As the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) Programme moves into its fourth decade, The Japan Times asked past and present participants in the project about their most memorable experiences, from the inspiring to the excruciating. Here is a small selection of the responses.

Tim Franklin, Okinawa (2012-15)

There I sat, locked in a stare-off with a very large man of 120 kg plus. His gaze never wavered, and inside I was freaking out: How did I get here? What were they all saying? Will these be my last words?