Akari Ueoka was born on a beautiful island called Shikoku (meaning four prefectures) in Japan. One of the four prefectures is Kochi (we use ‘prefecture’ instead of ‘state’ in Japan), which is famous for fishing and fresh vegetables. It faces the Pacific Ocean and surrounded by beautiful mountains. Akari spent her early childhood years there.
At age 7, her family moved to Tokyo for her father's business, and they lived there until she graduated from junior high school. Then, her family moved back to Kochi. It was a good opportunity for Akari to experience both city life and country life, which expanded her perspectives. She went to Kochi Nishi (West) High School and dedicated herself to different forms of dance: rhythmic gymnastics, jazz, and Yosakoi.
After completing high school, she decided to come to Maui on her own with a clear intention of studying various styles of healing arts. However, after she landed on Maui, it didn’t take her long to realize that she needed to study English first.
Akari came across with a wonderful language program, the Maui Language Institute (MLI). With her adamant will, she managed to build a solid English foundation before she moved on to Maui Community College (MCC). Feeling that she could use more time and practice to polish her English skills, and being intrigued by her passion for children, she majored in early childhood education and worked at MLI as a student assistant for four years. There, she felt much satisfaction and fulfillment in caring for international students who came to study English just as she has done.
After graduating from MCC, she attended Aloha Massage School of Maui to finally bring her original intention of coming to Maui to its fruition. It was wonderful to attain knowledge and skills of healing arts, and to earn a state of Hawaii massage license. However, Akari then understood that her real passion in life lay in contributing to world peace through working with children.
She enrolled in the University of Hawaii at Manoa and pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and obtained a state of Hawaii teaching license. For two years, she worked at an alternative school called ROOTS on Maui as the lead teacher in a 3 to 5-year old classroom. She developed the curriculum, and she was also on the Board of Directors. This gave her a unique understanding of how a school and/or business is run as well as solid experience as a teacher. Then she assumed a position as a second grade teacher at Haiku Elementary School and taught there for four years.
Akari has been doing translation and interpretation work for many years. Her career as a translator and interpreter started at the Maui Language Institute (MLI). She has translated various documents, including information and orientation packets, brochures, business cards, and marketing materials; and she has done interpretation work at a business meetings, school orientations, and counseling sessions. She created Akari Translations in 2010.
From 2015 to 2016, she returned to MLI to assume the position of Short-Term Program Coordinator. Akari took much pleasure in working with international students again, and being instrumental in supporting them to grow as global citizens.
Combining her understanding of Japanese and English as languages along with her teaching experience, Akari has also been instructing private, semi-private, and group language lessons as well as tutoring sessions.
Akari has been always a lover of literature. She was an avid reader and writer as a young girl under the influence of her mother who read 30 to 40 books a month. She learned her strong work ethic from her father who passed on his sense of responsibility and diligence in his work. With her love for reading, writing, and human relationships, Akari takes great pleasure in being a bridge between languages, cultures, and people.
In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, taking photographs, writing, reading, and taking a long hot bath.
Akari’s Curriculum Vitae
Mission & Vision Statement