utsumine, Mt. Takashiba, Mt. Azuma and Mt. Adatara around this area.
Learning history is my hobby, mainly about Japanese, British, and European history. In Japanese history, the period from the end of the Edo Period to the early years of the Meiji era is the most interesting for me. I often watch history channels on YouTube.

What is your favorite place in Fukushima?

In the cherry blossom season, I like going to see the cherry blossom at Kannonji river in Inawashiro. In other seasons, I like going around Inawashiro, Aizu, Minami-Aizu, and the Tadami line. It is very good that Fukushima is surrounded by beautiful nature.

Koriyama city has just the right balance between the city and the country. The sea is not so far, it is close to the mountains, ski resorts are near, and Koriyama city is close to Tokyo, so it is very convenient.

What would you like to do in the future?

I’d like to travel more in Japan. Especially, I want to see Himeji-castle. There are only 12 original Japanese castles like Himeji-castle left. I want to see those castles.
If I have the chance, I want to go to Kyushu or Hokkaido too.

How do you collect daily Japanese information?

When I first came to Japan, I read only the English newspaper because I couldn’t speak Japanese at all. But the English newspaper only has a national edition, so I got local news from people. Now, I can read regular-use Kanji, so I read a Japanese newspaper too.

We hear learning Japanese is difficult for foreigners. How about in your case ?

Speaking is difficult, but learning to read is even more difficult. On the other hand, for Japanese people, speaking English is more difficult than reading.

How often do you go to Britain in a year?

I was going home every summer before Covid19, and we also held a school tour to Britain. We went around together in Britain for a week, and after the students went back to Japan, my family stayed in my hometown for about two weeks.

Edwin English school

Edwin English school

Edwin English school

How do you feel about Fukushima after experiencing the Tohoku earthquake?

After the Tohoku earthquake, Fukushima people had great difficulties. Although the nuclear power plant problem hasn’t finished yet, personally I don’t think it affects my daily life. I don’t feel the danger of radiation.

Finally, could you give Style readers your message?

I have long enjoyed living in Fukushima Prefecture, where the people have always been so welcoming and supportive. The prefecture has been faced with several serious problems in recent years, but together with Style, I hope I can contribute in some way to its recovery and future growth.

<school introduction>

Edwin English school

Phone 024-923-6950
Ishibashi Mansion 101, 3-23-10, Saikon, Koriyama-city, Fukushima, Japan

They provide various services relating to English. Children and adults can take English conversation, Eiken and grammar classes. Teacher dispatches to companies, translation, interpretation, and study abroad consultations are also available.

Edwin English school

Edwin English school