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Reflecting on my year in Hikari with PEC - so much can be said. But I will try to keep this straightforward + simple. My experience was positive, I made friends that I intend to keep. It is telling that I plan to return not only to Japan, but to small-town Hikari.

So, Hikari the place:

It is quiet, peaceful, beautiful. One of my adult students – Keiko – described Hikari as her version of a utopia. This might not be far off from the truth. A city on the coast enwrapped by forested mountains. There are two beaches, Murozumi & Nijigahama, & one main road, the 188. There are a few bars, some karaoke spots, & some nice little restaurants you can find if you look. Hikari is so safe that at the PEC share house we seldom locked the door & when we did it was more by reflex from wherever it was we had lived before. From the Mitsui office, there is a beautiful view of Murozumi beach & the mountained islands in the bay. There are four seasons. The winter is mild, but one does need a coat. Fall & spring are really nice, though it is quite rainy.  The summer…the summer is oppressively hot & humid. This is redeemed in large part by easy access to the beaches, & the bathtub-temperature water from late June to early September – but it can be really very intense. Indeed, for me it was the intensity of the summer that kept me from staying another year in Hikari with PEC more than anything else.

PEC, the job:

At PEC a teacher works with students of all ages. Babies to retirees. This offers a teacher valuable experience across the board, & allows a new teacher to learn about their preferences in the classroom. That said, one must be comfortable with children as the majority of classes will be with students aged ~3 – 18. Teaching young children is challenging + can be very exhausting, but as a teacher gets to know the youngsters for the individuals they are, it is very rewarding. They are cute, affectionate & filled with energy! But beware the ‘kancho’ – I won’t go into just what that is here, but you can look it up. At PEC you will work a lot & often into the evening, but the staff is supportive & honest, so you will be prepared.  I learned so much about how to teach & more generally, just how to comport myself, during my time with PEC.

Overall, I would describe my experience in Hikari with PEC as wholly worthwhile. I grew as a person, developed as a teacher & really enjoyed Japan.