/ Work

Lesson 01: Introductions

Want to know more about me? Of course you do.

Hey, I’m Simon, a semi-nomadic writer from the UK who also teaches English communication courses at universities in Tokyo. I’m really not a big fan of self-introductions, so let’s try something I do with my students. Play along…

Teaching is a tough job.

Choose a popular Japanese name: Keisuke, Kosuke, Kensuke etc. On the whiteboard is some information about me:

These are the answers – I want YOU to write the questions. Work with your partner. You have 3 minutes. Let’s go!

Ok, good work everyone. How did you do? Let’s check together.

What’s your job?

No, I’m not a journalist, I’m an English teacher. That’s why I’m in this classroom, Keisuke. But you’re close enough – I used to be a journalist. Do you know what a journalist is? They work for newspapers and magazines writing the stuff between the adverts.

I always wanted to be a writer until I tried doing it professionally. It has been four years since I quit my last job to travel and teach full time and I have zero plans to go back to an office. But I have started to miss writing, which is why I created this website.

Well done, Keisuke. Your team gets a point.

How old are you?

Yes, I recently turned 30. I don’t look it? Oh, thank you, Keisuke. More points.

Why did you become a teacher?

The journey started in 2011 when I did a volunteer placement in Nepal teaching English to young Buddhist monks at monasteries around Kathmandu. In the morning I’d teach or help out at an orphanage, in the afternoon I’d do yoga, and in the evening I’d drink with interesting people from around the world against the backdrop of the Himalayas.

For some reason, office life didn’t quite cut it after that. Here I am with the monks, playing bingo.

Which countries have you lived in?

In 2013 I moved to Thailand to study for a CELTA teaching qualification. I tried doing the digital nomad thing for a bit to start off, writing freelance web copy, but I had much more fun in the classroom. I ended up living in Chiang Mai for a couple of years and travelled through various places in South East Asia.


Beer by the Mekong river, Vientiane, Laos.

Fast forward and now I’m working at a university in Tokyo and travelling during the breaks.

What’s on your bucket list?

Absolutely nothing because bucket lists are stupid, Keisuke. But here are some nomadic goals I'm working on:

  • Road-trip across America - Temporarily on hold, for obvious reasons.
  • Improve my Japanese and Thai language skills - In progress, watch this space.
  • Race Rickshaws in India and/or drive to Mongolia - anybody up for it?

What’s your travel style?

I’m one of those annoying minimalist travellers. The best thing about travelling light is the freedom it gives you. The second best thing is patting yourself on the back for being better than everyone else. I can actually live out of carry-on luggage almost indefinitely if needs be.

Ask me about backpacks or my special merino wool travel shirt.

What’s your favourite sport?

OK Keisuke, I’ll let you have that one. I don’t really play any sports but I do like going to the gym when I have access to one and swimming.


Outside Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai, Thailand.

What do you do in your free time?

Ah, the age-old English language teaching question. As well as travelling, I mostly like trying new food, mixing cocktails, and listening to punk music.

How about you, Keisuke? Remember, sleeping is not an acceptable answer, no matter how many students think it is.

I also play guitar. Here’s me entertaining some stoned backpackers on a Thai island:

Other than the three-digit number on the back of my credit card, I think you have everything you need to know.

Alright, good effort everyone! Now you know a little about ME, it’s time for me to learn about YOU. Feel free to leave a comment below.

No, Keisuke, don’t write on the table.

For a slightly more professional introduction, check out my journalism portfolio www.simonfogg.com