Wishma Rathnayake moved to Narita, Japan on a student visa in 2017.

Her dream to teach English in Japan ended with a lesson for the country

Updated 7:28 PM ET, Sat December 4, 2021

Tokyo (CNN)As a child, Wishma Rathnayake was fascinated with "Oshin," a popular 1980s' television drama about a young girl who rises from poverty to head a Japanese supermarket chain.

Urged by her father to emulate her hero, Rathnayake started learning Japanese with a dream of one day moving to Japan from the small Sri Lankan town of Gampaha, northeast of Colombo.
When her father died, the university graduate convinced her mother she could earn enough money working abroad as an English teacher to fund her retirement.
The family remortgaged their home, and in 2017, Rathnayake moved to Narita, on the outskirts of Tokyo, on a student visa.