Half a decade, full heart and full throttle
5th Year Anniversary Reflection
25th September, 2022
Ishanaz Bahar (Isha),
Founder & CEO
Image from Kokusaba 5th Anniversary Mega-Meeting, 25th September 2022
Anything is possible with a mind to learn, practice, and reflect.
- Kokusaba philosophy
Hi, Isha from Kokusaba here.
(This blog has been sleeping for ??? year(s) or so, but our 6th year is about time we revamp our writing efforts.)
As of September 25th, 2022, Kokusaba hit our 5th year mark.
What a journey.
All living things supposedly originate from shards of stars, planets, space objects repeating creation, combination, destruction, only to form what they are today.
Image: Our first ever group photo, 2017.
To think back, Kokusaba has been exactly that. We never really had a concrete ‘beginning point’.
We were more of a… natural emergence from multiple coincidences and experiences, a collaboration of fate and a series of conscious choices.
What I am 100% sure of, is that over these 5 years, we have managed to create a gravitational field that brings together a rich and vibrant network that continues to build and shape us.
We are often taught that a successful business is formed from 3 essential components - people, capital, and product. However, I believe all of Kokusaba's success comes from people, people, people.
Kokusaba is a journey that started from:
🐠 Working at my local tuition centre
🐠 One SAT Math student
🐠 A YouTube channel teaching SAT Math - the first instance the name Kokusaba was used
🐠 One phone call to K. International School Tokyo, our first partner
🐠 Meeting our Co-Founder & COO, Minoru
Bit of our history.
Our tutor interviews in 2017-2019 used to be conducted in crowded university lounges, classrooms (that we weren't sure if we could use...)
Images: Kokusaba Christmas Party 2018, 2019, 2021
We shifted mostly online during the pandemic in 2020, hence how it is today.
Our Co-Founder & COO Minoru accelerated our administrative automation and SEO.
The beautiful masterpiece of a website we have today? Give him a round of applause. I have always admired and loved his sense of design.
We've done interviews, cafe sessions, school and corporate visits...
Image: Nikkei CNBC Interview, January 2020
2021 was incredible. We incorporated and formed Kokusaba, Inc., with a shared office space at Wisdom Academy Mejiro. We are proud and grateful to be working with Wisdom Academy for our group programs.
Image by Wisdom Academy, Mejiro
This is where we are at today. We have exploded in numbers in just the last 2 years, and continue to grow.
April 2018 was when we first implemented the Kokusaba Lesson Reporting system where our tutors submit their reports post-lesson. This allowed us to be the flexible service we are today.
The month of April 2018 saw 9 entries.
Now, we have an average of 4-5 lessons per day, and the number grows each year.
We've taught over 250 students.
132 registered tutors - around 30 currently active.
In 2020, we had our first tutor application from a Kokusaba graduate.
Currently, 5 of our registered tutors used to be Kokusaba students.
I have mentioned this a few times on my social media, but I want Kokusaba to continue being the support our students need for international education, the ticket to a global mind, a community we identify with.
As our vision states, are a community of lifelong students who empower students and connect the world through the act of learning. For this, it is crucial that our tutors are a guiding mirror for our students - and therefore it is such a joy to have tutors who understand and live by our philosophy.
Now that we're facing our second decade, it's definitely time to step up our name and game.
So here are some previews.
We've had 3 successful group sessions so far - Kokusaba Summer 2021, Kokusaba Winter 2021, Kokusaba Summer 2022. This is something we would like to continue, with improved administrative process and facilitation.
In addition to our seasonal group programs, in 2023 we will be starting a biweekly Saturday School, hosted at our partner, Wisdom Academy Ebisu. This will be a series of group Kokusaba programs covering a variety of subjects, conducted by tutors from various backgrounds.
As of our 5th anniversary special...
Kokusaba Travel & Teach!
I had always dreamed of a volunteer program that not only empowers local communities, but also our tutors starting out at Kokusaba. It allows tutors to gain valuable teaching experience while giving back to the community.
Our first project will be to host an international Christmas party at Nittai Kindergarten, and we hope we get to spread out to more communities next year onwards.
Please feel free to contact us if you know schools that might be interested in having us!
Now that we have a good network inside of Tokyo, I will also be traveling around Japan to form more relationships with international and global-minded schools outside of Tokyo.
Once again, grandiose applause to our amazing tutors, parents, schools and partners who have supported us over 5 beautiful years.
I am so excited to see where we go in our 6th year.
🎣 May we all keep swimming upstream! 🐟
Lots of love and hugs,
P.S. I vow to update this blog more often! I might write in Japanese for the next post...