For the greater part of her life, Setsuko Arima has lived in the same district of Kanazawa-ku in Yokohama. She is devoted to the neighborhood, which is highlighted by the 13th century Shomyoji Temple, its garden with red bridges over a wide pond, and its background of an open field and wooded hills. She knows local histories and legends. Away from the heavily trafficked highways, her home keeps a feel of the countryside and village intimacy.

Arima has had a varied career. She says that earlier in life she had never dreamed of teaching English, strongly interested in the English language though she was. Now she teaches students of many levels, most of them by telephone. "My life is really exciting and unique," she said.

As a child she was, she says, "independent, very practical and liberated in thought." As an adult, she takes unflagging delight in the world around her, in details and quotidian duties. She has made her own way, has taught herself advanced computer skills that she uses constantly, and has developed her own definite ideas on the teaching of English to Japanese people.